A solid and documented content marketing strategy is imperative for the success of any business. But, developing such a strategy is often easier said than done.
Content Marketing Strategy vs Content Strategy vs Content Planning
First of all, what is content marketing? Content marketing is a type of marketing that uses online material to stimulate interest or promote a brand, its products, or its services. Such online material is typically created and shared by the brand itself in the form of social media posts, blogs, videos, and the like.
While many people use the terms content marketing strategy, content strategy, and content planning interchangeably, there is a slight difference between the three. A content marketing strategy answers why you are generating content as well as who you want to help and how you will achieve this. Most companies use this to build an audience in addition to reducing costs, earning more revenue, or getting higher-quality customers.
A content strategy, on the other hand, has to do with creating and publishing all of a company’s content. Compared to a content marketing strategy, a content strategy is more encompassing. Finally, a content plan answers how you will implement your strategy. It goes into further detail such as what type of content you will create, who will be in charge of each task, and how you will distribute your content. It is part of the content marketing strategy umbrella.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Coming up with a plan is always difficult if you have no framework for it. But, considering content marketing strategies can make or break your client’s business, it is not something you can just forgo. To help you out, here are the steps for how to develop a content marketing strategy:
Step 1: Determine Your Objectives
The first step is to create a mission statement and lay down your goals. Figure out who your client’s target audience is, what content you will use to connect with them, and what they will get out of it. As for your goals, these are the things your client will receive in return. Examples of goals include increased traffic, more engagement on social media, increased revenue, and reduced costs.
Step 2: Set Up Your KPIs
The next step is to determine your KPIs or key performance indicators. These make it possible for you to measure the success (in numbers) of your campaign in relation to your client’s goals. When you reach certain milestones, then you will know that you have accomplished your goals.
Some KPIs include traffic, sales, revenue, and other metrics. As such, if your client wants to increase, you must set up a concrete number for that. Perhaps your client wants to hit $10,000 in revenue in a month. Other examples would be receiving 20 mentions of your brand on Twitter or earning 100 new email subscribers.
Step 3: Understand Your Audience
It is impossible to have a successful digital content strategy without getting to know your audience. If you don’t know who you are trying to reach, then how will you tailor your content and channels to them?
To understand your audience, the first thing you must do for your client is to collect demographic data. Determine the age, gender, income, and education of your client’s audience. You can typically get this information from web analytics, email subscriber analytics, and social media analytics.
After that, you must obtain customer feedback. Ask your client’s customers what they think of their current content. Learn what their needs are and how you can fix your content to better suit your client’s audience.
Lastly, you must create buyer personas or customer avatars. These personas should include the pain points of your client’s customers as well as their challenges, motivators, and sources of information. Developing these personas will allow you to create content that better speaks to the target audience.
Step 4: Conduct an Audit of Your Current Content
If your client already has a slew of content on rotation, it is vital to evaluate them. List down all the existing content pieces and determine how successful they are. See if there are any gaps or room for improvement. This includes going through the page titles and descriptions as well as creating a sitemap. Eliminate any duplicate pages, too. You can make use of several possible content auditing tools such as Screaming Fog or SEMRush.
To understand how a piece of content is performing, check for inbound links, search engine rankings, and social shares. This will allow you to identify which content pieces to remove, revamp, or leave alone.
A content audit will also let you know what else you can do with your client’s content. Look for content marketing trends related to the nature of your client’s business, any keywords that current content pieces failed to hit, and any questions you can answer for your target audience.
Step 5: Discover the Best Channels
Maintaining a presence on every content channel does not always equal success, especially if your client is just starting out. As part of the content audit, check which channels are working for your client and which are not. Concentrate on the most successful channels and improve on that first. You can evaluate your client’s channels with the help of Google Analytics. Just look for the channels that experience the most activity and social shares.
Step 6: Settle on Content Types
There are several types of content that you can use for your client’s benefit. Some of the most typical ones include blog posts, videos, social media posts, and infographics.
