All marketing initiatives, including content marketing, should be created to deliver business objectives. Setting clear objectives allows you to develop and implement a solid content strategy and then analyze the results based on the original goals.
Your business objectives could be to build brand awareness, get new leads, get more website traffic, establish yourself in a new market, or others. Eventually, of course, leading to sales and growth. So, clarify your business growth objectives first, then set your content marketing goals accordingly.
Here are a few tips to ensure you get your content marketing right to drive business growth.
1. Create content that matches your brand and unique value proposition
Creating content relevant to your industry/ niche could be very tempting. But then it becomes difficult for your audience to differentiate you from your competition and remember your brand.
So, ensure that your content upholds your brand story’s vital elements.
- Create your content on topics that resonate with and solve the problems or meet the needs of your specific audience.
- Uphold your brand personality and look and feel in your communication.
- Retain your brand tone of voice in your communication style.
One fantastic example of this is the surfwear brand Rip Curl.
The following image is on their homepage currently:
Brand elements: toughness, adventure, individuality, exploration, captivating visuals.
Content Marketing Strategy: Create a content platform called ‘The Search’ that informs their audience about the best waves, and new places to explore. And best of all, it does it a lot through stories and user-generated content. In other words, the adventures of their brand users.
Accompanying such stories are brilliant photographs and videos to enhance the whole brand experience.
Here’s an example of such a story:
2. Optimize content for the search intent of your audience
You may have been working diligently on creating content based on thorough keyword research. Or about to start your SEO from scratch. But are you really meeting your audience’s needs or answering their questions through your content?
You need to prioritize why your audience is searching for something. Is it to get solutions, to buy, to make a decision? This is called search intent.
Go deep behind a specific keyword to create your content marketing strategy. Understand the search intent, and the stage of the customer journey your audience is on, and guide them along from awareness to conversion.
There are 4 kinds of search intent:
1) Informational: When people are only looking for information. This is usually in the first stage of the customer journey, and the audience may not be looking to buy anything. They may have a problem and need a solution. E.g., ‘how to clean leather shoes.’
Great for: Content like written blogs, videos, infographics, etc. You should not attempt to sell any product/ service in this content.
2) Navigational: When the user is looking for the website of a particular brand. E.g., when they search for ‘Adidas.
Great for: Businesses with good brand awareness. So, you can create branded content.
3) Commercial: When people think of buying something or comparing between 2 products. E.g., ‘running shoes Nike vs. Adidas. So, the user has purchase intent, but just wants to know a bit more before making a final decision.
Great for: Brand/ product/ service-related content, which digs deeper into specifics rather than general know-how. You can drop internal links in this content to your product pages.
4) Transactional: When they want to buy a specific product. These kinds of keywords would have the terms ‘buy,’ ‘sale,’ ‘discount,’ etc., in them.
Great for: Landing pages and sales pages for these keywords.
Here is an example of 4 different search intents related to the same brand.
Suppose you can create appropriate content for each customer journey stage, gently guiding them toward sales. In that case, it will resonate with them, gain their trust, and open up possibilities for conversion.
3. Prioritize content distribution to drive more traffic
Suppose you create great content that stays limited to your website or YouTube channel. In that case, it is not easy for your audience to discover it, especially if you don’t have a website ranking within the top positions on Google.
And if your audience doesn’t see your content, then the whole objective of using content marketing to grow your business is lost.
Content distribution should be 50% of your content strategy, or even more. Here are some ways to distribute your content:
1. Share your content multiple times on social media.
While how often to post your content on social media depends on the channel, you should create a social media calendar to share your latest content and older, especially well-performing content, to drive consistent traffic to your site.
One easy way to do this is to break up your content into mini, ‘snackable’ content and then share it. E.g., from a 2000-word blog post, you can easily create little pieces of content like 140-character tweets, Pinterest pins & infographics, Instagram posts, stories, or reels.
Note: The only exception is YouTube, where you shouldn’t post the same video multiple times, but it is more a search engine than social media.
2. Post it on sharing platforms
Let others do the sharing for you. There are various communities for every niche where you can post your content, and other site members can share it if they think it’s relevant. Some examples are Viral Content Bee, Bizsugar, Triberr.
These are not communities, really, just a group of people helping each other with content distribution.
3. Build and leverage relationships.
The real key to getting more visibility and following for your brand over time is to get the help of others. And digitally, it is pretty easy to do. You can have your associates, friends, and colleagues endorsing you by:
- Sharing your content on social media
- Promoting your brand/ content on their website
- Emailing their subscribers with your content
- Linking to your content from theirs
But they will only do this if they like and trust you. So, you must invest the time and effort to support them first, help them, and connect with them regularly.
4. Share it with your subscribers.
Not all your email subscribers will be interested in all your content. Share your content with the relevant, specific people on your email list who would benefit. More on this later.
