Content marketing is a strategy for creating and sharing valuable, relevant content to attract, engage, and retain a well-defined and understood target audience. The ultimate goal of content marketing is to generate profits and build brand loyalty. The definition highlights the importance of creating and distributing content that is interesting and valuable and encourages user participation. The focus of content marketing is on establishing a profitable and long-term relationship with the audience rather than just increasing sales in the short term. By sharing relevant content, brands can create value, which can lead to financial returns from customer acquisition, content engagement, and retention. Being the leading branding agency in Cairo, we’ve written this blog to tell you the basics of a successful digital content strategy, from idea development to audience engagement. Let’s get started!
A digital content marketing strategy is a plan that helps businesses create and distribute digital content to reach new audiences, build credibility, generate leads, and achieve their overall strategic marketing objectives. This plan connects firms with the increasing number of potential buyers who are using digital tools and searching online to solve their business challenges. Often, it is part of a larger content marketing strategy, which also includes non-digital tactics such as public speaking and writing books.
Digital content can take various forms, such as blog posts, online articles, webinars, educational videos, online tutorials, courses, and podcasts. Because creating content can be time-consuming, many strategies include only a subset of these options.
However, a digital content strategy is more than just a collection of content pieces. It also dictates the topics the pieces will address, how often they are produced, how they are exposed to the appropriate audiences, and how each piece of content can potentially convert the consumer into a business lead.
It’s no secret that potential buyers tend to look for professional services online. Although they might use Google to find a list of possible vendors, usually, the process is less direct. It may take months or even years for a professional services sale to develop. When businesses have less urgent problems, they allocate fewer resources to them and conduct online research on the problem and its possible solutions. During the content conceptualization and research process, they often encounter websites, blogs, and free educational materials that provide them with more context and describe various solutions. Some consumers may find a reliable source of information that they trust and return to for more advice.
This behavior is why developing a digital content strategy is so effective. Over time, returning consumers (we use the term “consumers” because the content they consume could be text, video, or audio) begin to rely on and trust their source of information. When the business challenge becomes urgent, the firm that the consumers have been following for months or years is usually the first one they consider.
Research shows that the most successful firms usually use a combination of digital and traditional tools in their marketing strategies. However, digital techniques are becoming more prevalent in the mix.
Components of a Digital Content Strategy
When creating a business strategy, it is important to begin with your goals, and this is no different when it comes to your digital content strategy. If you are unsure about your objectives, take some time to evaluate what changes you would like to make to your business. Here are a few questions to help you get started:
To create a successful digital content strategy and achieve maximum content engagement, it is important to produce content that appeals to your target audience. To understand what your clients care about, research is the key. At Doers, we have discovered that most firms lack genuine knowledge about their clients’ changing needs. Research can help you identify what matters to your clients today, what they are concerned about in the near future, and what services they want you to offer.
However, not all research is the same. You must decide what type of research will give you the most useful insights. To understand your audience, we recommend two types of research:
1. Surveys: Online survey platforms are useful for creating surveys as they allow you to branch your questions based on how a subject responds, randomize the order of questions, send automated invitations and reminders, and more.
2. Interviews: Live interviews allow the interviewer to ask follow-up questions and dig deeper to learn more. While in-person interviews are an option, it is more practical to conduct them by phone or video conference.
If you can afford to conduct interviews, we recommend doing so as it generates the highest quality information. However, surveys can provide a wealth of useful data, too. For the best of both worlds, use both techniques to reach a large sample and extract deep qualitative insights.
Who Should You Research?
When conducting research, it’s important to identify who you should be talking to. There are three key audiences to consider: current clients, influencers, and referral sources. Within the current client group, it’s important to consider which roles, industries, or other segments you need to hear from. Influencers are those who have critical input into the final selection decision but are not the final decision-makers. Referral sources are people who recommend firms to prospective buyers and may work in a different industry from your clients.
Who Should Do The Research?
While you may be tempted to reduce costs by conducting the research yourself, it’s recommended to hire an outside firm or a professional researcher to do it for you. This is because your clients may be less than honest with you or try to tell you what they think you want to hear. In addition, a skilled interviewer can coax valuable information from a subject and probe for deeper insights when necessary. Finally, a professional researcher can design a statistically valid questionnaire and make sense of all the data you collect.
