What is content marketing?
Content Marketing is a strategic approach a marketer would take to produce and distribute compelling content that is relevant, valuable and consistent to a targeted audience. It focuses on all stages of the customer lifecycle from building awareness to creating evangelist for your brand.
Why is it important to develop a content marketing strategy for your brand?
Having a powerful content marketing strategy is extremely important to the success of a brand because it tends to fuel search and drive social media activity. The audience-driven content being marketed is often informative, realistic, actionable and data-driven, this allows brands to build leads, earn trust and drive loyalty. Your brand should have a content marketing strategy before developing your social media strategy. Content marketing is a win for both the consumer and the brand. If you are aiming for your brand to be more effective you will need to set some time to build a content marketing plan that will work for your brand.
What we did for you:
To help you with the process of creating a content marketing strategy, we narrowed down the plan to eight simple steps and we even created a free worksheet that you and your team may use while you go through the steps below. All you have to do to get the worksheet is sign-up and it will be sent to you via email. Get the Worksheet!
List your Business Goals
List the reasons why your business is looking to create content in the first place. Every piece of content you create should always support your business goals. Is your business looking to grow their current audience or get more exposure?
Example: A business goal example for a Software company might be to build new leads for their product.
Identify your Content Goals
List a few goals that you would like to accomplish with your content.
Do you want to focus your content efforts on generating leads or would you be more concerned about providing excellent customer service? Here are a few examples:
Examples of content goals:
Build Brand Awareness
Provide Customer Service
Determine your Target Audience
Think of the audience that you intend on reaching with your content, in other words, who might find your content valuable? What problem do you plan to solve for them?
By now you should have a good idea about the general demographics of your audience such as but not limited to age, gender, and geographic location.
Consider the problem you might be solving for this specific audience, what their current expectations are in regards to your product or service?
"Every piece of content should be directed towards a specific audience."
Research your Competitors
Acknowledge who your main competitors are and identify what they are good at.
This will give you a better idea of what sets you a part from their brands. Think about your competitive advantages and how you can make your content unique.
If you are having trouble researching your competitors you might find the article below useful.
Decide the type of Formats
How are you going to produce your content? Will your content consist of a single photo or will you focus on videos or blogging. Deciding what type of format is very important, you should know that each format is often consumed by a different audience. For example, many millennial might be on instagram and videos.
Select the right channels of distribution
How do you plan to distribute your content? Think of the various channels you can reach your target audience. Consider how it can be shared and where it will be accessible to your audience. If you don't have a content calendar, you might want to start drafting it so you can determine how often you plan to publish every piece of content.
If you believe your blog post should be the first channel to distribute your content decide if you will be publishing a blog 3 times a week or 5 times a month.
Implement Your Plan
By step seven you should know the formats of your content and the distribution channels you plan on using to connect with your target audience. Now its time to consider a few of the very crucial parts to the success of your content marketing strategy. Its important that you align the production and the distribution with your consumers needs and or goals. If your content is dated your consumer will no longer find your content valuable. Please consider the following questions;
What's your budget? Identify the amount of money you are willing and able spend for each content to be produced and distributed across multiple channels. Be sure to allocate a portion of your budget to the promotional part.
Who will produce the content? Assign a member of your team the role of content manager, this person will be key in making sure the message is produced in a timely manner and conveying the right message. If you are not able to produce this in-house consider outsourcing your production process, but be sure to share your content strategy with the producer so you are all on the same page.
Who will publish the content? Assign a member of your team to be the publisher, have them create a short check-list that ensures the content is published to each channel in the right order and targeted to the right demographic.
Who will promote your content? Assign a member of your team to be the promoter, in most cases this might be the same person as the publisher. However, keep in mind this person should be monitoring the promotion for the entire duration of the campaign.
Determine How You Will Measure Success
Measuring your success is the most important part of any strategy. If you are not able to determine how you plan to track if your content was effective and well-received by your audience, you do not have a very good strategy in place.
There are many ways to measure your success. However, the three suggested metrics would be to view audience demographics, customer behavior as well as the overall social media activity around the specific content.
A powerful tool to introduce to your content marketing process would be;
Suggested Tool: Google Analytics
There you have it, the 8 Steps to Building a Content Marketing Strategy for your brand!
If you would like to to try this exercise out with your team, please sign up to receive a free copy of our content marketing strategy worksheet
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