How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy: A Simple Guide

By Stephanie WarnerOctober 22, 2021Business, Content Marketing, Featured

What is Content Marketing? A Simple Guide on Why It’s Important

You can trace the emergence of content marketing with the transition to a digital-first world. Over the past decade or so, traditional marketing tactics have been turned on their head due to increased social media activity, and as digital channels became the center of our daily lives. In the new digital landscape, every business and organization now has its own website, Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and more. Digital channels offer a direct connection to communicate with current and prospective customers, plus the opportunity to provide valuable content. This transition to digital marketing activities and the ability for most businesses to control their online presence has given rise to the powerful technique called content marketing. 

Content marketing is the practice of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content across all your marketing channels. Initially, content marketing seemed like it might be just another buzzword, but in reality, it’s become a tried and true strategy for businesses, brands, organizations, and institutions to build their audience and web traffic. Through content marketing, a company can establish its expertise and credibility, generate leads, all while building a relationship with the consumer. Content marketing also improves the SEO of your company’s website. So where do you even begin if you are a start-up, small business, new organization, or just finally have the time and resources to focus on content marketing?

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Start content marketing with a focus

Create a content marketing plan by deciding what type of content you want to create and what topics should be the primary focus. Don’t try to tackle all of your content ideas at the start. Instead, when starting out, it’s best to choose only a few topics that your business really specializes in and set your focus there. Like most things, content marketing needs to be done right. You can’t just publish or push out obvious content or content focused entirely on your product, organization, sales, or overly general topics. You want to develop quality content that targets what your customers are looking for or that consumers need. Content marketing is storytelling, whether it’s for your business, magazine, organization, or personal endeavor. Great storytelling will increase interest in your organization, and increased interest should generate leads and website traffic.

Content marketing: in-depth content vs. the social post

Over the past decade or so, 140- or 280-characters were suddenly all everyone talked about, and consumers and readers were only interested in tweet-worthy content, but actually, a Pew Research Center online study of reader behavior has shown otherwise. Long-form content has continued to prove it’s worth and high-quality journalism, storytelling, and long-form content continues to demonstrate that quality content can and does engage readers. Content marketing is looking to capitalize on this reader engagement to benefit your organization.

Moving forward, instead of only focusing on those next social media posts, you should also focus on developing informative content. Teach your audience something new. Make content that really engages your reader, speaks to their interests, answers their questions, and builds an affinity for your brand. Use your content marketing to tell the story of challenges your products can solve, unique experiences or real-world examples of your organization, trends to watch, and other subjects that will generate interest and qualified traffic to your site and brand.

Content Strategy: formatting your content

Your content should be viewed as an ecosystem; your website, blogs, social media, etc should all work together and complement one another. You may find that you want to use different formats to deliver certain messages more effectively. Longer form written content is great for your website or blog where you can focus on a specific keyword and build authority for your website on this topic. Drive social media posts to this blog for customers to learn more. Of course, highly visual and photo-driven content may fall flat in a simple blog format. However, packaging content as a flipbook-style publication or a dynamic social stories format for Instagram or Facebook might help you reach a new audience. Be thoughtful about what message and content format works best for each marketing channel. 

Create content that is exciting to look at, not just exciting to read

Use interesting visuals and interactive elements from videos, weblinks, or GIFs to help your content stand out. A lengthy blog post might be full of new and insightful content about a subject. However, you may lose the audience if you don’t include interesting visuals to pull out key learnings, stats, or research. Your marketing strategy should include multimedia aspects. Video content increases engagement with the audience and is also proven to captivate and deliver a message more completely; it is considered the “future of content marketing.” The use of photography and video will help you stand out from the competition. 

Content marketing supports SEO

We’ve all heard about SEO, or Search Engine Optimization. Content marketing is an important tool for SEO since the content you are creating can now rank with search engines for the topic you are addressing. It’s no longer only your website copy — which is often short and succinct — to help you rank with the search engines. Content marketing is now a main tactic used for SEO. To develop your content marketing with SEO in mind, start with keyword search tools such as Semrush.com to help determine what content to develop next. Use these tools to see which keywords are being searched for and areas of content that you can bring expertise to. This will help your content to rank in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Choosing keywords with very high volume means the content is searched often, but most likely has a lot of competition to rank prominently. Keywords with low search volume may not result in a ton of traffic, but your content may be more likely to stand out and rank higher. We recommend you target keywords that are right for your organization initially but don’t have as high of search volume. Once you build up your content marketing, then it might make sense to focus on keywords that have higher competition.

How do you share your content when it’s ready?

Content distribution often feels like it requires a full-time resource. Every channel you need and want to distribute content on will have its own interface, tools, and format. Login to Wordpress for web and blog content updating, and then jump over to Instagram to create Stories. Do you want to customize the messaging to share on Twitter? Well then you have to start over again, and same for LinkedIn. Thankfully Issuu is your one-stop shop and solution for digital publishing and distribution for content marketing. 

Issuu will become a powerful tool in your marketing technology stack. Join Issuu to create once and share everywhere. Transform your long-form content such as brochures, catalogs, blog posts, magazines, portfolios, white papers, and more into a variety of digital assets for sharing across multiple marketing channels. Start off with a multi-page flipbook, then create even more derivative assets that you can customize for each platform from email graphics, social stories, GIFs, mobile-optimized articles, and more. Issuu uplevels your content marketing so it really stands out. 

Get to know your content marketing stats

Once you publish your content, it’s important to check your content statistics. Important statistics include reads, impressions, time spent on page, shares, and click-throughs. Your content analytics can give you valuable feedback on how interesting your content was to the reader. For example, did they spend one minute or three and a half minutes to read the full piece? Did they click through on some of the examples or references or possibly share the asset on their Twitter feed? Leverage user data stats to improve your content strategy and performance.

Identify any element of the stats that require attention based on your goals. If your goal is to get longer read times, but your bounce rate is 10 seconds, that says something is wrong. The content isn’t speaking to your prospects’ needs. There could also be a poor user experience from long load speed to bad layouts. Don’t be afraid to test content formats and landing environments to figure out what the main problem is, and improve on those results.

Content marketing is your foundation

We’ve outlined a simple guide that explains why content marketing is important and how to get started. Once you begin to plan, you will find that the content you are creating is the perfect foundation for many of your marketing activities. Develop omnichannel campaigns based on the long-form content you create by messaging in social media, email, your website, and more. You can also use your content to generate new customer leads, and build up your sales funnel throughout the customer lifecycle. Content marketing is here to stay, and Issuu is ready to help you launch your content to the world. Issuu understands why content marketing is an important part of your marketing strategy and offers you advanced publishing and distribution features to help you maximize your content marketing efforts. Join Issuu today.