Many businesses have skyrocketed to success with content marketing. Hubspot, Mint, and Glossier are a few examples of companies that have achieved massive success using content marketing. With the right content marketing strategy, your business can, too, drive exponential growth.
This article explains what a content marketing strategy is, its importance, and how to create a content marketing strategy for your brand.
What is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy is a process of documenting your business’s objectives and marketing goals and then using content to achieve those goals. Think of it as a roadmap guiding you to your desired destination.
Research shows that businesses with documented content strategies are more successful than those without one. However, Content Marketing Institute reports that over 63% of companies do not have a documented content marketing strategy.
To be effective, content marketing requires more than creating and distributing content. It requires a data-driven strategy and plan. Below are the critical steps to creating an effective content marketing strategy for your business.
Document your goals
Setting goals ensures that your content has a specific purpose for your business. Your goals will help determine the content you create and guide the strategy development process.
Here are examples of content marketing goals:
- Increase brand awareness
- Increase website traffic
- Generate new leads
- Nurture existing leads
- Boost engagement
- Build customer relationships
- Build trust and credibility with your audience
- Support a product launch
- Increasing your email subscribers
- Reduce marketing spend
When setting your content marketing goals, make sure they tie into your business objectives. Consider your company mission and vision during this step.
Establish Your KPIs
Once you’ve documented your content marketing goals, you need to establish your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). KPIs are the metrics you will use to track your content’s progress toward the goals you’ve set. Your KPIs should be clear, specific, and measurable so that you can easily track them.
There are many types of KPIs. The metrics you choose will depend on your goals and the types of content you produce. Content Marketing Institute has a helpful list of Key Performance Indicators by content type.
Follow your brand guidelines
Your brand guidelines (or your brand style guide) are how you communicate your brand to your audience. They are the instruction manual for communicating your brand to your audience. Your brand guidelines will determine your content’s personality, voice, and style.
When developing your content marketing strategy, it is crucial to incorporate your brand guidelines. You want to create a consistent experience for your audience and make sure that people remember your brand.
Understand your target audience
Before you begin creating and publishing content, it’s essential to understand your target audience. Not everyone will need or have an interest in your content. The goal is to create valuable and relevant content that caters to your audience’s interests and needs.
Here is the most common data used for identifying a target audience:
Demographics: Identify your target audience’s age, gender, location, income, educational background, etc.
Psychographics: Find out their motivators, pain points, values, lifestyle characteristics, etc.
Behaviors: Determine their media consumption habits, purchasing styles, social media use, what types of content they avoid, etc.
Understanding your audience will help you determine which types of content to create and which channels to focus your marketing efforts on.
Analyze your competitors
Another critical element of creating a content marketing strategy is analyzing the competition. By researching the competition, you will understand your competitors’ challenges and weaknesses and identify opportunity gaps for your content marketing strategy.
There are quite a few tools that do the competitor analysis legwork for you. One tool we highly recommend is Ahrefs Site Explorer, one of the most widely-used SEO and competitor research tools on the market.
A few of the vital competitor research features Ahrefs offers are:
- organic traffic research: research the keywords your competitors are ranking for and which pages are getting the most traffic.
- Backlink research: see if they are winning backlinks and whether they are quality links or not
- SEO Strategy: gain insights into their SEO strategy and monitor changes in their Search Engine Ranking
No matter what industry you are in, you will have competition. It is vital to research what your competitors are doing, see what’s working for them and what isn’t. This data will show you what types of content you need to create. It will also put you in a position to develop a competitive content marketing strategy.
Create a content map
Content mapping relates to creating content that supports prospects at each stage of their buying journey. It ensures that you deliver the right messages to the right people and at the right time.
5 Stages of the Customer Journey
Awareness Stage: A prospect has identified a problem or a need. This stage’s content is usually informative, educational, or entertaining, centered around their pain point. It should connect emotionally and make prospects aware of a solution. Content examples include blog posts, educational videos, checklists, infographics, and guides.
Consideration Stage: In this stage, leads are looking for more in-depth information on possible solutions to their problem. Content in this stage should be more specific, helpful, and informative. Content examples include case studies, free webinars, and user-generated content.
Decision Stage: In the decision stage, a lead is ready to buy. These content pieces show them why you are the best solution to their problem. Content in this stage should create urgency and provide reassurance. Content examples include case studies, testimonials, product demos, product comparisons, and previous relevant projects.
Retention Stage: Content pieces in stage keep your brand in the customer’s mind. The purpose of this content is to build satisfaction and loyalty with your existing customers. Content examples include Email newsletters, special offers, exclusive content, new features, and solutions to potential problems with a product.
Advocacy Stage: The purpose of this content is to turn customers into loyal advocates for your brand. It improves the relationship between your customers and your brand and increases their chance of buying from you again. Content examples for this stage include pieces highlighting your community involvement, brand values, and company updates.
Optimize your content for SEO
Content marketing and Search Engine Optimization go hand in hand. Your content marketing strategy will help you create content that matters to your audience. And your SEO strategy will help your content rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), so your audience finds it.
Keyword research, content consistency, and user experience are essential elements of solid content marketing and SEO strategies. When all of these elements are present and working together, the results are powerful.
Create a content calendar
A content calendar is a tool your organization can use to track and manage your content. With a content calendar, you can map out your content, assign tasks, set deadlines, and manage your publishing schedules all in one place.
Monday.com’s content calendar is an easy-to-use solution for managing and organizing your business content. Their solution helps teams streamline their content creation and distribution tasks and keep communication in one place.
Use Analytics to measure your content’s performance
Once you have begun publishing your content, it is time to analyze your content’s performance using the KPIs you’ve set. This is how you will see if you are making progress towards your set goals. Having this data will tell you if you are on the right track or if you need to adjust your content marketing strategy.
If you are not already using Google Analytics, you should be. It’s a free analytics tool that will provide you with valuable data and insights into your website. With this tool, you can see how much traffic your pages are getting, where your traffic is coming from, and how long users stay on pages. This is only scratching the surface of the data Google Analytics gives you.
This data will tell you what content your audience is interested in and make coming up with new content much easier.
Your content marketing strategy is just as important as the content you publish. Developing a documented content marketing strategy takes some work, but it is a critical part of the process. By developing a content marketing strategy, with your goals, research, and plan, you will have the information you need to create content with a purpose.
Search Engine Optimization is a critical piece of your content marketing strategy. For key SEO tips, check out 10 tips to Improve Your SEO in 2021