Content marketing is widely considered to be an incredibly effective type of digital marketing to grow your blog. Yet, not all businesses are using — and those that are, don’t always find success with it. This happens for a variety of reasons, but the good news is that you can, in fact, use content marketing effectively.
In fact, content marketing can be the perfect solution to grow your blog. Obviously, blogging is an essential part of content marketing, but there’s more to it than that. By using other channels for content marketing, you can boost and grow your blog itself. Hence, here’s everything you should know about the best content marketing strategies for blog growth.
Why Do You Need A Content Marketing Plan?
Before you start actively using content marketing, you first need a plan or a strategy to follow. Without a clear plan in mind (and on paper), your marketing efforts could end up in failure simply because they will be too chaotic. Surprisingly, statistics suggest that many companies don’t actually have a content marketing plan.
Many businesses are using content marketing already, that’s undeniable. According to Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing. And according to PointVisible, 60% of B2C marketers are committed to content marketing. And yet, there is still a problem.
According to Marketing Profs and the CMI, 25% of B2B marketers don’t have a content marketing strategy, 38% only have an undocumented content marketing strategy, and only 37% have a documented one. What this means is that businesses that don’t have a clear strategy are just firing a wild shot when they use content marketing. It may or may not work.
That’s exactly why you need a plan before you start doing anything: it will give you a significant competitive advantage. Sure, your competitors are using content marketing. But are they doing it as well as you are? Follow these steps to create your own content marketing plan and use the best content marketing techniques to grow your blog:
#1 Do Your Research
At its most fundamental level, a strong content marketing plan relies on proper research. If you don’t know how your customer buying journey goes, who your audience and competitors are, what the market is like, etc., you won’t succeed. That’s why it’s so important to do your research and to really understand what content marketing is about.
Remember that many principles in content marketing are general ones. This means that you will have to apply them to your own blog only after you customize them to your particular situation. Everything from keyword research to market analysis needs to be relevant to your specific industry, niche, brand, and products/services.
#2 Choose Your Formats
After you have completed all the necessary research, you can start working on your content marketing plan. Choosing your formats is one of the first things you should do because your choices will determine what kind of content marketing strategies will work best for you. Popular content formats include:
- Blog Posts/Articles: The most common of all and can be used on your blog and beyond it. Best used for blogging, guest posting, affiliate marketing, etc.
- Emails and Social Media Posts: Can only be used for email marketing and social media marketing respectively, but you can use them to promote your blog.
- White Papers/Case Studies: Require extra research and can help you establish your brand as an authority when posting these on your blog.
- Illustrations/Photographs: Can be used with any type of content marketing on any platform.
- Infographics/Charts/Tables: This can also be used with any type of content marketing on any platform.
- GIFs/Videos/Animations: This can also be used with any type of content marketing on any platform. Videos and animations can be used specifically for video marketing on dedicated platforms like YouTube.
- Webinars/Podcasts/E-Books: Require more effort, equipment, research. Can be used on your blog and outside of it to promote it.
#3 Define Your Brand
One of the reasons why having a content marketing plan is a way to avoid chaos is that it allows you to define your brand. In other words, you will need to create a set of guidelines for your content that will ensure that the visual look, the brand voice, etc. of your content all adhere to a particular brand image you want to display on your blog.
If your company is already an established one, all you have to do is simply look at your current brand image and use its principles in your content guidelines. Does your brand appear to be “fun and friendly”? Then your brand voice should be “fun and friendly”. And every time you create a piece of marketing content, you will need to uphold that brand image.
#4 Set Up A Schedule
Another way to organize your content marketing activities is by setting up a schedule for posting on your blog and beyond it. Having a schedule will also allow you to synchronize what you post on your blog with the content you use on other platforms (e.g. email marketing, social media marketing, etc.)
To determine the best time and frequency for posting, you can look at what your competitors are doing and what the latest research in your niche says. However, it’s also a good idea to experiment with posting on your own to create a schedule that will be truly effective for your particular company.
#5 Clarify Your Goals
A content marketing plan would be incomplete without having clear goals that you will try to follow. These can be both general and specific to your blog. Obviously, your number one priority is to grow your blog, but this growth can be defined in different ways:
- How many blog subscribers do you want to have and by what date? How many blog visits do you want to have? What about the blog views, how many of those do you want to have?
- What about your email newsletter subscribers, how many do you want to have? How many social media followers do you want to have?
- How big do you want your conversion rates to be across different channels?
These are just some questions to get started, but you can define your blog growth in any way you find fitting.
#6 Use Other Platforms
As mentioned earlier, having a content marketing plan to grow your blog doesn’t only mean posting on your blog itself. In fact, you are encouraged to use other platforms to promote your blog. Social media, email marketing, webinars, and podcasts — all of these can be useful for growing your blog.
However, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to use every single platform available to you. You simply won’t have enough time to manage absolutely everything. Start out with several platforms or channels and then expand your content marketing over time. As your blog grows, you will be able to increase your budget for such endeavors.
#7 Reach Your Audience
Last but not least, always try to reach your audience first instead of expecting it to come to you. Instead of waiting for people to find your blog and start reading it, reach out to them and promote your blog in a way that will make them truly interested in it. To do this, you will need to go where your audience is.
Are your potential blog readers on social media? Which platform exactly? How do they like to interact with brands? Or are they more willing to subscribe to email newsletters? Actively try to connect with your audience, and you will notice that your efforts will even build trust and loyalty.
To summarize, creating a strong content marketing plan is not that hard. When it’s ready, you can start using the most effective content marketing strategies to grow your blog and attract more readers (and customers). Use the tips in this article to help you in the process and guide you as you form your content marketing plan.