Before we jump straight into the steps, we want to emphasize that a content marketing strategy isn’t a “nice to have”—it’s a fundamental requirement for success.
In 2019, 61% of content marketers still say they do not have a documented content strategy, yet those who do have a content marketing strategy consistently rate their efforts as far more successful than those who don’t.
With many businesses digitalizing everything, competition on the online market has grown remarkably. This is because companies of all kinds have built their empires for their target audience to access information and maybe make purchases online. Although there are many companies offering different services, there is only one customer, and ways of winning the customer are becoming fewer every day.
You, as the business owner need to make sure that, the company website is better than your rivals, and has to implement marketing ways which will give the website higher ranks for increased revenue and traffic. It is due to this reason why marketing is such an important factor today for online businesses. Content marketing is the backbone of internet marketing
The truth is there are no secrets to creating a content marketing strategy. Instead, we simply use our framework as a guide, plus add plenty of meaningful time and effort. I have outlined it here so you can take your own content marketing strategy and plan to the next level, too. Oh, and Of course, if there’s anything else we can do to help you or your organization, please let us know.
Content Marketing Strategy in 12 Steps
To help you get started on leveling up your content efforts, here’s an overview of each of the seven steps to creating your content marketing strategy:
Step 1: Document Your Goals.
A good starting point for your content strategy plan is to set out a content marketing mission statement. This is a brief statement that makes it easier to focus on what’s important – and what’s not – in creating your content so your content marketing strategy stays on track.
A content marketing mission statement outlines:
- Your target audience
- The content you’ll use to reach them
- The benefit they’ll get
It can be so easy to get caught up in the what, how and where of content marketing that we often skip over the single most important foundational piece: the why.
So why are you doing content marketing? Is it to create leads? Build relationships? Improve your customers’ experiences?
No matter what your content marketing goals are, just make sure they’re sustainable for the long-term and they actually connect to your organization’s overarching goals, mission and vision. To keep your strategy focused and crystal-clear, stick to three to five business goals max, and document them.
Step 2: Determine Your “One Thing”.
There is so much content out there, and more and more is being published every day. So what will you create in your content marketing program to set your organization apart? In other words, what is the heart and soul of your content program?
Is it to:
- Create Awareness?
- Create Youtility?
- Motivate and inspire?
- Educate and entertain?
The only appropriate response to all of the above is YES! Otherwise, you run the risk of providing more of the same and contributing to that enormous, growing content glut.
I will give you a fantastic tip for looking for your “one thing.”
First, write down all of the brand messages your company uses. Then, take your top three competitors and cross off any messages on your list that they’re using, too. What you’ll have left is a completely unique set of brand messages, which can help clarify your “one thing.”
Step 3. Establish Your KPIs.
The best way to achieve goals is to make them specific and measurable. That means setting key performance indicators (KPIs) for your content marketing strategy.
The KPIs will help you know when you have achieved your goals by providing milestones you can check off. They’ll include what you plan to achieve in terms of revenue, sales, traffic, SEO, traffic and different aspects of digital marketing like email marketing and social media metrics.
Typically, these will have specific numbers attached to them. For example, you might want to:
- Hit a certain revenue target within the month, quarter, or year.
- Get more signups for your lead magnet as a sign that you’re getting more high-quality leads.
- Get a certain number of new email subscribers.
- See an increase in site traffic and in engagement with your onsite content.
- Improve the search ranking of some of your key pages to help boost traffic.
Warning: beware of using vanity metrics that don’t really say much of anything at all.
Instead, to understand if your content is really doing what it’s intended to, we need to look to action, not just eyeballs.
That’s where the 4 categories of content marketing metrics come in:
- Consumption metrics:This is one of the best and easiest places to start. Basically, what did audiences do with the content? Think actions: views, downloads, listens, visits, etc.
- Sharing metrics: How resonant is this piece of content, and how often is it shared with others?
- Lead generation metrics:The ultimate goal for most organizations; How many leads came from a piece of content?
- Sales metrics:Did we make any money on this piece of content?
Step 4: Know Your Audience.
As mentioned earlier, for a successful content marketing strategy, you’ll need to be clear about who your audience is so you can create the right content to reach them. There are actions you need to take.
- Collect Demographic Data: Look at your target audience’s age, gender, education and income just to mention a few.
- Audience: High-level collections of similarly motivated individuals with some common interest or agenda. Think: repeat product purchasers.
- Segment: Cross-sections of an audience or list in which individuals (or companies) share one or more common traits or can be grouped by a common trait. Think: Work-from-home parents.
- Persona:A data-informed, detailed yet fictitious characterization of the goals and behavior of a hypothesized group of users.
Whichever audience definition you use or look to to guide your content marketing efforts, make sure you’re focusing on your top 5 audiences only, and look at their psychographics, not just demographics. Also, consider replacing stock photos with icons or symbols to avoid getting stuck on what your audience physically looks like or stereotyping by age, race, or gender.
