How To Develop Content Marketing Strategy In 9 Easy Steps
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
A content strategy is a structured plan where you use different content formats such as written, visual and audio content to meet our marketing and business objectives. An ideal content strategy keeps your audience interested and engaged at every level of the content marketing funnel, throughout their purchase journey.
In order to thrive in content, you need to have a thorough and all-encompassing strategy. It will eventually allow you to capture and hold the interest of a highly focused audience and ultimately result in beneficial customer behavior.
Even while content marketing is growing in popularity, merely writing blogs and posting on social media is insufficient to have an effect on the bottom line. Hence, it is necessary to execute a holistic content plan that ultimately generates profits for your business.
Why is a Content Marketing Strategy important?
A unique content marketing plan can elevate your brand. It can amplify your business in terms of lead generation and website traffic from your target audience. A content marketing strategy not only establishes your brand presence but also helps you nurture your relationship with potential and existing customers.
In a buyer’s journey that adheres to an inbound marketing structure, a solid content strategy serves as the cornerstone for the Attract and Delight stages. You can use a content strategy to enable sales and increase customer satisfaction, while also attracting prospects to your brand.
Additionally, if you want to compete in your business, you must establish a strong content strategy given that 70% of marketers are actively engaging in content marketing.
There are no fixed ways to create a content marketing strategy. Your strategy can also differ from the goal of your content plan. For instance, your steps will vary if your goal is launching a product or revamping your existing website.
Nevertheless, here are nine key steps to consider while creating a content marketing strategy:
- Establishing Goals
Before commencing a marketing plan, it is crucial to set specific goals as this helps solidify your content strategy. Drafting a well-defined mission statement can be a good starting point for your plan. This can be a brief paragraph about your audience, your objectives such as increasing sales or reducing marketing costs or increasing engagement, etc. (Refer to Image 1), and lastly how your product or service can solve your customer’s needs.
- Understanding your Market and Audience
One of the most crucial aspects of creating a plan is to do your research, know your audience, and comprehend what exactly they are looking for. By ascertaining their taste and preferences, you can deliver the right type of content to them. Understanding the demographic of your audience such as their age, income levels, location, etc. along with other data can be extremely insightful for personalizing your content.
Another great way to gather more detailed information about your target audience is to create focus groups or distribute surveys and questionnaires. A few other ways to collect valuable feedback from your viewers is to also leverage interactive tools such as live polls, real-time contests, instant notifications, etc. Such methods can also effectively examine your customer’s purchase history, buying patterns, and spending habits.
- Building Buyer Personas
Now that we have established the importance of correctly gauging your audience, a step that enhances this process is creating buying personas.
A buyer persona allows for more detailed customer analysis. The idea here is to assess all the valuable insights garnered and design personalities that help you put together the ideal target audience to represent your brand or business.
These avatars can be fictional characters that replicate the different types of people you would want to target as a brand. The creation of a buyer persona includes laying out challenges, pain points, and possible behavioral motivators. For instance, if you are a brand that wants to target three different demographics, your personas can each denote these targeted customers.
Integrating buyer personas into your content marketing strategy can also be extremely advantageous for your business. Here are some interesting persona statistics that tell us how:
- Email open rates are known to multiply about 2-5 times
- Website traffic can shoot up by roughly 200%
- Organic searches can potentially be over 55%
- CTR is also known to increase by 14% or so
- Around 90% of businesses agreed to get a much better understanding of their audience by creating buyer personas
Hence, the incorporation of buyer personas is an extremely vital step in the process of putting together a marketing plan.
- Setting Up Key Performance Indicators
Gathering data and generating leads can be smart goals for any business, however, it is futile if it cannot be measured against the appropriate performance indicators.
Much like the importance of setting goals, it is also vital to set up specific performance KPIs that help you assess how well your strategy has been working. It helps you outline what you have achieved in terms of traffic, engagement, revenue, etc. whatever your objective may have been in the primitive stages of creating this plan.
Following is a list of relevant KPIs for content marketing:
- Click Through Rates
- Subscriber or Follower Growth
- Audience Engagement
- Social Shares
- Conversion Rates
- Bounce Rates
- Average Session Duration/Average Time Spent on Site
- Referral Traffic
- Content Audit
Conducting a content audit is a step that allows you to get a sense of the type, tonality, and style of the existing content published such as existing blogs, web pages, videos, etc. You may already know how to start a blog, but going over the content you already have is essential to maintain your blog with fresh and up-to-date information. This also gives a deeper understanding of the kind of new content you plan to recommend. A thorough audit of the current content also helps identify the gaps, that you can then aim to bridge with your new content suggestions. When there is existing content, along with creating new supporting content, you can also optimize this content. There are many different ways you can do this, for instance, if a website already has a blog repository, you can spruce these up with
- Revising focus keywords
- Adding new relevant content around the topic
- Removing outdated content or statistics
- Adding more visual content
- Modifying meta titles and descriptions
- Incorporating more CTAs and interlinks
Once you have a fair idea of what you can do with the existing and new potential content, the next step intrinsically is to do in-depth research on the type of content being published and outranking your competitor keywords.
This process helps in discovering their gaps, strengths, weaknesses, and competitive edge over them.
- Content Ideation
As per a Twitter Poll by Semrush, for more than 29% of content marketers, finding content ideas is the largest issue in content generation. Hence, this must be a step in the development of a content plan that rolls the ball into the ideation phase along with the foundation you have laid before this stage.
Once you have completed the required research and analysis, it is now time to make a few decisions based on these learnings. Here are some of the key activities involved in this step:
- Picking the appropriate content formats
- Choosing relevant channels to showcase your content
- Designing content and social calendar
- Choosing topic clusters
- Creating timelines and budgets
- Setting realistic deadlines
- Execution of The Content Plan
Post the ideation phase, comes to the execution of your content marketing strategy. This stage includes putting everything you have planned into action, including the writing of the long-form content, designing the graphics, and promoting them across social media channels. This phase of the content marketing plan can be considered the most crucial as it is what your audience sees and determines whether your brand is what they need or want.
- Tracking and Monitoring Progress
Lastly, once your content and the entire campaign have been executed as planned, it is time for you to evaluate the success or failure of your content marketing strategy. This step involves reflecting on the objectives and KPIs you had set during the earlier stages of the strategy.
There are a plethora of helpful content marketing platforms and tools available today that help you assess different aspects of your performance. For instance, Google Analytics can give you comprehensive results on traffic, revenue, social media success, overall business growth, and much more.
You must note to keep your content marketing plan up to date by adjusting it periodically as you go along by tracking your progress.
Losing rankings or failing to notice changes in the volume of searches for your target keywords are both very easy to do. So since the world of digital marketing is exceptionally volatile and ever-changing, it is vital to always plan and keep checking in with your material.
- What does a content marketing strategy include?
The planning, production, delivery, and governance of content are the main aspects of a content strategy. It includes not only the written text on the website but also any images and other forms of multimedia.
2. Why is a content strategy important for a business?
Designing a content plan can help you set up priorities and clarify your marketing goals. It enables organization of work and ensures every marketing initiative is driven by goals. You can make sure that every effort made by your team yields noticeable benefits by having a written content plan.
3. What do content marketing tools and platforms do?
They manage all facets of content marketing, including developing the strategy, creating the material, distributing it, monitoring its effectiveness, and fine-tuning marketing campaigns.
Tools for content marketing aid with creation, optimization, distribution, publication, and measurement of content. They serve as a tool to assist marketers in getting the intended outcomes from their content.