Digital Content Marketing – What You Should Know Before You Start
Marketing practices and strategies have evolved over the years, changing somewhat dramatically when inbound marketing came onto the scene.
At its core, inbound marketing is what fuels a proactive marketer rather than a reactive one, and digital content marketing is a large part of the inbound methodology.
Many things can be considered digital content, including:
- Case studies
- How to Videos
Digital content marketing is essentially written and multimedia content that is available online and that has the intention of reaching a target audience to help the audience with a challenge they have.
To quote the Content Marketing Institute:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and dsitributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Content marketing creation in the digital space can easily become a black hole if you don’t have the knowledge or tools to create a content schedule led by research and insight. If your business hasn’t taken full advantage of digital content for marketing purposes, this introductory guide will help you start and maintain a strong digital content marketing presence.
Who is your target audience?
The first thing to do is start thinking about who this digital content marketing is for. Consider things like their age, gender, socioeconomic status, geographic location, and marital status of your ideal customers? Answering these questions is a good start to creating the right content for your target audience (aka personas).
You don’t want to be mass producing generic content. (There’s enough weak, boring, and unhelpful digital content across the web.)
When we communicate with one another, it’s a back and forth conversation and as we listen to a person speaking we learn more and more about them. Great digital content marketing starts with listening to your customers.
What do they care about? What do they struggle with that you can help with? Where do they go for their sources of information? Find the answers to these questions, and ask deeper, more specific ones. Then produce content that is valuable, relevant, and consistent for that audience.
Who are you?
A lot of content marketers will document persona development and place it into a file to look back on when they need to revisit this information. Search for persona development templates to build your own, or have a marketing agency develop one for you.
After you figure out your target personas you can now look inward and think about your business’.
The caterpillar in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland had a very important question for our protagonist – Who are you?
What is your business identity? What problems does your business solve? Answering these questions will help to build a style guide, which is important for branding your digital marketing content.
Factors that go into developing a style guide include:
- Color theme
- Writing style
- Relevant topics
- Services and products
By following a set of guidelines for content, your business maintains a level of consistency that is important for building a brand’s image. Your business needs to have one uniform voice so the business identity can be understood by the consumer. Once you understand your audience and your brand identity, let the content party begin!
Digital Content Marketing for the Long Term – Enter Evergreen
In the beginning, it’s good to create what marketers call evergreen content. This is content that can be reused at any time and remains relevant over time. This is the most efficient type of content for your business because evergreen content is not time-sensitive, not in relation to a specific event, and doesn’t have a purpose related to a certain time of the year.
Whitepapers and case studies tend to consist of evergreen content since they take longer to make and are for research/sales purposes. Blog content is produced more regularly, so it makes sense to have a decent collection of evergreen posts to use for social media content more than one time. For example, we share our evergreen content frequently on our various social media platforms because different people will see them at different times and they remain relevant.
Once a base of evergreen content has been produced, it’s time to start advertising newsletter and blog subscriptions. This opens up a whole world of communication with potential customers that wasn’t there before.
Using subscriptions, a business can start to create more blog content, sales collateral, and inbound focused drip email campaigns for a targeted group right in their client database. Using visuals like infographics and videos are also effective, visually pleasing, and great for email and social content.
There are many types of digital content marketing and once you know your audience’s preferences and your abilities (or those of your marketing agency and freelance partners) you can create the right content for the right person at the right time.
Search Engine Best Practices
When creating content, please remember to keep search engine optimization in mind. You are writing for your personas, but SEO best practices are absolutely crucial so that when you create A+ content, your potential customers can actually find it. (We have a recent blog post for a Website SEO Check you can reference for a high-level refresher.)
If one of the major search engines indexes your post, and you haven’t used any SEO best practices within your content, it will most likely not recognize your digital marketing content as valuable.
This makes the content you worked so hard on very hard to find on the major search engines. Don’t let that happen.
Start by looking up terms that are relevant to your topic. Take the key terms with the highest search volume rate, and out of those select the key terms with the lowest keyword difficulty. You can use tools like SEMrush to determine these metrics. (If you do not have access to tools like these, you should consider investing in them or speak to your marketing agency about them.) Once you’ve figured out the most popular terms with the lowest keyword difficulty, create a master list to help you develop your content around.
SEO only works if it’s done correctly. You can’t stuff a keyword phrase 30 times within a blog post and expect to rank on the first page of Google. This is more likely to be considered spam and never see the face of the earth again.
The keyword phrase you select should have a density relevant to the length of the text and should also include alternative forms of the keyword, known as semantic keywords. In terms of keyword density percentages, aim for a percentage between 0.7% and 2%, including semantic keyword phrases.
Lastly, whatever you do, don’t just create content to create content. You’re better off to not publish a post for a month than produce something of little substance or use.
Right now, the largest challenge facing digital content marketing is digital content marketing.
Too many people choose to start their content marketing plan without skilled content marketers on their team. While it’s absolutely possible to learn how to be an awesome content marketer on your own, consider the time you have to spend on this process. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to content marketing, let those who do help you.
Ready to kick-start your digital content marketing?
Founder/CEO of HeartBrain Marketing
Email me: nancy at heartbrain dot marketing