Do You Have A Content Marketing Strategy?
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Is your content marketing a constant challenge because you thoughtlessly produce content without first coming up with a detailed documented strategy?
Has it become a persistent struggle for you to reach your target audience with consistent and convincing high-quality content that addresses their pain points?
But before we address the 'why' and 'how' of a content strategy, let us refresh our memory on what content marketing is.
According to the content marketing institute,
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.
In other words, content marketing is important because it answers your audience's questions by attracting and then engaging them with high-quality content.
And when you attract and engage your audience, you can build trust with them and improve conversions.
Besides, content marketing can help you connect with customers, generate leads and boost sales.
However, in this age of the internet, your audience expects high-quality, human, helpful and consistent content from you.
In this article, you will learn why your brand needs a content marketing strategy.
You will also learn how to craft a content marketing strategy that helps you achieve your defined marketing goals.
Let's get started.
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What is a content marketing strategy?
According to Copyblogger, 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".
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A football team that wants to win will not march into the field without a detailed winning game plan.
And just like that winning football team, your content marketing team, would not haphazardly produce great content that boosts leads and sales without first developing a winning strategy.
Your brand needs content marketing because it addresses your target audience's pain points.
But posting consistently establishes your brand as an authority in your niche, builds trust with your audience, and strengthens your reputation.
Besides, it boosts the conversion of leads, lowers costs, makes it easy to connect with your audience, and skyrockets your sales.
In this age of the internet, your target audience expects high-quality and consistent content from you.
And according to Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs,
“Marketers who have a documented strategy are not only more effective but also less challenged with every aspect of content marketing.”
Here are great reasons why you need a content marketing strategy now:
1. Content Marketing Strategy Ensures Cohesive Content
Ensuring that your content is cohesive means that you create and promote your content across multiple platforms while targeting varied audiences.
A consistent content marketing strategy starts with a great plan and goal.
That plan forms a road map towards your final goal.
But it doesn't stop there.
And that's because a cohesive strategy continues through the creation and promotion of your content.
And it concludes with the reporting and analysis of the campaign.
However, a cohesive content marketing strategy includes your brand's visual identity.
That means your logo, color scheme and typeface.
It also includes your tone of voice, brand name, tagline, slogan and vocabulary.
All these represent how you want your audience to view your brand.
Perhaps the most important part of crafting a cohesive content marketing strategy is creating a set of guidelines or standards that your team can work with across departments and channels.
A brand style guide is essential to content cohesiveness.
2. Content Marketing Strategy Helps You Establish A Strong Brand Identity
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A business with a credible brand identity is the most trusted one among the customers in its niche.
This fact is supported by a study that found that 90% of people make up their mind about a brand after searching for it.
The identity of your brand will be trusted by your customers if you a solid content marketing strategy.
Content marketing allows you to gain the trust of your target audience and establish a positive brand reputation.
This is achieved by creating and sharing valuable and consistent content with your prospects.
Content that is human, helpful and persuasive grabs the attention of your target audience and ultimately gain their faith.
The more consistent your high-quality content is, the easier it is for your audience to develop a positive viewpoint of your brand.
An effective content marketing strategy provides clear direction for a strong brand identity.
3. Content Marketing Strategy Increases Productivity
The inconsistency of a solid content marketing strategy risks unfulfilled potential.
Without a plan, productivity suffers.
And a failure to plan creates waste across the organization.
If there is no clear sense of direction, teams and departments may end up working independently.
This creates a vacuum that leads to duplication, stress and frustration.
Without a strategy showing how much content needs to be produced, the channels it will be posted to and when it needs to be posted, you may find it all too easy to falter.
For a marketing team that needs a little prodding to get you going, a detailed documented content strategy is important.
So whether your goal is to create and post one blog article a week, update your social media accounts five times a week, update Facebook twice a week, create one infographic a month and so on.
And with a great content marketing strategy, increasing the productivity of the team becomes much more realistic.
4. Content Marketing Strategy Helps You Maximize Your ROI
With a detailed content marketing strategy, you have in place a system for measuring metrics.
