The single biggest mistake your brand could make in content marketing is having no strategy or goal. If you simply publish content because you think “you’re supposed to,” you probably will be disappointed with results.
Content marketing is just part of your overall strategy.
On the other hand, if you spend time strategizing about why you’re using content marketing, and then brainstorming how you’ll reach your audience, you’re guaranteed to see more success.
Here’s how you can develop your own content marketing strategy.
Step 1: Ask Yourself Why
This is an important question to ask yourself and your marketing team: why do we want to get into content marketing? You may be successful with other types of marketing and advertising, so question your reasons for adding another marketing tool to your toolbelt. There are many reasons why you’d want to invest in content marketing, but identify the key drivers. Maybe you want to:
- Establish your brand as a thought leader
- Generate qualified leads
- Introduce your brand to new audiences
- Boost sales
Whatever your reasons, identifying them can help shape your strategy.
Step 2: Set Specific Goals
Some of those “whys” may actually be goals, while some of them will be more nebulous. For your content marketing goals, you want them to be as specific as possible, like:
- Increase traffic to our website by 30% over 6 months
- Convert 10% of blog traffic to customers
- Boost average purchase amount to $150
Establish both a quantifiable goal and a timeframe for each so that you can then measure it. Look first at where you are now in terms of sales, web traffic, et cetera, so you have a benchmark to measure against.
Step 3: Identify Your Audience
Your content marketing is useless without an audience.
Who are you trying to reach with your blog content? You may have buyer personas established for your sales team, and these may come in handy if they align with the audience you want to reach through content. But dig deeper: where do these people go when they need the kinds of information you can provide? What types and formats of content do they prefer? The more you know your audience, the better you can strategize on how to reach them through content.
Step 4: Assess Content Needs at Each Stage of Buying Cycle
Someone who is just beginning to research solutions to a problem will have different content needs than someone who is ready to select a provider, so you want to make sure you identify the types of content (informative, product comparison, product benefits) that best connects with the buyer at each stage in her journey. You may include blog posts, ebooks, videos, and emails, depending on how they consume information at each stage.
Step 5: Develop Your Content Plan
Your content and promotion schedule will lead you to success.
Now comes the fun part: deciding what you’ll create, the format, and when you’ll publish and promote it. Your blog should, by far, have the steadiest rate of publishing, with at least one post (better if it’s more) per week. You may decide to release an ebook or whitepaper once a quarter to boost your email subscribers. Perhaps you publish a weekly video as well.
Then lay out how you will promote each piece of content to ensure it is seen by the maximum number of people. Your email marketing and social media channels should be a part of the equation.
The key to a successful content marketing strategy is constantly monitoring results. Your website analytics, as well as your sales data, will tell you if your effort is paying off. If, after a few months of steady dedication, you don’t see the achievement of your goals, consider making tiny modifications, then measuring results once again.
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