The ‘What’ and The ‘Why’
There is no such thing as an overnight content marketing success. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either overpromising or a one in a million exception.
Achieving content marketing success is like running a marathon, not a sprint. You need to prepare a long-term strategy that is sustainable, strategic, and results-oriented. According to the Content Marketing Institute, “62% of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy vs. 16% of the least successful.” Content marketing success doesn’t happen by chance or magic. It takes a carefully thought out roadmap on how you’re planning to go from Point A to Point B.
The following strategy is what we use at LeadsPanda as it gives a clear step-by-step roadmap to content marketing success. It recognizes not only the action steps needed but also the problems and challenges marketers face in each stage.
This strategy is composed of 4 stages with each stage having different sets of identifiers, content marketing status, and action steps.
You may or may not be in this stage, but most small business owners and content marketers who are not using any content marketing strategy previously would most likely be in this stage.
NO TIME & NO RESULTS. Content marketers are frustrated and overwhelmed at this stage. They know the importance of creating high-quality content in their overall marketing strategy, but they are not sure where to find the time to create content.
CONTENT MARKETING STATUS
Content marketers who are experiencing drought are getting between 0 - 1,000 visitors to their blog per month.
They are getting almost zero leads from their content marketing efforts.
They have no content plan in place.
Content creation and publishing is inconsistent; they are most likely posting between 1-2 blog posts per month, far below the ideal.
There is nothing to be ashamed of if you believe you are in the Drought Stage of content marketing. The important thing is you recognize that you need to start from scratch and know that you are not stuck in this stage.
Here are the steps that you need to take in order to surpass this stage:
Complete your keyword and competitor research.
If you’re in the drought stage, there’s a good chance that you have not fulfilled the foundational steps necessary to come up with content that delivers positive business results. This includes surveying the landscape and having an SEO strategy in place.
Create a content calendar.
After looking at what your competitors are doing in terms of content marketing and compiling a list of high-volume, and long-tail keywords you need to target, it’s time to come up with content ideas and organize them into a content calendar.
Implementation of the content calendar.
Lastly, you need to follow the content calendar you created, posting regularly on your blog and on social media.
In short, your goal at this stage is to come up with a solid content marketing strategy and a content calendar to prompt you to publish content on a regular basis.
Having a content marketing strategy and a content calendar are pretty basic elements of content marketing. If you have both but not seeing the results you want, you might be in the Trickle Stage of the content marketing success roadmapTM.
NO TIME, SOME RESULTS. You have an SEO strategy and content calendar in place, but you still feel that you don’t have enough time to create the content that you need. You’re seeing some results, which is enough to get you excited.
CONTENT MARKETING STATUS
You’re getting some results, but they come in trickles and not consistent.
The number of average monthly visitors you’re getting to your blog or website is between 1,000 to 10,000.
You’re publishing consistently according to your content calendar.
However, you don’t have lead magnets in place and don’t have a content nurture sequence for new leads.
To move past the Trickle Stage and move up to the next stage of the content marketing success roadmapTM, you need to do the following:
Create lead magnets and landing pages.
Offer free content that people can download in exchange for their email addresses. Make sure these offers are on high-converting landing pages.
Create lead nurture autoresponders.
You need to strike while the iron is hot. After subscribing, you need to have an automated email sequence featuring additional content that is sent to your new leads.
Create guest posting and forum marketing program.
You may be getting some traffic at this stage, but you can reach more of your target audience by having a guest posting strategy in place. As for forum marketing, forums are an often overlooked content marketing channel, when in fact, people who participate in forums are some of the most engaged and most active online. You’re establishing credibility and gaining their trust if you provide answers to the questions they post on forums.
You’re seeing more positive results at this stage and regularly getting new leads from your lead magnets. However, you might not be converting these leads into actual paying customers.
SOME TIME, MORE RESULTS. Since you’ve implemented some automation, you’re not as burdened to come up with new content. However, most of your content is educational in nature. You have no branded content and you don’t have a sales sequence in place.
CONTENT MARKETING STATUS
You’re getting significant traffic, anywhere between 10,000 to 100,000 monthly visitors.
You’re getting consistent and predictable results.
You have multiple lead magnets in place that are constantly generating new email subscribers
However, you lack branded content and you have no content-driven sales sequence in place.
The results you’re getting at this stage are already satisfying, but getting leads is not the end goal of content marketing. Below are the steps you need to take to reach the last stage of the content marketing success roadmapTM:
Create branded content.
This includes whitepapers and case studies that can solidify your authority and credibility in your niche.
Create automated sales sequence.
You need a content-driven sales autoresponder to convert leads into actual paying customers
Create Paid Promotions and Establish metrics and systems.
How will you know if your content marketing efforts are successful and how do you ensure your content marketing machine is functioning well? This is where you set KPIs and create systems. Likewise, if you want to accelerate your content marketing, you need to invest in cost-effective paid promotions.
The final stage of the content marketing success roadmapTM and the pinnacle where you want to be.
MORE TIME, MORE RESULTS. You’re producing high-quality content consistently. You are no longer scrambling for time because you have efficient systems in place. You are regarded as an expert in your industry and your content is part of your pride and legacy.
CONTENT MARKETING STATUS
Your website is getting upwards of 100,000 visitors per month.
You have scalable systems and you can expand your operations anytime because of this.
You also have scalable metrics that you can use to measure your performance.
You are already successful as is, but there are a few things that you can do to build on your success:
Build a solid team and agency partnerships.
To keep you at this status, you have to make sure that you have a solid team with you or if you can supplement your content marketing efforts by partnering with a third-party agency.
Partner with industry experts.
If you want to remain the best, you have to partner with the industry influencers and experts.
Regularly contribute to top industry publications.
Contributing content to leading industry publications regularly will help you strengthen your thought-leadership in your niche.
Looking at the bigger picture, this content marketing success roadmapTM may appear straightforward and short with only 4 stages, but it’s not. It can take you anywhere between 12 months and longer, depending on how strategic you will be about it. But the rewards waiting in the end are going to be worth it.