You also have a reference point for evaluating the effectiveness of your content.
The result is that you have a system for reviewing the value of your content.
And a solid content marketing strategy boosts brand visibility and profits.
However, when you consider the other marketing strategies, content marketing is the most effective marketing strategy of all time.
Content marketing levels the playing field so that small company can often compete with much larger brands.
By creating a documented detailed strategy, you will be successful in your content marketing.
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Having a documented content marketing goals ensures that you can tailor your content strategy to meet those campaign objectives.
And implementing your strategically setting goals helps you laser focus on the type of content that achieves these goals.
On the other hand, blindly creating content and hoping it gets read leads to frustration and unattained goals.
The most important content strategy goals you can set are:
Creating Brand Awareness
Creating brand awareness should be one of your most important content strategy goals.
You can get your audience to become aware of your brand through a combined effort of outreach.
That includes focusing on social media content and guest posting.
More than 91% of retail brands use two or more social channels.
And up to 85% of small businesses get most of their business through referral marketing which is a great benefit of guest posting.
Positioning Your Brand As A Thought Leader
Being a thought leader in your niche builds trust in your brand and creates value for your customers.
This ensures long-term customer relationships.
You position yourself as a thought leader in your niche by creating, posting and sharing guides, e-books, and blog posts that are 2,000+ words.
The long-form content should be human, helpful, delightful and engaging.
It should also provide your readers with actionable advice that they can’t get from anywhere else.
Long-form content also ranks higher in the search engines and gets more shares and views.
It is worth the effort.
Drive Insane Traffic To Your Website
If driving insane traffic to your website is the main goal of your content marketing strategy, focus your content outreach on your social media platforms and SEO strategies.
Create high quality and impactful articles with optimized targeted keywords.
Also, publishing value-driven content is useful in linking back to your website.
However, to boost your website traffic consistently, you need a comprehensive content marketing strategy that combines all aspects of content creation.
Such content strategy includes newsletters, social media marketing and guest posting.
Lead generation is the most important content marketing strategy goal.
And improved lead generation adds more potential customers to your marketing funnel.
However, the success of your lead generation can be measured using the following KPIs:
Leads Conversion And/Or Upselling
Focusing on emails, newsletters and social media improves your leads conversion and upselling.
This can be achieved by sending consistent emails and social media updates.
Tailoring offers to a specific audience converts leads into dependable customers.
Brands that post on social media regularly have more loyal customers.
Set two or three overall goals for your brand and then stick to them!
According to Skilled, more than 85% of marketers all over the world use content marketing to drive more sales.
And the best way to know whether your content marketing efforts are driving growth and meeting your goals is to make them specific and measurable.
Setting up key performance indicators (KPIs) for your content marketing strategy provides a yardstick for measuring your milestones.
Also, it lets you know whether your content gives you your desired results.
It benefits you to know whether your target audience sees your content, engages with it, and the content resonates with them.
Here is content marketing KPIs tied to the four common campaign goals mentioned in goals:
Increase brand awareness
To increase brand awareness, craft engaging content that lets your target audience know what your brand is about and what you stand for. Such content is human, helpful and is relevant to their needs, but also addresses their pain points and helps them solve problems.
KPIs to measure: Article views, Social shares and engagement, Audience engagement, Inbound links, Follower or subscriber growth.
Generate more leads
The type of content that helps you generate leads could be content that offers exclusive insights into a topic, a webinar, an e-book, and a worksheet.
It could also be a template, checklist, or anything that offers value.
KPIs to measure: Click-through rate, Cost per lead, Number of downloads, Number of subscribers, Form responses
Content that increases conversion relies heavily on your understanding of your buyer's journey.
Understand the common problems that they may be facing and what drives them to make a purchase.
Types of content that boost conversions are videos, demos, tutorials, case studies, customer testimonials, etc.
KPIs to measure: Conversion rate, Length of the sales cycle, Number of new leads generated, Revenue generated
The way your target audience engages with your content is a measure of how much they enjoy consuming the content that you produce.
