Creating a Compelling Content Marketing Strategy
Whether you or your business are new to the world of content marketing or have been putting together content marketing plans for years, starting with a well-crafted strategy and approach is absolutely critical to achieving success through the content itself.
In a recent report published by HubSpot, 82% of marketers say they use content marketing in their overall marketing strategy, with 70% saying they are actively investing in content marketing.
Because businesses can, and should, directly measure brand awareness as well as sales through the success of their content marketing strategy.
In this article, we will walk you through the main components every content marketing strategy should contain. However, as you are reading, keep in mind that simply following these steps does not mean you will achieve immediate success.
Content marketing strategies may take several months or even years to mature, but setting a strong foundation will set you down the right path to achieving your goals.
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
Simply put, a content marketing strategy is a documented plan for the who, what, where, when, and how revolving around your engagement with your intended audience.
In its highest form, it is a critical piece of your business’s goals, growth, and development.
Content marketing contains both elements of creating the content and distributing it. The strategy, therefore, is all the details around how you will achieve these elements.
Before we get into the elements needed to craft an amazing strategy, we want to highlight the benefits realized from having such a strategy.
Your goals and what you intend to measure will be the first step you take prior to building your strategy, and these benefits will help influence those goals as well the nitty gritty details of what all to include.
In addition to the benefits already listed of brand awareness and overall sales, here are some additional benefits that can be realized through successful content marketing:
- It builds trust with your consumers through relationship-building. Your content is speaking directly to the consumer to answer their questions or provide them with relevant information.
- Lead generation is increased through new and repeat customers. Quality content that delights the reader will increase their likelihood of interacting with your products.
- You position your business as an industry leader. Publishing content that is both relevant and credible will score you higher rankings with search engines, which in turn leads to more views and better positioning with search engines.
What to Include
Creating a content marketing strategy that will get you the most for your time, money, and effort can be a big task to undertake. Within each of the elements, we will outline below, there are countless approaches you can take that will be unique to your business and needs.
It is helpful to remember that it does not need to be perfect! Part of any strategy is the ability to learn from what you create, iterate on it, and try again.
Your target audience is who you want to interact with your brand and ultimately purchase your product. If you have not identified who you are speaking to through your content, there really is no point in speaking at all, and that is why we discuss this element first.
To identify the right audience, you can either look at data within your existing population of customers or, if you do not yet have a population, conduct research on your competitors and industry data.
Once you have a general idea of the who, you will want to break them down further into personas, Personas will help you more deeply understand your consumers to better speak to them through your content.
Not sure how to start? There are many free persona generators online to help, such as this one from HubSpot.
If you could sit each one of your customers down face-to-face and have an interaction with them regarding your product, what would you say? What problems does your product solve for them? What features would you highlight? What would you say makes you different or stand out from the competition?
These questions, and others, create the story of your company. In many cases, consumers connect with a brand before they ever decide to purchase a product.
Understanding your story and how to tell it builds trust and a connection that will attract new customers and keep the existing ones loyal.
The Where and When
Within the Personas you create for your desired audience, an important aspect is knowing where they currently go to receive content. Basic demographics can give you a clue into generational preferences regarding content format and length.
If you already have published content, it is worth auditing at this point as well to determine if it is meeting the needs of the customer and desired outcomes for your business.
Your chosen channels will also give you insight into how often you can expect to refresh your content or publish new.
For example, social media moves extremely quickly, so you may need to publish content more often to keep up with demand. However, the overall length can be shorter than, say, a long video on YouTube.
Even before you publish your content, you need to have a plan in place for the ways you will measure the success of your efforts and how often. Again, think back to the goals you identified before starting your content marketing strategy.
If increased sales is your goal, you will need a way to link the impact your content has on the customer purchasing your product. One way to do this would be to measure the conversion rate from a call-to-action link within your content.
Regularly assessing the performance of your content is key to ensuring you stay relevant and top of mind with consumers.
Ready, Set, GO
As we alluded to at the beginning of this article, content marketing can be very complex and contain a variety of different elements depending on your desired goals and approach.
However, putting together a strategy for your content, even a very lightweight version, will help you organize and transform your thoughts and purpose into tangible outcomes and results.