You already know that developing a content marketing strategy is an essential part of connecting with your customers, growing your business, and increasing your sales.
But if you’ve never built a content strategy from the ground up before, this can seem like a daunting process. Even if you’re already publishing the occasional blog post, it’s still a smart idea to sit down and evaluate the strength of your content marketing game plan.
Why? Well, according to HubSpot, almost 70% of businesses are actively investing in content marketing in 2020. If you aren’t part of that 70%, now is the time to start creating your content marketing strategy!
For the record, you should begin creating your content marketing strategy before hitting publish on your next blog post. After all, how can you ensure your content is helping you work towards your content marketing goals if you haven’t outlined those goals in the first place?
In this post, we will dive into the steps you should take right now to create a content marketing strategy for your business.
Key Questions to Answer
The following questions will help you determine the very core of your content strategy. They’ll help you narrow down your focus and guide your content decision-making processes.
- Who will be reading your content? Do you have more than one target audience?
- What problems can you solve with content? Will you educate, inform, entertain, or inspire your audience?
- What makes you unique? What can you add to the conversation that will help set you apart from your competition?
Once you have a solid grasp on your content topics, you need to think through logistics. For instance:
- What types of content will you create? Blog posts, infographics, videos, case studies, or something else? (See our list of the top content types!)
- What channels will you use to publish content? Your website or blog is a great option, but don’t forget about social media channels too.
- Who is going to create the content? You, someone else on your team, or an outside agency? Keep in mind that although you may be a subject matter expert in your industry, creating content requires its own kind of expertise.
Building a Content Strategy
Now that the basics have been outlined and everyone is on the same page, it’s time to create your content marketing strategy.
- Define your goal. Of course, sales are a top priority. But they’re not the only metric of success! Not sure where to start? Learn more about how to measure success when it comes to a content marketing strategy.
- Define your audience and create personas. To truly be successful, you need to fully understand your customers. Creating personas allows you to get inside the mindset of your target audience, so you can produce more relevant and valuable content that they’ll actually want to read. Think through the different types of customers you have (age, gender, hobbies, disposable income, likes, dislikes, etc.) and create 3-5 personas based on that information.
- Audit your existing content. If you don’t have any blog posts, social media posts, videos, or other content already published, then you can skip this step. But if you do have some of that content already on your site, this is a great place to start. Go through the content you’ve already published and see if it aligns with one or more of the personas you’ve just created. If it doesn’t, see how you can tweak and improve it to be more compelling.
- Determine gaps and come up with content topics to fill those gaps by persona. Now that you have evaluated and strengthened your existing content, you have likely found some major gaps. For instance, you may have noticed that most of your posts are geared towards one persona, or that you haven’t created any content for another persona. Do you have content to address the needs of users high up in the purchase funnel? How about content targeted toward repeat customers? Understand where you are falling behind, and make a list of possible topics that could be attractive to those personas.
- Start creating content. Get after it! By this point, any existing content on your site is already looking awesome, and you have a solid understanding of the topics you should focus on next. Building out a content calendar is a smart way to manage your content moving forward. It can help you make sure your content is balanced across your audience personas and easily identify areas for improvement. Having one big brainstorming session at the start of the month or quarter also ensures you won’t blank on topic ideas week after week.
- Rinse and repeat, regularly. You should go through the above process regularly – perhaps weekly, monthly or quarterly. Why? It can be easy to fall into a content creation rut! Routinely evaluating your strategy can help you stay on track and make changes as needed.
Remember – whether you’re just starting out with content marketing or you’ve been using the same approach for a while, it never hurts to revisit your content strategy plan. This allows you to make sure your strategy is innovative, engaging and effective.
We are always available for a free 30 minute consultation to discuss your existing content marketing strategy or help you craft a new one. Contact us today!