Table of Contents
- What Is a Content Marketing Strategy?
- Benefits of Local Content Marketing
- How to Develop a Local Content Marketing Strategy: A Step-by-Step Guide
- Need Assistance? Consider Outsourcing
This post was written by Compose.ly writer Stephanie Lica.
If you’re not already targeting your content marketing efforts at local consumers, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to reach the audience your efforts are most likely to resonate with.
Customers love all things local; researchers from Google claim that half of mobile consumers who conduct local searches visit physical premises within a day. In fact, one-third of searches occur immediately before customers visit locations in person. This tendency can translate to an amazing return on investment for any brand that puts even a modicum of effort into geographically-defined campaigns.
Local content marketing efforts shouldn’t be a mere afterthought; they should form a cornerstone of marketing strategy. Unfortunately, many businesses lack the focus they need to achieve success in the digital world. A 2017 report from Managing Digital Marketing suggests that nearly half of businesses lack clearly defined strategies for digital marketing.
Are you ready to step up your local SEO efforts and score higher conversion rates? With the right strategy, these goals could be well within reach. Below, we explore the value of local-oriented content marketing, and offer a step-by-step approach to developing an optimized local marketing strategy.
What Is a Content Marketing Strategy?
It’s no secret that “content is king,” but this cliche only scratches the surface.
How should your content be organized? How can it best represent your brand and your priorities? An effective content marketing strategy answers these questions while serving as a blueprint for your blogging and social media efforts.
This blueprint can be as simple or as extensive as you like. In most situations, however, more detail is better. Your plan can outline your philosophy, your goals, your preferred platforms, and any metrics that you’ll use to indicate when you’ve achieved your primary content marketing goals.
How Your Strategy Can Improve Your Content Marketing For Local Business
When you think of effective marketing tactics on a local level, you probably picture direct mail or outdoor advertising. While these traditional tactics can certainly attract customers, they should always be accompanied by digital campaigns.
Increasingly, consumers are relying on search engines and social media for information about goods and services — even those located right down the street. Few people are willing to test-drive nearby businesses that fail to provide some sort of social proof online–hence the need for content marketing campaigns that cater to both local consumers and a broader audience.
If you aim to capture a local audience, you’ll want to build this mission directly into your content marketing strategy. Without a clear plan, you are unlikely to craft the type of campaign that appeals to local consumers.
Your emphasis on local search results will determine the type of platforms you use, the keywords you select, and how you measure your campaign’s ROI. If implemented correctly, your content marketing strategy will help you target your message to those most likely to become loyal followers, and perhaps even long-term customers.
How to Develop an Effective Content Marketing Strategy: A Step-By-Step Guide
Content marketing can be intimidating, even for digital marketing vets. The dizzying pace of technological change is a chief concern; how can anybody expect to keep up?
It’s rarely easy to get started with a content marketing strategy; the first step is by far the most difficult. A little momentum can make all the difference — you just need to take that initial leap of faith. Begin with a goal and move forward from there. These steps and suggestions should help:
1. Determine your mission and goals
Before you can succeed with content marketing, you need to know what, exactly, you hope to accomplish. Begin by putting this in writing — ideally in a detailed mission statement. Determine the scope of your target audience, the type of content with which you intend to reach this audience, and opportunities for user interaction.
Once you’ve drafted a solid mission statement, you can move on to company goals. These can vary dramatically from one organization to the next. Many businesses seek to increase brand awareness through social media engagement, while others purely focus on generating quality sales leads.
It’s not enough to merely conceptualize your content marketing goals. If they are not put in writing, they will not be a priority. As soon as you determine what you want from your digital marketing campaign, develop tangible goals — and outline them in detail. These can always be adjusted as you get a better sense of how your mission can best be attained.
2. Choose the right channels
Where will you display your content? Which social media or blogging platforms are best suited to your goals? The sooner you determine the appropriate digital marketing channels for your brand, the more effectively you can target your strategy based on those platforms.
Your approach to local SEO will depend on the nature of your website and whether you primarily use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or some other social media approach. You’ll also want to consider how many accounts you’re willing to maintain. Some brands can be found on nearly every social media platform imaginable, while others focus exclusively on one or two accounts in hopes of better targeting core consumers. Those with just one account often opt for Facebook, which boasts over 40 million small business pages.
It’s not all about social media; content management should be a key consideration. Who will host your website? Is it possible to manage content production, maintenance, and analytics from a central location? These capabilities can be valuable for those who lack time and patience.
Determine Your Target Audience …
Your audience should play a central role in selecting content marketing channels and determining how they fit into your overarching strategy. For example, how you market to Gen Z will look dramatically different from how you reach Baby Boomers. Gen Z increasingly favors searching via Siri and browsing on Instagram, while older users typically prefer text-based Google searches and Facebook.
Differences exist not only between generations, but also based on geographic location — an essential consideration as you tailor your strategy for a local audience. Hence, the importance of researching both your audience and potential platforms’ abilities to meet users’ needs long before you proceed with content creation.
