There’s no denying that content marketing is one of the most popular methods of marketing at the moment, and it looks to be here to stay for the foreseeable future. 9 out of every 10 marketers in the world are using content as part of their marketing efforts, and it’s become a crucial part of the success stories we see everywhere.
We’ve talked before about the benefits of consistent content marketing for your business, but today we wanted to drill down a little deeper into that topic. Because it’s not enough to just put out loads of content and hope for the best. If you want those great results, you need to have a strategy behind them. Here is How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy:
What is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy is a plan of action that a business can use to produce and share content that will attract and retain customers. The strategy typically focuses on creating high-quality content that is useful, relevant, and engaging for customers. Content can take many different forms, such as blog posts, social media posts, articles, infographics, and videos.
Why Is Having A Content Marketing Strategy Important?
Have you ever got into a car with a destination in mind, but no clue of how to actually get there? The journey is likely to be frustrating, take a lot of long routes you didn’t need to take, cost more in petrol and generally be much more stressful. And there’s a high likelihood you’re going to get lost instead of reaching your destination.
The same goes for content marketing. If you have a goal in mind for your marketing efforts, but no strategy to get there, you’re operating without a map. You may achieve some success, but it’s incredibly unlikely you’re going to be able to achieve your goals because there is no strategy in place to pull everything together. Your content marketing strategy is your roadmap to success, and it stops you from going down routes that won’t be any benefit to your business.
On top of that, having a clear content marketing strategy can be incredibly helpful for your business as a whole, from sales to operations. This is because:
- You have to do your research on your target market, their pain points and the ways they look for solutions.
- You need to have a clear understanding of your own position in the market, what your USPs are and what stops some customers from buying from you.
- You understand what success looks like, and have defined metrics you can measure your performance against.
- You will have a clear plan in place showing what needs to happen to reach your business goals. This can just be for the marketing side of things, but often will include other activities that could aid in hitting those big goals.
In short, a content marketing strategy is critical to the success of your content activities. So if you want the best results, you need a strategy to work from.
How to develop a Content Marketing Strategy
The bad news is, understanding why you need a strategy for your content marketing is only half the battle. Now, you need to create a content marketing strategy of your own. This isn’t something you can just download a template of that will tell you what to do and when. Content marketing needs to be tailored to your business, your target customers, and your goals. So while templates might help you get started, you need to do some legwork to create your own strategy. That being said, there are some steps you can go through to create a basic strategy, and fill in any gaps in your current activities.
Define Your Future
Your content strategy is all about the future, what you want to achieve, and how you get there using content. So this should be the starting point for any strategy. To start with, write out your medium-term goals, with the aim of adding in long-term goals at a later stage. This creates the foundation for your content strategy, and will provide you with a focus at every stage. All of your content marketing efforts should serve these goals in some way.
Before you start fiddling with your content, you should audit the content you already have. Any existing content within your business, what platform it’s on, how well it’s performed and how it was distributed – all of it is the perfect starting point for a new strategy because it can tell you what works with your current audience, what didn’t, and how well it aligns with your future plans. Remember that this covers written, audio and video content. This gives you an idea of the kind of content and distribution you should start with to give you the best chance of success.
This stage is all about your business and your customers, and learning who each are and what they want. Some things you should research include who your audience is, what drives their need to purchase, what their pain points are, what barriers there are to purchase and what attracts them to certain brands over others. You should also ask yourself what your business offers, what your brand story is, what makes you unique, and how customers will move through your business (otherwise known as the customer journey). Once you understand your business, your customers and how they interact, you can start building a content plan.
Content marketing isn’t just about what goes out – it’s also about what’s happening inside as well. This is called ‘off-page marketing, and is all about making sure your website is the best it can be. Optimisation for search engines is a huge part of this, as well as optimising landing pages to convert and creating lead magnets to drive interest. Take some time to get your website so that when all of those leads come in from your content, they are more likely to convert.
With this new knowledge of your target customer, identify the content channels you want to use. These should be the channels your customers are most likely to frequent, so will look different for each business. For example, social media channels like Facebook or Twitter might be useful for some businesses, while others might see more success in collaborating with influencers. Email marketing and free downloads can be incredibly effective for some businesses, while others prefer to focus on podcasts or video marketing.
This is how you will execute your marketing strategy. Now you know who you want to target and where, it’s time to answer ‘with what’ and ‘how. Decide the kinds of content you think will be the most effective for your audience, what will work for your chosen channels and the frequency these activities need to be done. Allocate tasks to specific people on your team or outsourced professionals to ensure the right content is being created for your business at the right times.
Measure & Change
A content marketing strategy isn’t a static thing. It can, and should, change over time, depending on the results you’re getting. Make sure you have a way to measure the things you are doing and how successful they’re being. Measurement metrics can be anything from the number of followers on your social platforms, the number of downloads of your lead magnets, emails opened to inbound links your site is getting. Whatever your measure of success is, make sure you have the metrics to track it and make changes to your strategy in line with the data. Don’t stick religiously to your plan if it isn’t working – do something different!
How long does it take for content marketing to work?
There is no one answer to this question as the amount of time it takes for content marketing to work will vary depending on the individual campaign, the industry, and the target audience. However, generally speaking, it can take anywhere from several weeks to several months for content marketing to start seeing results.
At Lion Spirit Media, we understand the value of not only content marketing, but the strategy behind it. Our experts will never just jump into providing you with content – instead we will work closely with your business to understand your goals, and develop a tailored content marketing strategy that will help you achieve and surpass your business targets. With a clear, proactive and well-thought-out plan in place, your content marketing will never look better. If you’d like to know more, just get in touch to book your free consultation.