Why Is a Content Marketing Strategy so Important?
Content marketing just means that I need to regularly publish good content related to my business right?
Well, sure; but as soon as you start creating your third piece of content, you might find it a little difficult to see the purpose in what you’re doing. By the time you start creating your 12th piece of content, you might just not know what to do at all!
Once you have a documented strategy, you can use it to redirect yourself, confidently make decisions, and source inspiration.
Your content strategy is the roadmap that directs you to your goals and objectives. If you don’t have clearly defined goals and objectives, you’re not going to have a clue as what direction you should go in. If you know where you want to end up, but you don’t have a map to get there, you’ll probably find yourself lost and confused.
Don’t’ leave it up to luck. Create a well-documented strategy that allows you to step forward with confidence.
Successful content marketers have:
- A documented strategy
- Commitment to their strategy
- Realistic goals for their strategy
- Are given ample time to create content
- Deliver content consistently
Develop Your Strategy
Get out your pen and paper. You’re going to want to write out and brainstorm your thoughts on some of these.
Where are you trying to go?
Unlike a spontaneous road trip, you’ve got to know where you’re going before you step out on your marketing adventure.
Do an analysis of your website. Establish a baseline so that you can track your progress.
Set SMART goals. The more defined your goals and objectives are, the more obtainable they will be. This will make it easier to take every step along the path, and guide decisions along the way.
What goals and objectives are you trying to reach through content marketing? What’s a realistic expectation of what it can achieve for your business?
Who are you speaking to?
When you’re creating content, you’re communicating through different mediums. You need to determine who you’re communicating to and create content as if you’re speaking directly to that person.
Who is your ideal customer? Who is the specific person you’re trying talk to?
What are you tracking?
KPI’s, Key Performance Indicators, are measurable values that indicate performance. It’s important to establish these before you start promoting anything so you can track your progress. This could include purchases, leads, subscriptions, or a simple website traffic analysis.
What will you measure to track the performance of your efforts?
Where will you publish?
Based on everything we’ve established so far, what content channels make sense for your strategy? Hint: not all channels are appropriate for all audiences.
If you want to target millennials to sell apparel items, you might want to use youtube, facebook, or Instagram. If you want to target CEOs to sell them your accounting services, you might want to focus on email and LinkedIn.
When will you publish?
Establish a schedule for creating and publishing content. Ever try and exercise on a “when-you-feel-like-it” basis? It probably didn’t work out so well, and I’d bet you didn’t reach your fitness goals.
The same thing goes for content marketing. If you do it when you have time, it’s going to be the first thing to get pushed off the table. You have to make time for it, and you have to set a regular schedule to stay on top of it.
Don’t forget to promote it!
Sure, the goal of your content marketing could be to drive organic traffic to your site, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t promote it. Which social media networks are appropriate for your goals and objectives? What online journals and publications can you try and get published on? Who can you partner with to create content?
Documenting Your Strategy
So you know you want to document your content marketing strategy, but what does that look like? After creating a number of these documented strategies myself, maybe I can provide a bit of a roadmap to follow in creating this document.
Each section below should represent a section in your documented strategy.
Your documented strategy not only serves as your roadmap, but it’s your way to communicate your strategy to coworkers and management. I always like to start by writing about the purpose of the document. Why do we need a content marketing strategy?
You need to know where you want to end up; where you’re headed. In this section, address the question of “what are the goals of our content marketing efforts?” For most businesses and organizations, that’s going to include some form of “quality lead generation” and “building domain authority”. Go further than just listing them. Explain why each goal is relevant to your business. Write this as if you’re convincing upper management as to why they need to invest in content marketing.
Anyone creating content for your business needs to know exactly who they’re speaking to. In this section, you need to describe your ideal audience members and state why you’re trying to reach these people. Define that person with as much specificity as possible, and convey what value comes from targeting them.
Now that you’ve focused on the “who”, you need to focus on the “what.” What does your audience need? Really step into the shoes of that person and try and figure out what they’re going to be searching for; what can you give this person that would be extremely valuable?
Spend a decent amount of time exploring this. It’s what’s going to drive your content creation. The topics that you’ll be covering should be sourced directly from your audience needs.
What is the story you want to convey to your audience? What values set you apart from other businesses and organizations? In this section, think about what makes you and your offerings unique.
It’s important to have a unified story across all channels of communication to build the identity of your brand. This is your opportunity to make sure everyone who might be responsible for creating content speaks in line with your brand.
With the topics that you’ve outlined previously, it’s important to define some broad keywords to focus on in developing this strategy. It’s important that these keywords appear in the titles, meta descriptions, and body of your content. To do this, think about your services, and what people might search to find them.
Remember, in order to be physically healthy, we need to exercise on a regular basis. Just like our health, our content marketing strategies need to include a schedule be effective.
The success of your content marketing implementation is going to be reliant on the discipline used to execute it. Even if it’s only feasible to write an article once a month, write it down. Make it known to everyone involved in the business when content is supposed to be published.
Then communicate through the appropriate channels to publish on. Where should you share content and why is it important to use those channels?
The Necessity of Planning
By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. – Benjamin Franklin
It doesn’t matter who you are, or how great of a marketer you think you might be; you need a solid, documented strategy. There’s no way around it. The numbers are in, and the best strategies generate success.
While you might be like, “No duh! Of course I need to build a strategy”. I would encourage you to really put some serious time and thought into your strategy before you start creating anything.
Imagine trying to assemble a Lego kit without instructions; all you have is the picture on the front of the box. You might get close, but it’s not going to be easy. Your content marketing strategy is like your Lego kit instructions – It’s a map showing you exactly where to go next, and you’ve got to take it one page at a time.
A content marketing strategy will leave you feeling effective in your efforts while giving the confidence to make important decisions moving forward.
Ready to Get Serious About Your Strategy?
At immerge, this strategy-based approach to marketing is the heart of our service. We develop strategies at a foundational level for your business and build our way out from there. That way everything funnels to conversion opportunities.