Creating a successful content marketing strategy is key for any membership site. If executed correctly, content marketing can build you a following, attract new members, and help you retain old ones. So just what exactly does a successful content-marketing strategy look like, and how can it be created?
In this article, we will discuss exactly what content marketing is and how it can help your site to realize its goals. We’ll then look at each aspect of an effective content marketing strategy and how it can be implemented.
What is Content Marketing?
First off, content marketing is the creation and distribution of relevant and valuable content designed to help you achieve your marketing goals.
Content comes in various forms—from emails, blog articles, and landing and product pages to social media posts, videos, webinars, podcasts, and more. In any case, the content you produce should be carefully thought out and planned to help your site convert against its goals.
Successful content marketing can help you accomplish any or all of these objectives:
- Drive Traffic to Your Site
- Improve SEO
- Generate Leads
- Engage with your Audience
- Promote Your Brand
- Increase Returning Visitors
- Acquire New Customers
- Retain Existing Customers
- Sell Products and Services
Content marketing isn’t just for the big guys. All online businesses, whatever the size, should have a concise content-marketing strategy that helps them manage their content creation and promotion, giving everything they do a purpose and consequently maximizing results.
Set Achievable Content Marketing Goals
The first step in a successful content marketing strategy is to set achievable goals. Think carefully about what you’re trying to accomplish with your website, then consider what smaller objectives you’ll need to focus on to get there. For a membership site, your key objectives will be something along the lines of turning a profit by gaining new members and holding on to existing ones.
Next, take a look at the steps involved to actualize these goals. These steps may include improving SEO, driving more traffic to your site, collecting emails, and/or creating a thriving online community. Whatever your content marketing goals, make sure they’re meaningful to your business. They also need to be measurable so you can track their progress.
Know Your Audience
If you want to create a purposeful and focused content-marketing strategy, you’ll need to do your market research well before you start creating or publishing content.
Identify Your Target Audience
Implementing a truly effective content-marketing strategy means knowing your audience. You must first identify who your target audience is and then come to understand their behavior.
Google Analytics and your social media metrics can help with this. Demographics such as age, sex, location, interests, etc., will give you a picture of who your audience is. And once you know your audience, you can analyze their behavior and determine what appeals to them—which sites, forums, blogs, and social media channels do they frequent, and when are they most active?
What Content Attracts Your Audience?
Knowing the type of content that attracts your audience is important. Use your competitors’ sites to learn how to relate to your key demographic. Look at what their visitors are viewing, sharing, and commenting on, then focus in on the topics that interest those visitors and the style of writing they respond to.
Also study the type of media that appeals to your audience. Do they prefer to read articles, view videos, watch webinars, or listen to podcasts? Knowing what attracts your audience means you can tailor your content-marketing strategy accordingly.
Plan and Organize Your Content Marketing Strategy
A well planned and organized content marketing strategy is the key to success.
What Should Your Content Look Like?
Of course, your content creation should be based on your market research. Be sure to include the different topics and media styles that appeal to your audience. You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to determine which keywords will help your content rank in the search engines. And always refer back to your content-marketing goals to help you stay focused on the outcomes you’re hoping to achieve.
A membership site will need two distinct types of content. One should be promotional, with the aim to spread brand awareness, market your site, and attract new members. The other aims at retaining existing members and should be interesting and relevant to them.
It’s also important for a membership site to offer a variety of media. It’s what will hold members’ interest. In addition to your written content, consider including videos, webinars, and podcasts. And always quality check your content. It must add value to your site, appeal to your audience, and contain an originality that helps you stand out from your competitors.
Use an Editorial Calendar
It’s important to think about when you’ll publish content and how and where you’ll promote it. Schedule blog and social media posts to go live on certain days. An editorial calendar like CoSchedule can help you manage your content-marketing workload and will regulate your content distribution, ensuring a consistent approach.
Outsource Content Creation
We all know that creating content is a time-consuming business. Outsourcing your content to freelancers enables you to focus on other aspects of your membership site. And this isn’t the only reason to outsource. Professional writers do their research to ensure content is informative and up-to-date, they can alter their tone and style according to audience, and they deliver on time, meaning your content execution will run like clockwork. Try looking for high-quality freelancers on ProBlogger, or PeoplePerHour, or approach the writers of the blogs you read.
Promote Your Content
Once you’ve published your content, you’ll need to promote it. Whether to a wider audience or to your paid members, you’ll need to promote your content in a variety of ways and places.
Get Busy on Social Media
Social media is essential for growing a following, increasing brand awareness, and creating a community of engaged potential customers. It’s also a good way to connect daily with current members.
Take time to interact with and build a following on your chosen social media channels. This will give you an audience to share your content with. Add new content to social media, and encourage likes, shares, and comments with incentives, like competitions. Also, use sharing buttons on your website to encourage viewers to share and engage with your content.
Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Email
Email marketing is still as important as ever as it allows you to reach followers quickly and efficiently. It’s a great way to promote new content, keep in contact with your audience, and entice them to return to your site. Be sure to set up a landing page or pop-ups on your site to collect the email addresses of prospective members. You can also send promotional content directly to those who’ve already expressed an interest in your membership site to encourage them to sign up.
And emailing current members newsletters, relevant content, and updates on what’s been newly published on your site will help maintain their interest in your site and encourage subscription renewals.
Advertising is an effective way to promote content. Google AdWords, as well as advertising on Facebook and Twitter, enables you to send ads to a target audience. This helps you reach the right people with your adverts, people who are likely to have an interest in your niche and are possible future members. The outcome is an increase in traffic to your site and potentially higher conversion
Track Your Analytics
Your content marketing strategy should be continually evolving based on the behavior of your audience. By tracking your analytics, you can see what content is working and what needs improving.
Be sure to monitor the time your members spend on different types content and what they engage with. Find out what’s bringing new visitors to your site and where they’re coming from. Look closely at what type of content is attracting the most views. If a particular type of content is making a big impact, produce more of it.
And always revert back to your content-marketing goals to determine whether your content is helping you achieve them. If you aren’t quite where you want to be, it’s time to alter your strategy according to those results.
Although the setup of a successful content-marketing strategy may initially seem a bit overwhelming—what, with multiple aspects that need to be seamlessly integrated—investing the time and effort up front will enable you create an effective strategy. And in the long run, this will help your site convert against its goals.
What top tips have you got for creating a successful Content Marketing Strategy? Please share in the comments below.