Such valuable content resonates with your audience and they are moved to comment on or share it with their friends and family.
KPIs to measure: Average session duration, Referral traffic, Social media likes, comments, shares, Follower growth on social media over time and Content click-through rates.
Your target audience is a share of consumers that your company directs its marketing efforts to drive awareness of your products or services.
Content marketing success starts with knowing who your target audience is so that you can create laser-focused content that meets their needs.
Detailing who your real audience is, helps you create content that is awesome and right them.
And such content establishes you as an authority in your industry.
An example of a target audience would be:
Women, 20-40 years old, living in New York, with a Master’s degree, monthly income of $6,000 – $8,000, and passionate about fashion and decor.
1. Who Are They?
To figure out your target audience, you must consider the people who identify with your brand.
One of the easiest ways to find out is to look closely at those who interact with you on social media.
Who are the people who follow, like, share, and comment on your posts on social sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram?
If they are willing to engage with you, they are your target audience.
2. What Are Their Most Important Pain Points, Or Desires?
By understanding the most important pain points of your target audience, you can solve them through your content.
3. Where Does Your Audience Get The Information That They Need Daily?
Your target audience is surrounded by a lot of online information.
But when they need information that would solve their most pressing problems, where do they go to find that information?
The challenge is to find out the communication channels that your target audience uses so that you can post your content on those networks.
4. What Is The Benefit Of Your Product Or Service?
Your target audience wants solutions to their pain points or problems and to make their lives easier.
As you think about your product or services use your content to highlight the benefits of your product or service offer.
How does your content solve their problems?
What is the main value your brand offers?
5. What Draws Their Attention Negatively?
Avoid what ticks your audience off to gain their approval.
Once you have what your audience dislikes figured out, you only need to apply positive content marketing strategies to maintain their trust.
6. Whom Do They Trust?
Trust is important to your target audience.
It is uncommon for anybody to buy a product or service from a company they don’t know or trust.
That is is why online reviews like the ones you find on Amazon are read and so important for sellers.
Reviews build trust.
Though this is the last question to define your target audiences, it is highly significant.
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Content marketing is a great way for a company to create brand awareness and thought leadership by providing valuable content to its audience.
The content can be entertaining, educational or inspiring - as long as it's relevant to the company's target audience.
Here are the problems that content marketing solves for the target audience:
Content Educates Your Target Audience
Content marketing provided information that helps your audience learn, grow and improve in some way.
When your brand provides that kind of information, you're educating your audience.
And that is a truly valuable service.
Content Informs Your Audience Of Newer Trends
Brands use their platforms to inform their target audience of the ever-changing content marketing landscape.
And as thought leaders in their niche, companies use content to inform their audience of how the new trends solve their nagging problems.
Content Is Used To predict The Future Of An Industry
For instance, according to Cisco’s Visual Networking Index, by 2019, 80 percent of all global internet traffic will come from video.
That means that marketers will use video to engage audiences with powerful, thought-provoking messages that are difficult to show in any other form.
Content Enables Company Stakeholders To Take Decisions
Relevant content educates and helps experts make informed decisions.
Content Increases Your Visibility
Content marketing boosts your brand visibility in front of your target audience.
Your customers can identify with your brand once you have won their trust.
Content Helps You Get Inbound Traffic At The Top Of Your Funnel
Content marketing draws insane traffic to your website.
And more traffic at the top of your sales funnel means more leads for your business.
Why do you need to conduct a content audit as part of your content marketing strategy?
That's because, without a deep understanding of your existing content, you might as well be working in the dark.
A content audit lets you see what performs best and what content is not doing so well.
Thus, it helps you to see what content to keep, what to improve, and what to remove.
Marketing Land has a piece of detailed information on how to perform a content audit.
These are some of the available tools for performing a content audit:
Screaming Frog is the most popular tools for crawling website content.
URL Profiler, is a popular paid website crawler.
Google Analytics is a useful tool for a content audit.
It provides audit information like the number of pages visited, bounce rate, conversion data by page, time on page and many more.
