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.

 

Content Marketing Metrics

Every content marketer wants to be able to measure the results of their campaign. But, very often they believe that they can’t accurately measure the results generated by their content. And the truth is, most content marketers give up after they check numbers of page views or social shares. The scope of metrics, however, goes way beyond that, extending to the fundamental business and its goals.

Let’s take a look at the four categories of content marketing metrics and what they actually mean. Then, you can decide which ones are most significant to you. 

Basic Consumption Metrics

Basic consumption metrics measure brand awareness and web traffic, answering the most fundamental content questions about how your strategy is performing. You get to see how many people viewed and accessed your content, while gaining an overall idea of which pages of your website are most popular and attractive to users.

Basic consumption data can be found in Google Analytics.

  • Users: total number of unique visitors to a particular page on your website
  • Page views: total number of times a particular page on your website is viewed
  • Pages/Sessions: total number of pages a user visits while browsing your website
  • Average time on page: average time spent on one page, for example a blog post  
  • Downloads: total number of times users downloaded your content
  • Retention metrics: number of returning visitors to your site and specific content pieces  
  • Bounce rate: percentage of people that leave a page of your website without viewing other pages
  • Email open rate: total number of opened emails shows how many people are interested to read your email content

The resulting numbers show which pages are attractive and unattractive to let you see which campaigns were effective, while providing insight into how you can drive people to your website

Sharing and Engagement Metrics

These metrics measure brand awareness and user engagement, showing you how your audience interacts and engages with your content. You will gain a clearer understanding about what types of content are more interesting to your audience and inspire interaction.  But keep in mind that sharing metrics measure publicity, not actual competitiveness of your content.

Some data can be found in Google Analytics, the social networks you use, as well as other free and paid tools.

  • Likes, tweets, +1s, pins: number of (positive) social reactions to the content you share on social media   
  • Shares: number of shares via social media but can also be analyzed as shares depending on type and length
  • Forwards: number of content forwards from one user to another, via email or direct messaging
  • Referral links and inbound links: number of link backs, usually to your website content
  • Comments: how many people commented on your social media posts

Social metrics are useful for determining what types of content you need to create to keep your audience engaged with your brand, and which to avoid. Also, they might reveal opportunities for future content campaigns.

 

Lead Generation

Lead generation and lead nurturing metrics track how your content is performing and whether it is fulfilling its purpose – converting visitors into leads that your sales team can take over, and turn into customers.

Google Analytics, as well as other tracking or CRM software can help you gather the necessary data.     

  • CTR click-through rate: measures how many clicks your calls-to-action- received
  • Form completions and downloads: total number of people who completed a form to download content
  • Email subscriptions: total number of email subscribers, old and new
  • Blog subscriptions: total number of people committed to reading your blog
  • Blog comments: number of people who interacted with your brand and need more information about a product or service
  • Total lead attribution: tracking where your leads are coming from
  • Conversion rate: total number of visitors who became leads

This group of metrics will inform you about content performance and help you identify which efforts push visitors further down the sales funnel, and which push them away. For example, you can identify if the copy or calls-to-action need improving, or perhaps you need to change the incentive.

Sales

Sales metrics are pretty obvious. You get to see how many people transitioned from visitors, leads, and to finally customers. They demonstrate whether your content marketing efforts were successful and profitable for the business. But to be able to measure the impact of content marketing, you need to create something trackable.

Typically, sales are measured though CRM systems, ecommerce systems, and other analytics software.

  • Online sales: number of online sales resulting from online marketing campaigns
  • Offline sales: number of offline sales supported by your overall content efforts
  • Manual reporting: number of unofficial sales deals made with future customers
  • Customer retention: number of returning customers that stay loyal to your brand due to special content efforts directed towards them
  • ROI – return on investment shows the profit generated as a result of your content marketing efforts

Sales metrics are an excellent way to quantify your content marketing results. They will express your overall content performance in terms of closed sales and generated profit, and show you how to proceed in order to gain more customers.

Each metric group compliments each other while providing valuable insight.  All metrics combined, when gathered systematically and analyzed carefully, will help you realize which campaigns work. You will find the types of content that work best, what customers need to know to make a purchase, and much more. Just follow the data, and make adjustments accordingly.

 

We believe that content marketing is part of a larger integrated marketing approach, and we aim to create content that attracts new audiences, provides visibility for your brand, and retains customers. Let us help you create your next big content marketing campaign. Contact us today and start measuring success right away!

 

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