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How To Develop 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.

Brands like Groupon and Dropbox have cornered the market on minimalism and simplicity for their home pages and that strategy works well, especially for mobile users.

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:
  • Powerful titles/headlines
  • 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

There are few easier ways to start driving traffic to your site, create back links to your content, and establish yourself as an authority within your industry than by promoting over social media.

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.

Feel free to post your comment below. An email address is required but it will not be shared with anyone, put on any list, or used for any kind of marketing, just to alert you if there are any replies. Thanks and happy hunting!


Updated: Orginally published March 2nd 2018

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. Neil

    I guess content marketing is like an iceberg. You only see the tip of it and not what’s under the water.

    I agree with you that marketing takes a lot of time and dedication for it to become successful and pay off in the long term. I think there are many marketers out there who try internet marketing for a short while and then give up too soon because it’s not working.

    Quitting is definitely one of the reasons why some folks do fail at building a profitable online business.

    I appreciate the guidance on becoming a successful marketer, and it certainly makes sense to choose your target market and then lay down the foundations before building an empire.

    Blogging can be a powerful and profitable concept IF people put in the time, effort, and practice it the right way.


    1. Steven Mann

      Yeah, giving up too soon is really the only way to fail at content marketing. It does take time and patience to be successful. Sometimes a little trial and error is required as well but with persistence and patience, anyone can be successful at this!

      Thanks for the input Neil!

  2. Geoff

    I think you are right, you have to put a lot of effort in to get the result that produces income. Your information helps to put this into context. I took note of knowing what audience you are writing for, it is more important than first meets the eye. Thanks you for such an interesting article

    1. Steven Mann

      I’m glad it helped you out Geoff. Knowing your audience will help focus your content to lead into conversions which is the whole point. It can be tough to get both to work together, many times, they tend to conflict.

      Thanks for the comment.

  3. Guy

    I agree with you that quality content must be a priority, that, and making sure that each article we write is optimized for search engines.

    I like your tips on how short paragraphs should be: 100 or 50 words long. I definitely will take note of that and apply it.

    I’m not ready though, just yet, to start collecting people’s emails. But that’s something I plan to do eventually when I feel that my site is starting to get there.

    Anyway, thanks for the tips Steven. I sure will apply some of them in content writing from now on.

    1. Steven Mann

      Glad you found it useful Guy. Keep up the good work!

  4. lynnsamuelson

    You mention some good tips on how to develop a successful content marketing strategy. Consistently posting quality content that Google approves of and engaging our audience is obviously essential. One question that I have is how to go about locating a professional that can help identify our ideal customer. I’d love to hear more about that along with any recommended resources. Also, obviously this service isn’t free but I’m curious about the cost of paying someone to identify my target audience. Thanks!

    1. Steven

      I would recommend you try to do this on your own, at least at first. You might learn more about what your goals are for your website and the direction you want to head in the future.

      There are a number of articles out there that explain how to identify your ideal customer. Many discuss developing a customer profile, identifying your goals and defining your market. This is all information you will need before hiring a marketing professional anyhow.

      You might find, in the end, you don’t need to hire anyone after all. Study a bit and see if you can come up with some answers yourself first. If you still feel stuck after, search for a reputable marketing firm that can help in this area.

      Thanks for the comment Lynn!

  5. GBIG

    Thank you for telling me that I need to be persistent and develop a consistent marketing strategy. I am new to internet marketing and have only been doing it for around 6 months now. I know I still have a lot to learn. Thank you for telling me that it could actually take years to develop a successful strategy. I like your advice to remember your ideal customer and what their needs are. Thank you for encouraging me to write longer articles – around 1500 words. It will be a challenge, but I am willing to try. I haven’t tried email marketing yet. I was waiting for when I got more traffic first. But I liked your tips. I was just wondering when do you think I should start collecting email addresses and what should I send these people?

    1. Steven

      You could start email marketing now. Send them updates whenever you publish new material on your site to retain readers and build loyal fans.

      Many social networking plugins have email as a follow option that does this automatically whenever you publish something new.

      Thanks for the input GBIG!

  6. Eric Chen

    Hello Steven,

    Thanks for the helpful tips and being so transparent with how content marketing works.

    I knew coming into this industry that it wouldn’t be easy and definitely requires effort.

    If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is right?

    Personally, I believe what led me this far was my mindset. I knew it would take time to build a readership and fully grasp the concept of making money online.

    However, with a good attitude toward your online business, success is just right around the corner.

    Thank you again for the refreshing tips!


    1. Steven

      This type of business does take a bit of time and patience. But with some effort, it can work for anyone,

      Thanks for the kind words Eric!

  7. Garen

    For me planning hasn’t even been my strong point. In the early years of my internet marketing ventures I used to just dive into niches and didn’t carefully plan out how I was going to “attack” that niche.

    Content marketing can make a decent amount of ROI. But, it has to be carefully planned out. I like to look at forums in my niche. I look for trends that people are asking. Then, either develop a video, infographic, etc.

    Here are a couple tips I have used over the years:

    I do use Grammarly for helping me proof my content.
    Interview or link to other “authorities” in your niche. (Ask them to share your content, too).
    Use a premium WordPress theme. Looks and professionalism go a long way.
    Steadily add content (constantly at the same time each week).
    I schedule post well in advance.

    1. Steven

      Sounds like you have a solid plan of action.

      Thanks for sharing Garen!

  8. cw

    I enjoyed your post. The section regarding discovering your ideal customer really resonated with me. Do you have any resources or recommendations on where to go for existing profiles for certain niches, or where to begin the research for building the perfect avatar? Also, would you recommend purchasing pre-written content to get started, or just disciplining yourself to create it on your own? Thanks.

    1. Steven

      I suggest making an attempt to define your customer on your own to start. With at least an attempt, you might learn valuable information on who you want to target that might alter the course of your content. After you have a handle on who you want to attract, it will be easier to communicate this to a marketing consultant in the future if you wish to hire one. They don’t come cheap though.

      If you have the budget to hire a writer then you should consider it, or at least, have one to supplement your writing to add content to your site a little quicker. Try to post at least three articles a week if possible.

      Thanks for the input CW!

  9. Paul

    Hi Steven
    You have some great advice here and a lot of it is not covered in some of the other training material. You have not only many reminders but also some ideas and solutions that I have not been made aware of before.
    I am certainly going to go back over some of my posts and as you mentioned give them an audit
    Thanks mate

    1. Steven

      I’m happy to hear you got something out of the article.

      Thanks for the kind words Paul!

  10. Kenny Lee

    Great advice on developing a buyer persona. I spent the first year of my online business not knowing who is my targeted customers. I crafted tens of blog posts with no directions. The results, as predicted are pretty discouraging. I made no progress with ranking and readership. Then I took a break and give a thought to who am I trying to help (or sell). That changes everything.

    1. Steven

      Some times it goes a long way to stop, back up and take a look at your direction. Glad you made it work.

      Thanks for the comment Kenny!

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