Having a long-game mentality is necessary to be a successful content marketer. You need to be disciplined and consistent and have a well-thought-out plan for your efforts to pay off.

As you are likely aware, content marketing is an invaluable tool for attracting customers and driving profit. However, before you can begin implementing it into your business, it’s important to know how you will deliver the content, who your audience is, what message you want to share, where and when you will post it, and why someone will want to read and share the content you are providing. Dan McGaw, owner and CEO of McGaw.io, content marketing guru, and former US ambassador of Entrepreneurship, offers some important insights on how to become a master content marketer.

Getting Started

To get started, the first questions you will want to ask yourself is, “What am I trying to accomplish,” and “How am I going to get there?” McGaw believes in “stacking” marketing technology, also known as Martech Stack—a term used to describe a group of marketing tools for businesses to analyze, execute, and improve their marketing strategies to achieve their marketing goals. Having a professional-looking website, a customer relationship management (CRM) system such as HubSpot, an analytic tool to measure your successes and pitfalls such as hotjar.com, and an email marketing automation tool like Mailchimp are all examples of stacking tools.

Defining the Process

Always have a carefully crafted plan before launching any marketing program. Know your niche audience and what will move them to trust you enough to read and share your information.

McGaw recommends creating a list of people you know, such as friends, family, acquaintances, and business connections, and gathering as much customer data (email address, phone number, social media pages, etc.) as possible about them so that your database becomes your marketing gold mine. This will provide the information you need for marketing to and acquiring new customers; the more information you procure, the more you’ll be able to market to your target audience. Leverage your LinkedIn contacts, import them into your CRM, and then categorize your clients and prospects into hyper-targeted lists. You will then be able to share high-quality, personalized content with them.

Determine what topics you believe will resonate with your audience. McGaw says the best way to do this is by using a keyword research tool called Google Trends. Compare keywords and search terms to see how many times topics have shown up in other searches over a specified period, explore which keywords and hashtags rank high, and then research other similar articles and determine what’s missing from them. Then construct your content with those missing keywords in mind, making sure you incorporate them into your articles or posts. By consistently doing this over time, you’ll improve your ranking on the search engine results page (SERP). To better understand what’s working and what’s not, you can also analyze your content’s performance through a tool like Google Analytics before creating additional marketing or content pieces.

Each marketing platform has its own benefits depending on the audience you wish to reach. Whether it’s your social media or email marketing campaigns, determining the best days and times to post and share your content for the highest engagement will likely influence the success of your marketing goals.

Almost four billion people are engaging on social media platforms, so posting your content on the right platform at the right time will more than likely have a direct impact on the success of your marketing goals. Also, research has been conducted to determine the best and worst days and times to post on individual platforms like Facebook and Instagram. For example, Sprout Social recommends Tuesday through Friday at 3 a.m. and Tuesdays at 10 a.m. and noon for Facebook, with Saturday being the worst day to post. For Instagram, it says the best days and times to post are Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., with Sunday being the least desirable. Email marketing has a different timeline for garnering the most open rates, with the best overall days thought to be Tuesday through Thursday. Make sure to do your research before launching and paying for any advertising or boosting posts.

Where to place and share your content is just as important as the content itself. Tracking data by implementing analytical strategies will help you to understand where your leads and customers are coming from and what their behaviors and interests are. You will then be able to see if you need to make any adjustments. Implementing a targeted email marketing campaign or posting on social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter are some of the different channels where you can share your content.

  • Email Marketing
  • Most people are overwhelmed with the number of emails they receive daily. McGaw says that “No one really wants to read your newsletter,” but he believes email marketing is not dead—you just need to be better at it than your competition. By creating hyper-targeted content, you stand a better chance of your database opening your emails. There are several email marketing platforms to choose from, including Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and HubSpot. Each has its own pricing structure based on the size of the database, frequency of emails, and custom design templates. You’ll need to research which platform best suits your needs.
  • Social Media Posts
  • Because most small-to-medium-sized businesses do not have hefty marketing budgets, they can still reap the benefits of social media marketing without having to spend too much money as long as the postings are methodical and intentional. Sponsored ads on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter tend to be affordable­­ and can be worthwhile as long as you are consistent in your efforts.

Why would someone want to open your emails, click on your social media posts, read what you have to say, and then take the extra step to share your content? To answer this question, you need to know what to write about and how to build authority, create awareness, and position yourself as an expert in your field. The why circles back to the idea of creating content that is hyper-focused on the segment of the market you are targeting, hence McGaw’s earlier suggestion to turn your database into a gold mine by collecting as much customer information as possible to better understand their interests and purchasing habits.

Any successful content marketing program must always be strategic and well planned out. Understanding your target market and what content resonates with the people within it will keep them coming back for more information. McGaw believes that you must “Act, track, and pivot” so you can make the necessary adjustments to your approach to be a master of content marketing.