]I might be a little biased, but I believe in the power of a content marketing strategy to bring in new customers, educate users, drive revenue and help build a powerful brand for any business. Creating and curating content is important to your business. Period! Content builds your voice, presence and reputation. But it is important to create a content marketing strategy specific to your goals and audience. You cannot just throw any content out there and expect it to work with and for you. You need a plan and a good one.
Here’s why: according to the Content Marketing Institute, 70% of B2B marketers surveyed say they are creating more content this year than they did in 2017, with the trend showing no signs of slowing down.
Define Your Content Marketing Goal
Before you look at what you’re going to create, you need to answer why you’re making it.
Every content marketing strategy starts with the goal. How are you going to measure the success of your campaign? Is it with traffic? New subscribers? App downloads? Conversions? Social shares and engagement? Video views? Podcast downloads? Sales?
It’s easy to get caught up in all the tactics of content marketing, but without a unifying strategy—a strong why, no matter what you create it will fall flat.
Understanding your goal early on will guide other important decisions as you develop your content marketing strategy.
Research and Understand Your Audience
Once you have a clear connection to why you’re making content, the next step in building out your content marketing strategy is to understand exactly who is going to see, hear, or watch the content you create.
Effective content is not produced in a vacuum from a list of topics you personally want to write or talk about, it’s made out in the open with the involvement, feedback, and direction of your audience. The best content marketing strategy is designed to answer the most pressing questions your target audience has—to educate and transform them.
Analyze your market and competitors
We’ve established that a clever marketing strategy is a business’ game plan which helps them flourish and stand out from competition.
But to get to that level, you need to have expert knowledge into what’s happening in your market and how are you competitors doing: what are their struggles? What’s working for them? Which are their weak links?
Set Up Your Blog
It’s time to move from the tactical to the technical part of your content marketing strategy. There are tons of great (and easy) options for setting up your own website that go from ready-to-use platforms to fully customizable templates.
Start Building an Email List and Know How You’re Going to Use It
Whatever content you’re creating, you want to put it in front of the right people. Email lets you communicate directly to your subscribers and gets you into their inboxes—where so many of us spend countless hours each week. Starting early with list-building is a great way to amplify the content you’re creating. An email service provider (or, ESP) allows you to send emails, build and maintain your subscriber list, and check reports and analytics on how your campaigns are doing. An ESP will also make sure your emails stay out of spam folders, keep your list healthy and in check, and make sure you’re adhering to all relevant laws around emails.
Brainstorm Content Ideas and Use Keyword Research to Find What Your Audience is Looking For
You probably have a ton of ideas for posts you can write or videos you can film at this point. However, that initial excitement can wear off quickly when other things get in the way.
For your content marketing strategy to be successful, you need to make sure you stay strategic in what you’re creating and avoid falling into the trap of simply reacting.
- Brainstorm topics and terms: Start by writing down as many ideas of terms or topics your audience is interested in. It’s good to involve people who work directly with your users at this point, like a customer service or sales rep.
- Use a keyword research tool to gather results: Now, it’s time to plug those terms into a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner, Moz or any other to see what comes up.
- Expand and refine your list: Take that big list and refine or group them together. What looks good? What doesn’t make sense to your business goals?
- Build a spreadsheet and prioritize terms: Now, it’s time to get organized. Build a spreadsheet with the data you got in your tool, such as keyword, estimated search volume, difficulty and opportunity and assign a priority to each one. Which is most important to your business?
- Outline content that hits the 3 key needs: Take your top terms and outline content that will serve your goals, the user’s needs, and the keyword targeting. This is the trifecta of killer, SEO-friendly content.
Use Social Media to Promote Your Content
It’s pretty much impossible these days to separate your content marketing strategy from your social media strategy. Social media has become an integral part of getting your content in front of the right people.
By now, you should know pretty much everything you need to plan and execute a killer content marketing strategy.