If you read our blog on content creation from last week, hopefully you’ve used our ideas and filled your arsenal with some great content. Now that you’ve got useful material, you should develop a strategy for using your content to draw attention to your online presence.

Remember, the fundamental purpose of your content marketing strategy is to initiate a connection with people who need your products or services.

Here are three steps to steer your content marketing in the right direction:

First, find your target audience.

Identify your strengths and the services you offer, then figure out who can benefit from what you have to give them. When you’re trying to pinpoint your target audience, consider the following:

  • Demographics – Figure out the age, sex, marital status, location and other important demographic information about who you’re trying to reach.  Certain sites like Twitter andFacebook offer targeted promotional posts that help you focus your advertisements to only those who fall within certain demographic categories. Smart marketing choices keep you from wasting time or resources advertising to people who would never use your product or services.
  • Day-to-day concerns – If you can identify your target audience’s main concerns, you can use your knowledge to flesh out a profile that helps you direct content creation on your website and social media platforms around their needs. This is how you build a community with your content marketing efforts.
  • How YOU can help – The best way to help your audience is to position yourself as a giver. Answer their questions concisely, help them with problem solving, or provide useful or entertaining information that they can share, and they WILL bookmark your site, share your content and friend you, like you, follow you and retweet you!

Second, figure out where your audience hangs out.

Your best content is useless if it never reaches your target audience. Certain demographics are Facebook Like-a-holics, while others may have 50 Pinterest boards where they collect all their ideas. Some are short, sweet and to the point, so Twitter’s 140 character limit is plenty for them, while others don’t even need words, just the right image filter on Instagram. And OTHERS may not care for social media at all, but perhaps they’re looking for a good blog with relevant information related to their business or lifestyle. After you’ve figured out who your target audience is, it is important to do your due diligence and figure out which medium they will best receive your content through. Then, you can meet them at their hangout spot and take them back to your hangout spot (i.e. your website, online shop, or brick-and-mortar storefront).

Third, set measurable goals and keep an eye on your results.

When you are developing a content strategy, it is important to have goals in mind so you can measure your success. If your goal is just “to increase your online presence,” how can you define when or how you have successfully achieved your goal? Since digital marketing has features that make it simple to track progress with analytics, it is easy to set measurable goals and recognize when those goals have been met. Pick a realistic timeframe and an attainable goal you want to achieve with your content marketing efforts and continually measure and adjust as needed.

Try to gain insight on the effectiveness of your content marketing. Ask your best customers questions, or put an online poll on social media or your website to gain insight from your audience. Check your blogs and social media posts, and pay attention to what content gets engagement and what falls flat. Most importantly, have regular meetings internally to figure out what works and what doesn’t. “Meeting” is such a dirty word. Let’s call it a gathering, hangout sesh or information exchange. Just hold regular discussions with your crew (employees, co-owners, office mates) and review the performance of your content strategy, high-five over successes and share any challenges you’re coming across or ideas for the future. Communication is an easy way to help a team involved in content marketing get a good perspective and improve performance from the inside out.

When it comes to content marketing, make sure you’re doing it right, or your content creation efforts will be in vain.  Follow these steps to help your organization improve content marketing performance. Did we leave anything out? Share your thoughts below!

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