Job hunt, client research, pitches, and complex interviews… All in between actual writing gigs. Sound familiar? As a freelance writer, you know how difficult and time-consuming finding clients can be. But, what if they came to you?
What if your blog drove insane conversions for you while you’re sleeping? A carefully planned content marketing strategy makes this dream come true. Here’s how to get clients knocking on your door—instead of the other way around.
What Is a Content Marketing Strategy?
A content marketing strategy is a plan of content creation and distribution. When done right, it helps you achieve your objectives, like other marketing strategies. But, this strategy allows you to do that by crafting valuable content for your target audience.
How to Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy
Developing a content marketing strategy means planning content that serves you and your audience. You can’t create just any content or your hard work will go down the drain. Do these three things before you write a single letter.
1. Define Your Objectives
First, have a clear vision of what you want to achieve with your content. Set your objectives, and use them as guideposts. When considering content ides, ask: How does this help me achieve my objectives? If you can’t come up with a straightforward answer, drop the idea. Here are a few common content marketing objectives:
– Brand awareness
– Thought leadership
– Audience development
– Customer retention
You ultimately want to drive conversions. But, before that can happen, you need to grow your audience, and establish authority. That’s why you shouldn’t skip steps. Rather, keep the buyer’s journey in mind. For example, you could develop your audience by hosting giveaways. Or, you could establish thought leadership by sharing valuable content. This will warm up your audience, and make them more likely to take you up on your offer later.
2. Research Your Target Audience
Next, find out who you’re writing for. Who do you want to attract with your content? Put your detective’s cap on and start digging for information about your target audience. Ideally, you’d conduct a survey or a study. If you don’t have the time, here’s where to find information:
– Public forums
– Google Scholar
– Social media groups (Hint: Facebook and LinkedIn)
Take notes on:
With these details, you can create audience personas. Personas help you create content your real audience would enjoy. Say you’re a copywriter. You’re targeting small business owners. Your research shows they struggle with sales. You could create content that helps them with this challenge—and promotes your services. Or you notice they’re using words like “ROI” or “cashflow.” Use these words to make your audience feel understood. For the best results, keep a list of your customer personas nearby while you write.
3. Choose Topic Categories and Specific Topics
Once you understand your audience, you know what topics they’ll love. For example, small business owners might be interested in:
– Business Growth
Choose 3 to 5 topic categories you’ll cover. Then come up with more specific topics:
– Business Growth – hiring, investment
– Marketing – content marketing, social media
– Sales – CRO
Make sure these also help you achieve your objectives. If you’re not a copywriter, it doesn’t make sense to write about marketing. It might be useful for your audience but it won’t drive conversions.
Once you’ve done these three things, choose how you’ll distribute your content. This will help you find clients. A content marketing strategy is as important as high-quality content. It attracts the right people—the ones that will hire you. Stop wasting time on pitching, and have them come to you.
Dina is a copywriter for small businesses. She helps owners enjoy their business more, and worry less. You can follow her on Twitter @dinasostarec.
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