9 Steps for a super successful Content Marketing Strategy

What is Content marketing strategy?

The content marketing strategy looks at the “where” questions. Where are you going to market the content that you created?

As we have already defined who is the target of the content in our User Persona blog.

The purpose of Content marketing is to generate an audience that will convert and be profitable for the business.

But to achieve that you need a solid content market strategy to achieve your goals

Content marketing strategy focuses on the People-aligned components.

  • Goals – A good content marketing strategy will look into the objectives of the content strategy. What will the content achieve? Sales, Traffic, Leads? The content marketing strategy has to clearly state this.
  • User Persona –  A good content marketing strategy will approach this in planning how to generate user persona information.
  • Content Audit –  The content audit is one monster that content marketers fear; it is a time-consuming process and is done once or twice a year.
  • UVP – You must know what sets you apart from your competition, so you can create a content strategy for content that displays this quality.
  • Measure – Since content is a means, it has to be measured and amplified. Measure the effects of the content through data and conversations with existing customers.
  • Organizational changes – The new content marketing strategy should dig into the history of the company in order to map out its future, when using the content.
  • Change in inevitable – Content Marketing Strategy should be considered as preparing content that will bring about changes in the target audience.
  • Publication of content – You must define what content will be published on what social media channels. Who will manage and maintain the content on a day-to-day basis, or other time periods? Which tools will be used and who are the best people to publish the content.
  • Content Calendar – This will help you stay focused on what content will be published on what social media platform.

The core issue here is getting a statement from which the rest of the content creation team can work from.

When the whole team is working from the core content marketing strategy, the business is optimized for getting the results that the content is aimed at (The objectives of the content)

The content marketing strategy has to be flexible, given the different personas that it is targeted at.

Most companies come up with more than two content marketing strategies, based on the number of personas it is targeted at.

According to Neil Patel, a respected authority on content marketing, the search traffic on his site almost tripled, when he created guides that had their own SEPARATE landing pages. The content marketing strategy was to give a DIFFERENT landing page for a specific target user persona.

This was a great content marketing strategy.

1. Setting the goals of a content marketing strategy

Gone are the days when you only needed to regularly post on social media in order to get customers. Gone are the days when you only needed to update information on your website in a few months.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, 53% of businesses have a documented content marketing strategy, and they are flourishing in their respective niches.

Even if they are sometimes competitors, their strategy targets different personas and therefore they do not clash.

It is crucial that you have a content marketing strategy before a content strategy.

The purpose of the content marketing strategy is to inform the content strategy.

If you are to have a useful content marketing strategy, then you have to define the goals that it addresses.

A good content marketing plan will look into the planned/perceived objectives of the content strategy. What will the content achieve? Sales, Traffic, Leads? The content marketing strategy has to clearly state this.

Your goal is not just to do exceptional content marketing, but to actually grow the business through well crafted content which requires a good content marketing strategy.

The main goal is to guide the creation of great content strategy, but this is still broken down further.

You need to set goals around issues like:

  • To generate more leads
  • To drive sales and profits
  • To get higher ranking on Search Engines
  • To push social media engagement
  • To address the right personas and not just any idle browser.

These are some of the goals that you should be looking at.

Most marketers bungle up the setting goals part and will give answers such as:

  • My client (Boss) wants 10 blog posts this week.
  • Regular blogging will increase my visibility on keyword searches.
  • Readers want to see an active blog.

However, the goals are not clearly defined, and such marketers are flying blind into a hurricane.

Not having content goals defined in content marketing strategy can tank your whole content strategy leading to loss of business, customers and revenue.

In broad terms, content marketing strategy goals fall under a set of broad categories, each determined by the niche.

