Research by Content Marketing Institute announced that 63% of companies don’t have a formal marketing strategy.
Companies with a documented marketing strategy are likely to realize success in their marketing efforts. With no strategy, your content marketing failure or success is a matter of luck. Surely, you don’t want to waste all your efforts.
Maybe that’s the reason why 64% of these businesses agree that learning how to develop a content marketing strategy is their leading educational needs. Among many things they desire to learn is link building strategy and its importance in SEO.
So, if you are in this group and wondering how to develop a content strategy for your firm, don’t worry! We’re here to help.
In this guide, you’ll get nine steps to develop and execute a content marketing program that’ll grow your business.
1.Fix Your Goals and Mission
Start by setting out a mission statement for your content marketing strategy. It’s a brief declaration that helps you focus on what’s important – and what’s not- when creating content.
What should you include in your mission statement?
- The target customers.
- The content to help you reach to them.
- What they’ll benefit with it.
The mission statement, therefore states what your target audience will gain from your marketing plan. Other than this, you need to focus on what your company gets from this engagement. That’s where your goals come in.
Some business goals include the following:
- Improving your revenue from this marketing strategy.
- Getting leads and increasing sales to attain higher revenues.
- Increasing traffic to your website, allowing you the chance of meeting other goals.
- Improving your firm’s perception- allowing you to gain authority and influence in the industry.
- Reducing your marketing costs.
- Increasing engagement on social media thus boosting traffic and authority to your site.
2. Identify Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
If you want to meet your goals, you must ensure they’re measurable. Do this by setting KPIs on your marketing strategy.
These KPI tools provide milestones that you can compare against your goals. They’ll state what you want to attain in terms of SEO, traffic, revenue, and various aspects of online marketing like social media and email marketing metrics.
Typically, KPIs will attach a specific number. For instance, you may want to:
- Attract a certain number of new email subscribers.
- Hit a specific revenue target within a week, month, or year.
- Increase traffic and engagement to your content.
- Raise the search engine ranking to help increase traffic to your site.
- Get a specific number of shares, mentions, and Instagram comments on your posts.
You’ll also need to pay close attention to your marketing expenditure and keep an eye on costs for making sales.
3. Understand Your Audience
Always create your content strategy with your target audience in mind. Customers are likely to buy from a product brand they identify with. All this starts with you showcasing that you understand your audience.
Knowing your target audience includes fundamental factors like age, gender, income, and educational level. At times, it gets more profound than this. For instance, what problems are your target audience facing? How will your products and services solve these problems?
Don’t make assumptions. Research on your current customers and see who already has an engagement with your products. You can send online surveys to your audience and create a profile basing on these results.
Your audience can’t fit into one category. However, with research, you can develop a “buyer persona” that fits the profile of many of your customers. From here, you can have secondary personas for other audiences.
4. Evaluate Your Current Position
As a business, chances are, you have your content out there as blogs, social media content, videos, or podcasts.
That’s why you need to consider whether this content is helping your business in any way. But if you’re just starting, you’re free to jump to the next strategy.
So, how do you assess your current position?
- Log all the content pieces such as guest posts, blog posts, and so on.
- Track their success or usefulness. Like, the number of visitors.
- Identify the gaps in this content.
How does your content compare with that of your closest competitor? How will new content fit into this market?
5. Identify the Best Content Channels
How do you plan to let people know about your content? For instance, you can publish your work in white papers, but if you don’t talk about it, no one will see. In some channels like email newsletters, the difference between the content and channel is blurred.
Your strategy should be to identify where your target audience hangs out. For example, if your target audience hangs out on Facebook, start from here before moving to other channels.
Some common examples of content channels include:
Social media pages like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
- Website, and
- Search engine ads
According to this chart, email is the most common channel followed by social media and website/blogs. If you’re starting, you can use this data to decide where to begin your marketing efforts.
6. Determine the Content Types
Next, ask yourself, what sort of content is my target audience likely to react to? What are your target customers looking for in your content?
If your target audience is likely to read web content, do you need to waste time creating a video? If the readers are looking for a how-to guide, will they look at case studies that emphasize on ‘why’? Probably not.
Identifying the best content type to use starts with listing and identifying your target readers. However, it’s also likely to include trial and error methods to evaluate the content types that works and which doesn’t.
The following are examples of content types:
- Articles and blog posts.
- Email newsletters
- Ebooks and Whitepapers
- Webinars and E-courses.
7. Allocate Resources
Now you know the types of content to create, the target audience, and where to share it, ensure you have everything to deliver on your strategy. Be sure to ask questions like:
- Who’ll be in charge of producing the content: the in-house content team or content outsourcing agency?
- What physical, human, or digital tools do you need to create and market the content?
- How will your content scheduling look like?
8. Have a Content Calendar
As part of content marketing strategy, you’ll need to know when to publish the content on every platform. A content calendar is a right way to do this task. It’ll remind you when to post different content types on their respective channels.
Even better, you are at liberty to use Google calendar and place due dates on every content you want to create.
However, when publishing too much content, and need to manage production workflow or content team, you’ll need to add some features.
9. Develop Your Content
Content creation involves a lot of research. You’ll need to know what your target audience wants, and where they’re likely to search for these answers. After research, take your time to create the content. It has to be perfect and valuable. In this case, we’ll be using blog posts as an example. But the tips will work with any other type of content creation.
When developing your content, you’ll need to:
When you’re ready to create your content, you’ll have to:
- Find out what’s out there.
- Find out how your new content adds value to your customers.
Check through various search engines and obtain the top content there. Look for ways to improve this content.
With the right data, you can also create an original post. It works wonders.
Do keyword research to get the right phrases that’ll raise your search engine rankings.
b. Create the Content
Start creating your content. Think about how to replicate your business and brand personality into your posts.
You may choose to be casual, professional or anything in between. When writing the content, keep in mind SEO ranking factors and use them to optimize.
Your content marketing strategy should extend beyond the content types you create. It should also guide you on how to organize the content. With an editorial calendar, you’ll be sure to post a diverse and well-balanced content on your content channels. Even better, you can create a social media content calendar to assist in promoting and managing your content on other sites.
We know this may seem like a lot of information, but the task has just started. It takes time, effort, creativity, and organization to develop a successful content marketing strategy. Setting up the strategy won’t be a hassle if you follow the steps and resources outlined here.