content marketing strategy

What is content marketing? Complete guide for beginners

Nowadays we have a plenty of marketing solutions on the market. A lot of marketing strategies were developed. Depends on the trade you are in, one can be helpful and one could be harmful. Some of marketing tools and strategies fit to each business. But which of them are the most effective? Let’s scrutinize how content marketing could boost your sales.

How to monitor competitors

Before you start developing content marketing strategy you have to monitor your competitors. You have heard the expression “keep your enemies close”. This is really true when it comes to leading a firm. Each business owner should know how important it is to know as much as possible about its competitors. In this post I am showing you the solutions to track your opponents wisely.

Analyse their online presence

Read theirs blogs and newsletters to learn about the content they are developing. See what they are writing about the most and write about something similar. There is always a reason why a company is writing about something specific. If you see some subject of content is appearing more often than another. That could means that this is the most effective way to gain more clients for your competitors. First rule of content marketing in my opinion is to know what questions your clients should be asking. And the writing a lot to help them find the answers. Your competitors know that questions for sure. Now its your turn. Scrutinise their websites structure and compare to yours. If you analyse a few of your competitors who are doing really well you will see some sort of similarity. Your competitors are collecting harvest because they have found the right path. If you audit theirs websites in details you will explore your possible highway to success.

Track their most shared content

We live in the area of the information. It was never easier to develop a business than it is today. You can reach clients all over the world never leaving your apartment. Thanks to the Internet, building a brand awareness is simple. Each company is sharing a lot of content just to reach potential customers. Get to know what sort of content your opponents are sharing. You can use BuzzSumo to monitor the most shared content of your “business enemies”. Nowadays content marketing is the most time-consuming but also the most effective way to gain a few more leads. Once you see the content your competitors are sharing start sharing something identical.

Keep an eye on their social media activity

Depends on what your product or service is some profiles could me more important. For example if you are offering B2b services like software development LinkedIn is better option than instagram. If you own a restaurant, instagram+facebook is the best option. But this is only my opinion and I could be wrong. Nevertheless you should have social media profiles. To collect the most profits from your social media profiles you should track your opponents social media moves. There is a lot of smart tools you can use. Depends on what kind of profiles you want to explore you can use: KlearSproutSocialHootSuite.

Find out who is linking to their websites

Backlinks are really important to grow traffic on your website. You should collect new links every week. But the most powerful links are these with are linking from the same content that you have on your website. If more high quality links the website position is better in the search engines. You can monitor with pages are linking to your opponents websites. Once you know that try to collect the same links for you. To monitor backlinks of your competitors you can use Ahrefs tool.

Be a client of your competitor

In my opinion there is no better way to get to know your competitor better than being its client. Try to buy something from your opponent. Observe in details how they serve you. How they deliver you the product you ordered. After you buy something do some notes. Ask yourself what did you like and what was not good. Compare their service to yours. You will learn a lot for sure. You will see in which areas you are doing well and what areas of your clients service have to be improved. Eventually write your competitor a positive review. Do not be afraid to value your “business friends” in public.

Remember to always learn from your enemies. As long as you are not the world leader in your business trade you should track all their activities. But what is the most important always learn from your competitors. And believe me you can learn a lot from them. I know that I use a word “enemy” to describe competitors. But never treat your competitors like an enemy. Treat them rather as a friends struggling to do well in the same area of business than you are in. Make friends from your business opponents. Meet them in person. Talk to them. Exchange your experiences. Build the communities. Remember that the success in not when you are on the top alone. Success is when you help each other to grow the same. Success is a team. “Keep your enemies close.”

What is content marketing?

Content marketing is one of the most time-consuming but also the most powerful strategy for your business growth. Also it could be really destructive if you do not know how to use it properly. You cannot just produce the content. You need a strategy. You have to know what sort of content you should write and why. You have to know which places are right for your publication and which are not. And finally you need to know the rules you should obey to lead your content marketing strategy into the right direction.