… And Your Content Type
In addition to selecting appropriate platforms, you’ll also want to consider the type of content worth producing. Options include:
- Blog posts
- Press releases
- White papers
The appropriate mediums will depend on your audience, your industry, and the marketing goals you’ve already outlined. Keep an eye on digital trends; video, for example, already dominates online marketing and is expected to see continued growth in the next few years. Internet marketing expert Neil Patel reveals that video is incorporated in 70 percent of the top 100 listings for search results.
Blogs are particularly effective in that they allow you to demonstrate your industry authority while also highlighting other forms of content. For example, a blog post may incorporate images, infographics, or videos. Blogs allow for the seamless integration of local SEO terms while targeting marketing to regional consumers. What’s more, the return on investment can be considerable for carefully curated blogs; SEO-related inbound leads boast an impressive close rate of 14.6 percent, versus just 1.7 percent for print advertising.
3. Develop key performance indicators
How will you know when you’ve reached your goal? This is where key performance indicators (KPIs) come into play. These quantifiable targets can be used as an initial milestone for your campaign. Later, they will provide a valuable benchmark as you evaluate your campaign’s reach — and what you can do to improve in the future.
Development and ongoing maintenance of key performance indicators can be integral to local marketing success.
KPIs can differ based on your goals and the nature of your audience. Select the wrong KPIs, and you will struggle to abide by the mission you outlined earlier.
If you’re looking to amp up local SEO, you’ll want to develop KPIs that track success on a regional basis. Many companies rely on conversions as indicators of campaign success.
When in doubt, it’s best to avoid ‘vanity metrics,’ which may produce impressive numbers without actually benefiting your bottom line. For example, overall blog traffic won’t always be an accurate indicator of a marketing initiative’s success, particularly if you fail to generate local interest or conversions. More effective blog KPIs might include:
- The number of inbound links attached to various pages or blog posts
- A breakdown of traffic sources indicating whether viewers arrive from social media, search engines, or blog subscriber emails
- Changes in the number of newsletter subscribers
- The number of (and sources for) viable leads generated through blog content
KPI development offers little value if you fail to follow through. Look to tools such as Google Analytics to determine whether your content lives up to your goals.
4. Research and select keywords
Once you’ve determined your goals, your preferred platform, and benchmarks for success, it’s time to get specific with keyword research. The keywords you select can determine your content’s visibility on a local scale.
Ideal keywords should capture the essence of what users hope to learn online. Today’s users will abandon ship quickly if they catch wind of content stuffed with inaccurate keywords.
Look to tools such as the Google Ads Keyword Planner to determine search volume for various terms. Experiment with different phrases to ascertain which searches generate the most interest.
Remember, search volume is far from the only factor worth considering when determining the appropriate keyword. While short keywords may generate more searches total, they’re also far more competitive. With local SEO, long-tail keywords are typically more effective, particularly if they include geographic terms.
Increasingly, consumers are relying on long-tail keywords for voice searches, which are quickly taking over the digital marketing sphere. Experts at Gartner predict that voice-activated queries will account for 30 percent of all searches by 2020; already, half of those who own voice assistants make use of them at least once per day.
Natural keyword language would be essential even without the rise of voice search, but it’s even more important now that internet users are so reliant on Siri and Alexa. Google Data highlighted by Forbes reveals that 70 percent of searches conducted on the Google Assistant involve natural language.
5. Develop a detailed content creation workflow
Without a detailed blueprint for the content creation process, publishing will ultimately prove haphazard and ineffective. Consistency is key; followers should feel confident that they’ll see new content on a regular basis, without feeling bombarded. Key elements of your content creation plan should include:
- Brainstorming. Who develops the ideas for the content? Who approves these concepts? How are approved ideas ultimately connected across multiple content marketing and social media channels?
- Content creation. Once content ideas have been approved and refined, it’s time to embark on the actual creation process. Some companies develop content in-house, but many rely on outsourced content creation, which frees business leaders up to focus on other important matters. Outsourcing may also vary based on the type of content; the same company may stick with in-house social media while outsourcing blog or video content. Determine not only who will create your content, but how closely you will work with this person to achieve your vision while maintaining a consistent voice for your brand.
- Approval process. Once content has been created, it should undergo a rigorous editing and approval process to ensure that it is of exceptional quality and that it abides by the tenets of your brand. Determine who will have the final say in regards to when and whether new content is published.
- Promotion. Content should be promoted on social media platforms or via marketing emails, but not to excess. Determine how often new blogs or other content should be shared — and how promotional posts can best move potential consumers through your company’s sales funnel.
6. Refine your content strategy as necessary
Unfortunately, there is a certain element of trial and error involved in content marketing, especially when targeting local consumers. While thorough research and detailed planning are critical, it can be difficult to predict a new strategy’s ROI. Thankfully, it’s possible to tweak your strategy along the way to take new trends or discoveries into account.
There is no room for stubbornness in content marketing. Be willing to shift your local marketing techniques if your KPIs suggest that your current method isn’t working. As you alter your strategy, develop new KPIs based on your new goals. This will allow you to compare and contrast to determine whether your new strategy is actually more effective.
Need Help? Consider Outsourcing
Content marketing is an absolute essential in today’s competitive digital environment, but not everyone is cut out for the job. If you struggle to keep up with the demands of curating locally optimized content, you might be ready for an outsourced approach. The team at Compose.ly can help. Contact us today to learn how we can refine your local SEO strategy to score increased conversions.