Around 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content marketing strategy. That’s probably because they are not aware of the benefits of content marketing strategy. If one is willing to win at content marketing, they need a content marketing strategy. There are no secrets or special tricks to creating this strategy. Without one, you are putting all your efforts at stake.
What Is a Content Marketing Strategy?
A content marketing strategy is a plan for creating high-quality content for a business’s target audience to increase conversions. It’s not something that’s okay to have. But a fundamental requirement for success. To put it into easy words, the content strategy considers your company’s goals. And then makes the most out of content to achieve those goals.
It includes all the why, who, and how you will create content. Brands use content marketing strategy to target their audience. And to achieve profitable results such as lower costs, better customers, or increased revenue. Moreover, it is the best way to improve branding and gain quality organic traffic. It’s a low-cost yet effective strategy to boost ROI. An important tip is to focus on search engine optimization (SEO) during your content creation process. This way your content will appear for relevant searches.
Identifying The Elements Of Content Marketing Strategy
For a successful content marketing strategy, it must include four core elements. That is brand positioning, owned media value proposition, business case, and strategic plan. Each of these elements is essential for content marketing strategy. And has its own benefits of implementing them.
1. Brand Positioning
An obvious and clearly defined brand and product positioning help to provide a consistent experience to the viewers. As of result of consistency, you build the right image of your brand. Consider asking yourself a few questions to brainstorm about your position in the market. For example; What is your brand’s unique value, how can you highlight your brand’s personality, who are your existing and potential customers, etc.
2. Owned Media Value Proposition
It’s a must to define your owned media value proposition. As it will help to establish your brand as a reliable content publisher. Highlight what unique value do your offer to your audience with your content. And why should readers choose to follow your content channels?
Start your research on your targeted audience and identify their needs. Analyze your competitor’s content strategies to find more about your editorial niche. Keep an eye on other content creators too. As you never know where you can find something useful for yourself. As once you develop owned media, all the publishers near you become your potential competitors.
3. Business Case
In addition to attracting a new target audience, a content marketing strategy should also drive your business forward. The first basic step is to identify your business goals. Then plan on how your content marketing will help you to accomplish those goals.
Create a documented business case. This will help you to understand the costs, benefits, and risks of using a content marketing strategy. While convincing decision-makers of its value for the business.
4. Strategic Plan
While creating a strategic plan, focus on your goals and how you will achieve them. This will help you to strategize your every move. This plan should include making all the important decisions. Decide who your targeted audience is and how you will reach them with your content marketing strategy efforts. And lastly how you will measure your targeted results.
Importance Of Content Marketing
As mentioned before, content marketing strategy is a requirement. In the year 2021, 57% of content marketers don’t have a documented content strategy. This is a shockingly large ratio of people who don’t understand the importance of content marketing and developing a strategy.
Organizations that have a content marketing strategy are able to rate their efforts as far more successful. Due to the pandemic, updating content marketing strategy has become crucial. Around 70% of content marketers reported that the pandemic has a major impact on their content marketing strategy.
It helps a business to prepare and plan for cost-effective sources of website traffic and new leads. Apart from leads, it also helps to convey information. And generate awareness of your brand with the blog. The idea is to create one blog post that gets a good amount of organic traffic. Make sure to add an embedded link to a free tool or e-book. As a result, you will continue generating leads for a considerable amount of time.
Steps To Develop An Effective Content Marketing Strategy
1. Audit Your Existing Content
There are around 1.6 billion websites available on the internet. Out of which more than 70 million blog posts are published every month. Indeed, there is an immense amount of information for your audience to click on. Conducting a content audit helps you to stand out in this era of mass content production.
Thus, creating content with no understanding of what works for your audience is a complete waste of time. Make a record of all your existing content. And analyze data sets to understand the actual state of your content. Determine what type of content attracts your audience, and how you need to improve it.
2. Set Your Mission And Goals
The most important foundational piece of content marketing strategy is the “WHY”. What is the reason for doing content marketing strategy in the first place? Is it to build relationships with customers? Or to improve your customer’s experiences? Or just to create leads? Or maybe even to simply attract your targeted audience?
Before taking things any step further. First, know what actually your goals are. Remember that creating content just for the content’s sake is never your goal. By having a clear vision of what your goal is. It will be easier to determine what works best for your strategy. Make sure that every content you create builds toward meeting those goals. To start with, ensure that your goal is related to your overall vision. Then move on to identifying short- and long-term goals your content marketing strategy can help accomplish. To remain focused on your planning, stick to a maximum of five business goals. It’s important to document these goals.
