A smart content marketing strategy is about more than just writing blog posts. A smart content strategy starts with understanding your audience. Understanding what their needs are and writing content that satisfies those needs.
What is it that they want to learn? Answering this question is step #1.
Let’s take a look at how to plan, execute, and optimize an effective content marketing strategy for the long-term…
1. Identify your audience
First things first. In order for you to make sure you’re getting the most out of the content you’re producing you need to make sure you’re writing the type of content your intended audience is interested in.
If you’re a real estate agent, you need to answer questions like:
- What type of buyer are you trying to attract? First time home buyers or property investors?
- What are they interested in learning about your community?
- What do they need to know about the market in your area?
What you’re doing here is creating a buyer persona. A profile of the person you intend to influence with your writing.
Once you have your buyer persona you can start creating content that’s targeting specifically to answering their questions and fulfilling their needs.
2. Create your cornerstone content
This is also known as your evergreen or your timeless content. It’s the stuff that never changes with time. If you write a real estate blog for example, your evergreen content would be things like:
- Posts about the community (things to do, places to eat, and other unique characteristics about the area)
- Posts about the local schools in the area
- Posts about the buying process (what do we need to know about getting approved for a purchase)
This should be the first pieces of content that you create when you’re getting ready to launch your website. In part because it’s the easiest content to create. But also, because it’ll help establish you as the local market expert.
3. Establish a consistent production schedule
The key to executing a successful content strategy is consistency. You can’t build trust, generate leads, and outrank the competition if you don’t continue to create useful, educational content over time.
That said, once you’ve launched your site, you need to make sure you stay consistent by creating an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar is really just a publishing schedule. A good editorial calendar will not only help you stay accountable, it’ll help you stay organized and on track with your content marketing goals.
4. Promote your content
It’s like that old saying goes … “if a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Same is true for your content. If you write something, but no one shows up to read it, what’s the point?
Writing your content is half of the work. The other half is promoting your content. If you want to expose your content to new readers you need a good content promotion strategy. Here’s a couple of ways to do this well:
This way, when you write something new, you have a captive audience to share your post with. Mortgage lender Scott Schang has done this very well. Once a way, he sends FindMyWayHome.com subscribers an email with all of the latest posts on the blog along with additional mortgage news and financing tips. To date, he’s grown an email list of over 8,000+ subscribers. It’s an asset he’s built over time and it’s a great traffic driver to the site.
Share your posts on social media
Of course the best way to do this is to understand your audience and the type of “engagement” content that they’re interested in. Not everyone is going to read and want to share your market report. But a a post about the local community, the local concert or upcoming events … that’s something worth sharing.
5. Measure (and optimize) your content
Lastly, you need to track what’s working and what’s not. There’s a couple of different ways to do this …
What are your most popular landing pages? What posts/pages are people finding and spending the most time on? What does your bounce rate look like? Are people signing up for your email list?
Once you know the answer to some of these questions you can start to focus your efforts on what’s working and fix what’s not working. For example, if people are entering your neighborhood landing page and bouncing off the page right away, then it’s probably time to re-work that landing page and include some more relevant information.
Look back at your posts archives over the last 30 – 60 days … what type of content were your readers most interested in sharing? Tracking your number of social shares is a good indication for how shareable, engaging, and interesting your content is.
Remember … This is a long-term process
Planning, executing, and optimizing your content strategy isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a long-term, ongoing process.
Keep creating. Make your content useful to your readers … make it fun. Then promote it and optimize it along the way.