What is a content marketing strategy and why is it important?

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:

  • Remain on track
  • Have consistency among team members
  • Have a method of measuring the campaign results

Personas and Goals

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.

Defining Buyer Personas

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:

  • Age range
  • Gender 
  • Level of education
  • Profession
  • Role in company

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:

  • Challenges 
  • Pain points
  • Common objections

Establishing SMART Goals

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

Types of Content

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.

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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. 

With the ever-evolving smartphone technology, and user friendly apps such as YouTube, Vimeo, and Zoom it’s easy for even the non tech savvy to create, edit, and distribute high quality videos.

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.

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Content Distribution Channels

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:

  • Optimizing title tags and meta descriptions.
  • Include alt tags for images and graphics,
  • A clearly defined H1-H3 (or more) on-page header structure. This will ensure that both readers and search engines will understand the focus of the content and the hierarchy of the details.

Email remains one of the most effective methods of content distribution. The key is to follow a few simple guidelines. 

  • Ensure that your contacts have opted in to receive your emails, and can access clear instructions for opting out.
  • Segment your email lists according to common criteria.
  • Establish a monthly newsletter or create a lead nurturing email campaign to stay top of mind with your contacts.

Social Media can be a quick and easy way to distribute your content to a broad audience. 

  • Link to your website, video or podcast in social media posts. 
  • Expose your blog content to a wider audience by republishing posts using the LinkedIn article tool. 
  • Target your personas by posting to social media groups and by incorporating keywords into hashtags. 

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Building Your Content Marketing Strategy

Now that you’re familiar with the all of the components, it’s time to build your strategy, use this checklist as a guideline:

  1. Create your buyer persona(s)
  2. Define your SMART goals
  3. Determine your value proposition - How you’re uniquely qualified to address the challenges of each persona
  4. Use keyword and search query research tools to pinpoint what information your audience is seeking
  5. Determining the best type(s) of content based on persona/goals/value prop/research
  6. SEO optimization plan based on content and distribution channel(s)
  7. Distribution plan for maximizing content’s reach, based on persona characteristics and content type

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