What are customer personas and why are they so important?

Client personas

First of all you have to know your clients personas. You cannot prepare your content marketing strategy properly if you do not know who your client is. The best way to define your client personas is to ask yourself some questions. Sample questions: Where my client lives? How old my client is? How much money my client earns? What are my client interests? Is my client a man or a woman? What is my client doing in its free time? Where can I find my client? What problems my client has? If you know your client personas you can go to the next step of preparing your content marketing strategy. In the next section of this article you will learn more about customer persona.

Develop the content

The most common question content marketing newbies are asking is “What should I write about?”. This is really tough question. Nevertheless an answer is simple. The best way to answer that question is to take a piece of paper and a pen. Then write a list of questions your client are asking. Let’s say that you are in the software development trade. If so the questions your clients are asking could be: “How much time does it take to develop a software?”, “How much does it cost to develop an app?”. I do not know what sort of business trade you are in. You are the best person to prepare your own list. Once you have a list of questions your clients are asking turn over that piece of paper. On the other side write a list of questions your clients should be asking. For example if your company is located in London but you want to collect more leads from different cities. Then you could write question “Why London is the best place for …”. Once you have both of the lists completed you should have at least 20 subjects to write about.

Publish the content

The best way to get to know where should you publish your content is to track your competitors. The biggest companies in your trade which are doing well can show you the right places for your publications. You can use BuzzSumo tool to check what sort of content your competitors are publishing and where. Buzz Sumo will shows you not only what content your enemies are publishing and where. BuzzSumo will also shows you which content of your opponents is the most popular in the social media.

Guest posting

If you have checked your competitors using BuzzSumo tool I am sure that you have found a certain relationship. You saw that sometimes they have a backlink in the article, which has been written by some author not related to theirs company. The article is about the same subject your opponent is writing about all the time. This is called a guest post. Guest posts are really powerful and can generate you a huge traffic to your website. It is really common that people are exchanging guest posts between theirs websites. Sometimes you can write a post and ask somebody to publish it on its website. Sometimes you can find an article about subject which is included in your content marketing strategy and ask for a backlink. Sometimes backlinks are for free. Sometimes for a “lifetime fee”, sometimes for a monthly or yearly payment. It depends on the situation. But no matter what you should collect a few guest posts.

Rankings and Reviews

We are living in the world of the information. It is really common that before buying anything we are searching for the most solid company. Rankings and reviews are helping clients to make the right choice. You should be in the each and every ranking in your business trade. Act as your client to find the best place where your reviews should appear. You can search in the Google for “the best company for ….”, “top 10 companies for…”, “the best companies for… in London/NYC/Berlin etc.”. Then check each website on the first page in the google search results for the provided keywords. You will be leaded to the websites with the rankings and reviews. You should be on the each of these websites. Sometimes that websites will be some kind of the company listings where you can register totally free of charge. Sometimes it could be a ranking published on the private blog. If so then you should contact an author and ask what should you do to be listed there. Once you register your company profile in the company listing with the reviews, do not forget to collect a few reviews from your clients. Beside a profile with only negative reviews, there is nothing worst than a company profile with no reviews.

Write a company blog

Company blogs are really great idea for SEO purposes. Blog can gain you a lot of traffic from the clients interested in your services. If you publish content on your company blog it is really common that mostly your website visitors will find your article quicker than your homepage. If the article answer your visitor question properly it is really possible that it will contact you, and ask for your product or service. The biggest advantage of writing a company blog is that once you writing it you are showing your clients that you are an expert. Everybody wants to buy products or services from the experts.

Write an E-book

Writing an E-book is really great idea and one of the most effective way for the lead generation. When you write an E-book you are an expert to your potential customers. Customers really like to work with experts. Find a question your client asks the most and then write an E-book to give your client the right answer. In the end of this article I will give you a link to an article about lead generation. I am sure that will also help you improve your content marketing strategy.

