There are a number of elements required for a successful content marketing strategy. But what are the three fundamental elements that are non-negotiable?
If you are reading this you may already know that content marketing is a good strategy for your business. For the record, at BroadVision Marketing we are enthusiastically positive that content marketing can work for just about any business!
Got Content? Let's Do Some Marketing!
But before you jump in and simply start publishing your great content, you need a solid foundation for your marketing strategy.
And that begs the question, "What's needed to "do" content marketing properly anyway?"
In this article we are going to focus on the three pillars that support every good content marketing effort.
In a previous article we explained that any content marketing strategy needs a documented plan to ensure that it will be executed as designed. When it comes to plans and procedures, it has been rightfully said that,
"If it's not written down, it's just a rumor."
But, sometimes, even a documented strategy plan can be deficient if these three pillars have not already been recognized and established as essential elements of your overall strategy. So, with that caveat in mind, let's take a look at the three pillars that must support any content marketing strategy.
Pillar #1: Owned Digital Real Estate
For almost any business it is a given that they should have a website. Even if yours is a brick-and-mortar enterprise, a website is considered a standard component of a business. Without one, you risk being perceived as either out-of-date and out-of-touch, or less than trustworthy.
It may not fair or even accurate, but that is the perception you create without a website.
But, more importantly, your website represents your own space in the digital realm. Unlike social media channels or community blogging platforms, it is a piece of digital "real estate" that you own. You control the design, the content and the structure. It represents your "address" on the Internet and your digital place of business.
A Website and Social Media Platforms
In the contemporary business environment, a website serves as the digital storefront and the core of your online presence. It's the first place prospective customers go to learn about your brand, products, and services. Equally significant are social media platforms that serve as interactive touchpoints where businesses can engage with their audience, build relationships, and promote content.
The Need: A website is the foundation of your online identity. It provides credibility, acts as an information hub, and often serves as the final destination in marketing campaigns. Social media platforms, on the other hand, facilitate ongoing conversations, allow for instant customer interaction, and create a community around your brand.
How to Establish: Developing a professional and user-friendly website is paramount. It should be optimized for mobile, easy to navigate, and should clearly communicate your brand's message. Social media presence requires identifying the platforms where your audience resides, creating engaging content, and maintaining regular interaction.
Pillar #2: Quality Content
Does this strike you as obvious? Well, to be fair, it should be. But the problem for far too many brands is the deficient content that they produce and publish. It's not so much that you need sterling writing and soaring prose. Nor do you want thinly veiled "sales copy" that is passed off as value content.
Content is (still) king, and it reigns supreme in the realm of digital marketing. High-quality content serves as the bridge that connects businesses with their audience. It educates, entertains, and persuades, fostering trust and loyalty while driving traffic to your website and social channels.
The Need: Quality content is what attracts and retains an audience. It can be in the form of blogs, videos, infographics, podcasts, or any format that resonates with your target audience. It should be informative, valuable, and relevant to their needs.
How to Establish: Understanding your audience's pain points, interests, and preferences is crucial. Tailor your content to address these needs. Craft compelling, informative, and visually appealing content that not only showcases your expertise but also adds value to your audience's lives.
Google is, whether you like it or not, probably your second most important "reading" audience when it comes to your content. And what Google thinks is quality content matters. A lot. Admittedly, however, defining what "quality" content is can be like trying to scoop Jell-o® out of a bowl with your hand. It's messy.
Writing quality is part of the equation as is relevance to the search query that found your content via a search engine (e.g. Google). But there are a number of other factors that Google never seems to put in one place and in a succinct fashion.
However, this excerpt from an article by Patrick Stox at Search Engine Journal provides some great guidelines:
Some content quality signals you can control
- Broken links.
- Wrong information.
- Grammatical mistakes.
- Spelling mistakes.
- Reading level.
- Excessive ads.
- Page load speed.
- Matching the user intent with the purpose of a page and type of content.
- Authority and comprehensiveness.
There are things outside of your control in the short term, but you can play the long game and continue to build your authority over time by consistently creating comprehensive content.
The bottom line is: your content matters. And it can help make or break your content marketing efforts.
Pillar #3: Distribution Channels
Having a "home base" that you own, and a process for creating quality content, will still fall short if you can't get that great content off your website and in front of as many eyes as possible. And this is where the third pillar comes in: content distribution.
Content distribution uses a multi-channel approach to make use of a variety of media to promote and distribute content. Distribution will increase the overall reach of your brand's content bring your audience into your online sales funnel.
Generally speaking, your content distribution options fall into three categories:
- Owned Content Distribution: This refers to channels and formats that belong to you. For example, your blog, email newsletters you publish, and your social media platforms, etc.
- Earned Content Distribution: Third-party channels and platforms that distribute your content on their own sites or publications works well. This can include guest posts, social media shares, and even media mentions or reviews.
- Paid Content Distribution: This simply means you pay for your content to be distributed. This can be through content distribution services, or in the form of pay-per-click services such as Google Ads (formerly AdWords).
A good content strategy will make use of paid, owned, and earned media working as a unified approach as opposed to separate tactics.
Content Distribution Channels
Creating great content is only half the battle won. Getting it in front of the right eyes is equally essential. Content distribution channels serve as the pathways that connect your content with your target audience.
The Need: No matter how exceptional your content is, it's futile if it doesn't reach your intended audience. Identifying the right channels ensures that your content is seen, consumed, and acted upon.
How to Establish: Distributing content involves a strategic approach. Utilize various channels such as social media, email marketing, guest posting, partnerships, and search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure your content is visible. Tailor your distribution strategy according to the nature of your content and the preferences of your audience.
A Solid Foundation for Content Marketing Success
Establishing a powerful content marketing strategy for your small business demands a harmonious integration of these three pillars: a solid web presence, the creation of quality content, and effective content distribution channels.
Embrace these components, adapt them to your business's unique needs, and consistently refine and improve your strategy as you learn more about your audience and the evolving digital landscape. By doing so, you'll create a robust framework that drives engagement, nurtures customer relationships, and ultimately boosts your business's success in the digital realm.
Successful Content Marketing is a Team Effort
By now you probably know that executing a successful content marketing strategy can drive traffic to your website and create new prospects for your business. And, with the proper pillars in place, you can build an effective and efficient content marketing process.
But achieving your marketing objectives with a great content marketing strategy will take time. It doesn't happen with a few blog posts or some other great content you might produce.
The overriding fact of content marketing is that people will need to consume your content for a while before they contact you. Yet, without your content compelling them to contact you, your goals may never be met. Without consistent, high-quality pieces being published with optimum frequency, you may fall short of your goals.
The good news is that you don't have to do it all alone. In fact, one of the best investments you can make with your marketing budget is to partner with a solid firm like BroadVision marketing. Click this link to get your free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session so you can make an informed decision, or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238.