In today’s world of e-commerce, a strong, innovative and up-to-date content strategy is very important for every business; be it a start-up or an existing business. According to the latest survey from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 63% of the businesses do not have a documented content strategy. As a result, learning how to build a strong content strategy is one of the greatest educational needs for many such businesses.
If you want to get a leg up on the competition, the first thing you need to do is to have a solid, smart content marketing plan in place. Here we will see how you can build your own strong content. But first we need to know what exactly a content strategy is and why we need to have it in place before we go into the process of making one.
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
Any materialistic media that you create and own, be it written, visual or downloadable, is known as content and the method of managing this content is known as a Content Strategy Plan. It is equally important to be a part of your marketing plan that shows the world who you are and what expertise can you bring into your industry.
As I have said earlier content creation is very important for your business to grow; however, a poorly built content can ruin your business as well and as such, there are a few key factors you need to keep in mind while creating your content and before like, whom are you creating the content for, the problem your audience has, what makes you stand out in the crowd, content formats you need to focus on, channels where you want to publish your content, etc.
Content Marketing Strategy and Content Strategy; Content Plan
We have seen what Content Marketing Strategy is; it is typically used to build an audience and achieve some profitable results like, increased revenue, lowered costs, etc. it is a part of the marketing strategy of the organization. On the other hand, a Content Strategy deals with managing all the contents that a business owns. In contrast to these, a Content Plan is strategic and calculated to the core. However, keep in mind that you need to develop a Content Marketing Strategy before you come up with a Content Plan. A content plan will document all the specifics of your strategy like how you will execute your strategy, and who on your team will be handling each task; the key topic areas you will cover, what content format you will use, when and how to share your content.
Why do you need a Content Marketing Strategy?
Content marketing strategy as the name suggests is essentially a part of the marketing strategy for businesses to plan for reliable and cost-effective sources of website traffic and new leads. You can also create a single content and if it gets a steady amount of web traffic, you can use an embedded link to an ebook or any other kinds of free tool(s) that will continue to generate leads for you for a long time.
Furthermore, reliable sources of traffic and leads from these strong contents can give you the flexibility to experiment on different marketing tactics to generate even greater revenue like, sponsored content, social media advertising, etc. other than generating leads your contents serve another very important purpose; educate your target prospects and create awareness about your brand.
How to create your own Content Marketing Strategy:-
We have talked about what a content marketing strategy is, how it differs from a content strategy and its relation to a content plan; we have also seen why we need to have a content marketing strategy. Now we will see how we can actually create one content marketing strategy.
There are seven steps you need to follow:
Define your goal
It is imperative that you know your goals before you start planning: what is your aim for developing a content marketing plan; why do you want to build a content and create a marketing plan with that content, etc. if you do not know your goal beforehand you will never be able to use the plan effectively; this is because you do not know what you want to achieve with the plan you are putting into action.
Conduct a persona search
As we have discussed earlier, you need to know your target audience. After you have set your goal for your business; you know what products you want to sell; you need to know whom to sell them to. As such, you need to define your content’s target audience clearly.
It is important for both the newcomer as well as the experienced marketer. If you fall under the first category, then you absolutely need to know your audience so that you can produce more relevant and valuable content that will attract their attention. However, if you are an existing marketer with considerable experience in your field you need to understand if your audience has changed or not; whether to target a new type of audience or to expand your current target market. Conducting market research every year to revisit your audience parameters is very crucial for any and every business.
Run a content audit
For most of the first timers blog posts seems to be the starting point. However, it is not the only way to start out. You can venture out into other content formats as well. Business is all about taking risks, but they must be taken at the right time and with a bit of planning as well. You can consider creating an ebook by condensing all your past weekly blogs into one piece. There are many other formats aw well; we will look at them later on.
Running a content audit is most important for those who have been in the business for some years. By doing so you can review your marketing strategy and results from the previous year you can plan for the difference you can bring about in the upcoming business year and set new goals as well.
Choose a Content Management System (CMS)
The next step is to choose a reliable and user-friendly CMS or Content Management System that has the most common and vital parts like, content creation, content publication, and content analytics. Besides some of the most popular CMS in use are WordPress, HubSpot, Joomla, Drupal, Magento, etc.
