When it comes to content marketing, everything you do should be part of a larger strategy designed to achieve specific goals.
More sales, more leads, more pageviews – whatever it is, you need a clear, well-thought-out plan. You need a content strategy.
Here’s a look at what to include.
What is the content strategy?
As you’ve probably guessed, a content strategy is a specific set of tactics used in content development and management.
Uses various forms of media, including blogs, videos, podcasts, and/or social media posts to achieve specific business goals.
It’s not the same thing as content marketing, but it’s your master content marketing plan.
What are the anatomical elements of a content strategy?
Like a marketing octopus, there are eight supplements that are important to a good marketing strategy.
Let’s run them in the order they should be created.
A successful content marketing plan always starts with clearly defined goals. This is a stage that many people skip, to their detriment.
Different types of marketing tactics achieve different goals, most of which probably correspond to a step in your sales funnel.
Some of the most common goals are to build brand awareness, increase traffic, grow your email list, generate new customers, convert new customers, improve customer retention, and increase sale.
The objective you decide on will determine the type of content and channel for each marketing tactic.
It is perfectly acceptable to have multiple goals; However, understand that not all content will work for every goal.
Remember, a jack of all trades is a master of none. Better to have more specialized content.
Every tactic should be in your content strategy Backed by research to justify it. And working here will save you a lot of headaches down the road.
Start by looking at your target audience. What is their demographics? What are their pain points? How can you help?
There are a number of ways to find this information, including mining numerical data, sending out surveys, and conducting interviews with clients.
Then, apply this knowledge to your existing content and determine where it hits the mark, where it could be stronger, and where it is missing out entirely.
Do keyword research, and identify the phrases that rank highly in that need work. Be sure to note the intent, scale, and relevance of your research.
Check what your competitors are doing. What seems to be working?
For digital marketing purposes, determine which keywords to rank for, who associates with them, and their social media presence.
3. Target topics
By this point, you should have started compiling a list of potential thoughts and messages you want to share.
Determine which topics are most important to each part of your strategy and how the new content will help achieve your goal.
To evaluate a topic, determine how it fits with your organizational goals.
For example, if you’re a camping supplies company seeking to educate consumers about your brand, a blog post about the top 5 Campfire build mistakes could attract curious web searchers.
This will give them familiarity with your brand, although it is unlikely that you will sell many sleeping bags. Therefore, a banner ad containing a discount code may be more useful.
Try to approach each topic from new angles.
If you can find a new way to frame things, you will stand out in a market crowded with recycling the same idea. Be as specific as possible without limiting your creativity.
4. Editorial calendar
Now it’s time to decide when you should post each piece of content.
Some things have clearly defined seasons. For example, nobody buys a Christmas tree in June, but it’s a huge market in December. Others are loosely defined (for example, people need new cars year-round).
Figure out the best time to drop each piece of content, as well as a rhythm for how often you’ll release new content. This will vary based on your audience and platform, so there are no hard and fast rules.
Know that producing and publishing content regularly takes a lot of work. If you don’t have a content calendar to keep everything on track, it’s easy to get left behind.
You should always work a few months in advance, so you have things in the pipeline ready to go. This gives you more flexibility should a new opportunity or emergency pop up, as well as reduce the stress of creating content.
5. Editorial Guidelines
What does your company look like? Is it professional? welcome? Familiar? funny? Discover the voice of your organization.
Write a document explaining this, and distribute it to the content creators, whether they are in-house or freelance. This will create a sense of consistency across all pieces of content and all channels.
In this same document, formatting requirements must be specified, including punctuation, heading styles, and style (for example, AP style). If you are including the visuals, make sure that the brand colors, fonts, and logo usage are clearly defined.
Even if they have completely different goals and distribution, each piece must have a clear relationship with the next.
6. Distribution channels
You have your content goals, topics, and calendar laid out; Now, it’s time to decide where you’re going to use it.
Determine the platforms you will use to tell your story and the processes and goals for each.
Where your content will live often has an impact on its format and pacing, but your goal is to deliver a consistent brand narrative across all channels.
By defining your distribution channels, you determine the best platform for each piece of content.
Look for cross-posting opportunities. There’s no reason why you can’t share an infographic from your blog on Instagram. This gives you twice the exposure for the same amount of work.
Just because you have content created and distributed doesn’t mean you can sit on your laurels.
Now, it’s time to evaluate them and find out what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t. It’s time to dive into analytics.
You don’t just look at the number of shares, clicks or purchases through your website; You are searching for “why?” You are trying to understand why your content succeeds where other segments fail.
Did it work well on one channel and fail on another? Why did that happen? Is it a different audience or just a lack of supply?
Google Analytics can be very helpful during this step.
8. Key Performance Indicators
This goes hand in hand with the previous step; While analyzing content performance, you must find key performance indicators (KPIs) to support it.
Again, what you measure will depend on the goal.
Some KPIs you might consider are organic web traffic, sales opportunities generated, keyword ranking changes, social shares and engagement, inbound links, and cost per lead.
Plan for success
It’s been said that even a bad plan is better than no plan at all, so imagine the great results you’ll achieve with your powerful new content strategy.
Creating this strategy takes some work, but even the simplest organizations, with smaller marketing budgets, will benefit from using it. It is an absolute must for marketing departments of any kind of complexity.
Follow the steps mentioned here, and you will create a well-thought-out content strategy that will help you reach your goals.
- 10 reasons why you need a long-term content strategy
- Complete Guide to Product Led Content Strategy (With Examples)
- Content Marketing: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners
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