Content marketing is hard. But it is the difference between winning and losing when it comes to the long-term success of a brand.
The State of Content Marketing Survey 2019 shows that 96% of all marketing decision-makers confess that content marketing has been effective for their brand. That’s a whopping increase of 26% from the 70% who said so in 2017.
Sadly, even with sufficient marketing budgets, companies are failing to get the results they are hoping for because:
1. They don’t have a proven content strategy that will work for them.
2. They either don’t have or know about the tools that will make content marketing easy for them.
SEO tools, content marketing tools, or B2B content marketing may intimidate a beginner and may even lead to abandoning the exercise mid-way or results in unproductive hiring.
At BUZZVALVE, we have spent hours running through statistics and case studies to understand how the most successful brands approach content marketing.
Our findings have pleasantly surprised us. Most good brands use a straightforward strategy, affordable tools and minimum work-force to do so. Here is a 10-step content strategy and the tools any business will need to create a sustainable content marketing plan that will actually work.
1. Content audit: Google Analytics
A content audit involves systematically analysing the content on the website and assessing its relative strengths and weaknesses to align the content with marketing goals.
Google Analytics is undeniably the oldest and one of the most powerful web analytics tools available today to determine visitor behaviour and pattern.
On average, 86% of companies use Google Analytics for content marketing; out of this, 56% of brands rely exclusively on Google for content analytics. Even 51% of Fortune 500 websites depend on Google Analytics for their data.
Integrating the website with Google Analytics serves as information on the number of visits on the website, bounce rate, number of sessions and session time. It shows the source, traffic channels, demographic, visit times, preferred devices and most visited pages of any visitor. This data may help create a good strategy for engaging visitors based on patterns.
Pricing: Google Analytics is a free program. It may be integrated with Google AdSense and Google AdWords platforms to boost the performance of the content.
How to use results from Google Analytics
1. Once all the numbers are available, it is recommended to keep track of the data regarding paid and organic campaigns and their difference in terms of reach.
2. Top-performing pages and posts can be analysed and more content created around readers’ preferences.
3. Brands may also consider repurposing that content - be it a long-form blog series or an ebook.
2. Competitive analysis: Ubersuggest
Every business is curious to know how well their competitors are performing online. Brands may create all the hum-drum they want, but the best way to spy on their performance is by running a competitive analysis.
A competitive analysis identifies the competitors, determines their strengths and weaknesses, and helps brands develop strategies that will provide them with a distinct advantage.
A little step helped Honda enter the US market at a time when big, throaty bikes, namely Harley Davidson, Indian and Triumph, dominated the American market. Honda, aiming to expand its motorbike business in the US, analysed the competitive market and found an area in which it could excel - small bikes. Honda’s larger bikes couldn’t compete with the likes of a Harley, but its smaller bikes resonated well with young buyers looking for an affordable alternative. Competitive analysis saved the day!
A preferable all-in-one SEO tool for this step is Ubersuggest. One may sign up and enter the competitor’s domain to see their monthly organic traffic, organic keywords, domain score, backlinks, top pages by countries with estimated visits, backlinks and social shares. It also shows SEO keyword rankings with position and estimated visits.
Pricing: There are no hidden charges in Ubersuggest, and a significant part of Neil Patel’s tool is still free. Ubersuggest Pro costs $12-$40 per month, and the lifetime subscription costs $120-$400, which is a jackpot given the kind of information it offers.
How to use Ubersuggest for competitive analysis
1. Compile a list of at least 10 of one’s immediate business competitors and searching their domain to collect all their performance data. The best part is Ubersuggest allows exporting the data directly to Excel.
2. Once the data is extracted, one may create a comparative analysis of the brand with all the other competitors across each data point. With this blueprint, a business may work on areas that are lacking in comparison to their competitor’s. It’s wise to set goals accordingly and keep repeating this step to surpass competitors.
3. Keyword research tool: Moz
According to a study by Ahrefs, as much as 94.3% of pages out of roughly two million pages checked didn’t get even a single visitor from Google. Now that’s a painful realisation.
Having great content and ranking on the first page of Google are two completely different skills. This is why using keyword research comes to the rescue.
We suggest Moz as a great free tool for credible information. Running a search for any keyword or domain tells the keywords' monthly volume, search difficulty, organic CTR, priority, keyword suggestions, and SERP analysis.
