Creating your Content Marketing Strategy
Your content marketing program will benefit from a comprehensive content marketing strategy. Your content marketing strategy should be informed by your business goals, be unique to your business, and align with your brand identity and company mission. A well-executed content marketing strategy can drive growth, ensure a consistent brand voice across multiple marketing channels, and educate your audience about your value proposition.
It will also allow you to track how impactful your content is, and how it meets your short- and long-term business goals. When you zero in on objectives for both your audience and your company, you can track them against benchmarks and analyze the effectiveness of your content to ensure it is driving intended outcomes.
What is content strategy?
A content strategy is part of your overall marketing strategy and should align to specific business goals, particularly sales and marketing goals like increasing revenue or growing traffic. Content strategy is your plan for creating, delivering, and governing your content. It includes copy, images, video and other multimedia. It connects content creation with your organizational goals and your customer needs. An effective content strategy is critical to improving the user experience of your website because it ensures your content is useful, well-structured, and easily found.
Your content strategy should provide a clear vision of whom you will reach, content goals for each piece and type of content, and the channels where you will publish your content. It should also be flexible- it should grow and evolve with your business and your audience, allowing you to adapt your messaging and delivery where needed as you identify what is and isn’t working.
Do you need a content strategy?
Absolutely. Your content strategy is informed by measurable and timely business goals. Those goals can include converting leads, growing organic traffic, and building customer loyalty. An effective content strategy will:
- Give your content a purpose. Tying content to business goals, audience needs, and your brand will ensure you have a clear idea of what you want your content to achieve. Determining topics, keywords, and cross-marketing opportunities is easier when you have concrete goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) in mind.
- Define your audience. Establishing a buyer persona to serve as a fictional representation of your customer is a critical part of the sales funnel. Your persona should include the most common type of user you have, their geographic location, their interests, their aspirations and their needs. How this person comes into contact with your brand and what would help them through the sales funnel will help you determine the type and cadence of content you need.
- Make content creation more efficient. It’s difficult to create a content calendar if you don’t know what the purpose of your content is. A content strategy along with keyword research will help you strategically determine what topics you want to cover and the cadence at which you want to publish them. Analyzing what has successfully driven engagement and what hasn’t will help you understand the types of content that resonates with your audience.
- Keep your brand voice consistent across all channels. Your brand voice heavily influences the way your audience sees your brand and how you stand out. Focusing on what differentiates you from your competitors can help you build a stronger content strategy.
- Determine where you tell your story. Your content can be repurposed and optimized for distribution across multiple channels and platforms. Your content strategy should include the channels or platforms, including social media and email marketing platforms, you will use to deliver your content and how they will work together to tell a cohesive story about your business.
- Help grow your organic traffic. Organic traffic is visits driven by search engine results page and it’s one of the best ways to boost your brand visibility. Feeding Google and other search engines a regular cadence of high-quality content will help you increase traffic organically. Your content strategy will help organize the keywords your audience is searching for and then inform the kinds of content you want to create around those terms.
- Build relationships with your audience. Pinpointing your target audience and how you can solve their problems is critical. Creating content that understands your audience’s needs and helps solve their questions and problems, will help you establish trust with your customers. Well-written, useful content is extraordinarily beneficial when it comes to establishing a trusted brand.
- Boost your credibility. Strong, effective content will help you position your organization as an expert and improve your overall brand reputation. This can lead to higher rankings on search engines and an increase in audience trust.
- Generate leads. Effective content is critical for generating leads and capturing user information during marketing campaigns. Offering your audience valuable content like case studies or white papers in exchange for their email address allows you to market to them across channels.
Building your content strategy
As you build your content strategy, you’ll want to consider how you’ll build a content calendar, how you’re organizing your content ideas, how often you will publish content, and how flexible your content calendar is. You should also plan to:
- Learn from your competitors. Just as you analyze your own content, you should analyze your competitors’ content. What do they do well? What doesn’t work? Determine how you might be able to replicate success, and fill in the gaps where they haven’t built a strategic advantage.
- Analyze your keywords. Use tools like SEMrush and Moz to better understand where you rank. Search engines and Google Keyword Planner can also help you find keywords that you may have missed.
- Find your tools.What content management system (CMS) will you use? How will you build your content calendar and stay organized?
- Decide how you will measure results. Determine how you will track results and measure ROI. This can include e page views, time on page, social media engagement, number of new customers, or newsletter signups. What matters most to you will depend on your goals.
