By Sweta Patel
Content marketing — the use of creative content, along with creating a great user experience, and building relationships through storytelling – should be the core of a startup’s marketing strategy. The best way to accomplish this is with video because posts with videos attract three times as many inbound links as plain text posts.
Most of us are familiar with the importance of creative storytelling. shared its journey to success. They use this content strategy to build rapport with their best customers. The lesson is you have to become the media if you really want earned media, i.e. social shares. According to , “Content is the currency for building social relationships that can boost earned media.”
Performing a content audit on your current content will give you the detailed information you need to create or co-create content your consumers are looking for.
The best way to start is by creating a content inventory and evaluating the earned media (social shares) on each piece of content. This will tell you what works and what doesn’t. We use a tool called to export blog posts into an excel file and then we use a tool called to receive the social share data. Since Screaming Frog’s data is quite detailed, you should filter the data to keep what’s meaningful: on the right of excel, click “filter” and sort through the cells.
Now it is time to assess the content using Google Analytics data. We use Google Spreadsheets to export Google Analytics. To track your unique visitors to the site and the time they spend on the page, go to: Add-Ons-Google Analytics-Create a new report.
Once you add this to your current page, then look into the keyword data to assess: keyword, position, search volume, page rank, and inbound links. We use a tool called . The data should tell you which keywords your posts are ranking for and how significant the keyword is to resulting traffic.
Then, based on this assessment, map out your content strategy. Start by creating 12 themes for the year and plan stories to use to involve your audience. Create topics for each week. Then decide on the media to employ: text, video or audio.
Best Practice: Review the last six months of data to find the most popular posts and create a blog post titled “Top 10 Most Popular Posts.” Then create a content calendar based on your results. This will help you determine the topics, stories and posts for your content marketing strategy.
Audience and Goal Building
To increase your audience, build and nurture relationship before you need them. In other words, don’t go right for the ask.
Who is your audience? What is their behavior online? If a category of users is known not to like to read, how do you trigger them to opt-in to a landing page if they don’t read? To create a strategy you will want to know how often they want to be contacted. This will determine how often you publish content. Your main goal should be to drive email sign-ups.
To answer this, we interviewed 60 prospects, asking what types of content they wanted to receive from us, how frequently, what are some of their unmet needs, and what they would find valuable. In return we gave them a $15 Amazon gift card. This research will fuel the storytelling and purpose behind the content we supply.
Another way to capture data is by having specific advocacy alerts. When someone visits your website often, you can send them a special “Thank You” and ask them if they’d like to be involved with the storytelling aspect of the content strategy.
The best way to receive qualified leads is by sending testimonials and endorsements that relate to prospects’ current problem. Prospects see that the problem was solved for someone else and want that solution for themselves. You can also use event spotlights to build rapport. In addition, send prospects a series of unmet need stories to get them engaged and relate to your content and what you have to offer.
This is where you have to educate them and shower them with case studies and more testimonials. These testimonials are long-form and dive into the problem. Then follow-up with a welcome series and success story emails will get them on-board with your content.
You want to focus on consumer sentiment, retain consumers and increase giving value here. The value can be in many different forms such as free customer service for a month, done-with-you program, or a season pass via .
Put your top readers in the spotlight and reward them or even send them swag to show your appreciation. Your updates will demonstrate milestones and impact. Create a FAQ to go over items your audience needs support with. To keep customers coming back, help them build a case study based on a “done-with-you.”
The main goal here is to retain your current consumers and increase the number of views for your video content.
Best Practice: Get creative with your videos. The more personable and transparent you come off to your audience, the more they will engage. Create a series of four videos and promote them using . This will determine what type of content your consumers prefer and at what price.
The is the first of two columns about how to develop a content strategy with consumers becoming so engaged they become the content producers. Watch for the second part.
Sweta Patel is a San Diego-based marketing entrepreneur whose company is Global Marketing Tactics.