How to create a content marketing

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy Step by Step in 2021

You can’t claim to be a good content marketer if the only feedback you get from your audience is that your content is great!

If an audience comes across your content and he can’t convert, you have to watch out for possible mistakes in your content marketing piece.

A good marketing content must convert with every one word that the content spits out.

If you’ve been to a blog where comments such as customer feedback or inquiries flow through the page and wondered where the comments came from, it was no place other than the same page.

The author must have used the best content marketing strategy to make readers want to close sales after reading the content.

You also need such a good content marketing strategy to make your content resonate with your audience.

And that calls for the need to know how to create a content marketing strategy that can skyrocket your sales.

For your business to grow on the internet, you need a very strong content strategy.

As a matter of fact, there is no other way to promote a business online and gain sales without using a content strategy that speaks your voice to the audience.

This differentiates between the kind of content you write to get a mark and to convert a reader into a potential buyer.

Meanwhile, there is a certain way to write your content if the purpose is to promote your business and influence your audience behavior.

Guess you want to know what the strategy is, that would be treated in this discussion.

And we shall also be looking at questions such as:

  • What is a good content strategy?
  • How do you write a content marketing strategy?
  • What are the benefits of content marketing?
  • What makes a good content marketer?

At the end, this post isn’t just going to teach you how to create a content marketing strategy, but serve as a benchmark for solving one or few challenges that may come your way later in the field.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing may sound very simple.

If you look at it as two separate words “content” and “marketing”, you’ll be far from the answer.

This is just like two friends going on the same journey in opposite directions.

They can never meet.

Meanwhile, content marketing as a concept, is simply creating and distributing content that has the potential to close sales.

But this is not achievable without knowing:

  1. Who is your audience?
  2. Which content does the audience want to read?
  3. Where to meet your audience?
  4. How to distribute the content to your audience?

When you put all these together, you’ll realize that content marketing is the strategy to ensure every marketing information of a business meets the interest or specific need of the target audience.

No wonder marketers place a lot of importance on the kind of content they share to realize their goals.

So, if you want to develop a good content marketing strategy, you need to be sure your content, in any form, is actually speaking your voice.

In summary, the Content Marketing Institute asserts that:

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.Content Marketing Institute (CMI)

From this definition, one can say that content marketing is a long-term strategic approach which aims at converting an audience into a potential customer, using content that has answers to the questions and concerns of the audience.

With this strategy, marketers can establish a better relationship with the customers.

When the customers find out that you don’t only offer them a product but a more vital information, educating them on their problems, willingly they will seek after you.

That undermines the effectiveness of the traditional advertising strategy.

Advertising a product can only show the customers you’re after their money.

Whether the product solves their problems or not, you just only want to sell more, while the root cause of the problem isn’t your concern.

With the use of content marketing, you can have as many channels as possible to connect with your audiences and make them feel very important to your brand.

This, however, makes content marketing a good strategic approach to convert your audiences.

Since the content must contain information which matters to the audiences, while consuming it, they get to know about your products.

And with the kind of affinity that transpires as you keep in touch with the audience, it’s most likely that someone will close a sale with you.

So, the more consistent you share relevant content with your audience, the bigger your chances of converting a new potential customer.

How content marketing started

One could have thought that the content marketing concept started not earlier than 50 years ago or recently when people began to use digital marketing for business.

But in the actual sense, content marketing started as far back as 1739.

Benjamin Franklin who was an author, theorist and printer, came up with an intelligent idea to make his printing press outshine his close competitors.

He started printing written content such as content about poems, observations, weather, and reviews,  which people so enjoyed that his sales dramatically increased.

His written content – “Poor Richard’s Almanack in 1732” not only made sales for him, but also drew more people’s attention to his printing press.

Seeing how this marketing strategy helped him, he continued with the publication business for 25 years.

Benjamin Franklin’s scenario only happened to be the first documented application of content marketing.

There are chances that content marketing had been in existence centuries before that time.

So, if the concept is new, the practice isn’t.

How content marketing works

The little you have read about the definition and history of content marketing should make you easily understand how the concept works.

But in case you need a further clearance, below is an illustration of how content marketing works.

Assuming you sell toothpastes, toothbrushes and a whole lot of products related to dental health online, you won’t sell much by asking people directly to buy from you.

Pitching a product to an audience as a traditional form of marketing isn’t as effective as content marketing.

Content marketing has much impact on how consumers behave online. That is why what most people read about a product affects their purchasing decisions.

Let’s not forget your goal, which is to gain more customers and accelerate your sales as a content marketer, permits you to recommend products for treating dental problems in your content.

All you have to do is to start a blog and start discussing dental issues – problems, prevention and cures.

As you educate the audience on various dental problems and recommend products that can treat the problems, you give them reasons for which they need the products.

So, the more you talk about the problems, the more the audiences see the importance of the products.

And that is when they can willingly buy from you.