However, a content audit is about taking an inventory of all the content indexed by a search engine.
After the inventory, use a predetermined metrics to decide what action needs to be taken regarding different pages of the content.
Such action includes whether to keep, improve, or remove the content.
And if you have both a desktop and a mobile version of your website, you should do two separate content audits.
The best social media channels for your content and audience are the ones that meet your strategy’s high-level objectives.
In other words, your content marketing channels should help you to achieve your goals.
Ultimately, the purpose of your chosen social media channels is to support the achievement of your strategic goals.
For instance, if you want to increase brand awareness, select well-established platforms with a large following.
Besides, an effective method for raising awareness and boosting brand reach is through paid promotion.
On the other hand, if you are a B2B marketer and you want to increase lead generation, LinkedIn is your social media channel.
You can generate leads by joining groups and being active in discussions.
Other channels for increasing brand awareness and generating leads are Facebook and Twitter.
You get a lower cost per click (CPC) than with an AdWords campaign!
However, you need to ask: What channels are your target audience using?
After you’ve aligned your social media channel selection with your content marketing goals, it is time to consider where your target audience spends their time online.
The best and most effective social media platforms are chosen based on social media demographics.
For instance, Sprout Social can help you to analyze the demographics of your current followers.
Also, the Pew Research Center analysis outlines the key demographics for several social media platforms.
In choosing the best channels for your content and audience, ask yourself:
What social media channels are your competitors using?
As important as it is to analyze the channels that your target audience is on, it is equally important to find out what social media accounts your competitors are managing.
This insight provides a baseline against which you can gauge industry activity.
It also helps you to determine what you should be doing.
So how do you find out what social media channels your competitors are using?
A social media listening tool like Buzzsumo, can help you know which brands in your industry have the most extensive reach and largest influence on social media.
It also lets you analyze your competitors’ top-performing content.
It breaks the data down into social shares, as well as which content formats and lengths best engage users.
Brandwatch Analytics is another social media monitoring tool.
It lets you monitor your competitor’s social media output across Facebook and Twitter.
There are tons of other social media listening tools that you can use to analyze your competitor.
Once you have determined the best social media channels for your content and audience, the next questions are:
Would you manage your social media channels in-house or outsource?
How much does outsourced social media management cost?
There are many types of content used by marketers to engage with audiences, acquire qualified leads, provide value to customers, and delight new prospects.
But with so many content types to choose from, how do you know the ones to focus on so that you can achieve your marketing goals? Here are seven content types and how you can use them to drive growth.
A Blog is used to share high-quality, relevant and well-written information that informs, educates or entertains a target audience.
It can also e used to address customer-related or product-related pain points of the readers.
An effective blog can be a great tool for building authority, trust, and relationships.
It can also be used to generate leads and drive conversions.
Blogs are effective in improving SEO and driving massive traffic to your website.
A Forbes report found that websites that include a blog, have 434% more indexed pages than those that don't.
The more indexed pages a website has the better chances of being on the top of Google search engine result pages (SERPs).
The more valuable content you provide, the more likely your target audience will consider your brand when it's time to buy.
Listicles or “list posts” are articles that are formatted as a list.
The most popular listicle is a shortlist mainly of 10-20 items that are based on a specific theme.
The most common listicles today are supplemented with additional information so that each item becomes more useful.
People love list-based content because they're easy to read, visually appealing, and scannable.
And if the list post is effective by being interesting, it is highly shareable.
Content creators like to create listicles because they are easy to write.
Once you come up with a topic and a number, the rest of the job is to fill in the blanks.
Ebooks are electronic long-form content, crafted as a digital book and available as PDF downloads or in HTML format.
Since the content is long-form, you have a platform to share your knowledge and expertise on a given topic.
The benefits of Ebooks include lead generation, establishing authority, growing email lists, and boosting your overall content offering.
The goal of an ebook is to provide solutions to your audience pain points.
This type of content takes time.
It demands research and quality writing.
So it’s best to have a plan in place before you start.
If the Ebooks is long, break up the content with chapters, subheadings, bullets, graphics and infographics.
