The 3 Essential Parts of a Content Marketing Strategy that Actually Works

content marketing

We’ve all heard that content marketing is extremely powerful for driving traffic to your site and growing your business.

“Content is king,” is a rallying cry for many.

But, as many companies learn, simply creating content and putting it out into the world is not enough. If that is the approach you take, content will always be an expense and never become a valuable asset.

So, how do you execute a content marketing strategy that actually generates results?

First, you need to understand one thing: All content is not created equal.

Creating content is not the solution to your problems. It will not spur growth or create value. Rather, content is a way for you to reach your goals–if you do it correctly.

Not only do you need to create great content that’s effective in helping you meet your goals, you also need to take a hard look at your strategy and figure out what kinds of content you need to see results.

I break down an effective content marketing strategy into three key components.

Keyword-focused content

Content marketing is inextricably linked to effective SEO.

In order to see success from SEO, you need content. And in order to create a lot of value from your content, you should target search to do much of the heavy lifting of driving traffic to your site and bringing in new business over time.

To accomplish this, your site needs content that is closely aligned to the topics that your target audience is looking for.

There are many exercises that exist to get inside the mind of your customer and map their journey–and their thoughts. But ultimately, these steps must be translated into relevant search terms in order to deliver SEO value.

You need to be providing information and answers that your audience is looking for–in the way that they look for it.

This requires you to dig into research and find the keywords and search phrases that are being used, and then creating content that is aligned with those queries.

Link-building content

Having content that’s aligned with keywords is great. But it can’t work on its own.

If you publish the greatest post in the world, it is ultimately only valuable if it’s seen and read by your target market.

[ctt template=”3″ link=”7GXEy” via=”no” ]If you publish the greatest post in the world, it is ultimately only valuable if it’s seen and read by your target market. http://ctt.ec/7GXEy+[/ctt]

In order to create visibility for that content, it needs to rank well on search engines. It doesn’t do any good if it’s buried on page 20 of the results.

Achieving success in SEO is almost a discipline all its own, and it comprises many factors.

But, at the core, your position within search results is ultimately determined by how trustworthy the search engines consider your website to be. And they measure that trustworthiness, in part, by looking at how many other websites link–or refer–to your website.

This means that in order to create value through search, one of your major goals should be to create content that earns links from other websites and helps grow your site’s authority.

Social-viral content

Together, the first two types of content work to increase the visibility of your site and fill it with content that is relevant to the search terms your target audience is using. This works to drive traffic and grow your business. But it’s not a quick solution.

So, how do you generate relevant, qualified traffic in the short- and medium-term?

One of the most effective channels for seeing results now is through social media.

Each day, millions of links are shared and clicked on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. People are thirsty for knowledge and content.

But the kind of content that goes viral or is shared and clicked on social media is often not the same kind of content that performs well over time through search. In order to be effective at driving traffic through social channels, you need to create content that is specifically crafted for that audience.

Putting it all together

These three types of content don’t exist in a vacuum. There can be huge overlap.

But as a marketer, your goal should be to align every piece of content that you create with at least one of these major goals that will be the basis for your entire content marketing strategy.

For more information on how this three-part content marketing strategy can work for your business, check out a full case study on how we used it to reach 100,000+ organic sessions per month and more than 1,000,000 unique visits in one year.

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Tyler Hakes

Strategy Director at Optimist
Tyler Hakes is strategy director at Optimist, a full-service content marketing agency. He’s been working with startups, agencies, and corporate clients for nearly 10 years to achieve growth through strategic content marketing and SEO.
Tyler Hakes
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