Duplicate content

Once you decide to prepare and implement a content marketing strategy in your business you should be aware of duplicate content. There is a lot of content stealers in the Internet who could steal your content and publish it on their own websites. If google finds that your article is published in exactly the same version at more than one website, you may receive a duplicate content penalty. The bad news is that for google robots the stealer is not that person who published the article later. For google robots a stealer is a website with the weaker google page rank. If somebody steals your content and will publish it on the website with the stronger position, you will be the one who receive a penalty. I know that this could be unfair but this is how it is. It is really important to check once a month either you have duplicate content on your website. There is a lot of online duplicate content checker tools. Once you find that somebody duplicated your content the best way is to write it again. Duplicate content penalty can eliminate your website from the Google search results or list your website on the worst positions.

What is client persona?

Customer personas are a key to successful marketing campaign. Without knowing client personas marketing activities would be a waste of time. Nevertheless, a lot of companies do not know who their client is. What are customer personas and why are they so important?

Client persona is detailed profile of the customer. Good marketing strategy has detailed description of the client included. The more information about the client the better. Depends on who the client is marketing activities may differ. Communication with 21 years old millennial is different than with 35 yo mother of two with no time for anything. Also the places where you can meet 21 yo millennial are different than place where you can meet the mentioned mother of two. It is really important to know who the client is before setting up a marketing campaign.

what-is-client-persona

How to create a client persona?

To develop a client persona you have to answer a lot of questions. For example:

  • Who is my client?
  • How old is he?
  • Where is he living?
  • Does he has a family? If so, how big? A wife? Or maybe a wife and two kids?
  • What is my client hobby?
  • What is my client doing in his free time?
  • What problems my client has? What bothers him?
  • What question my client is asking during the day?
  • Is my client a woman or a man? Or both?
  • Is my client an employee or an employer?
  • How much money my client earns?
  • How much savings my client has?

…and so. As mentioned at the beginning, the more information the better. But where you can find these information? There is a lot of ways to find the answers for the questions above. But the best places to look up for the information are: Google Analytics and your actual clients.

Google Analytics will give you a lot of valuable information. In the audience tab you will find informations like: gender, age, interests and so. Scrutinizing your actual clients you will find a lot of detailed information needed to prepare your client personas.

Client personas – sample

Sample client persona may look like this:

Name: John

Age: 25

Interests: Healthy life, Running, Gym, Netflix

Where he spends the most of the time: Facebook, Instagram, Tinder,

Education: Higher Education

Languages: English,

Savings: 5k USD

Family: Single

Problems: How to be rich without working? How can I travel cheap?

This is only a sample in general to give you better understanding of what your client persona is. Depends on the product you have client personas may be different.

How to plan a marketing campaign which is right for the client persona?

When setting up a plan for the marketing campaign you have to remember who your client persona is. According to sample above you know that your potential client is 25 yo John. John is single. He lives a healthy life. He spends the most of his time on social media. In his free time he is watching Netflix, running in the park, or he goes to the gym.

You know that you can cooperate with the gym to reach your potential client. You know that if you want to sale something to John it has to fits his healthy lifestyle and his sense of freedom. Also you know that your product cannot be expensive because John has not much money to spend.

What is more important, if you know what your client persona is you can develop the content which fits to his needs. Knowing your client persona you can specify what sort of questions your potential client may ask. According to John he can ask questions like:

  • How to travel cheap?
  • How to work and travel?
  • How to be rich?

Knowing these question you prepare the answers at your company blog. Or you buy guest posts in the categories which are proper for John.

Conclusion

Thank you for your time you spend on reading this article. I hope you have found the right answers. Now you understand more about what content marketing and how to develop client persona. Remember that for today’s clients the most important is to receive the right, complete answers to their questions. Giving the right answers will not only give you more clients. When you giving your clients the right answers Google will place you hire than other companies which are not answering client’s questions properly. High quality content development is a key for company grow.

You may also like my other article: How to get more clients – complete guide