You can share your content on social media to get more people coming from different channels to read your blog.

Over time, more interested audiences will visit your blog and equally advise their friends who have the same problem to visit your blog and read your content.

Sooner or later, their loyalty is already tied to your blog.

You might be contacted whenever your visitors have a dental problem which one of the products you recommend can cure.

From there, conversations can occur and you’ll possibly close sales.

You can take advantage of this content marketing strategy by creating some kind of emotional appeal in your content and attract the attention of the audiences.

If direct advertising is effective, street hawkers should be the ones making the biggest sales of all times because of their direct contacts with the customers.

Meanwhile, the little sales they make only come from the people who are already loyal to the product.

Contrarily, content marketing creates a very strong relationship between you and the audiences and make them loyal to you.

There is a guarantee that most people who have been following your blog as a content marketer will buy whatever product you recommend to them, because they have confidence in you.

Internet users buy products only when they trust the marketer.

And parts of your efforts to gain their trust, however, include creating and sharing relevant information about:

  1. Your brand or yourself – your testimonials about how the product has helped you;
  2. The features of the product and its pros an cons;
  3. The credibility of the product manufacturer; and
  4. How the product can help the audience.

Based on this illustration, you’re already doing content marketing when your content, be it text, image or video, treats the problems which your products can solve.

Who needs content marketing

Now, coming to know who needs content marketing, that makes you one already.

You don’t have to be net-savvy before developing a content marketing strategy for your business.

Anybody doing business, whether online or offline needs content marketing. As long as promoting your brand identity – making your audience know your value, content marketing is for you.

Venturing into content marketing will certainly make you have a greater advantage over your close competitors, most especially those that are yet to apply the strategy to their businesses.

Types of content marketing

There are so many types of content marketing and here is a few of the common ones:

  • Blogging
  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Email
  • E-books
  • White papers
  • Lead magnets
  • Physical interviews
  • Slide share presentations
  • Webinars
  • Apps (free and not premium)
  • Gifs and motion pictures
  • Slide decks
  • Social media posts

For the sake of beginners, let’s briefly discuss 5 common types of content marketing that you can use to gain a quite large number of audiences for your business online.

#1. Blogging

Blogging is one of the most common forms of content marketing.

Blogging is the primary tools that a content marketer can use to bring more audiences to his business website.

A blog works well with search engine optimization (SEO).

In order to drive organic traffic to your website, the SEO of your blog needs to be improved.

SEO can equally help your blog to rank high on the search engine results page (SERP).

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According to Forbes, websites that make use of blogs had 434% more indexed pages than their close competitors that DON’T.

Also, websites that include blogs do have 97% more inbound links, which is a very important criterion for effective content marketing.

#2. Videos

If you want your content marketing strategy to withstand the competition in the busy digital marketing landscape, then it’s essential that you start video marketing.

Video content can be used to capture the attention of your target audience and engage them within a very short time.

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With the invention of video sharing platforms, internet users are now viewing more video content than they did 10 years ago .

According to statistics by Cisco, one third of time spent online is for viewing video content.

This fact alone is enough to consider the use of video as a reliable form of conveying relevant information about your business to your audiences, regardless of the niche you choose.

Bright Cove also found out that brands that use videos in their content marketing strategy have the potential to see up to 157% increase in their organic traffic from search engines.

Social videos in their capacity can produce 1200% increase in shares for a business when compared to other forms of content marketing.

No wonder, customers often look for videos on product reviews and that has been proven by ThinkWithGoogle to influence their purchasing decision.

With all the statistics, you can see that video content holds a very important position in developing a content marketing strategy, and the extent which your videos can influence your audience decision.

#3. Infographics

An infographic is a collection of images, charts and minimal text that creates an easy-to-understand overview of a topic.

In summary, infographics are a visual representation of data.

The application of infographics is very invaluable to a content marketer in one, few, or all of the following ways:

  • Display of a brief overview of a concept
  • Easy explanation of a complex process
  • Display of research discoveries and survey data
  • To summarize a blog post
  • Create awareness of an issue, challenge or a brand
  • To compare and contrast numerous alternatives

Infographic content marketing format assists your audiences to have a better understanding of how a particular concept works.

#4. E-books

Just as the name implies, an E-book is a written document in the form of text and images compiled into a single document, then stored in an electronic format.

It is however vital to note that an e-book will consume more time than it will take to write a blog post.

Nevertheless, it has been observed that most people do prefer reading e-books to other media content; perhaps due to its portability and user-friendliness.

#5. Social media posts

It is no more news to see businesses having online presence on social media. Placing your content on social media can give your brand a lot of visibility.

If you know how to use social media, you can have your audiences closer to you and maintain a good relationship with them.

Most of the popular social media platforms have great marketing features or tools which you can use to implement your content marketing strategy.

With Facebook Audience Insights, you can predict your audience’s interests. And once you have this information, targeting your audience will be more effective.

