There’s plenty to think about when it comes to your content marketing efforts.
But in the end, content is just like everything else in business: You can approach it as something to check off your to-do list, or you can approach it thoughtfully and strategically to accomplish your goals. The latter will always take more time, but that extra time is the difference between content that flops and content that gives you real ROI.
Strategic content marketing isn’t just about the content you create, though. It’s also about making content that supports your end goal and leveraging that content once it’s published.
Here are five strategies you should implement to maximize the ROI of your content marketing efforts:
1. Use your content creation efforts to add value for potential clients.
Before beginning an article or a bigger content project, think about what you can do from the beginning to guarantee a return on the time spent creating that piece of content. One way it can bring you value is by making a direct connection with potential clients.
Kiip, a mobile marketing and rewards company, created an infographic using quotes, data, and insights from its target audience and then wrote a blog post about it. This process gave Kiip a natural and authentic avenue to reach out and build a relationship with potential clients while providing real value.
Kiip experienced a 4,400-percent ROI from that blog post — and that doesn’t even include the intrinsic value of that high-quality, insightful piece of content living on its website.
2. Start with the message, then think about the delivery channels.
Rather than just sitting down and writing an article, start with an outline of your clients’ pain points, your solutions, and the action steps your clients can take to fix their problem. Then, consider the different forms that message can be delivered in. By starting here, you’ve essentially outlined what will actually be valuable to your ideal client, rather than taking a shot in the dark.
Next, turn that outline into as many different pieces of content as possible. Can you write a guest post on that information? Could you record a 60-second video on the big ideas? Or could you upload a PowerPoint to SlideShare and send it out to your network?
3. Consider informational products or an educational e-series.
Do your clients completely understand your product or service? Do some people you’d like to work with want to try it out internally first? By considering your audience’s needs, you can structure an entire educational series that can spiral into dozens of pieces of content.
Each article can stand alone, or leads can subscribe to an email series that provides them with all the information they need to know. Once they realize they don’t have the time, expertise, or resources to implement your suggestions in-house, they’ll seek the experts who tried to educate them in the first place.
4. Consider the golden rule of content marketing.
No matter how wonderful your content may be, it’s useless if no one ever sees it. However long it takes you to write an article, spend twice as much time distributing or “activating” it within your networks.
Think beyond simply sending it out in a tweet or Facebook post. What can your team do to guarantee your content will be read by those who would find it valuable?
Don’t just think about how other companies have successfully reached their target audiences. Ask yourself these questions to strategically target your own company’s audience:
- Are there influencers I should build relationships with so they’ll share my content?
- Are there LinkedIn Groups I should participate in so members will read, share, and interact with my content?
- Are there subreddits my audience reads?
- Are there other forums my audience interacts with?
- Are there newsletters my audience reads that I can include my content in?
- What about paid distribution?
Think about your audience and where it spends time online, and then figure out ways you can make sure it will see your content.
5. Have the end result in mind.
Possibly the biggest mistake people make with content is starting the development phase without the end goal in mind. What do you want readers to do? Would you like them to share your content, subscribe to your blog, or maybe even schedule a consultation?
By planning that intended action before you write the content, you’re much more likely to have readers take that action.
For example, if your goal is to build a following by getting people to share your content, make sharing as easy as possible. Encourage people to tweet with short pull quotes in the text or accessible social share buttons.
A true content marketing strategy doesn’t just deliver value; it makes the action you want the reader to take the only logical next step. That doesn’t mean every reader will take it — or even that every reader should take it — but high-quality content, combined with a consistent strategy that supports a long-term goal, is the secret to using content to drive ROI.
Post by Joshua Johnson
Want to learn more about using content to grow your brand’s influence? Check out my “5 Steps to Creating and Implementing a Thought Leadership Strategy” webinar replay.