  • a. Brand Awareness – Just like an individual benefits from a good reputation, a business succeeds through brand awareness. You have to come up with a strategy to address the content that you will use in order to generate brand awareness.
  • b. Lead Conversion – Most landing pages are created with this in mind. The content there has to be direct, and catchy. That is why lead conversion is one of the goals of a great content marketing strategy.
  • c. Lead nurturing – How do you keep your customers interested in your products or services? You must come up with a strategy of the emails, newsletters and other forms of content that will keep them loyal to your business. Without a clear strategy, you may create content that will alienate them from you.
  • d. Customer conversion – the content marketing strategy should look at what content will be created to drive conversion. When they come to your site and leave with no purchase, then you have not addressed the content that converts. It may be an image, video, social media post, landing page or bog post. You must come up with a strategy that addresses this.
  • e. Customer service – there are many companies that do not plan for content for customer services. You call or email a company, and get three different answers to the same question. A good customer service should be reading from the same script, and this means creating a strategy, based on the business, to address specific questions. This part is progressive as you get more questions and conversations from your customers.
  • f. Generating Loyalty – This should not be confused with lead nurturing above. Lead nurturing refers to the content that you periodically send to a lead to ensure they make the first purchase. Loyalty refers to customers who have already bought something from you. You have to keep them coming back for more products or improved services.
  • g. Strategizing for content that up sells – If you have complementing products, then the upsell is one way of getting customers to buy more. An example of up selling is offering a discount should the customer buy a complementing product. If the product is a baseball, then perhaps selling them a pair of baseball gloves can be explored; or a baseball bat. A soccer ball with a pair of soccer boots. The possibilities are as many as the products or services that you offer.
  • h. Your content should bring you evangelists – from the moment you start planning for content, you want it to be shared so as to bring more customers. Sharing brings in more customers than search engines. This is why creating shareable content is crucial. When creating your content marketing strategy, plan for content that will encourage sharing.

Although these are basic categories, each content marketing strategy is different based on the business niche.

Let us take a look at our two clients John and Mark that we discussed in our website discovery blog.

John

He is a contractor, who needs to attract investors into commercial property construction. The goals that he would be targeting will go as follows:

  • Creation of CAD architectural plans for the buildings and offering them to prospects who show interest.
  • Specifications and clauses that will govern the partnerships, whether corporate or individual investors.
  • Videos and images to be prepared for marketing
  • What prices/costs are expected
  • Case studies of construction as a good avenue of inspection
  • A company newsletter for showing the prowess of the company with time.

There are many more goals that the content marketing strategy would address in the construction industry, but these will help show the different with Mark, who is running a school.

Mark

He is a school proprietor and wants parents to bring in children for vacation classes that are different, in that they are structured around learning by playing. The goals his content marketing strategy should look at are as follows:

  • Creation of stories around children who study at the school.
  • Creation of a strong video posting presence on social media.
  • Creating content that will be more tangible to parents as opposed to the children.
  • Creation of a community on social media.
  • Creation of a strong school-to-home relationship through content.
  • Content that inspires the children to perform better.
  • Conte that is generated by teachers, and how it will be arranged by each teacher for easy navigation.

These are some of the things that Mark will consider; the list will be longer, but we are illustrating that the content marketing goals of the two are quite different due to the niche they operate in.

2. Content Marketing Strategy and User Personas

Although we covered this in our content strategy blog, it is still an important part of content marketing strategy and cannot be ignored. User personas are not your actual customers, but a representation of the customers. They show who the customer will be, the pain points that he or she has, their main goals for coming to your site, and how they behave in the buying process. These are based on independent ideas, market research, surveys, interviews, market trends and more. A good content marketing strategy will approach this in planning how to generate user persona information. What kind of content will be created in order to get information that will inform the creation of user personas? So plan for the demographics of your potential buyers so you can create great content for them in content strategy Get their behavioral manners when it comes to content consumption, pain points and how they intend to address them. You can read more about creating user personas in our complete blog here.

3. Content Audit

The content audit is one monster that content marketers fear; it is a time-consuming process and is done once or twice a year. Sadly, only a small portion of content writers actually do a content audit. Most times they create content and forget about it. In years to come, the content is outdated and irrelevant and just takes up space on their website or blog. A good content audit deals with such information, so the content is updated, or completely removed and replaced. A content audit will actually guide your content marketing strategy since it will give insights on where content performance is great and where it is failing. This is where the determination of Key Performance Indicators is important. They are the ones that will aid you in knowing how well your content is performing. A lot of data has to be collected at this stage and then analyzed. The data such as the number of shares, backlinks, content date, last update, metadata, titles and more have to be painstakingly collected and analyzed. There are tools that you can use to automatically collect such data and analyze it, otherwise using a spreadsheet will be tedious and time-consuming. Data shows that WordPress makes up for about 33% of the websites in the world, but only 40% of them are updated. This is why a content audit is crucial, so you do not miss out.