Content marketers don’t only use the likes of LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to reach their audience, but to maintain a good relationship with them.

So, if you can adopt a content marketing strategy in your social media posts, your pages will potentially serve as your sales reps.

From your Facebook page or Twitter handle, you can get massive leads and boost your sales.

As a content creator, you can always make use of your social media posts to engage your target audiences in a conversation, and that might ignite their interest in your brand; who knows?

You can use any of the content marketing forms I discussed above for providing relevant information in support of your business goals.

This doesn’t mean when you create a content marketing strategy, the result will come entirely in a physical form.

Most people want to see their sales doubling up after developing a content marketing strategy.

Of course, that is the goal of every business and the aim of this guide.

But before you can change anything in your sales, your content marketing strategy must first give you these:

  • Traffic to your sales pages 
  • Increase your brand awareness
  • Create a good relationship with your audience
  • Boost your social signal

If you’re able to secure these primary goals, with your content marketing strategy, then you can sit down, relax and watch your ROI increase.

Even, if your sales don’t become 10x immediately after developing a content marketing strategy, your business can no longer remain the same.

Content marketing works progressively. To see the kind of result you desire, you need to be persistent and consistent with any type of content marketing you choose.

That is why consistency is an integral part of content marketing.

Requirements for developing a content marketing strategy

Before your content marketing strategy can improve your business, there are things you must do.

That makes the following requirements useful for developing a content marketing strategy:

  1. Get a website
  2. Have a niche
  3. Learn SEO
  4. Do keyword research
  5. Don’t steal from other authors
  6. Find like-minded people to write for you
  7. Join relevant groups and forums to share ideas

#1. Get a website

You need a website to develop a content marketing strategy for your internet business. Assuming you’re just a freelance writer or marketer, having a website will make you get the scoop of content marketing.

You can use your website to showcase your previous works, portfolios and what your customers are saying about you.

Meanwhile, the practice is exactly content marketing strategy.

A website can serve any kind of business, be it sales of virtual or physical products. It supports all forms of content marketing – blogging, social media posting, newsletters and so on.

You can create your website yourself if you have the time and the technical know-how. Otherwise you can visit our digital marketing academy to learn the skill or search Google for relevant guides.

On the other way round, you can hire us to create a website for you. In fact, I would personally recommend this option for you if you’re a beginner in the content marketing field.

And this could be the best option for people or small companies that are somehow always busy and have no time to create a website themselves.

#2. Have a niche

Another requirement for developing a content marketing strategy is having a niche. You must have a niche to establish your prowess in your content marketing career.

Assuming you’re a business writer, you have to know if your content marketing should focus on management, finance or marketing.

You won’t find it easy being the one creating business, entertainment, education, political, and health and wellness content.

You can’t be writing for all the industries and get noticed easily.

If you can carve a niche for yourself in any of the industries you find interesting, you’ll grow very fast and become a sought after content marketer.

Your consistency at that end has a very strong impact on your success and it’s all you need to work with big brands.

#3. Learn SEO

As a content marketer, you definitely know that not all the internet users that visit your website will be interested in trying out your product and services at first.

As a result of this, you need SEO knowledge to increase the number of internet users that are visiting your website, so as to increase the chances of getting more new customers.

SEO can make search engine users easily find your web page among the search results.

For instance, if 3 software engineers (Engineer A, Engineer B, and Engineer C) decide to venture into content marketing and create a website, one of them will still have a greater advantage over the other two engineers.

Now, if another Man, Mr. K suddenly discovered that some items on his laptop can’t be deleted, and many vital files can’t be found, he might assume that as a virus attack and type his ordeal in the search box of any browser (let’s say Google).

Google will bring out hundreds (and probably thousands) of webpages that have related content to what Mr. K searched for.

As expected, Engineer A’s, B’s and C’s blog will also be among the search results.

Now, let’s say that:

  • Engineer A’s blog is the first website in the first page of the search results. 
  • Engineer B’s blog is the last website in the second page of the search results.
  • Engineer C’s website appeared somewhere in the third page of the search results.

Looking at this scenario, one could easily predict what Mr. K would do.

Since Engineer A’s site appeared in the first page of the search results, that means Mr. K would see (and click on) Engineer A’s website before seeing Engineer B’s and Engineer C’s site.

If Engineer A’s website happened to find solutions to Mr. K’s problem, then Mr. K would not only have no cause to try out Engineer B’s and C’s blog again but also start to like and frequently visit Engineer A’s blog in the future.

Down the line, Mr. K would become Engineer A’s loyal customer.

As you can see from this simple illustration, Engineer A had gained an extra customer because his website was on the first page of the search results.

Let’s not forget that the other two engineers were close competitors of engineer A, they both offered the same services and they were both content marketers.

The advantage which Engineer A had over the other two, was due to his SEO efforts.

Although, managing to appear on Google doesn’t guarantee clicks. Even for the mere fact that the searcher clicks your post and lands on your website also doesn’t guarantee that the searcher will read your post. 

