Ecommerce adoption has leapt forward by ten years in a span of just three months, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic according to a Mckinsey study. This includes products and services offered in the eLearning industry, i.e., eLearning courses, Learning Management Systems, Learning Experience Platforms, Talent Experience Platforms and more. Another study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found that 70% B2B marketers are investing the most in digital content marketing in 2021.
What is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy is not about stuffing popular content into your website. There’s strategizing involved to increase traffic, create awareness and ultimately drive new conversions.
In essence, a content strategy takes your business goals, and then uses content as a primary means to achieve those goals.
Your content strategy can fall into one of two types of marketing:
- Outbound Marketing – Push marketing that’s designed to push your message to potential customers. Example: Seminars, cold calling, conferences, trade shows. Undoubtedly the investment is high and returns are not as high as the returns on Inbound marketing activities.
- Inbound Marketing – Pull marketing that’s designed to draw in the right kind of leads i.e. leads who are truly interested in your eLearning solution. The content you release is released to target groups of audiences, in order to attract (by raising awareness). The ROI is much higher owing to the fact that the activities are all targeted and designed with the buyers in mind.
We all know about writing blogs, articles and social media, but is there a specific formula that’s fundamentally strong and relevant to 2021?
How to create content marketing strategy
Developing a content marketing strategy for your eLearning product doesn’t have to be complicated. Especially if you know exactly what your business goals are and what your mission is.
Here are seven steps to creating an inbound marketing strategy:
1. List out your Mission and Your Goals
Your Mission tells you what you offer to your customers and how they will be benefitted by your product or service. Your goals on the other hand are the milestones that you need to achieve in order to build, sustain and thrive in your business. For example: An LMS vendor’s mission may state how the LMS provides individuals and corporations the tools and skills they need in order to impart valuable learning along with add-ons like learning analytics. Your goals on the other hand will sound like: Increasing the revenue from $50,000 to $100,000 over the next quarter, Improve quality traffic to your website, improving your brand image and awareness, improve customer engagement, drive sales through improved SEO implementation etc.
Notice that each goal will have a parameter (Key Performance Indicators or KPIs) that can be used as a measure of the goal. For example: Sales, traffic, revenue, clicks, new subscriptions etc.
2. Identify your Audience and create segments
Your audience can be grouped according to their region/location, demographic data, and their key interests. Tools such as Google Analytics, WordPress analytics and more offer you all the data you need in order to list specific characteristics of your buyer’s ‘persona’. These buyer persona will help you decide what kind of content your target group is looking for, how the content helps them and how the content needs to be designed for maximum impact.
For example: An L&D manager who’s interested in creating better learning reports for his senior management will be interested in an article about your LMS/App/Software’s unique Learning Analytics function.
3. Analyze what you’ve already done in the past
You may have run marketing campaigns already and even have a lot of content on your website. Take some time to go through all this content to ensure that the content is fresh, well organized, irrelevant data (Eg: about an older version of your LMS) is removed or archived and all your pieces of information are mapped out somewhere for easy reference and future use. This exercise will also help you understand what kind of content you need to add on.
4. What and where are you going to publish your content
‘Content’ can be like a chameleon! It can take on a myriad of forms, such as:
- Long form articles
- Interactive media
- Paid ads
You can host all these forms of content directly on your website or publish them through social media channels including Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter etc. Today, mobile marketing and search engine ranking is crucial to your content marketing strategy, so making your content visible and compatible with such channels is a necessity and not an option.
If you offer instructional design services for corporates, let your audience – L&D managers know how instructional design can improve learning efficiency. You could feature a client testimonial, present the benefits in a blog, guide or a podcast with the client.
5. Content Production
To produce content you’ll want to list out who’s in charge of writing, designing and getting your content approved by your approving manager or CEO or CMO. New products, offers, upgrades or other marketing campaigns must be carefully and meticulously aligned in order to communicate a uniform message to your target audiences.
To track your content, develop a Content Calendar. A content management system (Eg: Hubspot) is ideal when you want to organize and track your content in one place. You may also have to hire voice-artists, graphic designers etc. if they are not part of your in-house team. This process needs preparation so plan ahead.
Creating your content means that you know how to optimize your content with the right set of keywords, use links effectively, create great meta-content etc. while keeping best practices in mind. Use tools like Google analytics to track trends and keep up to date on new moves made by competitors and more. This will help you release content that potential customers are looking for, as they look for it.
6. Content Marketing
Once your content has been hosted on a platform, decide on how far you want to distribute your content. The platforms you choose should also be the ones where most of your target groups are found frequenting. Social media platforms allow you to determine who exactly sees your posts – this may be location specific, interest group specific, profession specific or your choice of characteristics.
Go beyond SEO! This means that once a potential customer lands on your website, you engage with him/her by offering freebies (eBooks, guides, exclusive webinar access etc.) in exchange for their email addresses. These freebies provide deeper insights to your LMS or other eLearning service to drive conversion. Use Exit Technology as an effort to connect with your lead before he leaves your website.
7. Measuring Outcomes
Track your site’s traffic, monitor your conversion rates, measure social sharing and commenting activities and more can be done by different tools. These outcomes or your KPIs will then help you assess the effectiveness of your inbound content marketing strategy.
Content marketing can help you reach, connect and convert your leads. Create awareness about your brand and your unique solutions. Don’t miss out, get started today!