You're almost ready to launch you new website. You've defined your goals, inventoried your assets, identified you unique value proposition, optimized your existing content, and cleared the conversion path.
Now, you sit back and wait for the leads to roll in, right?
Yeah... I wish.
Content Strategy Logistics
To find your website, search engines and potential customers both need a point of entry into your brand. For search engines, this takes the form of links, both as crawlable pages on your site and as links to your site in other sources. For human people, it's the content on these pages and social media posts sharing your content.
Yet it goes deeper than simply producing a bunch of pages and posts. What you're trying to do is create channels flowing into the central hub of your website. A fan retweets one of your social posts sharing a blog post, which links to an offer, which feeds into an email workflow, which results in a qualified lead for your sales team. A backlink in someone else's blog post brings a new audience to a popular post or product page, which contains a CTA. A YouTube video includes a link to a landing page on your website with a form that collects contact info.
Those are just a few examples from the upstream portion of the system; when you look at it from the other end, a single conversion goal (say, the purchase of a certain service) may be served by several lead-generating offers. These offers receive traffic from numerous blog posts and even site pages. Each on of those blog posts is shared multiple times on multiple social media channels, and may even be repurposed as video, audio, or visual content which is then distributed as well.
This is how a content strategy results in measurable, trackable revenue.
Create a Content Strategy That Performs
I've written a lot about the finer points of content marketing, so I'll give you a big ol' list of that stuff in a moment (it's at the very bottom of this post). First, I want to emphasize the primary factor in whether your content produces value for you or just takes a bunch of time: clear conversion paths.
If you pump out blog posts that are about what you do and are reasonably focused on what your customers like and want, you will earn some traffic and leads. The problem is that you'll be spending a disproportionate amount of time doing it.
When you start from your most valuable conversions (and I'm talking about lifetime value here, not just your high-dollar services) and work out from there, you'll dramatically increase the ROI of everything you do.
Start with the most valuable conversion, work your way through the process below, then repeat with the next highest value. You can also circle back to step 2 occasionally and create more lead-gen offers targeting your top-priority conversion goals.
Building a Conversion Path
1. Choose a conversion goal and identify the buyer persona for that individual goal.
2. Create a lead generating offer specifically designed to move people closer to that goal (including landing page, email workflow, and CTAs to use on your website). I know that creating an offer is a huge effort on its own, but that's a topic for another blog series.
3. Create 5+ blog titles for which that offer is a natural next step (e.g. a post called "10 Ways to Make Your Home Office More Effective" to feed into an offer called "The Ultimate Weekly Planner for Work-from-Home Creatives") and add these titles to your editorial calendar.
4. Write social posts that would appeal to the kind of person who will ultimately make a purchase.
Lots of other people will be interested in your content, and it's great that you're providing value to them. They may share your content or become customers later on, but your materials should all target people who are your ideal customers right now.
For example, your weekly planner for work-from-home creatives may appeal to people who want to start a business from home, but you can draw in better leads with social posts about things that current entrepreneurs will recognize, like organizing client billing.
Also, don't forget the niche networks and topical forums. Dozens of tweets with no engagement aren't worth one popular Tumblr post if that's where your audience is!
5. Repurpose your content in ways that fit the topic and persona. There are so, so many options: Podcasts, YouTube videos, infographics, publishing on Medium or LinkedIn, SlideShares, or even GIFs—why not? And don't forget to share it like we talked about above :)
6. Encourage valuable backlinks. This is somewhat out of your control, but there's still a lot that you can do to cultivate the kind of links to your content that will give you the most benefit.
You can create excellent link-friendly content, share it well on social media, contribute to or guest blogging for high-authority sites to draw attention to your content, and collaborate with influencers.
Press releases used to be one of the “secret weapons” of SEO people. They created lots of links at once across hundreds or even thousands of websites. But Google caught on, and it’s not that simple any more. That said, press releases—when written about something that’s genuinely important for your company—can still be a very effective method of getting found and building relevant inbound links.
When something big happens, you'll be blogging about it, and that's a great time to also write and distribute a press release. We recommend using a professional paid service over one of the free services, because the free ones tend to create the type of links that Google doesn’t like.
Don't waste your time trying to get linkbacks from just any site, though. Look for high-authority sites where the audience has some overlap with your audience (Not sure about domain authority? Check here.). And don't ignore podcasts, because the show notes are chock full of links!
7. Explore your options for targeted digital advertising, from promoted posts and other social ads to PPC, display, etc. There are lots of options today that can be used tactfully to promote content offers, site pages, and even top-converting blog posts, and many of them offer hyper-specific targeting and retargeting. When you can pay offer your content to exactly the people who may be interested, advertising is an option that's worth exploring.
Rinse and repeat, folks.
By implementing these steps, you can build a content creation strategy that brings in more and more leads over time with fresh, targeted content. Finally, don’t be afraid to have a heart or a sense of humor in your content. Your customers want to know you’re a real person (or groups of real people). We let our VIEO freak flag fly on our blog, and I bet you like us even more for it. And even if you don't, hey, we're having a good time.
How to write:
- in a "company voice"
- a services page that converts visitors into leads
- a call-to-action that will earn clicks
- an "About Us" page that builds trust
- Terms and Conditions for a website
- a home page your visitors will actually read
Hey, let's not end the link party now—here are parts 1-7 of this series, ICYMI:
Website Redesign, Step 1: Benchmark Current Performance
Website Redesign, Step 2: Clarify Your Goals
Website Redesign, Step 3: Inventory Your Assets
Website Redesign, Step 4: Analyze the Competition
Website Redesign, Step 5: Incorporate Your UVP
Website Redesign, Step 6: Design for Your Ideal Customer
Website Redesign, Step 7: Optimize Your Content for SEO
Website Redesign, Step 8: Plan Your CTAs
Or, go ahead and read about the whole process at one time in our ebook on THIS VERY TOPIC! What a coincidence.