So, to avoid a high bounce rate, your content marketing effort must go beyond appearing on search engines.

That is, it’s one thing for your site to appear on Google, another is to make searchers click and read your post when they find it on SERP.

That is why your content marketing strategy must be highly effective. It will make your post have three potentials all together to boost your sales conversions.

  1. Search engine appearance
  2. High click through rates (CTR)
  3. A low bounce rate

If you don’t know what SEO means, how it works and why it’s very important creating a content marketing strategy, then your ignorance ends here. 

SEO is an abbreviation for “Search Engine Optimization”.

#4. Do keyword research

Keyword research is a very important thing to do as a content creator. Before you can write good content, it’s required to conduct keyword research.

A good keyword research will help you have an in-depth knowledge of what people search for on search engines so you can write within the context of a keyword.

This practice can also make your content meet the search intent of searchers and rank your content on search engines.

You can equally use keyword research to find relevant long tail keywords for your content so it can convert your potential customers.

There are primary keywords and secondary keywords, both of which are to be implemented when you’re developing content marketing for your business.

Primary keyword

On the one hand, the primary keyword is the central keyword, theme or subject matter of a discussion.

Apart from the fact that your discussion must be all about your primary keyword, it’s an SEO good practice to let your primary keyword reflect in the URL, title, first paragraph, heading, image alt and concluding part of your content.

Those are the major areas which search bots look into on a page when someone searches for anything on a search engine to determine the relevance of the content to the search query.

Assuming you are to write a guide on “how to start content marketing”, the word “content marketing” which is the primary keyword in that search query, has to appear in all the strategic areas of your webpage as I mentioned above.

So, for the search engine to fetch your content among the others on the SERP, you have to determine your primary keyword in your discussion and place it where necessary.

Before you can write a web content, don’t just assume what is on your mind is a profitable keyword. That is the essence of keyword research. You can use it to cross-examine your proposed keywords.

To make sure you’re on track, you need to find the most appropriate primary keywords for your content using a keyword tool.

You will find examples of keyword research tools below.

Secondary keyword

On the other hand, secondary keywords are words and phrases that are not the exact match, but which are closely related to the primary keyword.

Based on the example I cited above, if your primary keyword is “how to do content marketing”, then your secondary keywords can be “developing a content marketing strategy” or “best content marketing strategy”. 

To assist you in finding appropriate primary and secondary keywords for your content, you can always use SEO tools such as LSIGraphics, Ubersuggest, keyword planner, Keyword tool and so on.

At this juncture, I’m sure you now know how to do keyword research and how its usage can positively impact your content marketing strategy.

#5. Don’t steal from other authors

Stealing from other authors has different forms and many implications.

Content marketers do a lot of research to develop great content. Hence, no content marketers can escape from passing through other authors.

If at the end of your content, there are no references, it means you haven’t consulted any book, journal, webpage for developing your content, which isn’t possible.

By implication, you must have committed plagiarism.

Even if the whole passage is yours, it’s highly unprofessional to create content without linking your findings to any authority.

Either ways, such content lacks credibility and it doesn’t speak well of you at all.

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Your failure to cite your sources in whatever content you create doesn’t only make you an intellectual thief, but also limits your audience to your piece which isn’t a good practice.

A good content marketer must cite every author whose work influences his own opinion to enable the readers to conduct further research on their own.

That can be used to validate your findings and make your audience regard your content as a fact.

With that, you can get to the top of the content marketing pyramid where your thought leadership can be appreciated.

#6. Find like minded people to write for you

It can be exhausting to write all your content by yourself most especially when your audience has dramatically increased.

No wonder a digital marketing agency needs contributors to produce relevant content for its audience.

Did you know that more than 3.5 billion searches are made on Google per day?

And there are a lot of opportunities in every single search someone makes on search engines, which you can leverage by offering content that is relevant to top search queries.

The task might be too much for you to be trendy, so you need like minded people to contribute to your content marketing strategy.

When the need for contributors arises, call for help and ensure you specify your requirements.

In our own case at Pilumdigital, we created a page on our website for seeking guest writers or contributors towards achieving our content marketing goals.

Don’t just hope all the applicants are fit for the job. Some are desperate for backlinks or whatever royalty that is attached to writing for you and they don’t care about the quality of their content.

So, ensure you screen all the applicants before hiring them and also check for errors in all guest posts someone submitted to you to avoid wasting your time and resources.

#7. Join relevant groups and forums to find opportunities

Joining one group or the other may not necessarily be a requirement for developing a content marketing strategy but a custom.

Many content marketers take advantage of social media such as Facebook and Quora to interact. And from there, they find solutions, services or products they need.

Content marketing works best when SEOs and content creators collaborate to sustain a business online.

You can join relevant groups on Facebook to find the best support you need.