You can also publish eBooks, checklists, case studies, and podcasts. By far, though, blog posts have the most to offer because you can publish them on your client’s website and share them on social media as well.
Video marketing is also something you should take advantage of. Videos are more engaging and are known to retain the interest of the target audience. They can also reduce abandonment and contribute to lead generation. Remember that humans are naturally visual creatures, so videos and infographics work really well.
Step 7: Work Out the Details
Allocating resources is an often-neglected step of any content marketing strategy. But, you can’t create and publish the right type of content without assigning tasks. Make sure to designate roles and assign people for content production per client. You will also need to determine which tools and programs you will need.
Apart from that, you must come up with a standard workflow that everybody will follow. This way, you don’t miss any critical steps. The workflow can vary depending on your style and procedures, but it will usually start with outline creation and approval. Based on that outline, someone will create the content and send it to an editor for any changes. After a final review, you can then publish the content for your client.
Step 8: Construct a Content Calendar
An important part of any content creation strategy is constructing a content calendar. A content calendar is basically your schedule for creating and publishing content as well as where you must publish them.
There is no universal tool for this, and even something as simple as a Google Calendar will work just fine. Just remember to stick to your schedule as planned. For larger clients with tons of content, though, you will need something more advanced like Asana or CoSchedule.
Step 9: Use a Content Management System
Aside from a content calendar, a content management system is one of the most essential tools in your arsenal. This system will help you streamline the content creation, management, publication, and tracking process. A content management system can also provide you with important analytics which you can use to improve your content.
One example of a content management system is HubSpot CMS. Many companies also use WordPress, which comes with all sorts of plugins (such as Yoast SEO) that will allow you to create the best content possible.
Step 10: Create and Publish Content
Step 10 is when you finally get to create and publish content. To do that, you will need to work out a few key details.
First, research the content you should write. Find out what content is already in circulation — you can even check your client’s competitors for inspiration. This will give you some good content marketing ideas. When writing your client’s content, though, don’t just copy from what you see. Think about how your client’s content can improve on existing ones, thereby adding value.
Once you are actually writing content, make sure to adjust your voice to fit the personality of your client’s brand. Optimization also plays a key role in this. Use the right keywords to anchor your content. Also, be wary of any duplicate content, so run through your content audit again to avoid duplicates.
Step 11: Promote and Distribute Your Content
You can’t just hit publish and expect traffic to start pouring in, particularly if your client’s brand is relatively new to the arena. To gain more awareness and traffic, it is critical to promote your content as well. Usually, this will take place on your client’s various social media pages. Come up with a schedule for sharing your content on different social channels and use tools to automate social posting. You can also take advantage of email marketing to disseminate content.
Step 12: Monitor Results
The process does not stop after you create, publish, and distribute your content. You also need to monitor the performance of the content you created for your client. This is where your KPIs will come back into play. Check whether you have hit any milestones with the help of Google Analytics or social media analytics. If your client’s goal was to increase engagement or awareness, tools like Mention and Google Alerts will help you measure results.
When you find that your client is not hitting any KPIs, then something about your strategy is not quite working. Look back on your plan and make necessary adjustments for future content. Then, repeat the monitoring process to see if anything has changed.
A Foundation of Success
Content marketing remains an indispensable part of digital marketing. It plays a significant role in the success of your client’s business and can affect your company’s reputation in a large way.
If you want to do things right, it all starts with a good content marketing strategy.
Is your brand looking for a digital marketing agency? Tanner Grey offers content marketing in addition to social media marketing, email marketing, web design, and more. Give us a call today at 844.500.1339 or contact us online for more information.
- Content Marketing Guide: Everything You Need To Know To Get Started
- Social Media For Small Business: Brand Visibility In The Social Scene
- How Can You Convert Guest Checkout Customers And Get Them To Sign Up?