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Most businesses focus on Content Marketing to help them engage with more audiences, in a quest to hopefully turn them into customers. Some of them fail because they don’t realize that it’s more than just creating and distributing content. Content marketing is a holistic marketing approach.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at what Content Marketing really is, its elements, how it can drive value to your business, and how to create an effective Content Marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Strategy Definition
Content marketing is a marketing approach that includes the research, creation, publication, and distribution of content that deliver value to a target audience. Generally, content consist of one or more media elements like texts, images, videos, or audios.
You can think of Content Marketing as a way to entice people, luring them in with engaging information rather than with money. It can be information about something they need to solve their problems, or something they think is worth reading or absorbing.
Importance of Content Marketing Strategy
One of the most cost-effective marketing strategies is Content Marketing. In a business perspective, it is a practical lead-generation approach because, when done right, you get to determine and cultivate potential customers without spending too much. Your investment would mainly be content.
Content Marketing Strategy Elements
For it to be successful, a Content Marketing strategy needs to have these core elements:
1. Business Case
In addition to the value you want to deliver to your potential customers, your Content Marketing strategy should manifest the goals that your business needs to reach. It’s not enough to provide relevant content to others if you cannot benefit from the endeavor. Otherwise, your brand will be just another help center. Identify what business goals you need to achieve and find out how you can utilize Content Marketing to drive towards those goals.
An effective Content Marketing strategy is built around a brand. If you want your brand to have a long-lasting impact on your audience, make sure to consistently include and highlight its unique qualities. What qualities does your brand have that makes it a better option over your competitors?
3. Value Proposition
Customers will always look for relevant results. Make sure that you have the specifics that they really need. What can your content offer your audience? How can it help solve the problems that they have? The answers to these questions will help you formulate the right strategy.
4. Strategic Plan
Before publishing, a Content Marketing effort should have a strategic plan. This will serve as a roadmap to how your strategy will deliver its content to your intended market. And it does not just end there. It is also important to think about how your audience will react to your content and give you the results you want.
Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
As mentioned earlier, a Content Marketing strategy is a holistic approach. Here are the steps you need to take to develop an effective Content Marketing strategy:
1. Set Your Content Marketing Goals
Like in any undertaking, the first realization you should have in order to create an effective Content Marketing strategy is its purpose. You can’t just create content and publish them online, expecting them to yield positive results instantly.
Start by defining what goals you need to achieve. Are you trying to generate leads? Do you want to improve your customers’ experience? Or do you want them to be more familiar with your products? Regardless of what your reasons are, make sure you document them so that you can look back and refer to them whenever needed.
2. Set Your KPIs
One way to measure how you are doing with your Content Marketing effort is by setting and understanding key performance indicators (KPIs). These are quantifiable metrics to measure the performance of your marketing channels against over time.
Here are some examples of KPIs:
- Web traffic
- Number of blog visits
- Conversion rates
- Number of leads generated
- Site visitors’ engagement time
Just by looking at these figures, you’ll gain insights into what areas of your marketing effort need improvement.
3. Audit Your Current Content
Given that about 70 million blog posts are published every month, it is likely that your target audience will come across an innumerable amount of information every now and then. It’s nearly impossible to become the best source of information, and it’s okay not to be. You just have to make sure that what you are delivering is relevant to your intended audience.
A great way to ensure that your content is of quality is to audit it. Content Auditing involves collecting and analyzing data so you can draw up an action plan on how to adjust your Content Marketing strategy. This process will help you understand what topics really stand out to your audience.
4. Identify Your Audience
For it to be effective, a Content Marketing attempt should be directed towards a specific audience. As they say, “You cannot please everyone”. While it’s tempting to just come up with a general content that everyone can relate to, only a few of them truly need your product.
You cannot just target anyone or everyone as you would be left spending more resources than gaining conversions. That being said, having a specific audience will help you optimize your resources. It can also help clearly define your goals and mold your content to be more engaging.
5. Know What Your Audience Needs
Once you have a target audience, you have to put yourself in their shoes to understand what their problems are. Remember that you are trying to provide solutions. Therefore, you need to spend some time learning about their needs.
Most of your audiences are probably consumers of social media. Use this knowledge as an opportunity to conduct online surveys. You may also join groups and online discussions to gain insights into their problems.
6. Create an Editorial Plan
Having an editorial plan helps you set your priorities straight and allocate your resources more efficiently. This will serve as your master plan in carrying out the entire Content Marketing process. During this stage, make sure to identify and document your plans of action, the people involved, and all activities you’ll need to do to develop your contents. An editorial calendar can help you keep track of all these things.
