What is a content marketing strategy?
If you haven’t been focused on content marketing, now is the time! In the long run, content marketing has three times the return on investment (ROI) compared to paid marketing (Oracle). This low-cost and high-impact marketing technique has become more and more popular in recent times, with over half of the most successful B2C marketers having a strategy in place.
So what is a content marketing strategy exactly? A content marketing strategy is a helpful outline of the different content marketing efforts your business will do to achieve specific marketing goals. This strategy is something you can look at throughout the year as you’re creating content to ensure that every piece of content you create is in line with your goals.
Things to consider when creating a content marketing strategy
Before you get started on creating your content marketing strategy, you need to answer the following questions. This will help you create a strategy that is aligned with your specific business goals.
- Who is your target audience?
Before you create your content marketing strategy, you need to know who you’re creating content for. Who will be reading, watching, and engaging with your content? What are the types of customers you want to know about you and your business?
You also want to define all the different types of target audience/s that will be seeing your content. Every business will have more than one target audience, so be sure to define each one that is relevant to your situation.
- What sets you apart from the competition?
If you have something unique or fresh, you need to highlight this! Beyond just proving you’re better than your competitors, you need to show that you’re different. Setting yourself apart and showcasing what makes you special can go a long way in making your brand stand out among the rest.
- What solutions are you offering for your audience’s problems?
Your product or service needs to be useful to your audience in some way, and a great way to highlight this is by identifying how your offerings can solve a problem that you know your audience is facing.
However, be mindful that content marketing is not typical advertising: you are not hard-selling your products! Your content needs to reinforce the solutions you can bring to the table, but in a way that gently educates your audience, perhaps even encouraging them to identify the challenges they are facing in the first place (which your product and service can solve, of course!).
- What content formats do you want to focus on?
There are many forms of media you can use to create content. Text, images, videos, graphics – these are just a few of the many content formats for you to choose from! A mix of each type of media is the best way for you to engage with different segments of your audience, but be sure to keep a clear and consistent brand identity.
You should also consider which formats will suit your budget. Some content are a lot cheaper to create than others, so this is something you need to consider in your content marketing strategy too.
- What platforms or channels will you be using to distribute your content?
There are many channels where you can share your content, and it’s a good idea to mix it up a little bit so that your content can reach more people. You can publish content on your owned assets, such as your website and blog. You can also publish content on social media, such as Facebook and Instagram.
- How will you manage the creation and publication of your content?
When it comes to executing your content marketing strategy, it is vital to identify what content you’re creating, who is creating it, where it’s going to be published, and when it is going live!
Having a detailed plan will not only allow your plan to go off without a hitch, it’s also going to determine how much time and money will be required to create and distribute your content in the first place.
How to create a content marketing strategy
- Define your goals
What are the objectives you aim to achieve with this content marketing strategy? Having clear and specific goals will allow you to not only plan your content, but also track your progress and key performance indicators (KPIs) once you’ve launched your content marketing campaigns. A useful technique is the SMART goal-setting method, which stands for ‘Specific, Measurable, Aspirational, Realistic, and Time-bound’ goals.
- Create a buyer persona
We discussed the importance of identifying your target audience earlier, and this basically dives deeper into that. Creating a buyer persona or a customer avatar allows you to understand that specific audience’s needs, making it easier for you to create content that is relevant and valuable to them. Hubspot has a useful tool that allows you to create a buyer persona for your audience, while Digital Marketer has created a template called the Customer Avatar Worksheet which you can use to create a buyer persona.
- Run a content audit
If you haven’t yet created content, you can skip this step. If you have existing content, this step is crucial in order for you to identify your most and least successful content among the content you’ve already produced, which can guide you in creating content and focusing on topics that will perform well in the future. This audit can also help you pinpoint content that can be re-purposed or expanded upon!
- Select a content management system
A content management system (CMS) is a place where you can manage your content from start to finish, including content creation, content publication, and content analysis. A popular content management system is WordPress, which is what most of our clients use. It is a robust and highly-customisable CMS that is also really easy to use. For social media posts, scheduling tools like HootSuite and Plann can make it easy for you to schedule social media posts in bulk ahead of time.
- Come up with content ideas
There are many ways you can brainstorm content ideas and topics that are relevant to your business goals. Websites like BuzzSumo and UberSuggest allows you to see popular content and content ideas based on keywords that are relevant to you. HubSpot’s Blog Ideas Generator gives you a list of content ideas based on general topics and terms, and BlogAbout works in a similar way by giving you common headline formats that you can adapt to your content.
- Decide on the type of content you want to create
Your content marketing strategy needs to have a list of exactly the types of content you will produce. Today’s audiences are savvier than ever before, so it’s important to have a mix of different types of content in order to reach a larger audience.
Types of content that add value to your business
Using a Content Marketing Funnel like the one above, or the Love Funnel, as a guide when you are coming up with content ideas will allow you to identify the types of content will resonate with your audiences at their specific stage of their interaction with your business.
At the top of the funnel (TOFU), your customer becomes aware of your business, and is starting to do some research about who you are and what you offer. This is a great stage in which you share helpful content that showcases your brand messaging and identity. This is not the place for hard selling! Social media and blog posts, newsletters, and eBooks do well in generating leads from audiences at this point of the funnel.
As your customer reaches the middle of the funnel (MOFU), they have become more acquainted with your products and services, and are likely comparing your offerings to those of your competitors. At this stage, you can help them evaluate their options with things like quizzes and surveys, and educational resources like comparison charts.
The bottom of the funnel (BOFU) is where your audience needs that final push to purchase your product or engage your services. At this stage, your audience knows what they need and how to get it, but still need convincing before they take that final step. Sharing your customers’ testimonials, before and afters, demonstrations, and fact sheets can give them the information they need in order to seal the deal!
A content marketing strategy is an important first step in creating effective content that can attract and convert leads. Do you need assistance with creating a content marketing strategy? We can help! Get in touch with us today to learn more about our content marketing services.