You’re convinced. Content marketing is the way to grow your MSP. Now what?
To really get the most out of content marketing, you need a good strategy. And you need a strategy that’s going to work for your business. Unfortunately, that means you’re not going to find a one-size-fits-all strategy you can just copy and paste.
In fact, there are some specific best practices for IT companies that will help you stand out.
Fortunately, we’re here to help. And you’re extra lucky if you happen to be an IT business because that just so happens to be our specialty.
So let’s talk content strategy.
Define your goals
The first thing you need to do is define your goals. It’s also important that you set goals that are measurable, because otherwise how will you know if you’re reaching them?
So let’s say your goal is to boost the open rate of your email campaigns.
There are two main ways to measure the success of a marketing email, open rate—the number of people who opened your email, and click-through rate—the number of people who clicked on a link in your email.
Open and click-through rates can very subjective as they depend on a lot of different factors, including the platform you’re using to send and track emails.
If you want to improve your open rate by 2%, that’s certainly measurable. Just be sure you don’t set unrealistic expectations. And, of course, make sure your emails are pointing readers to the amazing content you’re going to create.
Know your audience
Step two is to make sure you know who your audience is. This is important because your audience will determine what tone to set when you create your content, as well as what type of content is most effective. This can also help you identify the best channels for distributing your content.
For example, if you’re an MSP looking to market your services to small and medium-sized businesses your target audience is probably the owner of the business. If you’re looking to market to enterprise-level companies, you’re probably trying to reach the CIO or IT director.
Both the tone and technicality of your content would differ depending on who you’re trying to reach. A small business owner may not have the same technical expertise as the CIO of an enterprise-level business. He might also have different concerns, like affordability of technology solutions versus the latest tech trends.
Once you know who you’re trying to reach, you’ll have a much better idea of the type of content that will resonate with them.
Plan your content
You need to have a cohesive plan for your content. Don’t just start throwing stuff together, because trust me, people can tell. Take a little time to do some research on the topics that resonate most with your target audience. Then create content based on those results.
Your initial content strategy can be as simple as creating a list of questions your own clients have asked and then creating content that answers those questions. It may not be keyword-optimized, but it’s guaranteed to be helpful and relevant.
Or you can do it the way we do, utilizing keyword research. If you want to create content that potential clients can find, you need to know what it is they are looking for and that’s what keyword research helps determine. And the results may surprise you. Be careful about going into this process with any preconceived notions of what keywords are best and instead, let the results be your guide.
Our favorite tools are Google Keywords and SEMrush. And since I like you so much, I’m going to share this handy template we like to use, to aid you in your research.
Create your content
Now comes the easy (or hard) part, depending on how you look at it. Creating and distributing your content.
You should go into this process knowing: what your goal is (i.e. to increase your email open rate), who your audience is (i.e. CEOs of small to medium-sized businesses), and what topics they’re interested in (i.e. affordable cybersecurity solutions). With this information in hand, it’s time to create your content.
A guide on creating good content really could be an entire blog on its own. Instead, I’ll just give you these tips and resources that can help you create quality content of all kinds:
Measure your results
This is where the lovely cycle of content marketing comes full circle. Now you get to measure your results based on the goals you set at the very beginning and see whether or not your content is working.
Depending on how much you like data, this can be a scary or fun part of the process.
The purpose of measuring your results isn’t just to see whether or not you’re meeting your goals (although that is important), but it’s also to evaluate and make adjustments to your strategy as you move forward. If you find areas of your strategy that aren’t paying off the way you’d like, don’t give up. Instead, take the opportunity to consider a new approach.
The bottom line is, content marketing works, but it works differently for every business. You need to be willing to invest in each stage of the process so you can find the way it works best for you. Trust me, your hard work will pay off.
Or, you can just hire the experts to do it for you and save your time and energy for other projects.