Remember to use a captivating subject line.
A targeted approach like this will ensure higher open and click rates and purchase rates.
5. Use advertising to increase content visibility.
While it is tempting to keep your ad budget for your products/ services, remember that people are more likely to buy from a brand after reading its content.
So, drive traffic to your content with ads as well. Some quick and effective ad methods:
- Social media ads
If you have the budget, use advertising to distribute your content. Ensure that you do your PPC keyword research well because Google ads are uber-competitive, and you don’t want to end up with ads that don’t convert.
Facebook is also quite expensive. A lesser-used ad channel like Pinterest may be more effective if your users are active on that media.
6. Repurpose your content: Create and share multiple forms of the same content.
Here are some more ideas to repurpose your content:
A key factor for content marketing success is visibility, leading to traffic and business growth.
4. Improve the user experience of your website
The equation is simple.
Your audience spends more time on your website and consumes your content -> which indicates to search engines that your website and content are both high-quality -> you rank higher on search engines -> you get more traffic, -> potentially more sales.
But for your audience to stay on your site, besides your content quality, it is vital for business growth that your users have a pleasant time browsing your site.
Consider these statistics:
Here are some ways to help your visitors check out and consume your content:
- Use a clear blog/ content theme and layout that matches your brand.
- Have a clear navigational flow and content architecture. Make it easy for your audience to move around on your site and find what they need. For, e.g., if you have multiple blog posts, organize them into categories and sub-categories.
- Use lots of visual media in your content.
- Make your website mobile-friendly. People with a negative brand experience on mobile are 62% less likely to purchase from that brand.
- In-depth content and visuals can make your content pages heavy. Make sure they still have reasonably good loading speeds so your audience doesn’t get fed up with waiting and leaving.
5. Personalize your marketing
As the world has become more digital after Covid-19, people spend more time online than before. There has been a massive increase in content, and people are flooded with emails.
In this scenario, customers are looking for customization and personalization from brands. Every content consumer thinks, ‘what is in it for me?’ They want brands to treat them as real people, not algorithms, and to receive bespoke information.
We are not just talking about addressing your audience by their name in emails. That is a given, and there’s more you can do.
- Create personalized emails.
For e.g., if you have a pet food brand, and someone has signed up for your lead magnet about dogs, you don’t have to send them information about turtles and cats unless they indicate in some way (by clicking on a link, for example), that they are interested in those pets as well). Just keep nurturing their specific interests.
- Offer content in different languages.
I am based in the Netherlands, where the national language is Dutch, and most people speak English. But there are lots of Germans as well. In a country like this, it would make sense to offer your content in all 3 languages, if possible. Most people connect the best with communication in their native language.
For example, I used a VPN to indicate my country as Germany. Neil Patel’s blog page is loaded in German.
- Offer content based on geolocation.
If you know from Google Analytics or any other marketing software that most of your traffic comes from a specific country or city, then focus on creating content that refers to some physical or cultural aspects of that particular location.
- Deliver smart content.
For example, you may have a jewelry brand, and you may have products and content on different types of jewelry. If a website visitor repeatedly clicks on earrings, show them more content on that topic when they visit your website. Loads of marketing animation software like Hubspot or Active Campaign can help you segment and personalize content in this way. Automated, of course.
All these will make your audience feel that you know them and care about their needs. They will connect to you, and chances are that your brand will be top of mind when they are ready to buy something.
6. Build a sales funnel
Usually, with content marketing, I see most marketers and small businesses get excited (and stressed) about content creation and getting traffic. But as mentioned above, you need to use content marketing to achieve your business goals.
So, building marketing and sales funnels is equally important.
An effective model to follow is the TOFU MOFU BOFU one.
- TOFU (Top of the Funnel) – At this stage, you just excite your visits with easy-to-consume content like blog posts and videos.
- MOFU (Middle of the Funnel) – Some of your audience will consume a lot of TOFU content, and you have to then engage them with more in-depth content like downloads and educational resources.
- BOFU (Bottom of the Funnel) – These users have done all the above and are now ready to convert. Connect with them to present demos and offers, and interact 1-on-1 if possible. Some of these users will convert to buying your product/ service.
Check out an infographic and more details on this concept below.
Here are a few final tips to remember for using content marketing for business growth:
- Start with a content strategy with clearly defined goals, ideally S.M.A.R.T goals.
- Define the metrics and KPIs to measure your progress based on your business objectives. Different objectives would have different metrics.
- Regularly track your data, what is working and what is not, and refine your strategy and execution accordingly.
- Combine content marketing with other digital marketing strategies for more comprehensive growth for your business.
Now over to you. What are the content marketing strategies or tips you follow to drive growth for your business? Share them in the comments!