What if your business suffered because you rushed in without a plan?
Most CEOs and managers think this could never happen with their own company. And yet countless businesses do this every day as they create content without first developing a solid content marketing strategy.
The right strategy can mean the difference in overtaking the competition or fading into irrelevance. Unfortunately, most executives and managers don’t know how to start developing a winning strategy.
However, that all changes today! Keep reading to discover the best and most reliable ways to create a winning content marketing plan.
What Is a Content Marketing Strategy?
Our guide is going to walk you through how to develop the most effective content marketing strategy. First, though, we need to answer the big question: what is a content strategy, exactly?
On paper, a content marketing plan couldn’t be simpler. Such a plan involves your company aligning the content you create with both your short- and long-term goals.
While that may seem simple enough, many businesses (including both newer and veteran businesses) create content with no real strategy behind it. This is the marketing equivalent of throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks.
That approach may get results, but it also costs a lot of time and money. With an effective strategy, you can achieve your minor and major goals with less effort and far less cost. This helps to make your company more productive and helps even the smallest company stretch its marketing budget as far as it will go.
Why Is a Content Strategy So Important?
Now you know what a content strategy is. Before we dive into how you can create an effective strategy, there is one more question we must answer: why is a content strategy important in the first place?
We already covered two of the biggest benefits of a solid content marketing plan. Specifically, it can save your company both time and money. But these aren’t the only benefits.
When done right, a content strategy can help to create a more unified business model. It can help to boost sales, build your brand, and help turn your most loyal customers into brand ambassadors.
However, you should be aware that you are in a race against the clock. The vast majority of businesses are investing (and some investing very heavily) in content marketing, and that includes your competition. And if your closest competitors develop a good content strategy and you do not, then your business may find itself left behind in the dust.
With that in mind, let’s dive right into the best ways you can begin crafting an effective strategy of your very own.
Create Your Goals
As we noted before, the basic function of any content marketing strategy is to help your company fulfill its different goals. And that means the first step couldn’t be simpler: you need to either create your goals or revisit the goals you already have.
Sometimes, your main goal might simply be more revenue. On a related note, you may have goals to boost your sales for the quarter. If you are launching a new product or service, then you may simply want to drive more traffic to your website.
There are other goals, of course, including a reduction of your marketing costs and an increase in social media engagement. And the primary goal for some businesses is to establish that business as a serious thought leader within the industry.
All of these are important goals, and it’s fine if you have more than one goal. But as you can imagine, it takes very different content to achieve these goals (for example, the content that improves your perception as a thought leader is likely to be very different from the content that improves social media engagement).
By figuring out which primary goals you wish to now focus on, you can create content that furthers that goal. And if you’re really lucky, you may have some existing content that fits the bill.
Audit Your Content
Once you have your goals, it’s tempting to jump in and start creating brand new content that aligns with your goals. But before you do that, it’s important to audit your existing content.
For example, the rest of our guide includes ideas for better understanding your audience, exploring different content types and channels, and positioning your company as a problem-solver for customers. If you take the time to dig through your existing content, you may find some useful things that align nicely with your new content marketing strategy.
If some bit of content isn’t a perfect fit, that doesn’t mean you need to throw it out. Use your judgment about what could be tweaked or added to in order to meet your goals. At the end of the day, this is still far easier and more efficient than creating brand new content from scratch.
Know Your Audience
For individuals, one of the best bits of advice goes all the way back to Ancient Greece and can be summed up in two words: “know thyself.” For modern businesses, however, the best bit of advice can be summed up in three words: “know thy audience.”
The most effective content is the content tailored to a very specific audience. And if you don’t know exactly who your audience is, most of your attempts at content are likely to fall flat.
To better understand your audience, use all of the analytics tools at your disposal. This includes web analytics, social media analytics, email analytics, and more. Pay special attention to the age, gender, income, and education of your audience because this will greatly inform the content you create.
Ideally, your analytics will also help you understand things like what customers are buying, how they interact with your brand, and how they feel about emerging trends. Don’t forget that you can also create and distribute polls via email and social media to get customer feedback.
All of this helps you learn more about your audience, and you can segment different aspects of your audience into unique buyer personas. This will ultimately help your marketing team craft bespoke content that speaks to the needs and desires of your specific audience.