What Questions Should You Ask?
When designing your questionnaire, there are a few specific topics that you should include in your research. These topics include the challenges your clients are facing today and what worries them about the future. Additionally, it’s important to find out where they turn to when they need business-related information, what they read, what they watch, and what events they attend. Finally, you should ask what they look for in a service provider and how they choose one over another.
Identify The Issues You’ll Own
Producing high-quality content can be a challenging task, and you cannot afford to waste your valuable time. To help you decide what to write about, you need a strategy. Your audience research is the first place you should look for guidance. If you have done it properly, it should direct you toward issues and challenges that interest your target audience.
We typically recommend that companies choose two to five significant issues that they will write and speak about. These issues should not be too broad, so they have a clear focus, but also not too narrow that you quickly run out of angles to explore. If some of your issues or your take on them are unconventional or controversial, it’s better. If possible, try to find topics that are not already receiving a lot of coverage so that your voice has a chance to be heard. Remember, your issues do not have to be evergreen. For example, you may choose to write for a few months about a new industry challenge. Once the challenge is resolved or fades from public view, you may decide to move on to other issues.
Dive Into Keyword Research And SEO
Ensuring that your digital content can be found online is a fundamental aspect of any content strategy, and this requires a basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO). To get started, you should research a list of SEO keywords that relate to your area of expertise (as we covered in the previous section). These keywords will help you develop specific topics under each of your main issues, which you can then use to create content that is tailored to your target audience. It’s important to keep Google in mind as you do this – you should aim to incorporate your keywords (or variations of them) into your blog post titles and throughout the body of your text. While keywords are just one part of SEO, they are a critical component that directly influences the topics you write about and the language you use. If you’re interested in learning more about SEO, I recommend checking out Moz’s excellent SEO primer.
Decide How To Package Your Content
As we discussed earlier, there are several formats in which you can produce content. However, it is necessary to determine which ones will be most suitable for your business. There are two broad categories of content, and to attract new visitors and convert them into leads, you must focus on both of them:
Flow Content: Short, frequently published content, such as blog posts, is used to attract regular traffic to your website. It is accessible to everyone.
Premium Content: Downloadable content with higher value, such as executive guides or research reports, is used to generate leads. This type of content is usually free, but visitors are required to fill out a form to access it.
Here’s a list of some popular content types. Note that some can fall into either category, depending on how they are positioned and their perceived value.
– Blog Posts
– Executive Guides
– Research Reports
– White Papers
At the very least, you need a blog and one valuable piece of content. This will give you a platform to publish your flow content (blog posts) and a premium content piece that you can use to convert your most interested readers into leads. For instance, you can include a call-to-action in your blog posts, and readers can fill out a form to download the content.
What you do with the leads you generate depends on your strategy. Most companies will follow up with emails promoting other relevant content, encouraging the reader to stay engaged and return again for more valuable content.
Promote Your Content
It is crucial to promote your content once it has been created. While you can wait for Google to index your post and deliver it to readers, actively promoting it will likely lead to greater success. Below are a few ways to do this:
1. Email Marketing: Share your latest post or premium content with your email list. If you don’t have an email list, your digital content strategy can help you build one. Check out this email marketing guide for beginners.
2. Social Media: Use LinkedIn and Twitter to share your latest content with your followers. You can also publish content on LinkedIn to reach a larger audience. For more information, refer to this LinkedIn guide.
3. Guest Publishing: Look for opportunities to write for external publications and blogs. Not only will you expose your ideas to new audiences, but you may also be able to link back to content on your blog or website. These backlinks can significantly boost your content’s ranking on Google.
To Wrap Up:
This was all you needed to know about forming an efficient digital content strategy, from content conceptualization to engagement. Following these tips, you will be able to share relevant content and create value, which can lead to financial returns from customer acquisition, content engagement, and retention. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for top-tier branding and marketing services, Doers has got you covered! Get in touch with us to learn more.