Content Marketing Mission Statement
Another good starting point will be to set out a content marketing strategy mission statement. The purpose of this statement is that it helps to focus on what’s important. This way your content marketing strategy keeps on track. And you know what your next step will be. This content marketing strategy mission statement highlights three points:
- Your targeted audience
- The benefit you’ll provide them
- The content you’ll create to reach them
Use the following formula to create a mission statement for your business:
“We provide (target audience) with the (type of content) to help them (your business goals)”.
3. Determine The “One Thing”
As mentioned above, there is an enormous glut of content online. And with every day passing by, more content is being published. To gain your audience’s attention, you have to stand out. Not only your content should be unique but should also set your organization apart.
Determine that “one thing” that you will create in your content marketing strategy program to set your business apart. To put into easy words, the soul of your content program. It can be to motivate and inspire, educate, entertain, and create utility. If you are not planning to get lost in that enormous glut of content. Your motive should be to provide all of the above.
Any useful tip for gut-checking your “one thing”? It’s a simple process. First off, write down all brand messages your organization uses. Secondly, make another list of your top 3 competitors and their brand messages. Then cross off those messages that are similar on both lists. The remaining ones are a completely unique set of brand messages that can help determine your “one thing”.
4. Know Your Targeted Audience
For successful content marketing strategy, it’s crucial to know about your audience. Because it’s not just about attracting anyone and everyone to your blog. Your target audience is more likely to become your potential customer. So, it’s important to have enough understanding about your right target audience.
Relevancy in content magically creates attention and time. In order to be relevant, you have to understand who you are targeting or talking to. This is one of the common mistakes new content marketers make. Because you are not your own audience. Your focus should be on their needs and motivations. You have to be clear about who you are trying to target.
Deliver content that will attract your potential customers. Not those who are already your customer or visit your site, from time to time. But those that may enter the buyer’s journey because of your content. Once they enter the buyer’s journey, you can draw them to the world your brand has created. An effective way is to follow up with content that highlights how your brand can assist them. Just to encourage them to take any specific action.
To be clear about who your audience is, you can take the following actions:
1. Get Your Customer’s Feedback
The easiest way is to get feedback from your customer. Not just easy but also very simple. All you have to do is collect feedback from your existing customers. This will tell you about how your viewers feel about your content and what do they need. Additionally, you will also get to know how you can improvise your content.
2. Collect Demographic Data
Demographic data refers to information about groups of people according to different attributes. Such as gender, age, residence, education, income, etc. This is another step you can take to know more about your target audience.
Collect demographics on your email subscribers, visitors, and even social media followers. These webs, social media, and email analytics will provide all the data you need. It can also help you to get an insight into your customer’s key interests. You can find this information through Google Analytics. Social media platforms also offer similar data like Twitter Analytics, Facebook Page Insights, etc.
3. Create Buyer Personas
Once you have customer feedback and demographic data, you can create buyer personas. If done accordingly, it will make the process of creating buyer personas easier. They are also known as customer avatars. It describes your ideal readers and customers so that you can target content much better.
To create the best buyer personas, include information about your customer’s pain points, sources of information, challenges, and behavioral motivators. Also, try to avoid stock photos. Instead, replace them with symbols or icons to avoid getting stuck on your audience’s physical appearance.
5. Establish Your KPIs
KPI stands for a key performance indicator. This is the best way to achieve goals while making them specific and measurable. You have to set KPIs for your content marketing strategy. Mainly, they will help you to know which goals you have achieved.
It will also include what you plan to achieve in terms of sales, traffic, revenue, SEO, and other different aspects of digital marketing. Like email marketing, content marketing strategy, and social media metrics. Find out more about how to boost your digital presence. Typically, these KPIs will have a specific number attached to them. For example: to get a certain number of new email subscribers, to improve the search ranking, to get a certain number of likes, shares, and mentions, to see an increase in traffic, etc.
6. Create a Content Calendar
Being consistent with content creation is the key to win at your content marketing strategy. It is all about finding the right balance between the speed of production and content quality. The main goal is to publish more content without dropping your quality standards.