Click here to join our Facebook group. Our group is a one stop place to learn digital marketing, blogging, SEO, social media marketing and so on.

Sometimes I seek contributors in other groups that I belong to and the experience is excellent.

Because of the existing relationship between you and someone you hire from a group, there is a tendency of getting a fair deal from him.

You can equally learn a lot of new skills from others and possibly get job opportunities in any group you join.

How to create a content marketing strategy

If you want to know how to create a content marketing strategy, or develop content that won’t only make people know your brand exists, but also compel them to become your potential customers, here are the tips.

We will be looking at how to do content marketing that can make your target audience discover your brand, see you as the best they need, buy from you and also recommend you to their friends.

Meanwhile, below are 4 proven steps for developing a content marketing strategy to boost your brand awareness, drive more customers, increase your sales and guarantee your customer loyalty and growth.

  • Set a goal
  • Choose your content arsenal.
  • Adopt content mapping
  • Calculate your outcome results

#1. Set a goal

The first step that is involved in creating a content marketing strategy is setting up your goal.

Your goal determines the type of content you share, audience you target, and decisions you make throughout your content marketing career.

So, you must set your goal right.

If your goal is to create awareness about a problem, issue or lifestyle which your brand is set up to solve by providing some kind of products or services, then you have to focus and work towards making your content resonate the objective with the audience.

Your goal might be to make people visit your website and convert them to email subscribers.

With the use of emails you can build an endless relationship with your target audience that obviously has interest in your content and (who knows) your brand.

The bone of contention here is that you MUST set up a goal for developing a content marketing strategy, and let your content revolve around the goal.

#2. Choose your content arsenal

As far as digital marketing is concerned, there are different ways to present your content to readers and gain their attention.

You can establish yourself as a content marketer through blogging, podcasting, webinars, newsletters, or creating a social media group or forum and offer your content there.

If you don’t know which of the methods to choose for starting your content marketing career, check the content marketing pyramid below.

According to the content marketing pyramid, the least of the methods to start content marketing is social media posting.

From that level, you can graduate to short-form of blog posts and guest blogging, infographics and slideshares, long-form blog posts and presentations, and primary or secondary research and thought leadership such as books, ebooks and white paper publishing.

This can help you organize your strategy, improve your productivity and create a successive quality content.

You can see that at each level of the pyramid, every content marketer needs more efforts to ascend.

As you rise from the bottom (novice level) to the top (professional level), your effort increases.

This makes it unproductive to start content marketing today and the next you want to do is to publish a book.

At a beginner’s level, I wonder the kind of book you’re going to publish to exhibit your thought leadership.

The wisest thing a new content marketer would do is to implement the content marketing pyramid in his strategy, focus on his goal while he graduates to the top of the pyramid.

As your audience increases, the need to move to the next level will arise.

Assuming you use social media to engage your audiences at the moment, you can create a poll to find out from them if launching your blog will serve them better.

If the answer is yes, then that is the time to step up.

#3. Adopt content mapping

Creating an effective content marketing strategy includes content mapping.

If you haven’t heard about content mapping before, it’s important you know about it now. This is key to developing your content marketing strategy and I want you to know it.

Content mapping is the ability to know your audiences, identify the stages of their journey into potential customers and create content that can make them graduate from one stage to another.

Offering buyer’s journey-based content is to ensure no potential customers back out of the journey halfway.

Although, a few customers would go from discovering your brand for the first time to buying immediately.

Meanwhile, most people take their time after discovering your brand, wait for you to convince them enough, probably for months, before they can buy from you.

So, the customer journey in this scenario, however, includes the events of actions that transpire between the discovery stage and buying stage.

And that calls for the need to create content that suits each stage of the journey.

Such as:

  • Awareness stage
  • Consideration stage
  • Decision stage

Don’t forget, I said earlier that each stage requires different content to achieve your content marketing goal.

a. Awareness stage in customer journey

The awareness stage is all about making your content visible to people so it can inform them about your business.

But because you’re not the only one in your industry, you’re not likely going to be found if your competitors outrank you with better content. 

So, you must do all you can to make your content reach as many people as possible. 

Content marketing doesn’t only tell people that your brand exists. It also serves the audience as a guide for choosing you over your competitors.

Let’s say you have a post on “how to start a blog” and you cover all the nitty-gritty of blogging, the audience will prefer you to others whose content is scanty.

In order to realize this result, you can complement your content marketing with SEO and social media.

Both are catalysts for boosting brand awareness on the internet. 

Your awareness stage content, however, should include whatever information you think will make people love you and want to consider you.

You don’t want your audience to find out your content has no page views, shares, likes, comments and other engagement metrics.

That could send a negative signal to your audience about your brand identity.

In view of this, you need to always review your content – find and optimize your less performing content and make sure you promote your core values through the content.

You don’t necessarily need to find buyers at this stage. All you have to do is to strengthen your brand image.

