A Content Marketing Strategy That Works
As a company, as you focus on your marketing efforts, you have surely realized that in today’s world, a content marketing strategy is essential to any company that wishes to have a robust online presence. You will gain exposure, highlight your strengths, and be able to track and reach for your goals as a business. However, creating a content marketing strategy that is extremely effective is not as easy as it may seem. You must pay close attention to detail in order to ensure that the content you are producing is in alignment with your company’s sales strategy and consumer interests. Your strategy must be sustainable and repeatable for the long term. Finally, the content must be high quality, proprietary, and appealing. In this article, I will walk you through the steps of creating a content marketing plan that can help you achieve your goals as a company.
Define Content Marketing Goals
Before your start creating all sorts of articles, videos, and other content to post on your website or social media, it is extremely useful to begin with figuring out exactly what you are trying to achieve by starting a content marketing campaign. To do this it is useful to talk to others in your company and brainstorm what your company needs and wants to do to achieve organizational goals. There are two separate categories of goals for content marketing, they are qualitative and quantitative goals. Qualitative goals are more difficult to measure but equally important. Qualitative goals can include things such as “I want our company to be thought of as a leader in this industry,” or “We want to develop a brand that is light-hearted and fun.”
Quantitative goals, on the other hand, are specific and measurable metrics that are often much easier to track. Some examples of quantitative goals could include setting a target for the number of downloads that a white paper gets by a certain date, or a set amount of revenue that you wish to bring in by a certain date. Figure out what is most important for your company at this time. If your company is just starting out, it may be more important to gain exposure, in which case the number of social shares that an average post receives is a very important metric. Conversely, if you are trying to increase profit margins, the number of leads generated and converted per article will be more important.
Create Content Arcs
Now that you have your goals defined, the next step is to determine the themes of the content that you will be creating. Content Arcs are content plans that could be monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. that focus on a specific theme for each period. For each content arc theme, you may want to produce one ebook, a few infographics, blog posts, etc. all related to the specific topic of the content arc. The time periods and exact amount and types of content created will differ depending on the company, but the point is to focus on one theme, in addition to any ongoing initiatives, in order to maximize the effort and time that you have available. To maximize your efforts even more, you may want to focus on lean content creation, where one big informational asset is created and many others are created from this large asset.
For individual content pieces, keyword research and planning is crucial for your content increase the chances that it will be found on search engines. It is also critical to make sure that you are producing content that people will be interested in.
Plan Editorial Calendar
Once you have your themes, you can plan the exact release dates and content types that you wish to create. You can plan for the next content arc and determine how many posts, videos, etc. that you will put out in this time period. When determining what you are going to release for your next cycle, it is important to try to diversify your efforts if at all possible by time and money constraints. For example, you may want to create large pieces such as ebooks, and also mix in smaller items such as blog posts. Even the tone and purpose of your content can be diversified, so some of your content can be focused on thought leadership, while other content can be fun and easygoing.
Make sure that your content is also diversified based on where your buyers are in the sales cycle. Ensure that you have content that is targeted to those people who are just learning about your product, as well as to people who are almost ready to buy.
When and where you post your content is also important, but this will depend largely on your individual company and the data you have collected about your consumers and when they respond best to your content.
Have a Repeatable Process
To have a process that is easily repeatable will be important in maximizing the efficiency of your content creation. You will have to think less about your process, leaving more effort to think about your actual content. You can create a process for content creation that works for you, but a common process for a blog post would be to
- Choose and Research the Topic
- Create an Outline with sections and sub-sections
- Create the First Draft
- Edit for Errors
- Add Images, Links, etc.
- Post Online
Focus on Design
The design of your content is incredibly important to the success of your content campaign. The design of your content will affect both the aesthetic as well as the readability and usefulness.
To start, your design should be consistent across your brand. This means that logos, icons, typography, and colors should all be the same or at least compatible across all your content. Your brand has an identity, and by not having consistency across your content, you are affecting your brand identity.
Another important factor for design is the images and graphics you use. Your images should be as related to the content as possible and also fit in with the identity of the brand. Your graphics should be consistent and clean as well, while not being distracting.
The digestibility of your content is extremely important and if your content is not clear, broken into sections, and easily comprehendible, your goals will suffer. The goal of each page should be clear.
So you’ve set up your campaign, planned when you will released your content, and created your content for release. The final piece of a successful content marketing campaign is to track the success the goals that you have previously defined.
There are many different ways to track your goals using various tools. Google Analytics can give you great insights into which pages are getting the most views, clicks, etc. as well as letting you know where your traffic is coming from. You can use Facebook or Twitter insights to see your impact on social media, or you can use a Marketing Automation Platform to help calculate metrics such as return on investment.
No matter what tool you use to track your goals, it is important to continually track them and make efforts to improve your metrics over time. The data you gather from your content marketing strategy is vital information that can show you what is working and what might need improvement.
Overall, the planning of your content strategy will provide dividends down the line for your marketing efforts. Remaining organized and focused, while providing high quality content over a long period of time is the key to growing your business online and increasing your traffic and conversions. For more information about Content Strategy, take a look at some other posts from our blog, and if you’re looking for help creating your own plan, check out our Services page.