Like many other professionals, you want to acquire traffic and optimize your conversions through content marketing. Like them, you want to create quality content to attract the attention of your target audiences and fill your order book. And for a good reason: in B2B as well as in B2C, content marketing has proven itself and has been massively adopted by marketers around the world. So it makes sense to take advantage of it to get ahead of your competitors and gain market share.
But where to start? What content to create? To submit it to whom? And for what purpose? If all these questions are still running around in your head, you need a little help to get started.
Let’s be clear: a content strategy cannot be improvised. It’s a whole process of needs identification, creation, promotion, and performance measurement that awaits you on the road to success. That’s why we suggest you discover the 6 main steps to follow to set up and deploy your strategy in optimal conditions.
There is no itinerary without a destination, nor a content strategy without objectives to achieve. The nature of these objectives depends on your field of activity, the characteristics of your business and market, your target audiences, the products/services you offer. You should ask yourself: why do you need content marketing? To…
Your content strategy cannot target all objectives simultaneously, but it can be organized around a route punctuated by specific objectives, including cross-channel. For example: acquiring traffic, generating leads, boosting sales (classic scheme). Or: develop brand awareness, acquire qualified traffic, send visitors to physical shops to make a purchase. These objectives can also be quantified: increase the number of unique visitors to your website by 30%, multiply by three the number of shares of blog posts on Facebook, etc. The most important thing is that the objectives of your content marketing are concrete, tangible, and shared by the entire company.
Defining the objectives of your marketing content beforehand also allows you to plan adequate financial and human resources. If you aim to become an authority in your field with 5 blog posts per week and a white paper per month, you will need a dedicated team or the assistance of an agency specializing in content strategy.
For 33% of content marketers, the biggest challenge is to create content that is appealing to the target audience (ROI is only second with 25%, according to a SEMrush study). Indeed, this is the basis of your entire content strategy: you need to identify precisely the audiences you want to reach to produce adequate content. In this respect, several questions arise:
The answers allow you to create personas – sketches of your typical clients, the ones you will think of when preparing your editorial line. A classic persona is a patchwork of several data: gender, age, personal situation, socio-professional category, geographical area, centers of interest, issues (needs, expectations), barriers to buying, media used. In B2B, we will also talk about company size, the position held, motivations, room for maneuvers for the purchasing decision, current suppliers or customers, etc.
Identifying your targets allows you to set up a truly adapted and relevant content strategy based on real needs. It also contributes to humanizing your targets (« people-types » rather than impersonal categories), to understanding the issues your buyers face, to defining a common referent with them, and to lay the foundations for a quality customer relationship.
For this step, there are two scenarios: either you are just starting in content marketing, or you already have a stock of content.
You’re a beginner. Start by defining your editorial field, i.e. the themes that your audiences prefer (according to your field of activity and your positioning) with the limits that should not be crossed. For example, a real estate agency that offers residential properties will exclude from its editorial field everything that concerns professional real estate; but it will deal with sales, purchases, rental management, investment, taxation, etc.
Half a dozen or so priority themes are already a good place to start. You will be able to draw several hundred topics from them. Attention: all of them must be related to your activity. It’s a question of consistency with your audiences, and of relevance to search engines, which will have to decide whether or not your pages deserve to be displayed in the results.
You already have material. Take stock of what already exists: all the content already published on your site, your blog, your corporate accounts. Create a table and divide it into two parts, with on one side the themes and topics already covered that you are likely to dig into and on the other side the themes that have not yet been covered. Above all, don’t neglect your existing content, which can integrate your marketing content by simply being updated and then published again.
From there on, your path is the same in all cases: you must identify the subjects you are going to work on, and regularly look for new ideas. To do so:
Finally, define the formats you will need: blog articles, white papers, computer graphics, case studies, how-to guides, etc.
Keywords are the essence of your content strategy. They symbolize the links that unite you to Internet users. You can’t read their thoughts, but by knowing what they are typing on search engines, and how they formulate it, you can know a lot about what they want.
These keywords are indispensable on two levels:
To find out, you can simply type a series of keywords on Google and look at the number of results displayed (the more results, the more popular the query is). Or use more advanced resources, such as SEMrush or the Google AdWords keyword planning tool.
Also, note that keywords can be localized (with a city name), formulated as questions (to aim for Position Zero) or longer than five words. In the latter case, we speak of a long tail; and it is these keywords that attract most of the traffic (72%).
Finally, a drastic selection of keywords upstream of your content strategy allows you to create a semantic cocoon: a tree structure that covers all the topics on a given theme, helping to meet all the demands of Internet users and to optimize the navigation of search engine robots on your site through internal networking.
By mixing the themes and topics to be dealt with the relevant keywords, you can create an editorial line for your content strategy. It tells you exactly what to create, in what format, by whom, and when. This editorial line should be tailored to your typical customer journey and conversion tunnel, so that you can create content for the beginning of the tunnel, some for the middle, some for the end.
All you have to do is create your content with a focus on relevance and quality. Or to entrust this task to a specialized service provider, armed with a team of experienced writers.
Your editorial line gives you another indication: the most effective medium on which the content in question should be disseminated. Indeed, it is crucial to select the right media to reach the right people. You can use your media (emails, company blog, corporate accounts) or use « rental territories » (paid distribution platforms, such as the Premium version of LinkedIn), at the risk of losing some of your marketing independence.
We’re coming to the end of this journey into the land of content marketing. Your content strategy is well in place. Your content is efficiently distributed on carefully selected media. All that remains is for you to take stock of your efforts, to evaluate the success of your content marketing. Is this the right direction? Are the results up to your expectations? Is your strategy delivering the expected return on investment?
This final phase is undoubtedly the most delicate, as it requires perfect mastery of all the previous stages. To be relevant, your performance measurement must be based on indicators adapted to your activity, your objectives, your target audiences, and your media. These KPIs can be classified into three categories:
You can also carry out simple (and yet very meaningful) actions, such as reading the comments left by users on your articles. Or check that your pages appear in search engine results on the keywords most relevant to you, at least on the first page.
A content strategy is not a long, quiet river, far from it. A better analogy would be to evoke a hostile territory where everything is to be discovered. It is therefore essential to take the time to prepare yourself well, and to gather all the elements that will allow you to deploy relevant, effective and enriching content marketing for your business.