Once that is done, you’ll get more considerations from people coming in contact with your brand.

b. Consideration stage in customer journey

Once the audience is aware of your brand and the kind of service, product or support they can get from you, the next thing is to capture them.

So, the question is how can you make the customers consider you when there are other brands pitching the same product to them?

Since so many brands exist at a time, the customers have preference for one brand over the other.

Take for instance, when you think of a computer, Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Asus, HP and so many other brands come to your mind.

But for one reason or the other, you might prefer to go for HP.

Your preference for HP isn’t for other reasons than your conviction to get all the features you need in an HP computer.

As a content marketer, you can’t just assume that every audience that lands on your website, having the impression you offer a certain service, will buy the service.

The customers are like babies who are yet to walk.

When they reach the stage of going from one place to another, you need to make them know they can walk.

And when they try to walk, they need you to support them by holding their hands, so they don’t fall.

As a matter of fact, effective content marketing should make the customers aware your business exists and lead them into taking the action you want them to take.

Considering why your brand is the best option, you can see that a different content entirely will be necessary for convincing the customers.

So, what kind of content are we talking about?

This includes:

  1. Newsletters
  2. Free ebooks
  3. Landing page
  4. Forms

This form of content marketing can be used to determine the people that have the potential to become your customers.

The reason is that after someone has taken a further step to sign up for a newsletter, leave a comment, download your ebook or fill a form on your site, he is no longer an ordinary audience.

Because your prospects at this phase of customer journey have already shown interest in you, targeting and re-targeting them can make them consider you.

In the cause of sending out your newsletters, offering free eBooks, replying comments and answering questions, you’re building a stronger relationship which can bring about trust with your audience.

Once your audiences begin to trust you, converting them to your potential customers is very possible.

SEO can also be used to create content that resonates with your target audience.

Here, I don’t mean the general SEO strategies but the use of long-tail keywords

If you need a luxury car, and in your search you come across a GMG truck, your instinct will tell you to drop the option.

That calls for the need to capture the search intent of an audience and the only way to do that is to use long-tail keywords in your content.

The reason is that most people who are ready to buy something and search online for guides are more specific with their search queries.

When customers search the internet for guides on the products or services they need, the page that has the best information about the products will likely win their hearts.

Assuming you sell Nike shoes and you want people to buy from you, you must write a detailed guide about the products and use relevant keywords to target the people whose search intent is to find the best Nike clothes to buy.

Because you want to target the potential buyers, your keyword can be “Nike shoes to buy”.

Because the keyword is long-tail, any customer that searches for “Nike shoes to buy” on Google will definitely find your content useful.

If we search Google using “Nike shoes to buy”, let’s see which seller we’re going to consider among all whose pages appear on the search results.

Out of the first three results, the first seller has more information on various Nike shoes, which gives us the options to select based on preference.

This is not enough to say the other sellers don’t have the same list of information on their content, though.

But from the look of things, we’re going to consider the first seller because he ranks ahead of his counterparts.

From an SEO point of view, if a page ranks in the #1 position, it means it has the best content to answer the search query.

This phase in the buyer’s journey can be leveraged to magnet your potential customers from all possible digital marketing channels on which your brand is present.

c. Decision stage in customer journey

This is the stage every marketer likes, because it’s where buying takes place.

After the awareness and consideration stage, your customers must have built their trust and confidence in you.

Even at that, some may still change their mind if you don’t commit your effort in converting them.

So, only with a little push, such as free trials, discounts, freebies and money back guarantee, you can get multiple orders from the customers.

Any audience that doesn’t end up buying from you at this stage must be an infidel. You don’t have to feel bad because that is normal.

Re-targeting them will address their concerns and sooner or later they will convert.

Decision stage in the buyer’s journey is termed as conversion optimization.

And there are simple ways to optimize your conversion rates and increase your order frequency.

First of all, you have to create different content entirely for conversion purposes.

At this stage, you don’t need to target every single audience.

Instead, your attention should be placed on those who are interested in you and these are your potential customers.

Effective use of long-tail focused keywords will be much needed to optimize your conversion.

That is to say, long-tail keywords work specifically for converting ready-to-buy customers.

The next thing which customers at this level want to do is to place an order and you have to hold their hands through the path by placing Call To Action (CTA) buttons on your content.

An example is the one in the image below by Kissmetrics:

As your wish is to convert as many customers as possible, you have to let that be known through your CTA element.

For example, if you want the customers to buy from you, your CTA can say “BUY NOW!”

With that practice, the customers can easily do as you wish.

You can integrate CTAs that are compelling in your blog posts, landing pages and sales copies.

#4. Calculate your outcome results

Just like any other strategy, your content marketing strategy has a session, after which it expires and it’s either renewed or abandoned in lieu for a new one.

Assuming your goal of developing a content marketing strategy is to be achieved in 3 months, you have to assess the strategy and check if the expected outcome has been achieved.

