When it comes to content marketing, the hefty time investment is a big hurdle to jump. As your business grows, your time only becomes more precious. As a smart business professional, you know what the next step is: prioritize. This article will help you choose the right channels to increase your growth trajectory, and leave you with some tips and tricks to find that perfect fit.
Start with a strategy
The first step in any new marketing initiative is to build a strategy. Understand what your needs are, how they fit into your overall business growth goals, what your capacity is, what your budget is, who your target audience is, and how you will measure success.
Define your goals
What are you hoping to accomplish with your content plan?
- Greater brand awareness?
- Increase in qualified leads?
- Increase in sales?
- Drive traffic to your website?
- More subscriptions to your email list or newsletter?
- Become a thought leader in your industry?
Each of these goals has specific tactics that you can tailor to your desired outcome. To make your goals impactful, consider converting them to SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for:
- Specific: Your goal should clearly define what you are trying to accomplish
- Measurable: You must define a metric that is trackable and will prove that you accomplished your goal
- Attainable: Ensure that your goal can be reasonably accomplished
- Relevant: Your goal must be in alignment with your business values and long-term objectives
- Time-based: Have a realistic, but ambitious end date for when your goal should be accomplished
SMART goals allow you to accurately measure your progress and give you a way to define and measure success.
Defining your goals will also dictate the marketing channel that will make the biggest impact. Consider the difference between a Facebook campaign and a billboard. Both are effective marketing tools but serve very different purposes. At a minimum, search engine optimization (SEO) and short-form or long-form content marketing are a must for building a strong online presence.
Establish your budget
Generally, marketing executives devote 7-10% of their company’s revenue to marketing. Some content channels are more expensive than others, but you have to consider the impact of the investment and the speed to a net ROI before deciding which are best for your goals. Other things to consider are:
- Using in-house resources for content development vs. outsourcing to an agency
- Relative costs per marketing channel
- Investing in software or tools
- Organic vs. paid content
Understand the longevity
Depending on the channel, your content platform of choice can have a significant short-term impact with lots of engagement, like social media, or a long-term impact that accrues slowly over time, like blog content or website copy optimization. There’s no wrong path – both have their place in your marketing strategy. Finding a balance that fits your goals and your budget is key.
There’s a peak window of time when your content performs the best. Here’s what you can expect from each channel:
- TikTok - 2 - 5 minutes
- Twitter - 15 - 20 minutes
- Facebook - 5 - 6 hours
- Instagram - 20 - 48 hours
- LinkedIn - 24 hours
- YouTube - 20 days
- Blogs - 2 years
Pick one channel, master it, then pick another. It’s tempting to go all out and try to manage multiple platforms at once. But the more divided your efforts are, the less likely you’re going to succeed on any of them.
Your research will determine which platform will make the biggest impact–start there, execute, iterate, and execute again until you’re confident that you’ve made a strong connection. Then look toward the next platform to dominate.
Meet your prospects where they’re at
Your prospects are absolutely bombarded with messages all day long. If your marketing is going to be effective, you need to know exactly when and where to communicate with them. Defining your goals is going to go a long way in figuring this out, but you’re going to have to dig a little deeper.
- What do they do in their downtime?
- What media are they consuming, and when?
- Are there websites that they’re frequenting, or apps that they’re using regularly?
The information that you get from customer research is going to be critical for lining up the where, when, and how of your choice of marketing platform.
Understand the customer journey
Your content needs to meet your prospect at their stage in the customer journey. The type of content you create should speak to their level of brand awareness, how your solution solves their problem, and give them the information they need to advance to the next step of the decision-making process.
Generally, when your prospect is closer to the top of your funnel, they’re just starting to become aware of different solutions to solve their problems and the brands that deliver those solutions. The goal of your content at that point is to give them enough information to move them closer to a buying decision by demonstrating expertise, authority, and trustworthiness.
Tailor your content to meet your prospect where they are in their purchase journey in order to be a trusted resource for when they’re ready to convert. But don’t forget the customers that you’ve already converted! Maintaining consistent and valuable communication to stay connected fosters brand loyalty and often repeat business.
Check out the competition
Not sure where to start? Scope out your competition. Your most successful competitors likely have an idea of where your shared prospects are hanging out, so give strong consideration to the marketing channels that they’re using.
See if there are holes in the information or conversations that they’re having, and step in as a valuable resource for your prospects. Use tools like BuzzSumo, SEMrush, and others to dig into competitor data.
Analyze your results
Content marketing isn’t set it and forget it! None of these efforts are going to make any difference if you don’t step back and analyze your results. Many marketing channels and content platforms have built-in analytics. As your content strategy evolves, you need to test, optimize and stay on top of insights to ensure that you’re getting the best results from your efforts.
Use these general measures of long- and short-form content when deciding which is the right mix for your goals and your capacity.
Long-form content: One to two pieces per month
- Blog posts: 1,000 - 1,200 words
- Ebooks: 7,500+ words
- Whitepapers: 3,000+ words
- Case studies
- PDF downloads/Listicles/Infographics
Website Content: Optimize as needed per analytics; refresh every 3-5 years
Social Media Marketing: Three to five times per week per channel
- Social Posts
Search Engine Optimization: On a rolling basis to support your marketing goals
- Keyword research
- Link building
- Page optimization
- Content optimization
Video Marketing: Up to once per week for short-form, once per month for long-form
- Recordings of live events
Paid Advertising: Cadence based on audience research; refresh quarterly
- Search ads
- Display ads
If you’re looking for more information about generating content for business growth, join us for our Growing Pains: Content Marketing webinar series, or find more information in the Resource Library on our website. And if you’d like to talk more in-depth about developing a content strategy that’s customized to your business needs, contact us for a free consultation.