For businesses of all sizes, content marketing is an effective way to share key brand messages with your target audiences. Well-crafted content can help you establish a stronger brand voice, build new connections with potential customers, maintain relationships with current customers, and so much more.
Whether you’re totally new to content marketing or are simply revisiting your current strategy, it’s a great idea to start from scratch and take a fresh look at what you want to accomplish. Here are 7 simple steps to help you build a better content marketing strategy:
Step #1 | Determine Your Goals
You don’t need a big team and an even bigger budget to create a successful content marketing strategy. At the core of any solid content strategy is a set of established goals. At the very start of the planning process, you should sit down with your team to develop a list of specific goals you hope to accomplish through your content marketing efforts. Your goals may include one or more of the following:
- Build brand awareness
- Establish yourself as an industry thought leader
- Drive traffic to your website
- Generate more leads
Your goals will serve as the foundation for your content marketing strategy. Once you have determined your goals, you can start creating content that will help you reach them. By setting goals, it will also simplify the process of analyzing your performance. For example, if you know your primary goal is to drive more traffic to your site, you’ll know that you will need to be able to measure any possible increases in web traffic once you’ve implemented your strategy.
Step #2 | Get To Know Your Audience
In order to create truly effective content, you first need to identify the audience you are trying to reach through your content. As you go through this process, you may discover there are multiple audiences you are hoping to reach. Perhaps you are hoping to connect with new prospects, but also want to stay in touch with people who have already purchased from you.
One of the great things about content marketing is that you can craft different pieces of content that each speak to a different audience. To help you understand each of your target audiences and identify key messages that will appeal to them, you may want to try creating personas. Check out our blog “Building Personas: How Well Do You Know Your Target Customer?” to learn more about personas and how they can help you create more effective content.
Step #3 | Develop Your Strategy
Once you’ve identified your audience, you can start mapping out your content strategy. Here are a few key details you will want to keep in mind based on what you have learned about your target audience(s):
- Where Do They Spend Their Time Online? Does your target customer seek out products or services like yours through an online search, or is eye-catching social media content more likely to capture their attentions? Knowing where your audience is spending its time online will help you determine which channels you should include in your content strategy.
- What Solutions Can You Offer to Them? Through your content, you have a unique opportunity to share key messages with your target audience. Make sure you are creating content that puts their needs first. Your content can be used to showcase what solutions you have to offer and help guide your target audience more naturally toward a purchase.
- What Does Their Path Toward Conversion Look Like? In a perfect world, a potential customer would see your content and immediately make a purchase. However, this sort of instant result isn’t a realistic expectation. Take the time to learn what the typical decision-making process looks like for your customers, and then develop a content strategy that is tailored to their needs at each stage of their journey.
Step #4 | Create Your Content Calendar
Armed with your specific goals, audience(s), and strategy, you can now start creating your content. Using a content calendar can help you stay organized and use your time more efficiently. Your content calendar can help you map out all of your upcoming content, including emails, blogs, social media posts, videos, and more.
While there are a variety of different tools available to help you create and manage your content calendar, it doesn’t need to be complicated. Even a simple spreadsheet can help you and your team stay on top of your content strategy. You may need to experiment with a variety of tools and methods until you find what works best for you.
Here are a few benefits of using a content calendar:
- Never Miss An Important Date. Whether it’s an upcoming holiday or a specific promotion, you probably have several key dates throughout the year where you want to be sure you’re engaging with your customers. By using a content calendar, you can stay on top of upcoming events and opportunities and be more strategic with your content.
- Be Consistent. More than likely, you’ve got more on your mind than just creating and sharing content. When you’re juggling multiple roles and responsibilities, it’s easy to let your content marketing fall by the wayside. With a content calendar, you can map out your content well in advance and more easily stick to a consistent posting schedule.
- Create A Well-Rounded Mixture of Content. Sharing nothing but promotional content can end up alienating your customers. Using a content calendar, you are able to get a clearer view of everything you are sharing with your target audience. By planning your content in advance, you can ensure you are creating a well-balanced variety of content.
Step #5 | Implement Your Strategy
With your content planned out and created, it’s time to start sharing it with your audience. Many platforms allow you to pre-schedule your content, making it easier to plan ahead and ensure each piece of content is published on the right day and at the right time.
As you implement your strategy, you’ll want to take note of how much time and resources it takes to create your content from start to finish. While it’s important to stick to a consistent posting schedule, you also want to make sure your current strategy is sustainable for yourself and your team. It’s better to share a lower volume of content on a consistent basis than it is to overextend yourself and then totally lose momentum.
Step #6 | Measure Your Results
There’s more to content marketing than simply creating and publishing content. You’ll also want to make sure you are setting aside time to see how your content is performing.
Most platforms feature built-in reporting tools to help you view and analyze your results. Additional free tools such as Google Analytics can help you gain valuable insight on how visitors are finding and using your website. Set aside some time each month to review your performance on each platform.
Step #7 | Adjust As Needed
It takes time to develop an effective content marketing strategy. Once you’ve spent some time creating and publishing content on a consistent basis, you should have enough data to start analyzing its performance in-depth and making adjustments to your strategy as needed. For example, you may discover that a certain type of content does especially well and decide to incorporate more of that content into your strategy.
Need help crafting a content marketing strategy for your business? Contact our team for a Digital Marketing Blueprint today! We’ll take a look at your current digital presence and provide you with feedback and insight. We can also work with you to develop and implement a custom content marketing strategy based on your goals.