Step 5. Create More Content with Less.
When it comes to content problems, almost everyone thinks the solution is to create more. But, as we’ve covered above, there is a lot of content, and we don’t want to add our content on top of the already massive heap. Plus, you probably have plenty of content created at this point, which means it’s time to remix and refresh our content before we even think about creating another new piece:
- Repurpose or reuse content: Give content new life, by giving it a quick remix. That could include updating some still-relevant content with new information, turning an infographic into an animated video, or republishing content so it’s front and center for users to see.
- Curate content:Why reinvent the wheel when there’s plenty of great content out there already? Curate content from trusted sources, but be sure to give credit where credit’s due and include your own perspective on the content piece, too.
- User-generated content (UGC): Tap into your customers or your social community for additional content ideas and pieces.
- Automization: Take one huge piece of content and break it down into eight smaller pieces of content. This one is a tried-and-true tactic I use.
Only after you’ve identified gaps in content or have remixed, refreshed and atomized content should you move on to new content creation.
Step 6. Create a Content Calendar.
As part of your content strategy, you’ll need to know exactly when you want to publish your content on each of the platforms you want to use.
Lack of planning is a key content marketing mistake so it’s essential to use a content calendar to get all your content scheduled.
Here is the gist:
- Start with your binge-worthy shows: Add binge-worthy shows (aka ongoing content efforts that are executed at least 2x per month) into your calendar first and make sure to pay attention to any key dates or big events.
- Add your one-time specials:Pay attention to how your quarterly content commitments, or one-time specials, overlap or complement your binge-worthy shows.
- Round it out with regularly scheduled programming: Last, but definitely not least, add in your regularly scheduled programming. These should help fill any gaps in your cadence and keep content consistent.
Step 7. Figure Out the Best Content Channels.
As you work through this process, you’ll start to get a sense of where your audience is hanging out, and where you already have a successful audience online. It’s best to focus on what’s working and expand from there, rather than try to do everything at once.
But to be absolutely sure, you’ll need to take a look at tool like web analytics and Buzzsumo and you’ll see charts showing:
- Shares by network
- Shares by content type
- Shares by content length
- Top content in the past year
With this information, you can easily decide which networks to target to get social media engagement and shares for your content.
Step 8. Decide on Content Types.
Next, think about the types of content you need to create. There are some content types that every content marketing strategy will include.
Most successful content marketing strategies rely on having a central core of content published on your own site (or home base) which can then be re-purposed and shared on other sites (outposts).
So blog posts are an essential part of your content marketing mix, and they still deliver strong results. Ideally, your blog posts will be actionable, valuable, and shareable, and may include a range of article types.
Video Marketing should be a part of any marketing, as it’s proven to engage your visitors to keep them on-site longer, improve lead generation, and reduce abandonment.You’ll also want to include other types of visual content to improve engagement.Consider creating info-graphics with tools like Canva to create customized graphics and memes for social media.
Step 9. Identify and Allocate Resources.
Now that you know what type of content you’re planning to create, who it’s for, and where you’re planning to share it, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need to deliver on your content marketing strategy. That involves answering questions like:
- Who’s in charge of producing and maintaining content?
- What human, physical or digital tools and resources do you need to create the content?
- What will your publishing workflow look like, including content scheduling?
Step 10. Create Content.
As you’ve seen, there’s a lot of prep work in your content marketing strategy before you actually create a piece of content. But now it’s time to do just that. We’re going to use a blog post as our example, but these tips will work for almost any type of content creation.
With the research you’ve already done, you’ll have an idea of what type of blog post, graphics, videos and content to create.
Step 11. Distribute and Market.
The next key part of your content strategy is distribution and marketing. That’s because you won’t get the results you want unless these are handled correctly. For example, you will likely:
- Set a schedule for sharing your content on social media platforms.
- Use email marketing to distribute your content to subscribers.
- Notify any influencers mentioned in your content to spread the word even wider.
Step 12. Measure Results.
Finally, it’s time to assess the success of your content marketing strategy. To do this, you’ll return to those KPIs you set at the start of the content strategy plan, and see what’s changed and whether you’re hitting your targets.
To do this, you can:
- Check Google Analytics as described above to see how your content is performing
- Measure social sharing activity via Buzzsumo and other social analytics tools
By monitoring your progress, you’ll be able to tweak your content marketing strategy at regular intervals, so it’s always up to date.
Without a strategy, success or failure is just a matter of luck – and you risk all your efforts going to waste. That’s likely why 64% of marketers say that learning how to build a content strategy is one of their greatest needs. If you’re in that group and have been wondering how to create a content strategy for your business, we’re here to help.
That’s it! Now you know how to create a successful content marketing strategy from beginning to end.
Next, check out these and to help you make your content: