So you’ve started a company? And now want to start producing content because of its many obvious benefits. You have ideas for your content but they’re all unorganized. You don’t know how to go about planning your content strategy and reaching the audiences you want to reach, so you’re stuck. Did you know that 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content marketing strategy? It’s no surprise that the companies that do have one find their content marketing efforts more effective and successful. In this post, we’re going to discuss why you need a real content marketing strategy and how to go about creating one.
Content marketing alone won’t deliver organic traffic. Content marketing employed strategically will deliver the organic traffic you want and need. The pace at which people consume content every year is increasing at an incredible speed. In this content-rich environment, people’s attention is decreasing more than ever. According to a Microsoft study, the average attention span dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. Basically, this fact increases the pressure on content creators to come up with strategies that provide consumers with more relevant and engaging content.
A good content strategy aims at creating a connection between the brand and consumers. This link is created when the content touches the emotional side of the person consuming it. Based on the impact a brand has at the emotional level, it can transform customers into loyal ones or lose customers forever. When a brand has a coherent content strategy, the power it has over its customers is greatly enhanced. Obviously, it can’t dictate what the consumer will or won’t do, but it can shape it to a certain degree. A well-implemented content strategy can prove invaluable to your whole communication efforts, as it represents the heart of your marketing strategy. Naturally, a great content strategy enhances the power of the brand and shapes to a certain degree of a consumer’s behavior.
Steps involved in creating a good content strategy:
1. Set your goals and mission statement
A good starting point for your content strategy plan is to set out a content marketing mission statement. This is a brief statement that makes it easier to focus on what’s important and what’s not in creating your content so your content marketing strategy stays on track. A content marketing mission statement outlines your target audience, the content you’ll use to reach them, the benefit they’ll get by reading your content.
2. Research your audience
Your content strategy can be effective when you know who your audience is. Valuable information can be gleaned by checking what types of sites your prospects are already visiting, which content they engage with, and which social media platforms they share content on. The first step is to collect demographics on your visitors, email subscribers, and social media followers. Web analytics, social media analytics and email subscriber analytics will give you the data you need on your audiences.
3. Figure Out the Best Content Channels
As you work through this process, you’ll start to get a sense of where your audience is hanging out, and where you already have a successful online presence. It’s best to focus on what’s working and expand from there, rather than try to do everything at once. The more specific you are and the more you focus on your niche, the greater your chances of establishing yourself as an authority in your field, whether your readers are looking for information or entertainment.
4. Decide on content types
Next, think about the types of content you need to create. There are some content types that every content marketing strategy will include. Most successful content marketing strategies rely on having a central core of content published on your own site which can then be repurposed and shared on other sites. So blog posts are an essential part of your content marketing mix, and they still deliver strong results. Ideally, your blog posts should be actionable, valuable, and shareable, and may include a range of article types.
5. Allocate resources
Now that you know what type of content you’re planning to create, who it’s for, and where you’re planning to share it, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need to deliver on your content marketing strategy. Who’s in charge of producing and maintaining content? What human, physical or digital tools and resources do you need to create the content? What will your publishing workflow look like, including content scheduling?
6. Create a content calendar
As part of your content strategy, you’ll need to know exactly when you want to publish your content on each of the platforms you want to use. Lack of planning is a key content marketing mistake, so it’s essential to use a content calendar to get all your content scheduled. There are several ways to do this. For example, you can use Google Calendar and simply put the due dates for each piece of content there. That works pretty well, especially if you’re not publishing a lot of content.
7. Research keywords.
A good part of your content strategy involves making it SEO friendly. You need to find the right keywords you want to use for your content. A well used focus keyphrase is the difference between easily discoverable content, and those hidden behind. Do your research, get the right keywords, and assign them to spaces in your content calendar accordingly.
8. Create, distribute and market your content
Finally, start writing or creating your content. At this point, you’ll have to think about how to reflect your brand’s personality in the content you write. You may want to be super-professional, very casual, or something in between. And you’ll have to manage the balance between showing your expertise and not patronising your audience.
9. Measure your results
Measuring the results of your content marketing efforts is one of the most important aspects of developing an effective content strategy. Churning out content without analyzing your user feedback is akin to having a phone conversation on mute. You need to know what your audience liked as well as what they didn’t like, and why.
You’ll perfect your strategy with practice. Once you have your strategy right, keep producing with the above steps in mind, and keep at it. With time, your formula will be perfected and you’ll be on your way to be a thought leader in your field. Stay loyal to your initial content strategy, but if it’s not working out, do not hesitate to alter it. Let your content strategy be a guide, a rulebook but a dynamic one. With time, that too might evolve.