Learn to Develop Content Strategy from Square One
“Content is the atomic particle of all digital marketing.”
Behind every prominent online brand, presence lays sustainable, relevant and worthwhile content, be it on the company’s website or its social media platforms. As depicted by the quote from the book -The Atomic Particle of Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Content Marketing Strategy by Rebecca Lieb, an eminent digital marketer and author who has written many books on content marketing revolving around the use and importance of content marketing, given the digital epoch we dwell in and the prominence of content marketing as more of a necessity than a choice, good content marketing remains at the heart of digital marketing strategy.
What’s more important is ensuring what we create is meaningful, engaging and sustainable which is impossible without a distinct content marketing strategy.
Brand specific content marketing strategy as hard as it may seem is extremely essential despite being a tedious job. For businesses who value their web presence and want to keep it intact with an upright digital marketing strategy should make sure they have a fitting content marketing strategy in hand. The content marketing strategy is significant for getting the appropriate message to the appropriate customer at the appropriate time and the bitter truth is that there is no one universal content marketing strategy any company could deploy right away.
Even so, with the given core tactics you will be able to develop a strategy without feeling terrified:
- Setting mission, goals and Key Performance Indicators
- Defining the audience
- SEO and gap analysis
- Developing a distribution strategy
- Preparing a calendar
- Documenting your strategy
1. Setting mission, goals and Key Performance Indicators
First and foremost you need to establish a mission statement; it is a concise statement that assists you in keeping the strategy intact. With a mission statement, it is much easier to stay focused. A good digital marketing mission statement outlines the target audience, what you emphasize on creating and the value you will create.
A good mission statement looks something like this:
“We provide (target audience) with (the type of content) to assist them in/with (Business goals).”
Again, it is important to establish goals for your business; setting the goals entails determining what you want to attain from your content marketing strategy.
A good example of a typical strategy goal is given as follows:
- Increase search traffic to the website
- Augment conversion rate on landing pages
- Increase social media engagement
It is important to set SMART goals; goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. This is where the key performance indicators come into play. The KPIs provide you with measures which will help you in identifying if or not you have attained the landmarks you had set in the first place. These include what you thought of accomplishing in terms of your revenue, sales, SEO, traffic and other aspects of content marketing such as social media metrics or direct email marketing.
An example of a website KPI to measure is increasing traffic volume by 10% within 3 months through blog posts.
Make sure you set similar KPIs which help you to measure your performance in a quantifiable way.
2. Defining your audience
Next step to a successful strategy is to have clarity about who your audience is and what is appropriate for them. You need to consider who your primary and secondary target audiences are. Research about the demographics, habits, and preferences of your existing customers through interviews. Ask questions that look into aspects like topics that interest your audience, publications they read on a regular basis and what kind of problems they have.
You can use web analytics, email subscriber analytics, and social media analytics to collect data on your audience.
Do not forget to collect feedback from your existing customers to provide you an insight on the changing parameters of customers’ needs- how they feel, what their needs are and the way to address their problem.
3. SEO and gap analysis
The third step is to find out what topics your audience prefers the most. Tools like BuzzSumo and Moz are popular for providing suitable SEO data like click-through rates, keyword volume, and difficulty. Now you need to make a list of primary keyword, the one audience really cares about and secondary keyword which is more niche.
Another step is to examine what your company is competing against; comparing to the competitors to know what your company is up against. This is to know how competitors approach their content marketing and what they have been accomplishing compared to you. With this, you can identify the gaps in approach as to grasp the opportunities that give you a competitive edge against your competitors.
4. Developing a distribution strategy
As much as it is essential to create good articles and posts, it is even more important to distribute them properly. It is vital to plan the distribution part well; here you need to find out where your audience spends your time. For instance, small shopping stores make use of Instagram and Facebook to communicate with their audience so it is easier for them to reach via these platforms.
It is better to utilize organic distribution using social media to attract people and initiating interaction than jumping to paid distribution at once. Again, you need to take care of the timing of your posts and their quantity while distributing.
5. Prepare a calendar
Since the “why” part of your content marketing strategy has been figured out, now it is time to look into the how and why; this means it is about time to develop a calendar for defining what to create.
The final calendar helps you to establish a blueprint for your strategy as it includes the kind of articles and social media posts you shall create over the span of some months, say two or three in a calendar. It outlines the schedules of what you shall post across different platforms for a period of time; say for the month, week or day and in some cases even the time of the day as per requirement. It is necessary that your marketing team plans on the quantity of content to be published; it is better to publish a few high-quality content pieces than churning out too many articles per day.
A good, elaborate calendar enables you to devise an effective plan of action and brings uniformity in the content marketing efforts focusing on the same goal.
6. Documenting your strategy
Similar to how it is important to develop a content marketing strategy, it is even more necessary to document this strategy to make it effective. It should not just be a rough draft, it needs to be written, finalized as well as approved and communicated to the team members who are involved in the content marketing.
A well-documented strategy is like a road map which can be used as a reference in times of confusion and doubt regarding measurement or creation. Also, documentation helps marketers to stay aligned to the mission of the whole content marketing strategy which assists you in digital creations by going parallel with the set goals.
What You Should Remember
Since there is no one universal approach to carry out the content marketing of all kinds of brands and companies, remember that a single strategy cannot be applicable to different brand/companies so you have to put some thought into your strategy and design a brand-specific strategy.
Even if the whole idea of strategy development for marketing has been contained here including a few core aspects and may seem like a piece of cake which looks as if it would require just a few hours to accomplish, it actually takes creativity, research, considerable amount of time and proper organization to come up with an effective strategy for your brand and company. Therefore, make sure that you put enough thought and acquire consultation as well by considering each of the above steps to set your strategy upright.
Also, do not forget to focus on its documentation.
Lastly, note that from establishing the foundation of your content marketing strategy to deploying tools to make it efficient, setting up the actual content marketing strategy will not feel like a problem if you stick to the crux of the above steps and take one step at a time with careful consideration and thought while doing it.