How many times have you been at work and heard the about a Content marketing strategy? Probably not a lot, because it’s something that is way overlooked within a business or organisation, due to the lack of understanding of the power it brings.
Many think it’s merely a document/strategy which outlines what content is required on what channel and when. Others use it as a guideline for their tone of voice. Or, to effectively communicate what a business does and how they do it through different mediums – which I must say, is the old-fashioned way of doing things. There’s a new kid on the block, and his name is ‘change’, something you need to be, and if you haven’t already refined your content marketing strategy in 2018, you need to do it asap!
To help you do this, I’m going to walk you through a few proven steps/processes that will help bring your content marketing strategy into the 21st century.
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
A content marketing strategy is an extension of your marketing plan and development that controls pretty much every type of media your business currently owns or creates. Either visual, written, downloadable etc. You may think and agree that content creation is critical, but it’s also imperative that this content is well planned out and it has a firm purpose. To lay the basics, these are some of the things you need to consider and think about when developing yours.
- Why does your business exist?
- The audience (who you’re creating content for)
- What problems you solve for the audience.
- USP (Unique Selling Point).
- The formats you’ll focus on.
- What channels are relevant for your business?
- How you’ll schedule and manage your content?
These are just the basics, and fleshing out the above points with your internal teams or marketing agency will allow you to build the foundation of your strategy.
7 Simple Steps to Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy in 2018
1. Create a list of objectives
What is a content marketing strategy without a goal? Make sure you effectively plan and define what targets you’re looking to achieve what you need to do to reach them. Common objectives we see include:
- Increasing brand awareness through content.
- Growing conversions online.
- Streamlining the sales process.
- Develop a strong marketing message to support marketing strategy.
The list can go on forever depending on your business, but it’s important to set these out before doing anything. Then when it comes to developing & executing your content marketing strategy. You can review later on to see if you achieved the desired outcomes.
2. Define your ‘why, how & what.’
Defining your why, how and what is one of the most important steps to your content marketing strategy, as it allows you specify the purpose you serve and apply it to the content plan and any campaigns you intent to launch in future.
The why is focussed on why your business does what it does. Ask yourself, why do you exist? What purpose do you serve in the world and what problems do you solve for your customers?
How do you do what you do? I.e., by hiring the top experts in your field, using the highest quality ingredients etc.
What do you do? I.e., make mobile phones, offer creative services, IT Solutions etc.
With these principles defined, you can now move onto developing your tone of voice and strategic marketing message, which can be used for future content pieces.
3. Create Target Personas
To develop a successful plan, you need to define the target audience/personas your business currently attracts. This will allow you to focus the message and produce valuable content that they can’t resist to read and take action on.
Gary Vaynerchuk recently had a sit down with Yung Baby Tate about targeting music through different channels.
Find your niche! The internet is a great platform for this and there exists a community for everything.
It will also allow you to identify individual problems your target persons have, meaning you can think about how your products or services help solve that problem so you can create content that speaks on a relatable and emotive level, rather than purely logically.
Even if you think you already have your audience down to a T, you may want to consider again. When your business grows, so does your audience, so reviewing your target personas yearly will keep you on top of your game.
4. Make a brand story
By making a brand story, you’re able to characterise your content marketing concerning what story, ideas and messages you want to communicate. It will also allow you to share your brand journey/story, how you differentiate to that of the competition and how you approach your landscape.
5. Choose a content management system
Most businesses will already have this in place, but it’s vital to choose the right type of content management system to manage your content efficiently. A few essential parts of content management include content creation, content publication and analysis.
For businesses who have a primary brochure website, we always recommend WordPress as a CMS, as this allows you to plan, produce and publish content across your site quickly.
6. Brainstorm Content Ideas
The fun bit! This is where your content marketing strategy really starts to come to life. Taking everything you’ve learned and developed in the previous steps, sit down with your teams to brainstorm content ideas for your business. These can be basic/rough ideas that could later develop into massive content campaigns. A few idea subjects include:
- Blog post ideas: what issues can we write about and how will this add value to the audience?
- Video: What type of videos can we create over the next year to raise brand awareness and showcase what you do/offer.
- Social Content: What campaign ideas can we think of and how will the content work with these campaigns?
- SEO/PPC: Brainstorm ideas and define keywords searched by your audience to use in future campaigns
7. Plan, publish and manage your content
Once you’ve brainstormed your creative ideas and developed them into real activities, it’s essential to create a plan on where to post and organise your content. You can do this by creating an editorial calendar or content spreadsheet that details what month/date to develop and publish the content.
Are you ready to get started?
For most businesses, creating a robust and effective content marketing strategy is a lengthy process, and it requires expertise to get it right. Hopefully, the above steps give you some insight to what it takes to make an effective strategy and helps you in creating one, but if you need help at any point, please get in touch with one of our team.