A content marketing strategy is a detailed plan that encompasses not only what content is to be created, but also the goals, intended audience, and all the tools and tactics that will be implemented. Think of it as a formula where each component has a defined purpose.
Creating a content marketing strategy step will ensure that you:
Who is your audience and what do you want them to do? These first two considerations are critical for setting the tone for the remainder of the strategy.
A buyer persona is a fictionalized person who embodies all of the characteristics of a specific audience. The more detailed your persona, the better you’re able to zero in on the ideal type of content that will resonate with them and the best methods of delivery.
All businesses have a target market, and within that market, there can be one or more buyer personas. The extent to which we’re able to define and distinguish between those personas will impact on our ability to authentically and effectively engage with that audience.
When developing personas, begin with basic demographics:
Each of these details has an impact on where, when, and how the customer will engage with your business.
The second part of persona creation includes the following details as they relate to your industry, and product and service offerings:
Why are you creating this content? How is this campaign serving our overall business goals? How will we measure success? To answer these questions we need to develop SMART goals.
Ideally, the goals of your content marketing strategy should be meaningful and measurable.
SMART stands for :
|SPECIFIC||The exact outcome you are seeking||10% increase in followers|
|MEASURABLE||Quantifiable||Downloads, signups, reach, etc.|
|ACHIEVABLE||Realistic||Grow LinkedIn network|
|RELEVANT||Serves your larger business goals||Increase engagement with a specific demographic|
|TIMELY||Must have a timeline||Month over month (or by a certain date)|
As a result, instead of:
Increase newsletter subscriptions
A SMART goal is:
Increase newsletter sign-ups on website by 10% month over month
Once you’ve defined your SMART goals and buyer personas, you have the information you need to determine the best type of content to engage that audience and achieve your goals.
Whether you’re repurposing existing content or starting from scratch, consider each of the content types within the context of your buyer personas and how they may be used to meet your goals.
Blogs are an ideal for demonstrating thought leadership, and are an excellent opportunity for increasing website traffic. Tools such as Ubersuggest or Buzzsumo can help you discover common search queries for keywords in your niche. Use these results to create your editorial calendar and build out SEO optimized posts that meet the specific needs of your audience.
Website content is an often overlooked content strategy component. Yet, the content on your website is the cornerstone of your brand. The most important role of your website content is to answer the questions of what your business does and who it does it for. It should also be optimized for search, and easy to navigate and engage with.
Social media is unique in that it’s both a content type and a distribution channel. When incorporating social media into your strategy, consider the demographics of your buyer personas. Where are they most likely to “hang” out to engage with their target audience? For example, a Marketing Director for a B2B manufacturer will likely be on LinkedIn. Whereas, a Family Law Attorney would typically be focused on Facebook.
Once you know where your audience can be found, conduct research to determine which content formats (visual, video, text, etc.) perform best on those platforms, and build that into your strategy.
Video is quickly becoming a must-have for a well rounded content strategy. According to a recent HubSpot report, more than 50% of consumers prefer to see videos from brands over any other type of content.
Podcasts are the ultimate in mobile content. In fact, 69% of all podcast listeners consume their episodes on a mobile device, making them easy for subscribers to listen at their convenience. While podcasts are still considered a content outlier, subscribership is projected to grow to 115M by 2021.
Once the content is created, the challenge becomes how to ensure that it reaches your intended audience. A few common methods of content distribution include:
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is technically an inbound marketing tactic, yet still critical to maximizing the reach of your content. For website and blog content, SEO best practices include:
Email remains one of the most effective methods of content distribution. The key is to follow a few simple guidelines.
Social Media can be a quick and easy way to distribute your content to a broad audience.
Now that you’re familiar with the all of the components, it’s time to build your strategy, use this checklist as a guideline: