The growth of content marketing has led to many companies adding content marketing to their overall marketing plan without a clear understanding of what it is and how to do it well. A key part of content marketing is, well, the content. Without quality content that matters to your customers, they aren’t going to pay attention to it or engage with your brand.

Let’s go back to the basics and first look at what content marketing is. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as:

“Content marketing is the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

The main difference between content marketing and other forms of marketing is the type of message. In content marketing you are providing customers with relevant information instead of always promoting your product or service. Over time the content you are providing will help form trust between you and the customer, leading to the customer valuing your content and knowledge and becoming loyal to your business.

Quality Content Matters

The quality of your content plays a large role in the success of your content marketing efforts. Simply making content and pushing it out to the world is not a strategic way to go about content marketing and most will not notice much success from this. First you want to make sure the content you are creating is actually what your customers are looking for.

Know Your Customers and What They Want to Hear

In order to know what type of information and content your target customer wants, you need to know your customers. First ask yourself:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What problems, concerns, or needs does my target audience have?
  • How can I help them in their journey?

Once you’ve worked through these questions, you’ll want to dig deeper into who your target customer is and what they are looking for. The use of “buyer personas” is very helpful in this stage. Create a persona for each type of target customer and really get to know their personality, what their pain points are, their preferred method of receiving information, their goals and motivations, and more. HubSpot offers a brief overview of what a buyer persona is along with a guide and templates on how to make one. You can check that out here.

The Buyer Journey

When creating content, you want to keep the buyer’s journey in mind too. This concept is that the buyer must first become aware of a problem, challenge, or opportunity that they want to pursue. Then they enter the consideration stage; this is where they will investigate and learn more about a possible solution to their challenge. The final step in the journey is the decision stage. This is where the buyer will take the information they have gathered and ultimately make the decision on if to purchase or not and from whom. It’s important that you have content that is relevant to all stages of the buyer journey. This will keep the customer engaged with your brand throughout the process.

Send it. Post it. Share it!

So, now you’ve created content you know your potential customers are going to love! What’s next? You need to market the content. You don’t want to spend all this time and effort creating content and then hope your target audience finds it on their own. Share your content and market it to your customers. Make it easy for potential customers to find it. Take into consideration the best channels for reaching your target audience, the best time of day to promote your content, and be strategic in your messaging.

Analyze the Results

As you are busy making content for your customers, don’t forget to step back and look at how your current content marketing efforts are doing. Analyze the results of your recent content campaigns and see if your target audience is engaging with you. If you’re not reaching the goals you want, consider what changes need to be made in your content strategy to achieve those. As always, keep what the customer wants in mind!