Create a Content Marketing Strategy in 5 Steps
Marketing content is a communication tool. Optimizing your marketed content will help drive results and create meaningful connections with your target audience. Building a content marketing strategy will ensure that your resources – time, energy and money – are set on reaching a particular business goal. Focusing on this goal will help you create relevant and meaningful content pieces that will stand out and help you attract new visitors, all the while you listen to the needs of your existing customers.
A content marketing strategy will help you plan the creation and delivery of content so you can reach a much broader audience and distribute the content more effectively to professionals, bloggers, and journalists.
Do you have a content marketing strategy?
According to Content Marketing Institute’s research, 72% of B2B marketers said that having a content marketing strategy implemented to increase the odds of their organization’s success, whereas only 27% have a documented content marketing strategy in place.
Many companies avoid developing a content marketing strategy because it requires a substantial amount of effort. Whatever the reason, we recommend you give it shot. We can lend you a hand and assist in the process.
How to Create Content Marketing Strategy
To make things easier and clearer, we are going to walk you through the five basic steps of creating a content marketing strategy.
1. Define Your Objectives
Step number one of getting on the path toward building a winning strategy is defining your objectives. Make sure to align your digital marketing mission and objective with your overall business mission and objective. From there, derive your content marketing strategy’s goal.
Think about how you want your content marketing to help you achieve your goal. Well defined objectives and clear KPIs will help guide your content marketing efforts further. A handy KPI template to use might be: goal, e.g. ‘Increase traffic’ by X% in X months. But be realistic about the expectations, and identify methods that will help you measure each KPI. That way you will be able to have positive results and keep track of your efforts and the effectiveness of your strategy.
2. Explore the Competitive Landscape
The second step of creating a strategy is investigating your main competitors. Discover what kind of content they produce and how it is performing. Also, look at industry leaders and learn what they do. You can take your efforts a step further and use tools such as BuzzSumo to analyze specific posts and articles, or Ahrefs and SEMRush to analyze keywords and organic traffic.
Learn what works in your niche and how your competitors attract and keep the attention of their target audience, allowing you to employ similar tactics to lure customers over and convert them.
3. Find Out What Worked (and What Didn’t)
Now that you know what works for the competition, it’s time to turn the focus back on your own content. Find out what types of content brought you success in the past, and which ones were not so popular.
The easiest way to do this is by going to Google Analytics. For example, use it to check which articles are getting the most page views. You can also track keywords that are driving the largest volumes of organic traffic to your website; your social media channels; the types of devices used to access certain content. Explore how your content performed in the past, but not only what worked best, but also pay attention to low performers. That is the type of content you want to stay away from in your new strategy.
4. Learn to Speak Your Audience’s Language
In order to best communicate with your audience, you have to able to ‘speak their language’ and address their interests and needs. Supposing you already know who your target audience is (you do, don’t you?), it should be easy to place them at the heart of your content marketing strategy.
Begin by developing personas. Use market research and insights from your current customer base. Start with determining the basics such as age, gender, location, then move further and identify the problems you can help your target personas solve. Look at the information stored in your Google Analytics account and use the “Audience Reports” to identify key characteristics of your target persona. Additionally, you can use tools like “Answer the Public” and Twitter Audiences to see what your target audience is searching for in Google.
5. Identify Your Means and Make the Plan
Before making a plan, make sure you have the means to commit to it. Define your budget, and allocate a specific portion to each digital channel you want to use for paid promotion, but keep it flexible so you can make future allocations based on the results each channel brings you. Review your current channels and decide which ones to keep and whether you want to invest in new ones depending on where your customers are and the time you have available. Look at your team and assess what you can achieve and identify whether you need to hire more people.
Now that you know what you have, make the plan but don’t stick to it. Insightful assumptions and analysis can’t predict how your audience is going to behave. Therefore, you need to continuously measure and monitor the performance of your content marketing strategy and make adjustments where needed.
Determine the content types you are going to produce including blog posts, how-tos, ebooks, infographics, videos podcasts, to name a few. Next, establish the process for content creation including a schedule for content creation and publishing; assign who will come up with ideas and a chain of approval for the ready content; and decide who is going to create it.
Then, make a promotion plan to get the most out of your content. Since you already know which channels you want to use, and your budget per channel, you can plan your regular social media posts as well as paid promotion.
Lastly, identify KPIs for each channel and processes to measure in order to determine what’s working. Constant monitoring and measuring will help you assess your efforts and make the necessary changes and refinement to your strategy.
Once your strategy is documented, and roles and responsibilities are defined, share it with your team members, and other teams you work closely with. Whether you are operating independently or working with a digital marketing agency, ensure you are relating your business goals with your content marketing strategy.