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Content Marketing Success Factors You Need to Know

Content creation is a buzzword that you know if you have dipped your toe into the waters of the internet. If you are starting a business you want to know how to make ripples. Our decision making process requires a well-thought-out content marketing strategy. Let’s dive into the deep end. 🏊

What is Content?

We need to understand exactly what content means. In simplest terms, It is a piece of information targeted at an audience. It is expressed through a medium such as the internet, magazine, television episode, or live performance. It encompasses a broad range of types that are too vast to enumerate. It seems to reach us no matter where we are during our day through our mobile phones. 👀

Content creation is such a ubiquitous part of our lives that one of my favorite YouTube channels mocked the concept by naming their improv show “Good Content.” The Grumps revealed this name in this episode. Right, we are always hearing about the need to develop and create quality content. But I bet, you don’t think of yourself as a content creator. You are an artist 🎨, photographer 📷, writer ✍️, producer 🎥, etc. 

We rely on this generic term when we are communicating to others about marketing to encompass all that we create for our business and campaigns online. Services we use are apps like YouTube, WordPress, TikTok, and Instagram. We can use these mediums to reach our potential customers but it requires us to strategize and distribute that content. 

Content Marketing and Its Value

Content marketing is about what you would expect it to be from the title using our previous definition. It is using content to reach consumers using the online mediums we discussed earlier. The goal is to sell our goods and services without directly promoting our brands. 

This is what I do as an SEO Content Writer. I write blogs that are optimized to bring in potential customers from Google Search. I don’t talk directly about the brands in my writings. Instead, I focus on related interests (determined by keywords) to write about the topics our customers are most interested in. Of course, it would mean nothing if that content weren’t informative or entertaining! 🤯

Why does content marketing work? I believe it is because humans love to tell stories! It could be a cautionary tale or the hero’s journey. These classic structures work because it is part of our social nature to interact and share knowledge. The best content marketing examples are those that capture this spirit through their tone, voice, and values expressed in what they create.

Content Marketing Requires Strategy

I would never write without a content strategy to inform its structure. Every decision maker needs to write up a plan. I think of every last detail down to the length of paragraphs, internal links, external links, and media to share. The words themselves are based on solid data collection around the keywords my audience is using and they should answer all their questions. 

There are several elements you should consider when developing your content strategy. In no particular order they are:

  • Tone & Voice
  • Mission Statement
  • Timing
  • Medium
  • Distribution
  • Analytics
  • Outreach 
  • Technology
  • Automation

I will discuss a few things that you should consider as part of your overall brainstorming. 

The Content Calendar 📆

This will help you greatly with your issues of timing. There are several ways you can find the best time to post content. Whatever platform you use should have those analytics for you. Sometimes you might have to use a third-party service like Google Analytics. I found now that its home page screen will show you the time when people most actively read your blog. That makes the decision making process so much easier!

One marketing tool that I suggest you use is CoSchedule. It will aid you in your needs for publication, distribution, and measurement. It is at its heart an editorial calendar that will keep track of what you have published and what is scheduled to publish. It also includes the ability to distribute that content through updates to your social media. You can set it and forget it and it will even optimize what time a social media update is sent. 

Buyer Personas 💃

Your content strategy is not complete if you aren’t thinking about your audience at all times. Remember, our definition of content implies that our information is received by somebody. So we want to do our best to grab and keep their attention. 

A buyer persona is a marketing tool that is a description of your potential customer. We think about things like their work title, responsibilities, where they get their news and other identifying traits. We might even want to think of their mindset as they make purchases. Some knowledge of marketing psychology can help us think about their needs.

Branding Elements & Content Plan🐛

The Caterpillar asked Alice, “Who are you?”

It is strange to say but your business is a person! As a solopreneur, my every act online is being perceived by my potential clients. If I want to be successful, I need my brand to be consistent across platforms. You can use your content writing to showcase your personality and that is what is going to differentiate you from your competitors.  

As part of my content strategy, I always prepare a strategic document that contains pieces of information that I can use across platforms. This marketing tool makes me aware of the things that I need to remember for success. For example, my brand colors and logos. The tone & voice that I use when creating content. My most important goals that I need to track. Most importantly, I create a vision statement that represents my overarching goal. 

Content Marketing and Distribution

There is an issue that comes along with content marketing. There needs to be a method of distributing that content to places where our audience can receive it. So, this is where we delve deeper into other areas of marketing like social media and working with influencers. As a decision maker, how you distribute your content can determine if you fail or thrive.

Social Media Marketing 📱

I know, I know. 

Another marketing buzzword. 

Do you have your bingo card out? 

When I was a baby SEO content writer, I heavily relied on Twitter for distributing my content. At that time, I had developed a following as an entertainment writer. Mostly covering the tv series Lost (I feel old) with previews and recaps of episodes. Twitter is the lifeblood of activity around episodic entertainment. It was a perfect match to bring attention to what I was doing. 

That is what social media marketing consists of. Creating content specifically for social media consumption. Your content strategy should include how you are going to push out updates to social media, what you are going to say, how you are going to say it, and over what services. 

(I love Pinterest!)

Influencer Marketing

We are racking them up today. 

You can reach out to those who influence your potential customers the most. You might want to make them brand ambassadors. Some may charge you for promotion. Others might do it in return for swag if they already like your product. It requires the ability to deftly appraise the situation or you might get called out for a bad campaign. 

I mostly just network with people who have a similar audience as me or maybe even competitors. The people who are most influential to my target audience. That may seem off-putting but collabs work and give you exposure to a wider audience. You have to focus on being a different voice even if you are in the same niche. I think people forget this (that is how we end up with same-samey content. 🥱)

Email Marketing 📧

They say the money is in the list. This is probably the first piece of advice that I ever got when I started blogging. The thing is this. Platforms will change! Technology ramps up exponentially. We don’t own them and we can’t predict them. As long as you are building your business on someone else’s turf there will be issues.

The email list is as good as your subscriber base. You have a better chance of reaching your customer when you use a service that reaches their inbox. At TSR, we had an 80% open rate from our subs. That is way more than the industry standard. They loved our products!

The Big Picture

Content is everywhere and it is more portable than ever. One of my best decisions was reading “Content Everywhere: Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content” by Sara Wachter-Boettcher. This book was published in 2012 when we were just beginning to talk about responsive design (a website that can adjust itself whether it is being viewed on desktop or mobile.) Now responsive design is a must-have. 

This book also stresses the fact that our content can go anywhere. For example, when I write content. it ends up as a snippet in Google Search and also as a Twitter Card when I post to social media. These services are aware and can parse our content. So we aren’t just writing for search engines anymore but anywhere our content might find itself.

Wachter-Boettcher also got me thinking about user experience and design principles. When we are content writing, we cannot forget about our target audience. We want to make our content abundantly clear. The design of our website plays a huge impact on how content is perceived. Everything down to the label on a button could make a difference. Steve Krug tells us the #1 principle is “Don’t Make Me Think.”

The most important thing you can do as a content marketer is to keep up with trends. The future is unexpected. Sometimes it seems like things become a hit overnight like the emergence of TikTok as a major platform. Pay attention and let change be part of your decision making process.