A well-thought and actionable strategy is a crucial element to almost every aspect of a successful business. And it is the same with content marketing, which involves multiple processes that need to be planned. Without a content strategy, your growth will be notably hampered.
Stop procrastinating and learn today how to create an astonishing content marketing strategy to lead your business’ content creation efforts!
What is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy is basically a plan that describes how you will manage all the different moving pieces that creating content involves.
When you run a blog, a YouTube channel, an email list, and two profiles on social media, the amount of work that’s involved can become very overwhelming very fast, making it extra difficult to stay consistent.
Well, a content marketing strategy helps you to deal with that. Just pick a day or two to sit and plan for the content of, let’s say, three months.
Once you have created your plan, it is production time! I always recommend creating content in bulk. For example, if you own a YouTube channel, you can have film days where you focus on producing three or more videos in a row.
I talk about this in a blog post that you may find useful to effectively plan and schedule YouTube content.
A content marketing strategy needs to be aligned with the business goals for maximum results. If one of your main business goals is to raise awareness of a new brand, one of your content marketing strategy goals can be to focus heavily on content promotion to make the business reach more eyeballs.
Lastly, you have to keep in mind the audience’s needs. The best content is produced by people that have a clear understanding of their target audience. If you know the desires and problems of your public, you will know the content that best resonates with them.
Now with all of that out of the way, we can proceed to the fun part: the actual creation of the strategy!
How to create a content strategy
Content marketing audit
First things first, we want to answer a simple but powerful question: where am I now, regarding content?
There are five main metrics across all of your channels to track closely: acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue. These metrics are the pillar of your business growth and will help you to know and better understand your customers and their buyer’s journeys.
Check all of these areas to identify problems with your content or your approach to content creation. Where can you improve?
- Acquisition: What channels bring you new users? Are you making the most out of them?
- Activation: This is the first contact of the customers with your product. How many people have a good experience? Why do bad experiences happen?
- Retention: Do your customers come back? What percentage of them are you retaining and how many are you losing (and why)?
- Referral: Are customers recommending your brand to friends and family? How can you create more brand advocates?
- Revenue: What is the monetization model of your product? How can you increase revenue?
If you detect problems in the acquisition stage, for example, maybe you need to focus on fewer social media accounts to have a powerful presence on every profile you have, or maybe you need a team to help you.
Once you detect the problems, you can begin to think of solutions to incorporate them into your content marketing strategy and implement them ASAP.
Your content’s mission
This can sound a little bit of a cliche, but hear me out. It is very important to think about why you are creating content. It has to be more specific than “because every business is in social media”.
What’s the purpose of your content? To help people? To educate people? About what? Keep this mission statement top of mind every time you create content to establish a consistent brand image.
Choose your goals wisely
At this stage, you have identified different content marketing problems and possible solutions. Now it is time to translate those into goals.
Always keep in mind your general business goals, and create very specific content marketing goals. Define success, and think about how you can measure it.
For example, success in your business right now can mean building awareness of a new brand (this is a general business goal). In the content marketing strategy, we will formulate a SMART goal like this (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely):
“By Dec 31, 2021, attract 500 new organic visitors to the website from social media each month”.
Select and track your KPIs
What metrics do you want to track? Define them by thinking about which metrics can measure the success of your strategy. In the example above, an obvious metric to track will be traffic sources.
On the other hand, which tools will you use to measure these metrics? And how will you create reports to understand if the strategy is working or needs an adjustment?
Don’t forget to track your metrics at least once a month (and more often, if you can). Keep them in a spreadsheet to identify patterns over time and to find out if you are reaching your goals.
Understand your target audience
And I don’t mean this on a superficial level. As a general rule: the more you know about them, the more successful your content marketing strategy will be because you will know what type of content creates engagement.
Build your buyer personas. Define and describe the different segments of your audience in a comprehensive way. Which problems do they face, and what solutions do they search for? Where do they hang out, and what content do they like to consume?
It is important to consider these questions and not only the demographic data (although the demographics are super important too!). Segment your audience according to their behavior.
Types of content
According to your content’s mission, which messages do you wish to convey, and what language, tone and style will you use? The content has to be aligned with your purpose and values, and this way you will portray a consistent brand image across all your channels.
Another step to keep a consistent brand image is to think about the design side of things. How your content looks and its format has to communicate your brand image as well.
On the other hand, check the competitors’ content. How can you differentiate yourself from them? Your USP (unique selling point) can help to position your brand’s content from a new angle, different and more interesting to your audience.
Now that you have thought about your audience and its needs, it will be easier to think about the content types that will resonate better with that audience. Which channels do they use to consume content? Make sure your brand is present in the main ones.
#Bonus tip: fill the gaps with your content. If your audience is trying to solve a specific problem, what content do they search for and can’t find? Create valuable resources.
A content calendar answers a very specific question: when are you going to publish, to whom, and about what?
Decide your publishing frequency, and look at your content ideas list to begin the planning stage. If you don’t have one, start it now! In a document, notes app, or team management app that synchronizes across devices, it is easy to quickly jot down any ideas that strike you through the day, don’t matter where you are!
To streamline the whole process, look for holidays and special occasions in the month you are working on. Is there a specific date that you can leverage to create content? Also, keep an eye on trending topics.
Plan first the main pieces of content, and then the follow-up days. Are you running a content series? Schedule it as well.
You can organize this information in a spreadsheet (there are many templates online!). Simply distribute your content ideas throughout the month. Then, assign and allocate resources to make it happen.
If you have a team, designate the tasks to different members, and if you are a solopreneur, assign different days in your schedule to create, publish and promote the content.
Especially if you run a blog, keyword research is crucial to reach your ideal audience, because you target the search terms they use to find valuable content.
Do keyword research beforehand and attach the keywords you discover to your content calendar to simplify even more your content creation process.
The publish and pray approach won’t get you very far. Think strategically about the places where you can promote your content. After all the hard work, you deserve to reach as many eyeballs as possible.
Selecting where to promote your content is a choice that has to be based on your target audience and where they hang out the most.
Social media is the first and most obvious choice. But with a little research, you can find influencers and key websites in your niche that get your content to a wider public.
Make a promotion checklist and be sure to complete it every time you publish a new piece of content.
Test, fix, and grow
The last step is an ongoing process. After every time you check the metrics to determine if the goals have been reached, you will have the opportunity to do more of what works, and less of what didn’t work.
If you have a significant drop or boost in your metrics, you can check what you published that day and see what caused it. On the other hand, remember that A/B testing is vital to understand what content resonates better with your audience. Always test and improve!
Your content marketing strategy is not set in stone. It should be evolving, a healthy sign that your business is changing for the better.
A content marketing strategy is a key component of content marketing in any successful business. And it doesn’t have to be complicated! With a little practice, you will get the hang of it and learn to efficiently plan, produce and promote your content.
Content marketing is a long-term game. Remember its key principle: the better you know your target audience, the more valuable content you are going to be able to produce for them.
By the way, our social-media-savvy team can help you to start on the right foot! Discover how to get organic followers and likes to quickly grow your social media channels (we work with YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok).
Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments: Do you have any other tips to share with us? What challenges have you faced regarding content marketing?