Essential Factors for Developing a Content Marketing Strategy - Part I
Updated: Oct 30, 2020
Content marketing is much more than its preliminary tasks of creating, distributing and sharing content in order to engage audiences, generate leads, improve branding, and other marketing goals you can achieve with content marketing.
Power of Content Marketing
Effective content marketing involves a strategic approach and that’s what a content marketing strategy is all about. Content marketing is part of a broader integrated marketing strategy and it requires a strategy of its own. Yet, just as all other strategies regarding specific marketing techniques (email marketing or social media marketing, for instance), this needs to be integrated into a broader strategy.
Role of Content Marketing Strategy
A content marketing strategy analyzes the different ways content marketing can be used across the buyer’s journey, the customer life cycle and/ or the different customer experience touch-points but it goes beyond that.
Essentially a content marketing strategy looks how content marketing (not content) can be used in a strategic way such as for and with other marketing, customer and sales strategies.
Content marketing strategy is essential to develop customized content solutions considering the available time, resources, budget and goals set for the content marketing exercise.
Content marketing can be used for numerous reasons and can mean many things to many people. This makes it essential to think about the strategic role of content marketing within your organization and its ecosystem. Without a content marketing strategy, you risk focusing too much on the content pieces and losing your focus on the overall goals. This is one of the most common mistakes in content marketing that tends to defeat its purpose.
Steps to Plan a Content Marketing Strategy
Planning a great Content Marketing Strategy involves careful attention to multiple factors involved in the process. Unless all the necessary factors are addressed in the strategy, we cannot expect to achieve our goals. So it is imperative to focus on the essential factors that drives an accurate Content Marketing Strategy.
1. Identify and define your goal as precisely as possible
Every content marketing strategy needs to start with a clear goal and true purpose. What will satisfy you with your campaign - Traffic volume, New subscribers, Conversions, Social shares and engagement, Video views, Podcast downloads, App downloads, Sales growth?
Your priorities will determine your aim for developing a content marketing plan. Identifying your goals before you start planning will allow you to determine what suits best for your strategy.
2. Note down your mission and your goals
A content marketing mission statement is an organized way to set out your content strategy plan. This is a brief statement that makes it easier to focus on what’s important – and what’s not – in creating your content so that your strategy stays on track.
A content marketing mission statement should outline:
Your target audience
The types of content you’ll use to reach them
How your audience will benefit from this content
3. Set Your KPIs
Make your goals specific and measurable for convenience in tracking them. That will help you set the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your content marketing strategy.
You will know when you have achieved your goals by checking the milestones through the KPIs identified. They’ll include what you plan to achieve in terms of revenue, sales, traffic, SEO, and different aspects of digital marketing like email marketing and social media metrics.
Typically, these will have specific values attached to them. For example, you might want to:
Reach a certain revenue target within the month, quarter, or year.
Get more signups for your lead magnet as an assurance of getting more high-quality leads.
Get a certain number of new email subscribers.
Experience an increase in site traffic and in engagement with your onsite content.
Improve the search ranking of some of your key pages to achieve a boost in traffic.
Secure a certain number of mentions, shares, and comments for your pillar content.
Be invited to participate in certain key industry events.
Pay attention to your marketing expenditure, tracking your spend on different campaigns, and keeping an eye on the cost of acquiring leads and making sales.
4. Identify your audience
You develop your content for your Target Audience. Before starting the content development process, it is essential to identify them properly. Your business may have more than one type of customers. Similarly your content strategy may have more than one type of reader or viewer. In fact, ideally it should focus as many types of reader or viewer, it can influence.
Developing multiple types of content and using an array of channels will help you deliver different content to each type of audience you have in mind. That can assist to engage everyone your company is involved in business with.
Creating ‘buyer persona’ is an established way to categorize your target audience. Buyer personas haven’t been invented for content marketing. They are used for an overall marketing strategy. But in a content marketing strategy you take a more complete look at them.
5. Carry out a Content Audit
Many businesses may already have existing content. This may include content on company blog, social media channels, podcasts, videos, and so on. Finding out whether that content is helping to meet business goals is essential.
To do that, it is required to carry out a content audit:
Logging all the pieces of content, such as blog posts and guest posts etc.
Assessing their usefulness or success.
Identifying the gaps.
Comparing the content with the competitors’ content, and assessing how any new content will fit in the market is a useful way to assess your content plan.
There are multiple tools available to carry out your content audit. Screaming Frog and SEMRush are two among them.