How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
Your content marketing strategy is the key decider in how well your content will perform online. Of course, you want to have killer content too, but ensuring that you have a solid plan to guide your execution is crucial to getting your brand to resonate with your audience. We’ve put together a six-step process to developing a content marketing strategy to help your content be more effective and ultimately reduce your workload over time.
The first step to creating a strong content marketing strategy is to set goals for what you want your content to accomplish. Are you trying to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, or get your audience to take an action like signup for a newsletter or mailing list? Once you’ve established your need, think about how you will measure the goal. Is it how many people visited your site, or the percentage of them that took action and typed in their email address? By having a concrete way to measure your goal, you will easily be able to track your progress and identify what content is working and what is not.
Determine Your Audience
Now that you have a clear and defined goal, you need to establish who your target audience is. This can change with each individual goal, so make sure to revisit this step for each goal you have in order to ensure your content is appropriate.
Once you have determined an audience for your content, the next step is figuring out what content they will respond to the best. This can be done by “social listening,” or observing their online habits – meaning anything from what type of content they share, which sites they spend time on, and how they’re drawn to sites (ie; organic search vs. paid ads). Creating specific personas for each focus market is another great way to pin-point exactly who you are trying to target. For example, are you trying to reach a middle-aged director of a Fortune 100 company in Seattle, or a 19-year-old college student working 2 part-time jobs in Michigan? These are two very different targets that require two entirely different marketing strategies.
Choose Content Type
Now comes the fun part – creating the actual content that you’ll be sharing! Based on your specific goal and audience, you’ll want to use different types of content tailored to each. For example, if your goal was to drive traffic to your website, you would want to make your content easy to find and very strongly display your brand. The best ways of doing this are by utilizing targeted social media ads and writing blog posts that increase your website’s SEO. Both of these methods will draw people into your site and increase its visibility. No matter what your conversion goal is, let your creative juices loose and make sure the content will capture and keep the attention of your audience.
Create a Content Plan
You have your top-notch content – now how do you decide where and when to post it? To produce great content, you must start with a great plan. Not only will this ensure you can track the progress of content as it’s being cultivated, but it will allow you to stay organized and work as a team while doing so. Establishing a schedule of when and where you’re going to post certain content is key to staying organized and up to date on all strategic efforts.
If you’ve created the best content possible but no one sees it, then you’re not going to get any conversions, and no one wants to waste great content! By promoting your content on various platforms, you are ensuring that it will get seen by as many people as possible – thus upping your odds of getting conversions. The easiest and most popular way to promote content is via social media. Whether it be on your own platforms, other user’s platforms who have shared your content, or with paid ads, social media is the number one place to promote your content to get it seen.
The last step in the whole content marketing strategy process is to measure the effectiveness of your content when all is said and done. This goes back to the goals you set up in the first step. By knowing what goal you have in mind and how you are going to measure the success of the content, you should easily be able to tell if that goal was attained. For example, if your goal was to get 100 people to sign up for your company’s newsletter and only 40 people actually gave you their email addresses, the goal was not met. It’s up to you to determine why you think that was and make changes to your content, posting schedule, or promotion, accordingly. This is probably the most important step in the entire content marketing strategy process because it gives you a chance to evaluate and understand your customers thinking and behaviors on a deeper level.
This may seem like a lot when you first take a look at it, but we promise it will be worth it in the long-run! The most valuable information you can have when posting content is knowing what your audience will respond well to. Creating a clear content marketing strategy is a sure-fire way to gain great insight.