A popular feature on Moz is called site overview. It lets the user run a keyword search for any two websites simultaneously to see the keyword ranking comparison for both websites.
To make things easier on the go, Moz created its Moz Bar extension to give instant metrics while viewing any page or SERP. It can create a custom search by engines or demographic, quickly access the page authority, domain authority, link metrics and expose page elements.
Pricing: It permits running a limited number of searches every day for free. But users need to upgrade to the premium plan for $149 to have unlimited access to the keyword tools.
How to use Moz for best keyword results
1. Make a list of keywords that the brand is already ranking high for and continue to create content around those keywords.
2. Compile a list of keywords that the brand wants to rank for and use them in the content. Keep a check on the performance with these fresh keywords.
3. Look for long-tail keywords that may be incorporated into the content for the right balance.
4. Curating blog topics: Buzzsumo
Brainstorming blog topics is a fun but strategically overlooked process. It is good to stop and ask how can this incredible content reach more people?
Every single business may perform better by using Buzzsumo to identify and create relevant content.
Even viral content creating websites, such as Buzzfeed, use Buzzsumo’s data to track the virality of different news stories and see where they are socially shared.
When the user types any keyword in the search bar, BuzzSumo pulls up the most popular and shared articles on social media with those keywords on the Internet.
Users can filter the results by date, language, country, domain, content type, among others. Users may also see any website’s top-performing content by running a search based on their domain name. Buzzsumo lets the users export all this data so they may analyse it at their convenience.
Pricing: This tool offers a free 7-day trial. One may later upgrade to any Buzzsumo package that cost from $99 to $499, depending on one’s needs. Trust us; it’s worth every penny.
How to make the best out of Buzzsumo
1. Buzzsumo facilitates a data-driven approach to generate trending blog topics over the web. A look at all the contributing factors can enhance the content.
2. The tool also shows websites and influencers who are creating the most popular content within a given niche. Following them and aiming to create better content must be the larger goal, even though it may feel too ambitious in the beginning.
5. Content writing: Grammarly
The "content" in the "content marketing" needs to be flawless. The slightest hint of misspelling and grammar errors may sink the brand’s credibility in seconds. When writing a blog or crafting a professional email, having professional proofreading software like Grammarly is like having two pairs of eyes on everything.
The tool automatically detects errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and style using artificial intelligence. Grammarly can be installed as a web application or as an extension. It will automatically check the text and offer suggestions by underlining the word.
Any business that wants to take their writing one notch higher can pay for the premium version, which unlocks more useful features like consistency, fluency, readability, word choice, tone detection, inclusive language, formality level, and plagiarism.
Pricing: The basic Grammarly features are free, but users can upgrade to their monthly premium plan for $29.95 as an individual and $12.50 as a team.
How can Grammarly improve the quality of content?
1. Quickly run the content through Grammarly to check content accuracy and readability.
2. The Grammarly extension can be directly used with the word editor in a CMS like WordPress to refine the blog.
6. Content design: Canva
One study shows that 88% of marketers stated that they incorporated visual content in more than 50% of all the articles they published.
We propose using a graphic design web and mobile application like Canva. Even professional designers love it as they ditch their pro-designing software for quick timesaving design work on Canva.
Canva helps create stunning designs for social media, presentations, logos, invitations, brochures, infographics, CVs or ebook covers. The designs may be directly exported or saved in different formats such as PDF, PNG, JPG etc.
Canva has an extremely user-friendly interface that allows easy navigation.
Pricing: Canva is a free tool, but users can upgrade to the monthly premium version to access more stock images, templates and features for $9.95 to $30.
How to use Canva for high quality content design
1. Quickly design content for social media campaigns on Canva and change the dimensions easily for different platforms.
2. Users can also create branded images like infographics to incorporate into the blog. This will make the content more appealing and unique for the readers.
7. Social media marketing: Buffer
Needless to say, social media is one of the best places to channelise the content and get farther reach.
Up to 52% of brands give up on social media marketing at an early stage because they find it too overwhelming to keep up with posting and tracking on different platforms.
With Buffer, brands can save their time, energy, man-power and peace of mind when it comes to social media.
It is a web and mobile application that helps schedule all social media posts and analyse their performance over all the platforms.