Understand and Articulate Your Value Proposition
You know that your company has a lot to offer to customers. But do they know what actually makes your business unique?
To most customers, there is very little difference between one business and another when they need something. Left to their own devices, customers typically make their choice based on simple factors like price and location.
That’s why a good content marketing strategy involves articulating your unique value proposition to customers. It’s not about simply telling them what you can do for them. You need to let customers know what you can do that is different than the competition.
Sometimes, this can be as simple as creating humorous content. Other times, it may be that your business has a unique loyalty program or a one-of-a-kind product.
Long story short? You need to fully understand your company’s value proposition and transmit that message in your content. Not only will this bring customers to your business, but it will naturally help to sell your products.
Transform Goals Into KPIs
Earlier, we touched on the importance of your company establishing its goals. Once you have your goals in mind, the next part of the strategy is simple: you need to transform those goals into KPIs.
For example, let’s say that you have a basic goal of increasing your revenue. Next, you need to come up with a target revenue and a target timeframe, such as boosting revenue by 10% in the next quarter. Similarly, if you want to boost website traffic, you need to come up with a target number and a specific date.
The point of KPIs is pretty simple: they help you chart your progress while also creating more concrete goals for yourself and your company. And once you begin applying analytics to your new content, you can discover whether that content is moving you closer to your goals or further away. In the latter case, that means going back to the drawing board and creating content that resonates better with your audience.
Position Yourselves as Problem-Solvers
There are many things that drive you to create a more successful business for yourself. But have you ever thought about what drives your customers? Most of the time, they simply have a problem that they need help solving.
Your content needs to address this, and there are multiple ways to do so. For example, you may create some content that explores just how deep a customer’s problem goes. Such content is necessary because it is difficult to sell someone a specialized solution when they don’t fully understand the problem they have.
Beyond that, it’s good to have content that explains in granular detail what your product or service can do to solve customer problems. Remember, customers don’t want you to speak in platitudes or generalities. They need to know exactly what your products can do and exactly how this will help them out.
While there is no “wrong” way to create such content, keep in mind that video is a very effective way to show off how a product works. This allows you to follow the old Hollywood rule: show, don’t tell!
Analyze Content Gaps
Previously, we mentioned auditing your existing content to discover what, with a few tweaks, could work well with your newest goals. On a related note, it’s important to analyze both newer and older content for gaps that you can improve on.
The most common gap, and the one that is easiest to address, involves keywords. Basically, if you aren’t focusing on the right keywords (especially niche and longtail keywords), then the overall quality of your content may not matter because it won’t be attracting your target demographic.
It’s also important to figure out what your audience wants (or needs) to know about that the current content is lacking. For example, is your target audience asking questions that your content fails to answer? Or do they have certain kinds of problems your product could help solve but that you have never explicitly addressed?
By fixing these gaps, you can have your goals, your customers’ goals, and your content all in perfect alignment. If needed, you can always rely on the services of reliable digital marketing professionals.
Exploring Different Content Channels
So far, we have focused quite a bit on the type of content you need to create for your audience. But it’s also important to figure out where you will be delivering this content.
For example, social media is one of the best and most cost-effective ways of marketing your business. But different social media platforms have very different audiences. Ideally, you will focus on creating content and distributing it through the platforms best suited to your audience.
With the right analytic tools, you can get a better idea of where different users are sharing your content. That makes your job much simpler: if most of the likes and shares are coming from one or two platforms, then those are the platforms you need to focus on!
Exploring Different Content Types
The final element of a good content strategy is this: you must figure out the types of content you want to focus on.
You probably already have plenty of content on your website, and it’s fine to keep focusing on that. However, depending on your customer demographic, you may want to focus on video content you can distribute via platforms like Youtube and TikTok.
Does your audience commute to work? If so, a podcast may be an effective way to reach that audience. And if you wish to establish yourself as a thought leader, writing and distributing ebooks and white papers can help with this goal.
Create a Better Content Marketing Strategy Today!
Now you know how to create a solid content marketing strategy. But do you know who can help you implement that strategy?
Here at DesignLoud, we specialize in helping companies just like yours expand to their full potential. To discover what we can do for your business, simply contact us today!
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