If you can’t achieve the goal within the time frame, then you have to check for the following:

  • Why the strategy couldn’t work out (if it failed)?
  • Can you still apply the strategy for the second time?
  •  How much extra time would you need to achieve the goal with the strategy? 

You should note the area where the goal was achieved, including improvements that are necessary.

How to write content that sells

If you don’t forget, the essence of creating a content marketing strategy is to convert your audience into a potential customer.

But before your content can sell any business, there are things you must do to improve the quality of your content.

You must take the following steps to create content that drives sales:

  • Create honest and accurate information
  • Use visual items to present your ideas
  • Present your content in different forms
  • Tell good stories
  • Cover current issues
  • Don’t expect too much for a start

Now let’s look into these steps one after the other.

#1. Create honest and accurate information

The most important content marketing best practice that you need to imbibe is the provision of honest and accurate information to your readers.

Recollect that I stated earlier, if you really want to boost your sales through content marketing, then you need to give your audience a reason to come back to your site. 

If you fail or compromise giving true and quality information to your audiences, they would discover the truth elsewhere.

And that will negatively impact your content marketing strategy.

Consequently, you’ll lose a large number of audience, including your favorite visitors.

If your website falls under the medical niche, or your blog teaches people “how to make payments”, then you seriously have to put this advice to use.

Like the medical niche for instance, you have to provide an hundred percent accurate information because a lot of lives depend on it.

The information on your website might later be corrected, but the dangerous and harmful actions resulting from misleading your audiences earlier can’t be reversed.

In short, the provision of honest and accurate content to your audience has a long way to go in establishing a strong relationship with them.

So, while conducting research on your next project, ensure you consult reliable sources and properly cite them so the audiences can trace the information to the original author for further studies.

This practice can make your audiences trust you, make good use of your services and even refer their friends to you.

#2. Use visual items to present your ideas

The human eye is easily attracted to graphic information than text, mostly when they’re very colorful.

Overtime, it has been observed that the use of visual items can hasten learning up to 400%, and has made information processing 60,000 times faster than text.

However, humans tend to retain visual content in their memory, often more than they do with text.

By implication, your audiences might not like to read a long page of text because it’s boring.

Too much of text makes readers lose focus easily.

But where the audience sights the presence of an image, GIF or video in your content, the boredom vanishes immediately.

To add graphic information to content is not difficult at all. Most people only ignore the need for it.

You can add an image or video to your content through the featured image section of your blog or by embedding same within a relevant paragraph in your content.

Sometime, you just only need an image link or check your computer or phone to add a visual item to your content.

Just make sure the image is relevant and you have authority to use it by mentioning its original owner or downloading it from stock image websites.

This is one of the major factors that makes content marketing such as blogging or social media posting different from an ordinary article.

So, using visual content can make your audiences have an innermost understanding of the information you’re passing to them.

Since you’ve been able to capture their attention with the visual item and tie their interest to the topic, they will continue to read your content, not only to the end, but again and again.

If you can recollect, I said earlier that imbibing good SEO practices is a part of the requirements for developing a content marketing strategy.

For that reason, the application of visual items in your content is an SEO effort to make your website gain more organic visibility.

YOU MIGHT LIKE: 8 Surefire ways to improve your ranking position

For instance, if you have a blog that teaches “how to sew a blouse”, and a search engine user searches for images of that particular outfit, the search engine will fetch numerous images from different websites that have images related to the search term.

And when the searcher clicks an image from the search result, he will be referred to the content or web page from which the image is used.

If the image is from your website, it means that the searcher will land on your website.

After landing on your website, the user might decide to navigate through your website and further read more of your content.

So, with an effective use of graphic information in your content marketing strategy, many first-time visitors to your site might decide to return over and over again and subsequently become a potential customer.

#3. Present your content in different forms

It is an obvious fact that not all forms of content can be accessed by everyone.

So, if you use a single format in your content marketing strategy, those who aren’t accustomed to that format, won’t become your audience.

Content marketing includes blogging, vlogging, podcasting, email marketing, social media posting and so on.

Assuming the only content marketing format you use is blogging, users with sight issues will never be your audiences.

That is not smart, right?

Instead, you should do everything possible to make more audiences.

If you offer podcasts, you can as well own the category of audience that make voice search to find answers on Google and boost your audience base.

You can even include vlogging into your content marketing strategy so you can lead more audiences from YouTube or IGTV to your website.

If you notice that the traffic to your website is low, this practice will help you increase your traffic without SEO.

This doesn’t mean you’re going to run different blog niches with different content marketing formats.

It’s just a way of telling your audience that they can consume your information using any of the formats that is available on your website.

To ensure you’re on track, you can find out about your competitors and learn from their formats and methods of presentation.

#4. Tell good stories

If your content happens to be one that has over 2,500 words, then you should make good use of illustrative stories to make the content exciting.

The use of storytelling to analyse an issue is like taking water when you eat solid food.