- Analyze your content channels. Look at what channels provide the best results for your content. Leverage Google Analytics to review the content performance and the landing pages on your website. Use the analytics tools on your social media page, email marketing software and the other software solutions your business uses to track key performance indicators (KPIs), such as user bounce rate, click-through rate, and more.
Types of content to consider in your strategy
Digital content comes in a variety of forms including articles, blogs, case studies, diagrams, e-books, social media posts, infographics, knowledge articles, lists, news and opinion pieces, podcasts, slide shows, toolkits, and videos.
Successful, effective content will depend on execution, channel, and topic. It should always be tied to business goals and audience needs. Effective forms of content include:
- Blog posts. Blog posts can educate and inform your audience on your products and services, answer your users’ questions, or tell your story. They also help build organic traffic and keep audiences engaged long after they are published.
- Infographics. Informational graphics are a visual way to present complex information in an easy-to-understand image. Infographics are generally very successful on social media channels.
- Case studies. Case studies help illustrate how your products or services can specifically help your users.
- Videos. Videos provide a glimpse into your organization and offer an opportunity for your users to see themselves using your products or services, being a part of your team, or generating a more personal view of your business.
- User-generated content. Using customer images, videos or testimonials that speak to their relationship with you puts the spotlight on your user and reinforces your brand’s credibility.
- White papers. White papers break down complicated information, research, or data, and provide expert-level information to help audiences make a decision, understand a topic, or solve a problem.
- Podcasts.. A podcast is a great option for users who may not engage with written content but are part of the audience you’d like to engage.
- Social media. Social media makes it easy to connect with your audience and gives you multiple channels for distributing or repurposing content you’ve created. LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels help amplify your message.
What is the difference between content marketing and content management?
Content management supports your content marketing efforts. Content management is a set of processes and technologies that support the collection, management, and publishing of information in any form or medium. For example, content management is how you organize your digital documents, pictures, videos, graphics, and videos, typically using a content management system (CMS) or content management platform.
Content Marketing Strategy with Agency 39A
Our digital strategists and copywriters use a 5-element Framework to create effective Content Marketing strategies.
Creating Audience Personas
Identifying the audience you want to target with your content will help tell the story of your brand. You can identify your target audience in multiple ways, including surveying existing customers, researching industry trends, and watching who your competitors are targeting. Everyone involved in brand messaging should have a clear idea of who your audience is and what you’d like to communicate to them.
Positioning Your Brand and Story
Clearly defining brand and product positioning will provide a consistent experience for your audience across all of your content marketing channels. Our digital marketers ask the following questions to shape the main elements of your brand story and determine how to best position yourself in the market: Who are your existing and potential customers, and what are their goals? Who are your top competitors, and how do they market their brands? What is your brand’s unique value? What problems does your product help to solve?
Remember, your brand story is a summary of your company’s mission, purpose, and values and can help you determine the direction of your content marketing strategy.
Creating your Mission Statement and Value Proposition
Levering your unique background and identity can be extraordinarily beneficial when it comes to your content marketing strategy. Establishing your value proposition will help differentiate you and allow you to compete more effectively. To do so, our strategist and copywriters will help you answer the following questions: What unique value does your content provide to your audience? How do you stand out from other content creators? Why should users follow your content channels?
Don’t forget your content marketing mission statement when developing your overall content marketing strategy. Summarize why you are creating content and who can benefit from it, including your target audience and your users’ goals and how your content will help them achieve those goals.
Developing your Business Case and Content Marketing Goals
A successful content strategy provides value to your audience and drives your business forward. Identifying and incorporating business goals into your content marketing strategy will help determine the results you want and how to achieve them, bringing you closer to attaining those goals.
Developing a business case that spells out how your content marketing strategy will help the company reach overall business goals will help stakeholders better understand the benefits, costs, and value of implementing a content marketing strategy.
Create an Action Plan
Add a list of your yearly content marketing campaigns and projects to your content plan. Each campaign and project should correlate to the content marketing goals you’ve set for your business. This will help you determine your content strategy, including high-level content topics and campaigns, content formats, and content channels.
Analyzing historical content performance and your targeted audience will help decide on the most optimal content formats and channels for your content marketing strategy.
Effective content marketing is a critical strategy that offers your users the information they need as they move through the sales funnel, from research to decision. Your blogs, white papers, social media posts, infographics, and videos, attract potential users, keep them engaged, and move them along their path to purchase.