With a catchy title and attractive design, your Ebook will attract and engage readers.
Infographic combines the words “information” and “graphics”.
Merriam-Webster defines infographics as “a chart, diagram, or illustration (as in a book or magazine, or on a website) that uses graphic elements to present information in a visually striking way”.
5. Infographics take a complex idea, distils and simplifies it in a visual way that’s engaging, digestible, and shareable.
Infographics are shared three times more often than any other content types on social media.
It is great at r backlink building, as well as growing your audience.
Video is an incredibly successful form of content.
And by 2020 it is expected to account for 80 percent of all web traffic.
Moreover, 96 percent of consumers find product videos helpful, and nearly 75% are more likely to purchase after watching a video.
It is proven that any type of video content engages your audience, increases shares and comments.
Video increases conversions and drives massive traffic to your website.
Videos are great for interviews, call-in shows, a behind the scenes look at the office, and explainer videos.
Keep videos between two and three minutes long.
Always include a call to action (CTA) at the end of your video.
Use videos to send viewers to a landing page or your website.
After creating your video, upload it to Vimeo and YouTube to increase exposure.
Also, embed them in your posts and share them through your blog.
7. Case Studies
Case studies are used in marketing as social proof.
They are written accounts that confirm to the reader that your product or service is their best choice.
The goal of a marketing case study is to persuade a reader that your process, product, or service can solve their problem.
Case studies highlight your knowledge and skills while summarising and evaluate the achieved results.
Other types of content include:
For a successful content marketing strategy, you cannot rely on the chaos of manual planning and posting.
If you do, you might feel overwhelmed with all the content you need to plan, produce, share, and share again.
A content calendar helps you stay organized and make sense of your daily content production and publishing life.
What is a content calendar?
A content calendar, or publishing schedule, is a visual workflow that helps a team of content creators schedule their work on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis across different media.
Editorial calendars track content types, promotional channels, authors, and most importantly, publish dates.
An impactful content calendar answers the important questions of who, what, where, when and why of your content marketing strategy.
Who on your content marketing team is responsible for the creation, posting and promotion of your content?
Additionally, who is the target audience that benefits from this content?
Is the content for your prospects, customers, or your niche market as a whole?
What is the goal of the individual content as it relates to your overall content marketing goal?
What vital information is needed to achieve the desired action you want your target audience to take?
Besides, what type of content will be most successful in achieving the desired goal?
Are you going to use a video, blog post, infographic, or podcast?
It is important to note on the content calendar that the content can be repurposed.
For example, a blog post can easily be repurposed into an infographic.
Where would you publish and promote the content?
In other words, what channels would the content be published and promoted?
Is it your social media platforms, blog, website or email newsletters? It is important to note if paid promotions are going to be used to further promote your content.
On your content calendar, note also the URLs associated with the content and where it is posted.
When do you plan to publish the content?
t is important to include all the dates associated with creating and distributing your content.
As you plan, allow enough time for the development of all the elements needed for your content.
That includes images, infographics or charts.
Why are you creating the content?
What results do you expect from your effort?
This information helps you align your content marketing goal with your overall marketing goal.
Note the results of your content marketing activity.
Taking note of the details of the outcome of your content marketing activity, helps you understand what worked and what needs to be improved.
“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” - PeterDrucker.
And that is true with content marketing.
So, how do you measure the success of content marketing?
What is the return on your content marketing investment (ROI)?
Content marketing ROI is a percentage that shows how much money you made from content marketing, compared to what you spent.
According to the formula from Convince and Convert, your content marketing ROI is:
“Return minus investment, divided by investment, expressed as a percentage”.
But content marketing measurement is not always about money.
So, we go back to the goals or KPIs that you set at the start of the content strategy plan.
Look at what’s changed and whether you’re hitting your targets.
Use Google Analytics to see how your content is performing
And use Buzzsumo and other social analytics tools to measure social sharing activity.
Monitoring your progress helps you tweak your content marketing strategy at regular intervals.
This helps you stay up to date.
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