Just like all of you, our team is starting off the new year by reflecting on what worked well last year for our business and what we can do better this year. We even threw our hat into the prediction ring with our thoughts on the content marketing industry's future.
While some experts believe 2014 will see the demise of content marketing, we think content marketing isn't peaking anytime soon. We agree change is coming. But with any change, it's those who learn to adapt who are successful. It's our job as a content marketing agency to cut through the clutter to get our clients' stories heard. We do this (and your business can too) with a solid content marketing strategy.
Here are 5 must-haves for your content marketing plan in 2014:
1. Make your Website Do the Work
Driving traffic to your website is key, but driving the right traffic is crucial. Your website may need updating to make sure it's actually working for you. If you are thinking of creating a new website or refreshing your current one, consider these steps to planning that can transform it into a viable tool:
- Ensure your target market is clearly defined with key buyer personas
- Audit current site content and look for any gaps or opportunities
- Transfer your site to a user-friendly Content Management System like Hubspot
- Optimize content for visitors and search engines
2. Start a Business Blog
Blogging is no longer optional in order to be found online. Blogging has proven to improve search engine rankings and credibility with your customers and prospects. Publishing a regular business blog is an opportunity to share your expertise, remain relevant and provide helpful information to your potential customers.
Your blog should include:
- SEO keyword strategy
- Strategic editorial calendar of topics based on buyer personas
- Social sharing capabilities
- Minimum of one blog post per week
- Clear calls to action (CTAs) for each post
3. Broadcast on Social Media
Social media is another strategy that is now a must-do for businesses. That doesn't necessarily mean your brand has to be on Facebook, but no matter what business you are in, there's a channel today that you can use to promote your content. Social media offers a way to connect with your target market, build relationships and attract visitors.
- Identify the right social channels with the most relevancy for your business
- Create or optimize your social profiles
- Consistently update your social profiles with content that shows your thought leadership, provides advice and entices conversation
- Monitor your social channels for appropriate follow-ups to keep connections strong
Analytics matter. After all, how will you know which parts of your new content marketing plan were successful when we're doing this all over again in a year to come up with our 2015 strategies? By knowing what's working and what's not, you can make adjustments to ensure success. That means monitoring your online performance regularly (see user-friendly CMS in #1), not just poking into Google Analytics once a quarter.
5. Nuture Relationships
Once you've put all that work into your website, blog and social media posts which are sure to draw in a slew of new customers, it's important to continue that conversation. Just as important is remembering to engage your current customers, the people who got you where you are today.
Strengthen those relationships by:
- Sending consistent, targeted emails to your database
- Developing special offers just for existing customers
- Keeping your business top-of-mind with engaging e-newsletters
Now that you have five starting points for your content marketing plan in 2014, you can start attracting the right audience to your business. If you are looking to achieve your goals with the help of an agency, check out our free guide.