Upon signing up and creating an account on Buffer, a business can add all its active social media platforms. Buffer permits adding multiple accounts and multiple posts. This facilitates creating posts and scheduling the day and time when they should be posted. As the posts keep getting published, the performance report for each platform can also be checked.
Pricing: Buffer offers a 14-day free trial, after which users may choose from two different packages. The one for sharing costs $15-$99 per month, and the one for analysing costs $35-50 per month.
How to use Buffer for social sharing
1. We suggest identifying and choosing the platforms that are actually relevant to the brand and its growth.
2. The schedule calendar lets the users see all the posts in one place. Using this will keep the users organised and more motivated to share content snippets regularly.
3. Analyse posts regularly, especially based on "most viewed" content. This will provide insight into the kind of content viewers enjoy the most.
8. Email marketing: Sendinblue
Marketers who use segmented campaigns noted as much as a 760% increase in revenue.
This indicates that email marketing is only going to generate higher leads and customer retention for businesses.
Sendinblue is a great option for email campaigns. On signing up, it takes users to the dashboard. Users can add email contacts or import them directly from a third-party source. There is an option to create a separate contact list for different campaigns. On the dashboard, users can view the email campaign, design templates and complete campaign statistics.
We picked Sendinblue over the other obvious famous email marketing platforms because if a business has a high volume of senders, it will generate generous savings. Its free plan has more features, and there is no limit to the number of contacts per plan. And with its white label solution, Sendinblue has a rigorous account validation system to ensure that emails don’t end up in a spam folder.
Pricing- Sendinblue has an adequate, feature-rich free plan that includes marketing automation and phone support for the first 60 days with up to 300 emails per day. Paid plans start at $25 a month for 40,000 emails. Unlike other providers, they charge based on the number of emails rather than the number of contacts.
How to use Sendinblue for an effective email marketing campaign
1. Create and send newsletters while keeping a check on the number of views, forwards and opening time. This will help identify the kind of content preferred by the readers and the best day and time of sending it.
2. Easily track the unsubscribes along with new subscribers to discover why the readers might have opted out.
3. The key is to keep experimenting with the email titles to find the taglines that give the highest opening rate.
9. Content production management: Trello
If a business has not used Trello for their content marketing process flow yet, they may be hugely losing out on productivity. Around the world, 1 million teams are actively using Trello for effective content management.
Trello simplifies and streamlines content analysis, content strategy, content writing and content marketing processes by bringing it all together.
On signing up, users create different boards. Each board represents a separate project. Users can add lists inside each board as equivalent to things that need to get done inside the project. More cards can be added to each list for tasks and ideas.
Adding members to each board will allow them to communicate and collaborate with team members through writing a comment. Team members can add labels, checklists, due dates and file attachments to be more descriptive.
Pricing: Most of Trello’s features are available for free. For extra features, upgrade to the premium plan for $9.99-$17.50 per month.
Why should a business use Trello?
1. To see the workflow and progress.
2. Trello leads to fewer emails and meetings with increased productivity.
3. It connects all the separate processes of content marketing together.
10. Content marketing automation: Click Funnels
Think of a content marketing funnel as a system that creates as many leads as possible through a step-by-step content flow and converts them into actual customers who are willing to pay for their products or services.
A marketing funnel begins segregating with a large audience and narrows them down to a smaller group of qualified lead, and then to an even smaller group of customers.
Therefore, businesses can create a marketing funnel to attract, engage and delight potential customers until they take action.
Marketing automation through funnels drives a 14.5% increase in sales productivity and a 12.2% reduction in marketing overheads.
Click Funnels is a great tool for creating marketing and sales funnels for almost any kind of business.
After signing-up, businesses can create a new funnel and select their goal and industry type. Funnels can be designed with free or paid templates, and users can add image pop-ups, media or content to them.
Pricing: Click Funnels offers a 14-day free trial, after which users need to pay $97 per month. It seems expensive, but its results prove its worth.
How is Click Funnel helpful for a business?
1. Click Funnel lets users create funnels or use existing templates that have already proven to convert in terms of layout and design.
2. Businesses can observe some of the most successful brands in their domain and model their funnel. If they are already successful, they must be doing something right.
Spending more money and hiring more people does not guarantee the success of the content. Let us think of these steps as full-circle. Let us keep achieving the goals and setting new ones in the next cycle.
The right strategy and tools implemented by the right team will eventually generate desired results.