How to create a good content marketing strategy in six steps
In the world of digital marketing, one of the key concepts is content marketing. A study conducted by Smart Insights in January 2018 regarding the most significant marketing trends ranked content marketing in the top position.
Many companies perform content marketing, but few of them have a strategy dedicated to content creation. For many, this means that content is created without a clear plan, and so it is not possible to guarantee that it is conducted efficiently.
These are the 6 steps to create a content marketing strategy that can help you to maximise the potential of your content:
1. Define the objective for your content
The first step is to identify the basis of the strategy, for example, to define the purpose or the vision with respect to the content. What are you seeking to achieve?
- Position yourself as a subject expert
- Increase client loyalty
- Generate more potential clients or increase sales
- Highlight your skills
- Provide better service
- Expand your business
There is no specific answer to this, it will surely be a combination of factors. The question is, what are your main reasons for working on content marketing? Only when you know your specific reasons can you define the necessary objectives to succeed in content marketing.
2. Identify your target audience
You can't stand out in your marketing efforts without knowing who you are targeting. You need to understand your clients' needs to establish the type of content that will be useful, will stand out to them, and will meet their needs.
Once you have identified your audience and you know what they are interested in, you can create content that is relevant to them.
Know your audience
Be aware of your surroundings. By doing this, you can learn a lot about your clients and competitors. Social networks are a key location to better understand current trends within your industry, what interests your competitors and how clients feel about your brand.
There are various Social Listening tools that you can use to monitor social activity that is relevant to your business such as Meltwater, Talkwalker (our favourite), Brandchats, Brandwatch and many others.
Web statistics can give you useful information about interaction with your brand. In Google Analytics, not only can you find information about demographics and engagement, but you can also see how to identify the users of your website, what interests them and where the conversions are made.
3. Broadcast your content
It is not enough to produce useful content and to believe that the work is done. Content must be actively distributed in the appropriate channels to reach the selected audience. If you know your audience well, you will know where to find it.
Your distribution channels can be divided into three categories: Owned, Earned and Paid.
- Owned: These are your personal channels such as websites, e-commerce sites, blogs, newsletters, magazines, social profiles, etc.
- Earned: These are the channels where you acquire the ability to publish content. There is immense outreach potential with this method. For example, through public relations, references and blog links, mentions on social media, reviews, etc.
- Paid: These are the channels that require you to pay for visibility on banners, printed adverts, television and radio, online adverts, etc.
One of the reasons that content marketing has become a significant phenomenon is because traditional marketing activities are no longer as effective as before. Television adverts do not have the same effect due to streaming, on-demand television programmes and ad blockers.
Traditional media are beneficial, but your content can achieve broader outreach through a combination of the aforementioned distribution channels.
4. Plan your content with all departments
Successful content marketing companies have resources assigned to the creation of content, but it is also true that all departments are usually involved in content creation. It is a challenge for the content authors to be capable of coming up with topics to write about, and they surely are not qualified to write with an expert hand on all subjects.
It is crucial to meet with other departments and to brainstorm on the relevant topics that you are going to write about, and ask their opinion when necessary.
I have a plan
Once you have a general overview of the content required by the different sections of the business, you must plan the content and the channels through which it will be distributed. This plan must be exhaustive, identifying the subjects, publication time, managers, the objectives of each content, etc.
The purpose of the plan is to ensure that there is a balance between the different departments' content, and the topics that are being created. The plan helps you to establish a structure and a constant flow of content. This will also allow you to monitor which types of content generate more traffic and conversions.
Generating knowledge that can be used to optimise your future marketing efforts.
5. Guarantee a formal framework
Once your proposal, audience, channels and plans are in place, it is important to have an established budget for the necessary resources that will be allocated to content marketing.
It must be clear who is going to participate in editorial meetings, and what will be required of them, who is responsible for the strategy, planning, production, editorial meetings and monitoring.
It is important to evaluate how the content has worked and how it will be beneficial for future plans.
6. Register the results
The last step in the formulation of your strategy is probably the most important. You need to have some specific and measurable KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) to ensure that your content marketing supports the strategic objectives of the company.
KPI's to take into account:
- Number of articles produced
- Traffic figures
- Subscription to the newsletter
- Conversion rates
- Contact forms sent
- Telephone calls
- Followers on social networks
- Video views
- Event participants
The importance of every objective varies. The target as regards how much content is produced, for example, is a micro-objective: i.e. an objective that can guarantee a conversion such as a sale, an order, or a meeting booked. Maintaining a continuous flow of strategically distributed content will guarantee the continuous visibility of your brand.
Additional advice Always keep your team up-to-date, present the strategy in a meeting and configure a screen with KPI's that indicate how close you are to achieving your objectives. And don't forget to include your company's success stories.