In 2020, simply having a website for your business is no longer enough. In the competitive and already congested digital space in particular, companies are increasingly relying on an omnichannel approach to drive website traffic, and ultimately, grow their business. This is where an effective content marketing strategy comes in.
Content is a catch-all for how your business activates its brand and tells its story through all available marketing channels—think social media, email, blogs, digital marketing, podcasts, white papers, and so much more. Content is the space “in between” that, when executed consistently and authentically, can connect the dots between your business and the audience or personas you need to resonate with the most. Activating each channel in a silo, each with their individual strategies, ultimately hinders your maximum potential. How everything interplays together? That is what’s new in 2020.
If you’re not consistently putting out high-quality, targeted and relevant content to your audience, it can greatly impact your traffic, your engagement, and your SEO, which could eventually drop you far enough down the SERPs to render you almost invisible amongst your competitors.
If you’re in danger of dropping off the digital map this year, listen up. Let’s dive deeper into how you can create a strategic content marketing plan in 2020.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a holistic, strategic plan to provide relevant online content to consumers in order to build brand trust, awareness and conversion.
- Social media
- Photos and video
- White papers
How to Get Started
If you’re reading this right now, you’re already on the right track. It’s important to learn as much as you can about all the different types of content before you begin. You don’t want to assume that blog posts are the only pieces of content that you’re capable of creating on your own. In fact, there are various ways to get your brand name out there without having to be a writer (think video or podcast). Just keep in mind the cost of creating some of these pieces of content, as they can get pretty pricey. If you have the budget for them, great! If not, start with the free stuff (like blog posts, social media, testimonials, emails, case studies, and interviews).
2. Determine your audience.
Once you’ve determined the pieces of content you want to start with, it’s time to take a look at who you’ll be showing them to. As an example, let’s say you’re a custom jewelry maker. Your primary audience is female ages 25-34. Your next step is to determine where these women are most likely to find your content. Eventbrite wrote a helpful article on how to find your audience online to get you started. Don’t hesitate to try new networks that you haven’t dabbled in before–you might just find your new favorite platform.
3. See what your competitors are doing.
Before you begin creating content, it’s wise to take a look at what your competitors are doing. Are they creating captivating social posts but no video? Take that opportunity to fill the gap. What about blog posts? Are your competitors cranking out meaningless blog posts just to push content? Take the time to create a blog post that is worth reading and includes images, graphics, and even infographics (we love this free tool by Canva).
4. Outline. Plan. Execute.
Sure, you could start creating and posting content right away, but what happens when you begin to lose steam after a few weeks? By creating a plan, you’re setting yourself up for success. Simply put together an editorial calendar with the draft and posting dates at least one month in advance. This will not only hold you accountable but will also keep you organized.
5. Analyze your results.
At the beginning of each month, you can find at least half of us at the agency updating our client’s reports. This is where we determine what is working and what isn’t (and how to fix it). The same should go for you. Always monitor your results, whether that be through your social media insights or through Google Analytics so you can see what’s engaging with your audience. If you post and never look back, it’s hard to improve.
What exactly should you be tracking? Experts say overall traffic, time on page, click-through rate (CTR) of internal links, scroll depth, and bounce rate are the most important metrics to keep your eye on.
Digital Strategies for 2020
In-depth keyword research.
Something we’ve been focusing on at the start of 2020 is increasing overall traffic by doing more in-depth keyword research. This means going beyond our traditional keyword research process. Once we’ve found a keyword/phrase that we could potentially rank for (using tools such as SEMrush, Google Trends, and Google keyword research) we do additional digging to find out how we can answer the “micro-questions” people are searching for. One way of doing this is by pasting the keyword or phrase into Google and seeing what “People also ask”.
From there, we note what people are asking and try to weave the answers into our blog post.
You can also scroll down and see the related searches to get even more details into what to include when writing your article.
Looking at these related searches, a few topics we might pull from this would be content marketing examples, types of content marketing, and how to do content marketing.
After collecting these additional terms, create an outline that covers these topics naturally and form your content around it.
This year, make it a goal of yours to start producing lengthier pieces of content. Why? Because long-form content outperforms short-form content 9 times out of 10 and there’s evidence to back this up. If you’re currently writing short-form content, like a 500-word blog post, how often do you see the ‘time on page’ reach over 2 minutes? Typically, with shorter posts, a website visitor will only last a short amount of time because they’ve scanned your content in a few seconds or less.
Writing longer-form content (that is actually valuable and not just fluff) will guarantee a longer time on page because you’re providing readers with the information they can actually use and benefit from. When starting out, aim for a minimum of 1,500 words or more, then you can build from there.
Long-form content also plays a big role in how you rank in the SERPs. Below, you will see the results from a study done by serpIQ proving that longer content (in this case, around 2,450 words) held higher-ranked positions than it’s fewer worded competitors.
Source: Search Engine Land
With little to lose, and so much to gain, why not start implementing more long-form pieces of content into your 2020 marketing strategy? Knock it out of the park this year with a comprehensive guide, white paper, Ebook, or case study that is at least 4,000 words or more. Although it may seem daunting at first, the results will make it all worth it.
Utilizing UGC (user-generated content) can be highly beneficial, especially if you have a product that is particularly “shareable” on social media. Big-name brands like Nike, Coca Cola, Starbucks, and Apple regularly share content created by some of their biggest fans, creating an authentic voice–or advocacy–that will often more effectively resonate with your audience.
One type of UGC that is particularly valuable is testimonials. We love seeing when our client’s products get featured in a social or blog post, especially when they’re raving about their new piece of high-end patio furniture or unique thrift store find.
Unlike the usual social media influencer post, which has recently been losing trust among followers, user-generated posts seem to outperform most other types of posts when it comes to engagement, visibility, and more.
The best part about user-generated content? It’s free, easy to access, and incredibly authentic. You couldn’t ask for a better combination.
Even if you currently don’t have any UGC available at your fingertips, it’s easy to ask for some. Consider hosting a giveaway on social media (if your budget allows for it) to create a buzz. Ask your followers to share a photo of themselves using your product or visiting your store for a chance to win. You’ll see an incline in engagement and rack up UGC posts all at the same time.
If you’re looking to hire someone to create effective content for you, look no further than Commit Agency. We have experienced creative designers, social media experts, blog writers, and video editors on staff who are ready to showcase your brand in a whole new light. If you’re interested in learning more about us, visit our website at commitagency.com.