As the water makes the food go down your throat smoothly, so storytelling in content marketing eases the audience’s assimilation.

Storytelling can also be used to emotionalise your brand.

You can imagine how your audiences will feel when you tell “stories that touch the heart” and then offer a service that can prevent them from a similar situation, you’ll get more attention than a mere content that only talks about a service.

Look at the image above and visualise the character thereof.

You can see a lady who is sitting down on a sofa, pressing her laptop with one hand and the other holding a mobile phone.

That can tell the story of someone tapping information on her phone to fill a form on her system or someone reading a guide from her phone and applying the training via her laptop.

If your content falls under the business niche and you are creating content on how to start a business or how to go about a particular concept, you can make use of an illustrative image or story to describe the steps or processes involved.

This will force your audiences to put themselves in the shoes of the concerned character and act as the story directs.

At a glance, the image or story you add to your content will make the audience easily grab the information you’re passing to them.

Regardless of the category of audience you’re targeting, illustrative stories, however, help to create a little bit interesting-to-read content, which captivates the attention of the audience.

So, while you’re telling a story in your content, try as much as possible not to make your story too long in order not to divert the reader’s attention from the main topic.

#5. Cover current issues

You need to be very current and trendy to discuss “frequently being searched for” topics in your content. 

For instance, if you want to teach your audience “how to make homemade products”, and you discover that the number of people searching for “how to make hand sanitizers” is recently increasing, then you should consider focusing on that topic in your content.

Due to Covid-19, the topic is trending and many people would be eager to read the post or even contact you for further discussions.

By doing this, you will have an edge over your competitors.

#6. Don’t expect too much for a start

This part talks much about patience and perseverance in your content marketing career or application.

As a content developer, you need much patience and you shouldn’t expect much success from your first presentation.

What matters at first is to provide valuable information and build your reputation in your niche before you can get the trust of your target audience.

After several practices, you’ll become a sought after content creator.

This means that you have to develop a mindset that focuses more on your credibility and never be discouraged by having too many tasks to complete before you can achieve your goals.

If you can’t see the results of your efforts at once, don’t be hasty to quit.

After developing a content marketing strategy, you need a lot of patience to see the effects on your business.

Conclusion

I’m sure you now have all the knowledge you needed to know how to create a content marketing strategy.

That was a smart move.

You have equally learnt all that could be required of you to develop a content marketing strategy and be successful.

Content marketing has really helped so many big and small businesses, including Coke, Microsoft, Hootsuite, LinkedIn, Glossier, Shutterstock, Buffer and many more.

It can help you too.

With content marketing skill, you can work for other companies and always be ahead of your colleagues in any industry.

But you have to know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and no one sleeps a common man and wakes up a bourgeoisie.

So, kindly throw aside any false hope of becoming a millionaire within a month of becoming a content developer.

Nowhere on earth can that happen.

Each firm or digital marketing institute has its own content marketing strategy, business history (and probably some secrets).

So, if you stick to this guide, which is the only one thing you need to embark on this career path, you’ll surely succeed.

For any of your questions on how to do content marketing that hasn’t been answered, kindly look through the frequently asked questions (FAQ) below.

Frequently Asked Question

How do I get started in content marketing?

To get started in content marketing, you have to first know what content marketing means, how it works and its requirements. After that, you need to get a website and begin adding content (be it blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, E-books and (or) any other content) related to the brand you want to promote on different digital marketing channels. By doing all this, you have not only gotten started in content marketing, but also gotten familiarized  with its modus operandi.

Does content marketing really work?

Yes, content marketing works perfectly well. In fact, the relevance and significance of content marketing in digital marketing doesn’t need to be overemphasized; it’s obvious. After Coke ventured into content marketing, their sales went up the graph. Shortly after Microsoft began story series, their brand got promoted. In fact, Poor Richard’s Almanack by Benjamin Franklin said it all. Content marketing promotes and advertises your brand and business, although in a different way.

How long does it take for content marketing to work?

Being a content developer requires great patience and perseverance. Based on the definition of content marketing, the concept is a long term series of strategic processes. It’s fastness depends on your own overall input and dedication.

What is a good content marketing strategy?

A content marketing strategy is a series of already-planned steps that aims at taking all required routes that will lead to the success of the goal behind that strategy. However, a good content strategy, however, involves a goal, a predicted outcome, expected result and a plan B (in case the strategy fails).

What are content marketing examples?

When it comes to perfect and well planned examples of content marketing that result in a success, you can think of Coke – Share a coke campaign, Glossier –  Brand promotion through social media, Buffer –  Website promotion through blogging, Shutterstock-  Promotion through infographics, Hootsuite- Brand promotion through video story telling of the Game of Thrones and so on.

2 thoughts on “How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy Step by Step in 2021”

  1. Such a detailed post on content marketing strategy. These strategies seems to be quite practical. Thanks for sharing and I totally love the idea of incorporating IGTV. Definitely going for it!

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