Do you have a well-documented content marketing strategy for your business? If yes, is it planned or not?
According to the current research from the Marketing Profs and Content Marketing Institute (CMI), only 37% of the businesses have a documented content marketing strategy.
It’s no surprise that without a strategy, failure or success is just a matter of luck, and it might be that your efforts are going to waste.
Whether you just begin with content marketing or have been using it for a while, it’s always useful to revisit your content strategy plan. Make sure it’s up-to-date, engaging, and innovative for your customers, no matter how or when they intend to buy.
The first step in participating in the competition and actively engaging your audience is to have a smart content marketing plan.
If you’re planning something for the upcoming year or need some great ideas to include in your plan, read on.
In this article, we’ll study what content strategy is, why you need one, and what steps to create your plan.
Whats on This Page
- Whats on This Page
- What Is Content Strategy?
- Why Do You Require a Content Marketing Strategy?
- How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy?
What Is Content Strategy?
It is a part of your marketing plan that continuously determines who you are and the knowledge you bring to your industry.
The purpose of the content strategy is to create and share relevantly downloadable, written, and visual media so your customers can learn about your brand, products, services, and expertise.
Content marketing statistics provide insights for content marketers to see how they solve their target customers’ issues and generate leads. This allows you to decide which techniques will work best for your audience, business, and leads.
You might’ve heard that content creation is important for your business’s growth, but it needs to have a well-planned purpose.
When you create a content marketing strategy, there are some questions to answer.
1. Who Will Be Reading Your Content?
Who’s your target audience for the content? For how many customers are you creating content? Your content strategy can provide more than one viewer or reader, similar to your business, as it might have more than one customer type.
Use a variety of content types and channels to deliver different content to your audience, thus engaging everyone with your company.
2. What Issues Will You Be Solving for Your Audience?
Your products and services solve a problem your audience has. Therefore, your content educates and trains your audience through these problems as they begin to identify and address them.
An ideal content strategy supports the audience on both sides of your product – those who are already using your products to overcome the challenges and those who are still thinking what their main challenges are.
Your content highlights the solutions you’re offering and makes your customers more qualified users of your product.
3. What Makes Your Brand Unique?
Your competitors might have a similar product as yours, which means your potential audience needs to know what makes your product or services different. This is where content marketing comes in.
To prove your worth of buying, you need to prove why you are worth listening to.
4. What Type of Content Formats Will You Focus On?
What formats will your content take? Blog posts? Infographics? Videos? Having recognized the topics, you’ll need to decide which content formats to budget so you can best express that position.
5. What Channels Will You Publish On?
Just as you can develop content in different formats, you’ll also have different channels to publish the content. Channels can include your website, blog, or social media properties (such as Facebook and Twitter).
6. How Will You Manage Your Content Creation And Publication?
Now, most importantly, its time to figure out how you’ll create and publish your content. A content strategy needs to know who is creating what, when it’s going live, and where it’s being published.
Why Do You Require a Content Marketing Strategy?
Content marketing helps you to plan and prepare your business for cost-effective and reliable sources of website traffic and new leads. If you can create one blog post that gets a stable amount of organic traffic or an embedded link to an ebook will continue to generate leads for you as time goes on long after you click Publish.
The source of traffic and leads from your content will allow you to experiment with other marketing tactics to generate revenue, such as social media advertising, sponsored content, and distributed content. Plus, your content will also help educate your target audience and generate awareness for your brand.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy?
Wondering how to create a content marketing strategy for your business, we’re here to help you.
Here are a few steps for easy reference:
1. Audit Your Existing Content
Most people begin their website with blog posts, but if you want to stand out and try producing other content pieces, consider which one you want to make.
Content auditing can help you to venture out in an era of mass content production.
For example, if you have been doing blog posts (weekly) for the past year, then creating an eBook with all your blog posts into one ultimate guide can be one way to provide information in a different format. We’ll discuss different types of content you can use further down on the list.
If you’ve been in business for some time, review and analyze your content marketing efforts. Run a content audit and collect the results from it in the last year. Explore and figure out what you can do differently in the coming year and set new goals to reach.
This is the perfect time to align your team’s goals with your organization’s goals.
2. Set Your Goals for Content Marketing
As a marketer, know your goals before you start planning. This will provide you with an easier time determining what’s best for your content marketing strategy.
Answer some questions to yourself for a better understanding of creating content. What’s your aim and focus on developing a content marketing plan? Or, why do you want to create a content marketing plan and produce content?
