If you are working on your content marketing strategy or you plan to do it soon, then this post is for you. According to Hubspot, almost 70% of companies are producing content. This means that standing out in the crowd is not as easy as it used to be. Therefore your content needs to be engaging, useful and interesting to your audience. I know that it can sound a bit complicated, so let me make it easy for you. Here is how to create the perfect content marketing strategy. Keep reading.
1. Set your goals.
Before you even think about what it is that you’d like to achieve, let me give you some good advice: be realistic. No matter where you want to go, the first thing that you need to know to define the path is where you are. This means that analyzing your current position is key to setting your goals.
What do you want to achieve? Would you like to increase your sales or improve your revenue, for instance? Are you looking forward to getting more traffic on your website instead? Or maybe you just want to gain authority. These are just some examples of common goals.
Depending on your current position your goals could be directly related to improving your business or indirectly, meaning, they would address other matters first that will ultimately drive towards business success.
2. Set your KPIs.
The only way to know if your plan is working is by measuring results on a regular basis. Defining relevant KPIs will help you identify milestones along the path.
Based on your goals, your KPIs could be, for instance:
- Followers, likes, shares or mentions
- SEO ranking.
- Number of subscribers
- Percentage signups or other leads
3. Define your audience.
Who are you talking to? Do you know the characteristics of your audience? Their habits? What do they like?
Collecting data is key to understanding who is your audience. You can gather data from: social media, web and subscription analytics. If your website doesn’t have much traffic yet, try to focus on your social channels. They tend to grow faster and it’s easy to have a good understanding of factors like: age, gender, income and education. Based on that, you can work on a more accurate strategy to help grow your website too.
However, if you already have a lot of traffic and can build a users database, do it. Then take another step and invest some effort on creating a newsletter and also, on getting customers’ feedback. Whenever there is a sale, booking or event, in general, just ask your clients whether they are happy with their purchase, the service and every aspect of that, what you are offering.
All this information will be useful to create your buyer persona: a detailed portrait of every type of potential client.
4. Define your channels.
By now you probably know where to find your audience, right? Well, then you already know which channels you should be present on.
If you are already using Google Analytics, you will have a lot of valuable information. The tool can tell you where your content is being shared.
However, if you don’t want to use Google Analytics, there are some other tools that can also provide very useful information (e.g. Buzzsumo), depending on what you wish to analyze.
It is very common that one of your channels works better than the rest. Focus on that first. When you start to see results there, try to take it to the next level. At some point, you will have something more stable and fruitful and it will be time to start working on your other channels.
5. Choose your content types.
Again: data. Before you decide which content types are useful or not, you might want to know what works best in general. Maybe you are thinking about long articles and short posts, but if you knew that video is one of the most effective content types, you would change your mind, right?
Once you have decided what you want to talk about and have drafted a piece of content, you should be actually able to adapt it. This means that because the essence of your content is well defined, it is going to be basically “the same” across all channels, so the content type is more a strategic decision, rather than something that has to do with the identity of your company or the nature of the information you want to share.
6. Define frequency and calendar.
Because you know your audience and channels, defining frequency and working on a calendar should be something fairly easy. It would be enough to know when and where your audience is more active. If you know that this happens Wednesdays at 5PM, on Instagram, hey, you should not miss the opportunity of publishing a great post every Wednesday, at that hour, on that channel, right?
This would imply to be working on that in advance, so organization is a MUST. Even before you know what you are going to post, you need to know when and where so that, that, what you post, reaches most of your potential clients.
If you are not publishing a lot of content, you don’t even have to spend a crazy amount of money on a tool (although platforms like Hootsuite or Later are really, really useful). You can just start by using Google calendar to make sure not to miss the appointment with your post.
7. Allocate resources.
Well, here we are. Let’s get to the most complicated aspect of the entire process. The resources.
Remember when I said before that you should be realistic about your goals? I meant it.
I think it’s pretty obvious that if you only have $50 to invest on, let’s say, optimizing your website’s position on Google’s ranking, reaching the first position might be too much to ask, right? But this is basically it. You need to know what resources you have in order to achieve what you want.
If you cannot invest a lot of time and money on a super content marketing strategy, just don’t do it. Don’t even try. In this case, your best bet would be to work on a scalable plan. In other words: start by something that you can actually do. It is better to put all your effort into one channel, but to do a good job there, rather than doing something mediocre everywhere because you don’t have enough money, time or support.
8. Create content.
Now that all the aspects have been covered, you should put into practice that, what you have planned. Try to create content for an entire month. Think about the ideas and how you want to express them. Depending on what you want to communicate and where, you might be creating different pieces of content. Every single format allows content creators, copywriters and community managers, to say something different or in a different way. So, think about the most suitable formats to deliver your message to your audience.
When you start creating your content, you will have a clear idea of your own possibilities too, so there will probably be things to adjust. Remember that your strategy or your initial planning is just a way to guide you through the entire process of doing something in practice. So it’s just theory that needs to be applied, tested, refined, adjusted and corrected.
9. Distribute content.
When you have done a good job with a piece of content, then you have done 50% of the effort required to distribute your content on other channels. Different channels require different pieces of content.
Think about this article, for instance. There is a main idea or concept: how to create the perfect content marketing strategy. Could we, for instance, take these 10 points and just list them in a post? And now, could we take another specific aspect and talk about it separately? For instance, we could also focus on defining content marketing, right? And could we talk about all this in a video or a podcast?
In short: when your ideas are clear, your content can be easily adapted to be distributed on all the channels relevant to your strategy or business. Once you have all the possible variations, you can start publishing everywhere.
10. Measure results.
Last but not least. Measure results. At the beginning of your strategy, you sat some KPIs, right? Well, it’s time to see if you are reaching your goals.
Remember, focus on the milestones along the way. Building something, no matter if we are talking about a house or a content marketing strategy, takes time. The most important thing here, once you have started to get traffic and see data, is to understand whether you are on the right track. There might be things to modify or new information that will help you work on a more accurate plan, but this is it: theory, practice, results, data. This is what allows you to keep testing and planning in order to move forward, so that every step you take, you are a bit closer to your goals.