You're on the cusp of taking your marketplace to the next level but you need to cross the chasm to reach that elusive critical mass of users to create self-sustaining growth. This project is your baby and you are excited to parent your marketplace through all the stages of success. Creating an effective content marketing strategy can help take your marketplace to the next level.
The question remains: How can I affordably reach my target market?
There are many strategies and often they consume small budgets quickly. Traditional web ads are reaching a smaller portion of your target market as web users begin to opt for Ad Blockers. All the while more content than ever is being consumed. This is where many marketplaces, including Airbnb, are learning to hack the web and reach their target market with content. This extremely effective practice is known as content marketing.
Byron White is a leader in the space with over 15 years of experience and trusted by over 500 clients. He explains that content marketing is “the art of listening to your customers’ needs and the science of delivering it to them in a compelling, engaging way.”
With 550 million users on Tumblr alone, the amount of content created on the web is overwhelming. Standing out and ensuring your content captivates your desired audience can be difficult, but Byron believes that a little bit of planning can go a long way, saving you money and ultimately maximizing your ROI.
Crossing the chasm with content marketing (Join the Meetup)
Where to begin with the planning?
With help from Byron White’s book “The Content Marketing Roadmap: How to create a content marketing strategy that works” we have created a breakdown of some best practices planning your personalized content marketing strategy.
Content Planning is a key to success. In order to understand how much time and other resources are necessary to achieve desired results, a few key questions must be answered:
- What volume of content is necessary?
- How frequent should content be published?
- What distribution channels maximize your business’s success?
- How do I track success and return on investment?
Initially these questions can seem overwhelming and stop us in our tracks, but with these few tips navigating you through the research and planning stage, your success may be reliant merely on the time you can devote to your content marketing strategy.
- Keyword Research - Research allows you to understand what your audience associates you and your industry with, ultimately creating a plan to drive more traffic to your site. As your research begins it is important to develop a strategy around a keyword universe (KU). With millions upon millions of terms and keywords associated with other businesses, identifying important high volume, high price per click (PPC) keywords and investing in them is as important as the cheaper alternatives. Although ensuring a balance in your KU between the high volume/high PPC keywords with low volume/low PPC keywords, as well as unique terms (long tail keywords), is necessary to break apart from the pack by creating a unique identity that is easily searchable.
- Keyword Research Tools - Keyword gaps and overlaps are just a few things that research tools can help with, ensuring maximum ROI. Tools like SpyFu.com allow for a seamless export to a spreadsheet, giving key insights by allowing for comparisons of key variables such as PPC price, search volume and more. The abundance of free trials enable you to use these tools to find the most beneficial keywords for your business, with nothing more than your time.
- Goals - With a low budget it may be less likely that you are working with multiple people but it is still just as important. You should know and be able to communicate with others the goals you hope to achieve, for your own productivity, as well as maintaining the ability to hire or outsource work in the future effectively. Goals can include increase in: conversion, traffic, listing positions, time on site (stickiness), repeat visitations, downloads, subscriptions, sales or customer lifetime value. The goals you set will be unique and not all goals may apply to you. Your goals should reflect some of the most important aspects of your strategy.
- Competitive Intelligence - Understanding the competitors and how your marketplace stacks up next to them is important to help define your goals and strategies. You can learn from your competitors mistakes and successes. Create a spreadsheet with: Traffic, PPC Spending, Content Portfolio, Link Popularity, Publishing Frequency, Facebook Reach, Twitter Reach, LinkIn Reach, Testimonials, Strategic Partnership, Internal Links, SEO, Strength, Search Performance, AB Testing and any other key indicators that are applicable. After your spreadsheet is assembled go through and rate yourself and your competitors in each category honestly. After you have compiled all of your ratings you can begin to dissect and understand how much work and how expensive it will be to capture organic market share with content marketing. This will also allow you to see where you can focus more or less and help set further goals.
- Audience’s Persona - Once you understand who your audience is you should create personas around the needs and wants they might have. Creating personas helps you keep a style or theme that will keep your readers coming back for more. Using demographic analytics and SEO tools will allow you to pinpoint personas that should fit your audience best. Byron refers to his 2 favorite, ADD Andy and Sophisticated Sally but encourages the creation of 3 or 4 personas that will all need different information at different times in the buying cycle.
- Style - Engaging your audience in a way that is enjoyable is important. The different personas that you have created may require different styles of writing and other content. Even if it is necessary to create different styles focusing on the different personas, it is essential to be consistent. Large corporations with many content producers often create Style Guides to keep track of and easily convey to new members of the team the desired styles. Defining a template early and understanding some best practice tips like most effective topic header will round off your style with the analytics to back it up.
As Ad Blockers continue to disrupt the web, traditional means of marketing are becoming less effective at crossing the chasm. Strategic content marketing can help you reach the elusive critical mass that will propel you to the next level. With a plan in hand you will be able to effectively focus your efforts and maximize your time with little to no investment.