To keep these goals clearer, make sure that every content piece created toward meeting those goals organizes it hierarchically. Begin with the goals related to your overall mission and vision.
Once this is done, move on to identify the short-term and long-term goals your Content Marketing can help you accomplish.
Long-term goals should be preferred over specific operational goals in your plan.
While you may be more comfortable with old goal-setting outlines like SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals, but flexibility is key to setting realistic targets.
Your goals and objectives are evaluated in terms of these main characteristics:
With this approach, you can achieve an ambitious result but set a minimum threshold for reaching the goal.
Progress indicators (from 0% – 100%) allow each team member to see how achievable each goal is and understand what remains to be done.
3. Who Is Your Target Audience?
To build a successful content marketing plan, you need to define your content’s target audience, also known as a buyer persona.
This is important for those who are starting from scratch or are new to the marketing field. By knowing your prospects and target audience, you can produce more valuable and relevant content that the audience might want to read and convert.
Some parameters matter if you’re an experienced marketer as your target may have changed. Therefore, do you want to expand your current target market or focus on a new group of people? Or, do you want to retain the same target audience?
Revisiting your audience factors by conducting market research every year is crucial to growing your audience.
4. Conceptualize Content Ideas
Once you define your target audience, it’s time to start coming up with some ideas for your content project. Here are some tools to discover new content ideas:
BlogAbout is a unique content idea generator that helps you with common headline formats with blanks. Here you can fill in the subject you have in mind.
This technique helps you put ideas in contexts that would be engaging to your target audience. Once you have a headline, BlogAbout lets you add it to your “Notebook” to save your best ideas.
HubSpot's Website Grader
HubSpot’s Website Grader is a tool to see where you’re at with your digital marketing. From your social media marketing efforts to blogging efforts, Website Grader evaluates important areas of your marketing and sends a detailed report to improve and optimize each area.
With this tool, you can also figure out how to make your website SEO-friendly and discover new content ideas.
Discover popular content ideas and content at BuzzSumo. This company provides many market research tools that use social media shares to conclude if a piece of content is well-liked and popular. In turn, this helps you to see which content ideas would do well if you were to create content about them.
The Feedly RSS feed is the best way to find content ideas and keep track of trendy topics in your industry at the same time.
Blog Post Headline Analyser
Blog Post Headline Analyzer tool analyses titles and headlines and provides feedback on length, grammar, word choice, and keyword search volume. If you have some ideas in your mind, try to run a few title options through the Headline Analyzer to learn how you could make it stronger and move your idea further in the brainstorming process.
5. Types of Content Marketing to Create
Creating a successful content marketing plan isn’t about getting stats on your own website. It’s also about analyzing the other successful content out there to use for your inspiration.
Therefore, think about the type of content you want to create.
These are the 7 types of content marketing you can create for your readers and viewers.
Currently, you are reading a blog post. Blog posts are live on a website and should be published regularly to attract new visitors.
Posts should provide useful content for your audience that makes them share posts on social media networks and across other websites.
We recommend that blog posts be between 1,000 and 2,000 words in length, but you should try this to see if your audience prefers shorter or longer reads.
EBooks are lead-generation tools that customers or readers can download after submitting a lead form with their contact information. They’re normally more in-depth, longer, and published less frequently than blog posts. These are written to attract visitors to a website.
EBooks are the next step in the inbound marketing process as visitors might want more information.
This is where CTAs (calls-to-action) come into play. CTAs direct people to a landing page where they can download an eBook by submitting their contact information. This helps people to learn more valuable information for their business. In turn, the business producing the eBook has a new lead for the sales team to contact.
A case study is an opportunity to tell the story of a customer or consumer who succeeded in resolving a problem by working with you.
It is the most versatile type of content marketing strategy because it can take many different forms, such as a blog post, podcast, eBook, and even an infographic.
Before choosing a consumer for a case study, you should determine which form (blog post, podcast, eBook, etc.) the testimonial will take and which area of your business you’re trying to drive value to.
Templates act as a handy content format to generate leads and providing remarkable value to your audience. With template tools, you can help your audience save time and help them succeed, thus increasing engagement with your content.
Visualize and organize your data in a more compelling way by using infographics. These are great to use if you are trying to share a lot of data that is easy and clear to understand.
Visual content like videos is the most preferred form of content to capture the audience’s attention. It is a highly engaging content medium that is shareable across social media networks and websites.
Videos need a bigger investment of resources and time than written content, but visual marketing increases in popularity. It’s a content medium worth experiencing as it gets shared on social media 40 times more than other types of content.