It depends on different businesses how often posting content works for them. There is no definite number for it. And the whole point of posting content is for it to be read, watched, or listened to. To keep a track of everything, you need a content calendar. Content calendars are just like normal calendars. But instead of showing dates and months, they show what you plan to publish and when. It helps to keep everything organized. And ensure that the content is being consistently published.
Remember that a content calendar is part of your content marketing strategy. But never a substitute or an easy way out for it.
7. Choose The Right Type Of Content Marketing
There are heaps of content types that you can choose from. Such as videos, podcasts, blog posts, and webinars. However, if you are just starting out, then take things a little slow. To find the right type of content marketing strategy, consider these two aspects.
Firstly, think about what type of content your customer is looking for. Content marketing strategy focuses on the audience’s needs. You need to think from their perspective and find what they are looking for. For example; if you run a cooking academy, sharing recipes and videos is your go-to option. For us, it happens to be a blog post. As majority SEOs use Google to find any information.
Secondly, think of where your skill set lies. If you are a newbie, start with either blogging or video marketing. But it’s totally your choice. Some people are comfortable on camera, while others can’t even bear to hear their own voice. In this case, written content might work for you.
It doesn’t matter what industry you are working in. A large number of people look for information on YouTube and Google. So, choosing any one of these formats will be a good start. Once you find the right format for yourself, stick to it. Until and unless you have figured out a process for creating it consistently. Then, you should brand out to a new format. Otherwise, it will turn your efforts into waste.
8. Promote Content
One thing to keep in mind is that content doesn’t get discovered on its own. You have to make some additional efforts for that too. Like getting in front of people so they will read, share or link to it. Some of the most used content promotion ideas are:
1. Send To Your Email Subscribers
This is one of the oldest yet effective tricks that works every time. As email subscribers are those customers that want to stay connected with you. And have a piece of up-to-date information about your brand. So, sending them your content through email is useful. Not only they will click on them but may also take any action.
For best results, every time you post a new piece of content, send out a dedicated email to your email subscriber.
You may not know about it, but there is also a secondary “hidden” audience. In content marketing strategy, most people tend to neglect it. Mostly because they are not aware of it. But it’s a huge loss. This audience is known as amplifiers. They are influencers and journalists who can share your content with their followers. Somehow, if you get these people to care about your content. You can potentially gain shares, links, referral traffic, and even future partnership opportunities. In the world of digital marketing, this is known as outreach.
To get these people to care about your content, you need to have a convincing reason. You can use these two reasons for your own benefit. The first is to mention them or their work in your content. It’s a quick step to let them know that you have mentioned them. Secondly, have something that the influencer is interested in.
3. Paid Advertising
You are probably aware of this method. Paid ads are one of the fastest ways to gain viewers on your content. It can be described as getting your content in front of new prospects. While putting money into paid ads, you are paying for trackable results. From impression to conversions and clicks. This can be done on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other social media platform.
9. Monitor Results
Things change all the time. So, you have to ensure that your content stays relevant to rank for years. This is the main reason why you need to monitor your content. For this purpose, you have to return to those KPIs you set at the very beginning. Observe what has changed and if you are still hitting your targets.
In order to do this, you can use several methods. At the top of the list is using Google Analytics. It’s the industry standard for checking actual traffic numbers. You can measure social sharing activity by any social analytics tool. Always try to keep a track of the main target keyword for each post.
In case, the ranking and traffic drop for a few months. Consider looking into why it is happening. If you find a reason which can be solved, then go for it. Otherwise, schedule a rewriter or update of the blog post.
How Often Should You Update Your Content Marketing Strategy?
Any content program grows and evolves with time. But some parts of it should remain consistent, namely your mission and business goals. As a matter of fact, these two things are the key to your content marketing strategy. You may want to put them on post-it notes to constantly keep it in your sight.
But, apart from these two, other aspects need to be updated periodically. Such aspects of your content marketing strategy are more likely to benefit by being reviewed often. To make sure that your content marketing strategy programs remain on target. Consider repeatedly visiting your channel strategy, core topics, planning, and team processes.
Content marketing is similar to investing in index funds. In short term, returns are small. But in the long run, it can generate significant returns. Only if you stick with it and keep investing your efforts. This is how it works. It takes great effort to start. And even more, time to work. But if you focus on it for the long term. It will give you beneficial results.
Now you are fully aware of how to create a winning content marketing strategy.