Infographic: How to create an effective content marketing strategy

Steven Watts, from Newt Labs and WP Shrug, talks us through the essential elements of your content marketing strategy. Who is your audience? How will you come up with ideas? And why should you always write for humans, not robots?

It's good to blog.

You can reach new audiences and show that you are an expert in your field, which can help raise brand awareness and steer people towards your products or services.

However, before you start firing off blog posts it's a good idea to think about who your audience is and how you can make your content relatable to them. You should also be thinking about your goals and how you can make each post work towards your overall mission.

Blogging on a regular basis can be hard. Not only do you have to put aside chunks of time to write articles, but you need to promote and track them to see their effectiveness amongst your audience.

This can be so time consuming that a lot of business owners look to outsource this type of work, even though they are the specialists themselves and can be the greatest source of content generation.

If you are going to be doing the content generation or outsourcing the work, one thing is for sure and this is that you must create an effective content marketing strategy in order for your efforts to return maximum results.

Who is your content for?

First of all, know who your intended audience is. Create personas of the types of people that you want to visit your blog and cater your articles to them.

This will allow you to understand their needs and provide solutions to the things they are looking for. You can look to your competitors and top-performing posts from brand leaders to see what you can do to achieve similar (or better) results.

If you've already got an audience, such as social media followers, you can see which posts gain the most traction and do more of the same. You can also look at how your current website visitors are behaving on your website via Google Analytics, or engage with them by using surveys to know them on a deeper level.

How will you generate ideas for content?

Have a mission statement and goals that you wish to accomplish as the source of your blog post inspiration to ensure that you're on the right track every time.

You should also know the different types of posts that you will be providing such as recipes and advice, content curation, brand promotion, product-related ideas, and promoting company culture.

When doing research for your articles you can use tools such as Google Alerts and Buzzsumo to see what's hot and how you can add to the conversation.

Staying up-to-date with popular news and videos will allow you to use them in context to your articles as people will be interested in articles relating to them at the time.

If these popular items are related to your industry they give you great resources that you can reference to provide your readers value beyond the article in question.

It's important to get your ideas out by drafting initial posts that you can work on at a later date; this will give you many subjects to work from when you're out of ideas!

If you have a team they can use these ideas to spawn their takes on the subject. These ideas can become evergreen content that ranks over time, just make sure to have your audience in mind when generating them.

Which format will work best?

After you've generated your ideas, you should think about how they may be suited to a particular type of post.

For instance, the most effective route is to go with a straight blog post; however, some may be better presented as a video or infographic. By having your content on different platforms you can reach new audiences and enhance your brand identity.

Having an editorial calendar will allow you to schedule your posts over a period of time and give you an idea of how your posts will be shaped.

Having things like social media posts and audit dates will help you get the most out of your generated content and keep them on track for getting the most out of them. It's important to stick to a regular posing schedule; whether that's three promotional posts a week or three a day will depend on your budget and team.

Being consistent is the key; once you have a concrete plan in place you can commission your posts.

Write for humans, not robots!

Above all, quality should be the most important aspect of your posts. They should not only be useful and informative for your audience but they should be checked for spelling and grammar and written with a tone that is best suited to your audience.

You can improve the brand's search engine ranking by including SEO elements, but be sure to make sure that your content is readable by actual readers and not written for robots.

Once you have published your post keep an eye on its analytics so you can use insights for future posts as you publish and promote them.

The responses from your audience will help you to create better posts. As time passes if your bounce rate starts to rise for particular posts, add more elements to the page such as this as the items suggested in the content marketing infographic  (right) from WP Shrug to direct your readers to other interesting posts.

If you're getting referral traffic from other blogs, consider reaching out to them to collaborate and increase its promotion.

About the author: Steven Watts is the founder of WordPress agency Newt Labs and Cambridge-based WordPress support company WP Shrug, where he blogs about business and getting the most out of WordPress; an open source content management system that powers more than 25% of the web.

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