A mature content marketing plan builds leads and drives conversions - here's how you can develop one that works for you.
You wouldn't send an email to a friend without making a reference to them, so why would you create content that isn't targeted to your customer?
After all, it's a crowded market out there and you need to ensure your content is compelling enough that people will engage with it.
Good content creators always think like their customers, trying to understand what makes them tick. Why? Because creating content that resonates with consumers improves leads and sales. Sending out an email with a subject line personalised to the user increases open rates, while dynamic content improves conversions by 50%.
So you've got the personalisation down, but what next? Of course, like all publishers, you have a content plan.
Wait, you don't? Then step away from the keyboard and stop what you're doing!
Creating content without a focus will hurt your efforts in the long run. A fully-rounded content plan involves creating a content calendar, aligned closely to your business goals.
However, having a rigid plan and sticking to it isn't enough in today's 24-7 consumer society.
As mobile web consumption looks set to overtake desktop usage this year, marketers need to respond to real-time events in order to optimise results.
'Newsjacking' or responding to what your customers want to engage with will increase revenue - it's estimated companies who use predictive performance metrics will increase their profitability by 20% by 2017.
There's no point in producing great content if no-one knows it's there though. Distribution is as important as producing the content. Make sure your content marketing plan is fully integrated with social media.
This means understanding how to share it across social media networks. A link to your white paper or blog post just won't cut it anymore! Visual content is on the rise - images on Facebook get a 50% better response than text posts, while Pinterest is the top social media network for referrals.
Creating shareable content will also improve your search engine ranking. Google's newest algorithm, Hummingbird, is looking for content that is useful to people and sharing is the ultimate thumbs up that something is of use.
One of the biggest content marketing sins is to roll out content and then just leave it. Not only is it rude - poor abandoned content - but it won't create engagement or leads. Companies that increase their blog posts from 3-5 times a month to 6-8 times a month almost double their leads.
We're not talking just about quantity though, but also quality. If you churn out too much content, you'll turn your consumers off - and probably annoy Google as well.
Don't try to do everything at once - using a content calendar will help you plan a steady flow of engaging, good quality content.
Finally, it's time to think metrics. Obviously you will have aligned your content marketing plan to your business objectives but it's important to analyse results frequently.
There is absolutely no point in wasting valuable resources on content that isn't engaging with your users so just remember TIMITI -try it, measure it, tweak it!
In other words, revisit your plan on a regular basis to try and understand what has been working for you and what hasn't - and then produce more of the content that resonates with your target consumer.
It pays to get personal - think about what your customer really wants.
Integrate all your content across social media platforms.
Revisit your content marketing plan regularly.
And remember... if you make your content useful, they will come!