Killer content. Every marketer in 2018 wants to drive organic traffic by creating a 1-to-1 relationship with their brand. But how many post-it notes do you have to throw in the trash can before you arrive on this killer idea?
The reality is the days of brainstorming alone in a room are over. Today’s inbound strategy is more about how you do it than waiting for some magical inspiration to appear. So before you lock yourself in a room, we’ve outlined a few steps to make your efforts smarter and more rewarding.
1. Set Goals
Start by identifying what is reasonable to achieve is a set amount of time. These shouldn’t be stretch goals – but modest goals to show improvement. Here at Groove, we set SMART goals for everything we do (specific, measurable, agreed-upon, realistic and time based).
For example, your team could agree to publish 10 blogs by June 1st to increase organic traffic by 10%. This goal clearly defines an agreed-upon timeline and defines a measurable outcome. Clearly identifying goals upfront will give you a benchmark to evaluate future successes or failures.
2. Know Your Audience
We know this starts to sound like a marketing mantra, but defining your audience really is the key to a successful content strategy. To get started, we recommend creating target personas of your current and potential customers.
Personas consist of demographics (age, race, income, location, ect.) and psychographics (personality, values, interests, etc.). These two attributes create a comprehensive view of how your audience thinks and behaves.
As you go through this process, remember that 2-3 personas is plenty to get you started. Identify customers of the most value to your bottom line and cater to their interests. Remember that tailored content improves relevance and can ultimately motivate customers to act.
3. Do Your Research
Many companies begin content marketing initiatives to improve search presence. To make sure you’re content ranks, research keyword search volumes and competition to identify areas where you can have the biggest impact.
Start by making a list of 10 keywords that you’d like to rank for. From there, enter them into the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to evaluate competition and search volumes. Low competition and high search volume should be your sweet spot.
Another important step is evaluate gaps in your competitors’ content strategies. Look at content your competitors are publishing and identify ways to fill the blank space to stand out.
4. Be Relevant
Clearly define what your audience cares about. To get started, think about information that provides value to your audience and meet them where they are. Content marketing shouldn’t always be about a product you’re trying to sell. Rather, your content should provide value with your expertise. Relevance builds trust with your audience over time, which can lead to more sales.
5. Create a Voice
Strong branding stretches beyond visual assets. Think about your company’s personality and write from that specific voice. If you don’t have a brand style guide, take the time to develop a guide of who your company is as a brand. This can include key phrases or adjectives to describe your culture and personality.
Whatever you develop, make sure you stick with it. Consistency becomes especially important if more than one person writes content for your brand. Keep things professional by ensuring a consistent voice throughout all of your content.
6. Experiment With Different Formats
The sky’s the limit when it comes to content formats. However, be sure to make your format accessible for your audience. For example, .zip files might not make sense for an audience that primarily browsers on mobile devices. Give the people what they want and meet them where they are.
If you’re looking for a new format to explore, consider eBooks, blogs, videos and infographics. Individual tactics will vary from business to business, so take the time to experiment and find what works for your business.
7. Make It Shareable
Design content that you audience wants to share. This means choosing a format and topic that truly relates to your target personas. Although there are many reporting statistics for measuring your content marketing, shares can be a fantastic KPI to measure engagement. Additionally, make sure you design your content in a way that it can easily be shared. This includes making sure your headlines and preview images are optimized for social sharing.
8. Test, Test, Test!
Testing your strategy is the best way to make sure it’s working. When it comes to testing, don’t be afraid to try new things. Tests can range from headlines to images, calls to action and more. The key is to make sure that you see a significant enough difference to ensure your results are valid.
So if increasing your organic traffic is one of your goals for the year, give our method a try. Post-it notes not necessary.