Developing A Successful Content Marketing Strategy
When you look at how other affiliate marketers manage their own content marketing, it can seem deceptively simple. You see a steady stream of blogs, images, videos, etc., all plastered onto social media with tons of likes, comments, and shares and think, “Really? That's all I have to do? This should be a snap!”
That attitude, though, is a giant leap toward disaster. What you don't see behind all that engagement is the time and effort that went into making it happen. From the outside looking in, it seems simple.
The execution, however, takes real, persistent effort if you want to be successful.
We don't say these things to dissuade you. In fact, we hope that what we have to share with you today will help you understand just how doable it is with the right tools, the right approach, and the willingness to make the effort.
Successful marketing doesn't just happen. It is the result of weeks, months, or even years of developing a system that works, and an enduring commitment to being constantly mindful of (and sensitive to) changes in an ever-evolving market.
Those who are willing to put in the time and effort are the ones getting the best engagement and seeing the most conversions.
Ready to become one of them?
Let's get right to it, then!
Discovering Your Ideal Customer
Before you write (or commission) your first blog post, write your first email, produce your first video, or hire an army to manage your launch, you need to know how to iron out one minor detail: your ideal customer.
You need to first determine who your best customers are, and then come up with a plan for how to reach them.
The best place to start is by developing an ideal avatar or buyer persona.
There are loads of free resources out there that will help you develop the framework for one, but generic, fill-in-the-blank forms will only get you so far.
A professional eye will likely help you zero in even closer on the type of person who would be most likely to interact favorably with your brand. If there is one thing you should spend some of that venture capital to produce, it's this, first and foremost.
The cost of developing an ideal avatar will be easily offset by the decrease of a large percentage of the trial and error that is inherent to marketing.
That's not to say there won't still be plenty of guesswork involved (because there always is), but having a firm grasp of who your ideal customer is will help eliminate some of the bigger ambiguities from the equation right from the start.
Knowing as much about your ideal customer as possible leads to making fewer mistakes and spending less money on content development overall.
It makes perfect sense: the less content you have to develop just for split testing purposes, the less money you will ultimately spend developing a sound content strategy. Spending a little right now to suss out your best audience will likely net you some very lucrative long-term benefits on the back-end.
Building a Solid Success Framework
Even before presenting an affiliate product or service to your audience, it is important that you gain and maintain the attention of the people who are most likely to respond favorably to your offer.
How can you accomplish this and start building your audience quickly?
Here are a few ideas:
#1 – Get Your Online House in Order
Be sure that your website is optimized for both responsiveness (viewing and engaging on any size screen or device) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Your website is like your storefront. If it fails to make a good first impression, the vast majority of visitors will likely never give you a second chance.
If you haven't done an SEO or design audit on your site within the last six months, it is definitely time. You want your site to perpetually look good and deliver a superior user experience overall.
That means populating your site with quality content that optimally represents your brand and performing regular audits to ensure that the quality of the user experience is always consistent.
#2 – Populate Your Site With Quality Content
Start by developing the kind of storefront that you would be proud for a passersby on the street to see. Your homepage should be smartly designed and not overly busy.
You want all of your pages to be congruous in their look, formatting, and branding. Your visuals should be chosen to adhere to a specific theme that underscores your brand message.
Stock visuals can be effective, but you will have a much easier time establishing brand recognition if you develop your own.
#3 – Start Populating Your Blog
If money is too much of a constraint to think about that right now, start by incorporating good branding with curated content. You can always move into more brand-specific visuals when the revenue is there to spend on them.
Once your site is set up and optimized for content delivery, it is time to start populating your blog.
A blog is a mandatory element to any successful website regardless of the brand or industry it represents. Your blog serves a twofold purpose. It establishes you as an authority in your industry or niche and also boosts SEO.
A steady flow of well-written, well-formatted blog content is the easiest way to gain a rapport with your followers, advertise your brand on social media, and get the search engines to take your site seriously.
Long-form content (articles with word counts above 1500) is favored by the leading search platforms, but shorter, well-written and well-formatted pieces with an average keyword density of about 1.5 percent will also get the job done.
Google, in particular, doesn't like articles that drop much below the 1500 word range, so we recommend setting that as the minimum.
Optimal blog posts contain all or most of these key attributes:
Segmented sections with strong segment headings
Short paragraphs (100 words or fewer – 50 is better)
Good grammar, spelling, and punctuation
Meaningful information without filler
Concise, relevant meta descriptions seeded with one relevant keyword
The majority of blog posts should include clear calls to action at or near the end of the piece that defines what you expect the reader to do with the information presented.
Remember that people are not typically wired to simply do things without being told to do them.
The more trust you establish with your audience, the more meaningful and complex your calls to action can be. In one post, you might solicit comments and opinions.
In others, you might want to try going straight for a conversion:
“Click or tap to download our special report”
“Tell us in the comments what you think”
“Fill out our intake form and chat live with one of our new account representatives right now”
“Tap the 'buy now' button below and enter your PayPal address”
Promoting Your Brand, Product, Or Service
Paid ads and boosted posts are a quick, easy way to start defining your audience and boost SEO.
Start with a broad cross-section of likely customers based on your ideal avatar. From there, you can gauge who is consuming and engaging with your content and what content is leading to the most conversions and narrow your targeting.
You should also be implementing a variety of pixels to track all possible conversions from click-throughs, to purchases, to everything in between. Pixels also help pinpoint retargeting efforts and will go a long way toward discovering your true rock star leads with less effort.
Another useful avenue of promotion is via PPC/CPC ads. In most circumstances, you can reach a broad audience with very low bids and examine your metrics over the course of a specific length of time (day, week, month, etc.).
Again, these numbers will help you determine which ads are performing well and leading to your desired conversions.
Once you get people to click through to your blog it is absolutely necessary that you attempt to capture their email addresses. You can do this through the use of pop-ups or squeeze pages, depending on how they found your content. Only solicit a first name and email address.
The more personal information you try to acquire, the faster some people will balk at giving it to you. Worry about phone numbers and addresses later – when they become customers.
Once you have their email address, you need to stay in contact with your leads until they convert. When they convert, you need to stay in contact to nurture the customer relationship and to stay in the forefront of the minds of any leads that may be on the fence about buying from you.
In other words, email marketing is an all-the-time thing.
Be as consistent with email as you are with blogging and avoid using annoying or gonzo-level subject lines. Email establishes a conversation, commit to having meaningful ones with your customers and leads.
Reaping the Rewards
With all of the pieces of your content marketing strategy in place, your job now is to monitor your results, make changes when necessary, and be aware of shifts in market trends as you go.
Your content must always cater to the current market and that means always being aware of what the market demands. Get good at that and you will always have a good idea of how to approach your audience in a way that leads to more conversions over time.
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Updated: Orginally published March 2nd 2018