4. UVP – Your thing

Although we talk about this in our UVP blog, it has to be realized in the marketing strategy part. You must know what sets you apart from your competition, so you can create a content strategy for content that displays this quality. Phew, that is quite a mouthful, but very important too. You must identify your thing before you can create a content strategy for it, and that is by generating a great content marketing strategy.

5. Content marketing is a means to the desired end

Many times content marketers fail because they treat content as an end. “I have created a great piece – end of story”. That should not be the case. Since content is a means, it has to be measured and amplified. Measure the effects of the content through data and conversations with existing customers. Where it seems to be failing, you have to amplify it and make it better. Content marketing strategy will look at your plans for carrying out content measurement and the amplification channels that you can use.

6. Creation and Publication of content

There is nothing as tough as getting to know what content you will create, the channel to use in publishing it, and managing it all in a manner that will please your clients as well as the search engines. The first aspect here is to identify the content that will be created. Is it text, video, audio, case study, etc? Next you need a content calendar, that outlines your topics sp you can see the flow of all the content. The content calendar should show the topics, and also identify the kind of content to be created. On the calendar, you should also identify who will be creating the content. Will it be in-house, or will it be outsourced. As we shall see later in this blog, it is crucial that you have a credible content calendar. Once you have a calendar, you need to identify the channels that you will use to publish the content. Will you post in a blog, social media, YouTube? You have to know how to manage all your channels so they complement each other, and work together to drive clients down the sales funnel. If you have some content written, and then place a video that explains the concepts better, then you have a better chance of converting a visitor, than if either existed on its own. When designing a website, these factors of how content will be published must be addressed in content marketing strategy. Social media content must be carefully thought-out. Content can be a flame, and social media the fuel. When liking content to social media, be very careful and strategize over it in this phase. It is not just creating a link and leaving it that way, but carefully crafting posts that will bring readers to your website.

7. Organizational changes in content marketing strategy

When creating a content marketing strategy, you have to consider any organizational changes that may be required. This is especially important for an organization that is now beginning to enter the online world. The content marketing strategy should steer the company to embrace change. This will not be possible unless the current culture is examined, and the foundation that upholds it. The new content marketing strategy should dig into the history of the company in order to map out its future, when using content. Content marketing should be transparent at all levels of the company, in order to have input from all employees and not just the marketers.

8. Content marketing strategy as an agent of change

You cannot change the perceptions of buyers before addressing the changes you want to bring about. Marketers are agents of change through the content that they create. Content Marketing Strategy should be considered as preparing content that will bring about changes in the target audience. This means making a business case for the strategy.
  • Establishing the need of the company. What will be done in order to address the needs of the customers
  • Establishing the scope of the business need. Will it be so big that it has to have an entire strategy?
  • Looking at the business model that the company will adopt. What will it do?
These are important parts of content marketing strategy.

9. Content Calendar

You may think that creating content is simple. I have been working on a project for almost three weeks, and each topic has its own level of difficulty. So as not to feel overwhelmed, I had to create a content calendar and share it with my client. Of course I justified why the calendar was like that, depending on the challenges associated with each topic. You also need to create a content calendar in your marketing strategy. Timing is not the only reason why you need a content calendar.
  • A Content calendar will help you identify for special events in your industry and allow you to prepare content for the event in advance.
  • It will also help you identify gaps in your content so you can address them in time.
As a rule of thumb, it is best to create your content before the date that you want it published – way before! When you publish timely, consistent and properly organized content, you assert yourself as a leader in your industry, and this tends to attract customers to you. Content is planned on a weekly, monthly and sometimes an annual basis. Pick the type of calendar you want and then make sure that you are loyal to it.

Takeaway

Creating a content marketing strategy is important for the creation of a content strategy and the subsequent creation and distribution of said content. If you want to join the major league in your niche, you must have a good content marketing strategy. Do you have a documented content marketing plan, or do you just keep thoughts in your mind? You should take the time to document a content marketing strategy, whether you are a single blogger, or a company with hundreds of employees. It cannot be downplayed, and should not be ignored.

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