If you are working on your content marketing strategy you should know that many other businesses are doing the same. This means that standing out from the crowd is not as easy as it used to be. Your content needs to be engaging, useful and interesting to your audience. Here are a few tips.
1. Set your goals
Before you even think about goals, be realistic. What do you want to achieve? Would you like to increase your sales or improve your revenue? Are you aiming to increase website traffic? Or maybe you just want to gain authority through thought leadership.
Depending on your current position, your content marketing goals could be related to improving your business directly, or indirectly by addressing other matters that will ultimately drive towards 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:
- 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 and their habits? What do they like?
Collecting data is key to understanding your audience. You can gather data from social media or web and subscription analytics. If your website doesn’t have much traffic, try to focus on your social channels. They tend to grow faster and it’s easy to get a good understanding of factors such as: age, gender, income and education. Based on that, you can work on a more accurate strategy to help grow your website, too.
If you already have a lot of traffic and can build a user database, that is a great option. You could also invest in creating a newsletter and getting customer feedback. Whenever there is a sale, booking or event, ask your clients whether they are happy with their purchase, the service and every aspect of your offer.
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. This means you probably already know which channels you should be present on.
Google Analytics provides a lot of valuable information, telling 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 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, you might want to know what works best in general. Maybe you are thinking about long articles and short posts, but video is increasingly powerful and persuasive.
Once you’ve decided what you want to talk about and have drafted a piece of content, you should be able to adapt it. The essence of your content is well defined and will be basically the same across all channels. The content type is more a strategic decision, rather than a brand identity statement.
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 will be enough to know when and where your audience is more active. For example, Wednesdays at 5.00 PM on Instagram could be the optimal choice.
Of course, this means working on content in advance, so organization is a MUST. Even before you know what you are going to post, you need to know when and where to reach the maximum number of potential clients.
If you are not publishing a lot of content, you don’t have to spend a large amount of money on a tool (although platforms such as Hootsuite or Later are very useful). You can just start by using Google Calendar to make sure not to miss the appointment with your post.
7. Allocate resources
This is the most complicated aspect of the entire process. Again, be realistic. If you only have $50 to invest in optimizing your website’s Google search ranking, reaching the number one spot may be too ambitious.
If you cannot invest time and money in an effective content marketing strategy, don’t do it. Don’t even try because you will be wasting resources. Your best bet would be to work on a scalable plan to do something realistic. It is better to put all your effort into one channel and do a good job rather than doing something mediocre everywhere because you don’t have enough money, time or support.
8. Create content
Once you have carefully considered all of the essential factors, it’s time to think about creating content. Try to create content for an entire month, thinking about the ideas and how you want to express them. You might be creating different pieces of content for different platforms.
Every single format (e.g. Instagram or your blog) allows content creators, copywriters and community managers, to say something different in a different way. What are the most suitable formats to deliver your message to your audience?
When you start creating your content, you will have a clearer idea of your own possibilities. This will help you to adjust and improve your content. Your strategy or your initial planning is a guide to the entire process of doing something in practice – a 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, you have made 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? Then, could we take another specific aspect and talk about it separately? For instance, we could also focus on defining content marketing or we could we talk about the subject 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 your results. At the beginning of your strategy, you set some KPIs – now it’s time to see if you are reaching your goals.
Focus on the milestones along the way. Building anything 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 the essence is: 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 brings you closer to your goals.
Why are content strategies important?
Just producing content is not enough to keep and engage your customers due to stiff competition. It’s important to create a content marketing strategy in order to stand out and differentiate yourself from your competitors.
What are the steps to create a content strategy?
First, you should choose your goals, KPIs and the audience you’re going to target. Then you should define the channels you’re going to use, the type of content you’re going to create and your resources. The next thing is to produce the content, distribute it and measure the results.