7. Plan Your Content Production
It is important to lay the groundwork before you create content. Just because you have the answers to your audience’s problems doesn’t mean you can just drop them off on your marketing channels. Doing so will jeopardize your audience’s engagement with your content.
Your goal should not simply be solving your customers’ problems, but also delivering them value at each of the five stages of their journey:
At this stage, potential customers are aware of their problems and are actively searching for solutions. Your role at this point is to convey that you fully understand their needs and offer them the answers they are looking for. These might be in the form of How-to articles or videos, e-books, and checklists.
Your prospects will eventually find many options to choose from. At this stage, they will compare and narrow down their top solutions. They will try to get in touch with you to learn about what you can offer. When this happens, show them that you care and have the best solution for their problems. It’s usually at this point that prospects will look for case studies, FAQ’s, and product demonstrations.
The decision stage is where your target customer decides on which they should ultimately choose from their narrowed-down list of options. Many prospects will rely on customer reviews at this point to satisfy their uncertainties, so have those at the ready!
The customer journey shouldn’t end after they make a purchase. You should keep engaging them and letting them know that they are assets to your business. Keep an open mind. Ask for feedback and recommendations through surveys and testimonials and make sure to acknowledge them to show that these opinions matter to you.
During this stage, your customers become advocates of your brand. They are willing to share their experiences with friends and family, gaining you new potential customers. If you were able to successfully nurture your customers throughout their journey and establish rapport with them, this last stage should not be a problem.
8. Prepare a Content Distribution Plan
Aside from content creation planning, you also need to devise a timeline for distributing your content. It is not wise to publish your content all at once as doing so will overwhelm your prospects and eventually make them jump ship.
We often hear “Always leave them yearning for more”. This is also true with Content Marketing. Give your target audience a reason to keep revisiting your platform. You can achieve this by coming up with a content distribution plan.
The best way to plan and document your content distribution is through project management tools like Asana. These tools have the essential features you need to create a content calendar.
9. Find Out the Best Channel For Your Content
As you progress in your Content Marketing endeavor, you will eventually realize the importance of knowing your audience’s online preferences and behavior. And thanks to web analytics solutions like Google Analytics, you can now have access to these pieces of information. These tools are also capable of finding out to which channels your content is being shared. Try to target these channels in order to expand your marketing reach.
10. Check Your Content Performance
Content Marketing doesn’t just end after the content is published and distributed. In fact, it’s the start of another continuous phase called maintenance. It is at this phase that you gauge how your content is performing from time to time. Get a sense of the KPIs to help you decide what to adjust in your plans.
Do You Need to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy?
The straightforward answer is yes! Nowadays, most people search for answers to their problems online. It’s the perfect opportunity for you to show off what your brand can do for them. If executed right, Content Marketing can deliver you long-lasting results. You help people solve their problems and eventually, your brand becomes familiar to them. When the time comes that they need a product or service you offer, your brand will immediately spring to mind.
Content Marketing Strategy Checklist
Initiating a Content Marketing venture is not easy as it sounds. You’ll come across uncertainties and roadblocks that may prevent you from advancing to the next phase. To help you stay on track, here’s a checklist that you can always refer to:
- Keywords – Ensure that you have a keywords bank, or a list of keywords relevant to your brand, products, or services so that you will not run out of ideas whenever you create content.
- Content Goals – Document all your objectives, or why you are doing a certain content. Look back on them every now and then to ensure that your content is still on the right track.
- Content Template – Come up with a template so that your contents have a consistent tone and format that your audience will eventually become familiar with.
- Creating and Editing – Establish a cycle or workflow for the production, review and revision of your contents to make sure that they are up to your standards.
You Might Ask
What is the difference between content strategy and content marketing?
The difference between content strategy and content marketing is that content strategy is the process of planning, creating, and managing content. Content marketing is the actual campaign that comes after a strategy has been developed.
Why do you need a content strategy?
A content strategy serves as a roadmap for defining and reaching your marketing goals. It lets you keep track of your progress and helps you produce and distribute content that truly matters to your target audience, while getting back conversions.
What does a content marketing strategist do?
A Content Marketing strategist is someone who specializes in the development of content that is relevant to a company’s objectives and customers.
What is the main objective of content marketing?
The ultimate goal of Content Marketing is to drive customer actions.
When you step into the world of digital marketing, you’ll be greeted by so many strategies on how you can boost your online presence. If you are opting for an economical approach to advertising, Content Marketing is something you should consider. An effective Content Marketing strategy involves a lot of effort and time, though. But considering its long-term benefits, Content Marketing is definitely worth it.