Content marketing is nothing without a content marketing strategy. Content marketing strategies are critical to have in hand before you commit to a social media platform, engage in email marketing, develop interactive content, hire marketers, or even just conduct a brainstorming session for content ideas.
You can have the most interesting, thought-provoking piece of interactive content out there. You might have the world’s greatest content marketer on staff. However, it’s all for naught if the right people can’t find it. Likewise, professional marketers know that great content means nothing if it doesn’t reach its target audience.
No matter what stage of your content creation process you’re in, whether you’re in pre-planning – deciding on a content format, conducting a content audit, or finishing up and wondering how to present your blog post to the world through social media marketing – now is the time to start thinking about the best content marketing strategy for optimizing and distributing that content to your audience. With the flexibility and scalability of a Headless Content Management System, you can efficiently manage and deliver your content across multiple channels, ensuring a seamless and engaging experience for your audience.
Seasoned marketers know that the world’s greatest content production workflow and search engine optimization tactic means nothing in the absence of a documented strategy. Similarly, content marketing strategies help convert existing customers into unpaid brand loyalty cheerleaders.
Do I Really Need a Content Strategy?
Yes! The point of your content is to be seen, read, heard, and, most importantly, shared as part of the average customer journey.
But what good is your high-quality content if it’s never been seen? Why develop any top-notch content asset if it doesn’t gain any traction in the marketplace? Research by the Content Marketing Institute has shown that countless brands that succeed at digital marketing develop and follow a content marketing strategy. As a result, they consider their content marketing efforts to be more successful and found content marketing, in general, to be less challenging.
Significantly, these companies were later able to justify a higher content marketing budget that allowed them to invest in higher-quality content.
What Does a Successful Content Marketing Strategy Look Like?
Your content marketing strategy should be a part of any content creation your company does.
While there are no defined “rules” for building a content marketing strategy, it’s important to include these nine key components in any content marketing effort. Make sure you address all nine of them before you create content, sink considerable resources into video marketing, build a content calendar, or engage in any form of content promotion.
1. Understand your audience better with a buyer persona and research.
Every piece of content your brand develops should be created with someone in mind.
A potential customer is more likely to make a purchase from a brand they identify with. Consequently, relevant content begins and ends with that brand demonstrating a keen understanding of its audience. Valuable content gets shared via social media and starts moving up in search engine results.
Understanding your target audience includes very basic factors such as their age, gender, education level, and even income. However, it also goes deeper than that. What does your audience want? What problems are they facing? Which social media channels do they seem to prefer? How can your product or service create content to help solve those problems?
Don’t just assume. You won’t hit upon an effective content marketing strategy by spitballing. Research your target audience and see who’s already engaged with your brand. What content type hits home consistently? Can you create content that answers felt needs?
Additionally, you can even set up simple online surveys to send via email marketing to your current audience. Build audience profiles and your content calendar based on the results. Begin to have your creative types sketch out some content marketing examples they think might be seen as in tune and responsive. However, your audience won’t fit a single category. On the other hand, research can help you develop a primary “buyer persona” that fits the profiles of much of your audience, as well as several secondary personas.
2. Conduct some keyword research.
Now that you understand your main audience, place yourself in their shoes as you consider various content marketing strategies.
What are they searching for when they need your product or service? Make a list of basic keywords surrounding your brand, as well as any variations: “New York painters” and “New York painting,” for example. You know your niche well, so draw from all possible terms used for what you have to offer.
Once you have these keywords, you’re ready to do some digital marketing. Integrate them into your content. Here are a few reasons why.
- Integrating keywords into blogs and other online content is good for SEO and generating organic traffic.
- It allows your audience to figure out quickly whether or not they’ve found the content they need before moving on.
- It establishes your brand as an authority in your field.
- Effective content marketing strategies keep your target audience engaged.
3. Identify effective content.
Next, you need to ask yourself, “What sort of content will my audience respond to? What content format are they looking for?” If your audience is more likely to read a blog post, would you waste time creating a video? Do they enjoy email marketing more than SMS texting? In the same vein, if they want how-to guides, will they spend hours looking at case studies that only tell them “Why?” Probably not.
Identifying the most effective content starts with identifying and listing to your audience. However, it will likely also include some trial and error as you experiment with different types of content to see what works for you and your content strategy. In short, the most common types of content include:
- blog post, articles, and how-to guides
- video content
- eBooks and white papers
- email newsletters
- social media posts
4. Decide on placement.
Another reason to develop an understanding of your audience is to determine where they’re looking for online content.
Are they searching YouTube for the latest videos on your niche…or do they spend most of their free time browsing Instagram for great photos? Similarly, are they likely to respond to (often expensive) Facebook ads?
For content such as blogs, articles, and landing pages that lead to additional content, implementing an SEO strategy is a good place to start. Especially for industries that don’t tend to do well on social media. For instance, agencies such as estate agents usually have that buy a house by searching the web. However, it’s also important to maintain active business pages for any relevant social media platforms. Likewise, influencer marketing can be another effective way to expand the reach of your content and build brand awareness.
5. Develop your brand’s voice.
The most successful brands develop a “personality” that their audience can recognize and identify with. This is often overlooked in content strategy, but it’s also one of the most important aspects of a brand.
As with every stage of your content marketing strategy, start with your buyer personas. What sort of personality will they most identify with? Is that voice friendly, formal, or silly? What sort of language and terms will they understand? Where does this crowd gather when on social media? Additionally, what do they want to avoid hearing about?
6. This one’s tough. Stay consistent.
The key to knowing whether your content strategy is effective is to stay consistent.
If you publish one post per month on Facebook, it shouldn’t be surprising that your social media presence isn’t growing very quickly. Develop a content schedule and stick to it.
7. Analyze the results.
Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, never leave your content without tracking the results.
This can include monitoring view and click rates, reading customer comments and responses, social media likes and shares, or even tracking eCommerce stats in relation to your content releases. Data tracking will allow you to analyze the results of your content marketing efforts and learn what’s effective…and what isn’t.
8. Revisit and revise.
Why track the data if you’re not going to utilize the results? Collecting data by itself won’t affect even one search engine. You need to leverage what you’ve learned.
It’s a good idea to sit down with your content marketing team at least once per year, if not once per fiscal quarter, and go over your current strategy. Take note of what worked, what didn’t, and where you’d like to improve. What does your website analytics reveal? Which social media campaigns received the best response? Adjust your existing content accordingly.
9. Try new things!
Research is significant, but it never hurts to try something new if your content marketing timeline (and budget) allow for a little experimentation.
Jump on social media trends, try out new technology, or reach out to your audience and ask them what they’d like to see. This is where maintaining a content calendar will really pay off. Just make sure you’re always tracking the results so you can revisit and potentially add something new as part of your successful content marketing strategy. For ex: Refresh old content strategy (repurposing old content).
Now that you’ve developed and followed your content marketing strategy, it’s time to go through the entire process again!
Content marketing strategy is a never-ending process that needs to be followed, analyzed, and revised on a regular basis if you want your strategy to be effective at capturing leads for your business. Engage, refine, and rework on a regular basis, and your content marketing efforts will show better results consistently.