Long before your launch, there is marketing work to do. And before any marketing begins, there is marketing work to do. You may think your product or service is the “best thing since sliced bread,” – after all, it’s your baby. But now is the time to get realistic and figure out how you get that product or service to the marketplace. The biggest tool you have for this is content marketing. But, there are many pitfalls, and you need to do it right. Here are 9 strategies and tactics that will give you a solid content marketing campaign.
Identify Your CustomerThe entire population of a country is not going to love your product/service and flock to you. Most will never know you exist. You are looking for a segment of the population that will find value in what you offer. So who exactly is your customer? You need to create a customer profile. Be precise in defining your typical customer. Gender, age, socio-economic bracket, education level, typical career, marital status, urban/rural dweller, and so forth. Create a person – give that person a name and profile. This is who you are after.
Determine the Size of Your Persona DemographicDo the research. Find out how many people are in your customer profile. Maybe your persona is a member of the millennial or Gen Y groups. How many are there?
Determine the CompetitionWho else is marketing to your customer in your niche? Research their content marketing strategies and determine how you can produce content and distribute that content better than they are. How can you be unique within this niche?
Define Your KeywordsCreate a list of word and phrases that are most related to your niche. The question to ask is this: what words or phrases would be typed into a Google search looking for your product or service. Then do some basic checking. Type them into a Google search and see what you get. If you are a seller of lawn and garden products, for example, and you plan a spring launch, what are your potential customers looking for? These are the keywords you want. Begin with a list of 3-5 keywords and move into more specific keyword phrases from there. And these keywords? They will make perfect topics for blog posts.
Secondary keywords come from your initial lists. For example, “yard pests” might be a keyword. Secondary keywords might relate to sod pests, plant/garden pests, vegetable garden pests, tree pests, and so forth. You are looking for keywords that have a lower competition but good traffic. People are getting very specific with their searches right now, so as specific as you can get with keywords, the better chances you have of getting ranks and traffic. Run your keywords through a tool such as Uber Suggest, and look for those that are categorized as “low competition but high traffic.”
Set up Your BlogThis must come before any other marketing tactics are developed. Why? Because you will want to have great content to which you can drive your audience from other places, especially social media. WordPress is the best option. It is simple, free, and you can add all sorts of plugins that will help SEO and engage readers. The blog must come first, and every post must provide value to a reader – education, entertainment, inspiration, and more. Create those posts on a regular basis, and make sure that your content has a purpose. Soon, you will want others to share your content. If they have no reason to share a post, then that post useless. In the beginning, you will want certain basic plugins – Yoast (for SEO), social sharing buttons, and the ability of your readers to comment, ask questions, etc. and your ability to respond and engage through those reader comments.
Find Your Persona on Social MediaYou cannot be everywhere, so be smart about your social media presence. From research, find those 2-3 platforms that are most popular with your customer persona. Focus on those. If, for example, you are a B2B business, LinkedIn is a given; if you are a B2C marketer, Facebook and Twitter may be the best for you. You have to promote your content on social media and drive readers to your blog and thus you site. Choosing the wrong social media platforms is a waste of time and energy and will not generate the traffic you want.
Finding the best times and frequency of your social media posts is also pretty critical. The research has already been done for you. Read the research and design your posting calendar accordingly.
Find Others Who Will Promote Your ContentYou don’t have to operate like a small island in the middle of the ocean. There are people out there who you can enlist to share your content. In fact, if you don’t see the possibility of a piece of content being shared by someone influential, then the content should not be published. Spreading your content will require some work. Other than readers from your target customers, who else might help? Find influencers in related niches, promote their content, and ask for reciprocity. Follow influencers on their social networks, engage them in conversations and then pitch your content to them. Use HARO to enlist journalists to tell your story or re-publish your content. This of course is all in addition to readers who will share your content with their communities, as long as they see value in it.
Setting Your BudgetMost content marketing requires only time on your part. However, there are certainly paid resources that you will want to consider if you have a budget for marketing. Promotional tweets on Twitter accounts of top influencers can be valuable; targeted advertising on social media may be a good idea. For example, suppose you have a writing services startup geared to professionals who need ghostwriting or resume services. Paid advertising on LinkedIn can be a valuable tool in that instance. Maybe you have a new app for discounts and coupons for college students. Targeted advertising on Facebook might be a great marketing tool. The key to your marketing budget is not to waste a dollar. Do the research; identify the influencers in your niche who have large followings; target your customer persona where and when s/he hangs out online. Make your ads target a pain point of your customer.
Look for Ways to Inspire and Engage Your AudienceDo you have a unique story to tell about your business? Are you supporting a cause that is dear to you? Can you provide daily inspiration to your audience through Instagram photos and quotes? Can you host a contest with a great prize? Can you provide visual content that is interactive and that your readers will want to share? The popularity of quizzes, polls and even cat videos cannot be discounted.
Content marketing is an ever-evolving and challenging endeavor for a business. Using these 9 strategies, however, will get your startup launched and noticed by those who will become your customers. You have to commit to content marketing as a daily responsibility and understand that it will never end. Stay current on the latest techniques and tactics, keep a close eye on your competitors, and engage your target audience every day.
Patrick Cole was born in Indiana, USA. Graduated from Indiana University High School and got higher education in Indiana University Bloomington. He is a freelancer and entrepreneur. His hobbies are writing, rock music and self-education. You can follow him on Twitter: @Colen8P