Come up with some brilliant content ideas
It is now time to get down to business: start creating awesome contents. Here are some tools that can help you considerably:
- Website Grader- With this tool you can make your website more SEO-friendly and come up with unique ideas for your content. It is a tool from HubSpot.
- BlogAbout- IMPACT’s unique content idea generator works more like Mad Libs, but instead of jokes it will show you common headline formats and you can fill in your subject in the blanks provided.
- Feedly- The popular RSS feed can help you track trendy topics in your industry as well as find you some great content ideas.
There are a few more such tools like BuzzSumo, CoSchedule’s Blog Post Headline Analyzer, etc.
Determine your content format
As I said earlier, there are varieties of formats for creating content. Here we will see what they are:
- Blog Posts-
Blog Posts basically live on a website. Any website that shows written content is essentially a Blog Post. They need to be published daily to keep attracting new visitors. Furthermore, these blogs must contain valuable content relating to the subject about which the blog is for. An ideal Blog Post is recommended to be between 1000 to 2000 words in length.
These are lead-generating tools. Your potential customers can download these ebooks after submitting a lead form with their contact information. They are comparatively longer, more in-depth about its subject matter, and less frequently published than Blog Posts.
They are more catering to your cause; after reading a blog post, your audience may want to get more information. This is where CTA or call-to-action appears. It leads them to a landing page wherein after submitting a lead form with their contact information these visitors can then download an ebook with detailed information about the subject matter of the blog post. The sales team of the business producing this ebook now has a new lead to contact.
- Case Studies
Case studies or testimonials are your best chance to tell the story of a customer who was able to solve a problem by working with you. As well as these are the most versatile type of content marketing as it can any form from blog posts and ebooks to even info-graphics.
The main goal of the case study is to show the people proof that your products are worth investing in. Before you chose a customer for a case study, you have to determine which form the testimonial will take and the area of your business to which you are trying to drive value.
These are very handy as they can generate leads as well as provide your audience with considerable information. If you can successfully help a customer with template tools, they are more likely to keep engaging with your content in the future.
These are particularly helpful for organizing and visualizing data in a more compelling way than words can. These can help you share very many data much more clear and easy for your viewers to understand.
Videos are a type of format that can be shared across social media platforms as well as websites. They do require social media platforms and websites but it is totally worth it as it is much more likely to be shared across social media platforms.
A podcast is much more appealable to your audience than written content; especially to those who do not have the time or interest in reading the content. If you have interesting people to interview or conversations to host, the podcast is your best bet.
- Social Media
Social Media is a very good platform for you to share your content and can help you expand your market at the same time. It is an essential tool to amplify your brand’s reach because you know it is a place where they like to spend most of their time. Some of the most popular social media platforms include, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat as well as YouTube (it is nowadays, technically a social media), etc.
While you can connect more intimately with your audience in platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, on Facebook and Twitter you can expand that audience and drive traffic toward your website. However before actually publishing anything on social media you should do some basic market research on them to understand which one of these is best suited to your business and needs.
Publish and manage your content
Creating your own unique content is not enough moreover you need to publish and manage them. An editorial calendar can help you do that easily on your website. Then take it one-step further to create a social media content calendar to help promote and manage them on other sites.
Creating your own ideas is always good, but keep in mind to create content on contemporary and timely topics as well. Lastly, keep an eye out for the popular as well as niche holidays that attract your audience and incorporate them into your marketing strategy to gain even more traffic.
Keep updating your Content Marketing Strategy
Updating your content marketing strategy is very important. As your marketing program grows, some part of your strategy should remain unchanged, likewise your aim and business goals. You can use them as part of your acceptance criteria for every editorial content submission.
However, a few other aspects of the strategy is likely to benefit from a periodic review and update. In order to keep your strategy in the game you can consider reviewing your channel strategy, core topics, etc. on an annual (or quarterly if you are starting out) basis.
Creating a good content marketing strategy is a lot of work and it has only just begun. In order to grow a successful content marketing strategy, you should give it more time, organization, and creativity. From building the foundation of your content marketing plan to adding tools to manage your content better, these will not be a hassle if you put in time and effort into them and follow these above steps.