According to research, podcast listeners are growing drastically. In 2018, nearly 1/3rd of the U.S. population had listened to a podcast.
Starting a podcast helps audiences to find your brand if they don’t have interest or time in reading content every day.
If you have conversations about hosting or interesting people to interview, consider podcasting as another content format to experiment with.
6. Create A Content Calendar
The marketing plan should also cover how and who will organize your content. With the help of an editorial content calendar, you can publish a diverse and well-balanced content library.
You can also use a social media content calendar to promote and manage your content on social media networks and other sites.
These ideas are relevant and evergreen; thus, being said, you shouldn’t ignore these ideas. Using an editorial calendar can help you increase the traffic.
Most people count on including popular holidays such as Thanksgiving and New Year’s in their marketing efforts, but a piece of advice – just don’t limit yourself to these important dates.
If there are niche holidays that appeal to your audience, it is worth publishing content on social media or your blog.
7. Create Content for Content Marketing
As you’ve seen, there’s a lot of preparation required in developing a content marketing plan before you really create a piece of content.
We will use a blog post as an example, but these guidelines will work for any type of content creation.
With the research already done, till now, you have an idea of what type of blog post or content to create. For example, we know that how-to-do’s and listicles are popular with our viewers and readers.
Now it’s time to select a title from the content calendar and start working on it.
Now since you’re ready to write, find out:
This simply means doing a Google search, checking out the top content for your topic, and seeing how you can improve it. That’s called the skyscraper technique.
Original research also performs well, so consider it an option while collecting the right kind of data.
You should also include keyword research and keyword optimization to identify the key terms to use for improving SEO and search engine ranking.
Finally, start creating your content. At this point, think about how to reveal your brand’s personality in the content you write.
You may want to be very casual, super-professional, or something in between. Also, manage the balance between patronizing your audience and showing your expertise.
8. Plan content distribution
The next step after creating the content, would be to distribute and market your content. Earned media and paid media represent the most important elements of a content distribution plan.
For example, in paid media, you can use search engine ads, display ads, paid publications, and social media ads to distribute the content.
Also, providing Omnichannel communication to your audience is the best way to keep your brand at the forefront of their minds.
By aligning the brand goals and messaging across multiple channels, your target audience will get a clearer picture of what you can offer and who you are.
Identify the Most Relevant Channels
When launching a new business account, the content should go to the channels where your followers expect to see or already spends their time giving your content the best chance of being seen.
Specific demographics and social media analytics can determine which relevant channels to try to engage your target audience or clients, and which ones may be a waste of resources and budget.
Pinterest can distribute several visual content pieces like schemas, infographics, or original illustrations, to attract traffic to your website.
Instagram is particularly a great place to tell a visual story that improves your brand’s identity. It is relevant for B2C, especially for areas like lifestyle, beauty, travel, etc.
Snapchat is a key channel for brands that market to tweens and millennials, but less important for those who want to reach the older demographics like Baby-boomers or Generation X.
On Facebook, you get multiple options. You can share your website content, blog posts, product promotions, native Facebook videos, and original memes that resonate with your audience.
While the goal on social media networks like Snapchat or Instagram is to connect more closely with your audience, your goal on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is to expand that audience, drive and increase traffic to your website, and start conversations in your industry.
Start with some basic market research to discover which channels your buyers are on, and mould your content to their expectations.
Automate Social Media Posting
Creating a smooth user experience on different social media platforms can seem time-consuming. You can easily automate social media posting to multiple networks to ensure accuracy in timing and save resources.
Use SEMrush Social Media Poster to schedule social media posts in advance and check which ones drive most followers’ engagement.
Social media platforms on which businesses often post include are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube.
9. Analyze Content Performance
Analyzing the content performance is a great way to understand what type of content is involving with your audience, and then determine what pieces of content to generate next. Your customers will give you clear signals about what attracts their interest, making it easier for you to come up with unique content ideas that intrigue them.
Content metrics are based on four categories:
Analytic tools such as SEMrush can also help analyze which content connects with your audience and determine the next content piece you should focus on.
Some of the Content Marketing Platform offers tools, such as, Content Audit (analyzes your existing content and segments it into groups), and Post Tracking (helps track the reach of articles that are already published).
The methods used to deliver content to the target audience are frequently changing. However, the core principles remain the same, i.e., create a Content Marketing plan based on trustworthy data.
It takes organization, time, and creativity to build and grow a successful content marketing strategy.
Building the basis of your content marketing plan to adding tools to better manage it, setting up your strategy for this year won’t be a trouble if you follow these steps and explore the resources here.