Content marketing matters to you – or it should. It’s a strategic approach to creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to the right audience which, ultimately, translates to driving your targeted customers to action. You are drawing in your customers and routing them to your website, marketing materials, etc. so that you can sell to them. You’d be interested to know, however, that many content marketers have no specific strategy when it comes to running a content marketing campaign. So, we’re here to cover all aspects from planning to creation, maintaining content, and marketing your content.
Do you need a strategy?
Yes. That is the short answer. The long answer is that (no matter the size of your business) if you are engaged in content marketing, then yes –you should have a content marketing strategy. This will streamline the entire process from start to finish so that you can focus your time, money, and energy.
For our purposes, then, let’s define content marketing strategy like this:
A content marketing strategy is a plan for building an audience by publishing, maintaining, and spreading frequent and consistent content that educates, entertains, or inspires to turn strangers into fans and fans into customers.
So, where do you start?
Identify Your Goals
What is your end game? What are you trying to sell? Identify what you want the end result to be. Are you selling products or services? Do you want the end goal of this marketing campaign to be purchased products, new clients, or just an increased following? You have to identify your goals to develop a plan to achieve them. Once you’ve identified your end goals, you can work backwards to put together a strategy that supports that final action from the person engaging with your content. As you’re developing your content and strategy, keep asking yourself – “Is this supporting my end goal?”
Find Your Audience
You’ll have to find out: who your users are, who your competitors are, what you want your content to say, and what the purpose of your content is. Your audience will tailor everything from topics you write about to where you share your content once it’s created. So, who are you looking for? Who is buying what you are selling? Where are they and how are they engaging with other brands?
Create a Timeline
How often do you want to publish new content? Make yourself a calendar and give yourself deadlines. If you’ve decided that you need to post once a week, then post once a week. If Wednesday is your day for new content, then write that deadline down on your calendar. There are several online agenda tools that you can use to keep your schedule and deadlines in order. The key to content marketing is consistency and relevancy. Produce content on an ongoing, consistent schedule and make sure that the content is relevant to the message you’re trying to send and all ties back to your end goals from the beginning.
Outline Your Content
Don’t leave yourself in the 11th hour wondering what it is that you’re going to write about or what type of video you’re going to create. Once you have a clear understanding of your audience and what you want to accomplish with your content, you should write down a long list of ideas for content. You can then plug these into your timeline that you create. If you’re writing new content every other Thursday, then you should put in as a note what you’ll be writing about. If you’re a company who is writing about current events or time sensitive things that you may not be able to plan a month out, you can still pencil in “Apple keynote reaction” so that you have an idea ahead of time what you’ll be writing about.
Maintain Your Content
Things change, stats change, and stories are edited. Create space in your calendar for days that you go back and review old content for any necessary edits. You may have written an article two years ago, but this is the internet and people may be reading it for the first time today. Go back and update. Make sure that the content is still relevant and accurate. Then, review your content. How is it performing? What is making the conversions that you were hoping for and what content is falling flat with no engagement? Build on what works and phase out what doesn’t.
Market Your Content
You know your audience, you know what your content will be, and you know the purpose of your content for your business. You can now use this to effectively market your content. This is part of the same content marketing strategy. Write down tasks. When will you post to each specific social media? How many times? In what ways? How will you engage readers? Write down deadlines and dates to keep yourself accountable. Remember you have a target audience. Where are they and how often do they need to hear from you?
Keep yourself in check.You should also schedule in dates to look back over your current strategy to see what is working and what isn’t working for you. This adds accountability to the equation. Content marketing may be old news by now, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still one of the number one marketing styles.It’s popular because it works. People have been marketing blindly. You owe it to yourself, and your business, to sit down and create an effective content marketing strategy. Don’t waste time, energy, or resources while the results fail to roll in.
Do you have an effective content marketing strategy? Have you considered creating one? Do you think it would be beneficial? Why do you think most people don’t? What do you see successful content marketing campaigns doing differently? We specialize in social media marketing and online marketing strategies. Looking for a consultant to get the job done? Contact us today!