Content marketing. We’ve all heard the phrase, but what exactly does it mean? Content marketing is an all-encompassing term used to describe any marketing materials or strategies created using online platforms. While it comes in many shapes and sizes, content marketing is a powerhouse tool you can use to enhance your business’s online presence. And if you’re asking yourself where to begin, fear not. Below we’ve got 10 steps you can use to begin developing a content strategy that works for your advisory business.
Types of Content Marketing
Content marketing is an umbrella term used to describe a multitude of content types including:
- Case Studies
- Social Media
- White Papers
- Memes (yes, really!)
While this is just a short list of the types of content you can create, think about which ones will work best for reaching and connecting with your target audience.
Step 1: Define Your Goals
Understanding what you want to get out of your content strategy will help guide the direction in which you want to take it. Begin the process by asking yourself a few simple questions:
- Why do I want to create a content strategy?
- What are my overall business goals?
- How can I use an effective content strategy to achieve these goals?
Define what success will be to you. Is it an increase in free consultation meetings, or are you more interested in promoting your recently published book? If possible, put a percentage or numbers to your goal. This will help you track your strategy’s progress and better understand its effectiveness.
Step 2: Establish Your Niche
While the gut reaction of some advisors is to avoid niches and keep their content general, defining a niche can prove to be an effective component of your content strategy. Why? Because opting to keep things too general can quickly land you amongst the abysmal white noise of the internet. Instead, stand out from the crowd and prove yourself to be an authoritative figure by creating insightful content on specific subjects.
Think of it this way: Between the keywords “financial advisor” and “financial advisors for business owners,” which would have less competition online? You guessed it, the more specific one.
In addition, establishing your niche lends itself nicely to beginning the next step of creating an audience persona.
Step 3: Create an Audience Persona
Chances are, you’ve already established a buyer persona for your advisor business. This is the ideal client you’d want to call the office or walk through your door. You’ve gotten as specific as possible about their age, relationship status, gender, profession, hobbies and net worth. And, chances are, you use this persona to market and drive your business already.
Now it’s time to think about who you’re online audience should be. Are you focused solely on generating leads and creating new clients? Then your audience persona will likely match the one you’ve already established for your business.
Whoever you define your target audience to be, think about what it is they’re interested in learning and how they prefer to engage with advisors. For example, a high-net-worth retiree may open and click through your email newsletters, but a young couple in their early 30’s might find your social media posts more engaging.
Step 4: Content Audit
Does your current content align with the goals you defined in step 1? Take a step back and evaluate any content your firm has already produced. If it feels outdated or off-brand, don’t hit delete quite yet. Not only did you or your staff spend valuable time creating that content, but it may have gained a bit of traction in Google’s rankings. Instead, use your goals and audience research to give your older content a facelift. Give it a good lookover for SEO strategies and check for its readability and overall user experience.
If you’ve produced consistent content in the past such as videos, how-tos, checklists or blog posts, consider repurposing this older content. For example, take your collection of blog posts about estate planning and create a lead magnet, such as a downloadable Ebook or white paper on “Everything You Need to Know About Estate Planning.” Use this content audit to maximize the reach and potential of content you’ve already created.
Step 5: Brainstorm New Ideas
Once you’ve taken the time to repurpose and update the content you’ve already created, think about what comes next. What are other advisors with similar niches talking about online? If possible, try to find untapped topics relevant to your niche. This is an effective way to establish yourself as a unique thought leader right out of the gate.
Additionally, addressing the questions other advisors aren’t answering will lessen your competition in the SERP and get you noticed quicker by Google and your target audience. As you brainstorm, think about your unique value proposition and personal experiences that can help make you and your business stand out from the crowd.
Step 6: Channel Plan
So you’ve come up with a few really great ideas and subjects to cover as you completed your brainstorming session. Now you must decide what will be the best way to present this information to your audience. Consider your audience persona and what avenues will be best to reach and engage them with.
Consider how long or in-depth the content should be. For example, will we sufficiently cover this topic in a 1,000-word blog post or is a white paper more appropriate? Choose the best mediums based on the content ideas you’ve created and your audience’s preferred method of communication. If it’s an exceptionally dynamic topic, perhaps a video would be best. Do you want to give clients a step-by-step guide to retirement planning? Or opt for a checklist.
While you don’t want to get too specific to start, for now you’ll want to decide what channels to use consistently throughout your content marketing campaign. If your target audience is an older demographic, what are they most likely to view and interact with? If they’re young corporate executives, what would they like to see?
Step 7: Make an Editorial Calendar
This often-overlooked step can really make or break your content strategy. Why? Because when it comes to any type of content: consistency is key. And the best way to create consistent content? That’s right, create a calendar.
Creating an editorial calendar can help you stay organized in terms of publishing on your blog, creating social media posts, sending out email newsletters, promoting gated content or marketing any other forms of content you’ve created. Placing your publish dates on a calendar is an effective way to visualize your content strategy. Plus, having a physical calendar in hand can help you ensure you’re not underutilizing one channel or oversharing on another.
While most of your content will be evergreen, meaning it’s just as relevant a year from now as it is today, utilizing a calendar can help you plan time-sensitive pieces. Creating more targeted, relevant content around important times of the year (holidays, tax season, the new year) can help create spikes in interest as you capitalize on these trending topics.
Step 8: Create and Publish Content
Once you’ve researched your niche, defined your audience and brainstormed ideas, it’s finally time to create and publish your content! As we said before, consistency is key. Another key element of a successful content marketing campaign? Creating quality content.
Research the types of content you’re creating to ensure you’re optimizing your blog posts for SEO, creating lead-capturing landing pages and maximizing your open and click-through rates on emails. Stick to your editorial calendar, but don’t be afraid to test different schedules and channels of use depending on the feedback received or metrics analyzed.
Step 9: Manage & Measure Your Content
What you do after you publish or share a piece of content is just as important as what you do before. Why? Because you need to know how it’s performing in relation to the goals you defined in the first step. Use important Google Analytic metrics that are pertinent to your content to understand how viewers are engaging with it.
During this time, it’s important to evaluate the effectiveness of the channels you’re using as well. Are site visitors actually downloading your Ebook on estate planning? If not, they may be more interested in reading small, digestible pieces of content like checklists or blog posts. Continuously monitor and measure the effectiveness of your content using hard metrics to help quantify your progress.
Step 10: Re-evaluate and Readjust Strategies
Think of your content as living pieces of work that can be adjusted, reworked and rewritten as needed. If something simply isn’t working, don’t abandon all hope. Head back to the drawing board and reevaluate your strategy as a whole.
There’s no simple solution to creating a successful content strategy. Instead, you need to invest time in understanding what your target audience is interested in seeing and what’s the best way to reach them.
Developing Your Own Content Strategy
Okay, so 10 steps may feel like a lot. But we promise, investing time and effort into implementing an effective content strategy can yield your firm surprising results. As inbound marketing proves to be an effective choice for marketers, the importance of killer content is only getting greater. Take the time to develop your own content strategy to start generating leads for your business and building an authoritative presence online.