If you don’t already have a content marketing strategy, get on it! Turns out, it’s pretty darn useful. If you do have one, is it an actual, useful document or just some jumbled idea you keep in a back drawer?
The goal of a content marketing strategy is to stay on track; just like with everything else in life you set a goal, figure out a way to reach it and then measure the results. Whatever your content marketing needs, you can draw up a strategy just by thinking through these seven questions:
1. What Do You Bring to the Table?
In other words how are you different from the other ten companies offering the same goods or services as you? The stark reality is that your competition is more robust than ever, so how will you stand out?
But you already know this one–this is the same reason you yourself would choose your services over someone else’s. Find that one thing that makes you unique and make that your headliner. The shape and form of your content may change, but your message can remain the same; for example, “here is an ebook to help you plan your wedding and by the way, our customer service literally works 24/7 to make the planning stress free” etc.
2. Who is Doing What?
A clear break down of expectations and roles is key to a good content marketing strategy. Marketing can get a bit messy and work can certainly overlap and cross borders (in fact, it should!) but everyone on your team should know what is their responsibility and what belongs to the guy in the next cube.
That means that Lucy may dabble in SEO when she’s creating her blog posts, but Tom is the SEO expert that needs to okay what she’s written before it is out in the interweb. Assigning clear tasks will keep your consistency high, which in turn will mean a clean, concise story that your audiences will want to hear.
3. Who is Your Audience?
This one is so important it might actually have to go to the top of your list of questions. You won’t get far without knowing who your audience is…very intimately. This information will drive the kind of content that you create, the frequency with which you distribute it and the social media channels you will use to promote it. In short it is the foundation of your content marketing strategy!
4. What’s Your Content Type?
No, that’s not a Buzzfeed quiz, it’s a serious consideration for your marketing strategy. Lucky for you, you already know who your audience is, so figuring out what they want to see should be just a matter of doing some research and reading some blogs (maybe even this one!)
Don’t stop at deciding that you would like all the contents, spend some time considering where your clients will spend most of their time; for example if they are likely to need a lot of nurturing, you may offer more “front-end” content, such as How-To or List blogs. On the other hand if you offer a more niche product and you are likely to be a serious contender right from the beginning, more long-form content such as e-books, webinars or free-trial offers may be more useful.
5. What Do You Need?
While this question may seem pretty basic, having the tools you need in place before you begin executing any kind of strategy will save you a lot of time and a lot of frustration. Remember when you figured out who your audience was and that helped you decide all that other content stuff–now you get to figure out what will actually create that content.
In most cases you will need at least a few design tools, think Adobe Creative Suite, some kind of organizational tool, like Slack or Workhive, and a marketing automation tool, like Marketo, Pardot or HubSpot. These add up to a well-organized team that has the capacity to produce powerful content and distribute it well.
6. How Will You Amplify?
Okay, so you have your audience, you have your content plans and maybe you even have your content, but how do you make sure that it is seen and heard? Isn’t that the eternal dilemma? Incorporate this element into your brainstorming and you will be spending a lot less time being shocked by how low your page ranks in a Google search.
Some ideas to consider: do guest blogging or guest posting on well-ranked or well-known sites, try some A/B tests to make sure you are putting out the most bite-able titles and headlines, keep adjusting your content as you receive passive and active feedback. The possibilities are actually endless, so get creative!
7. How Will You Measure Your Progress?
Again, setting this up before you start producing will be a life-saver. Makes sense, right? Knowing what results you are looking for will help direct your efforts and steer your audience in the right direction.
For example, if you are writing blogs your success can probably be measured by the traffic your page receives as well as the number of subscribers you receive; if, on the other hand, you are looking to increase social media presence, you will be looking at the number of shares, likes and followers that you get.
There you have it! That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now you are ready to create some killer content, promote it and amplify its reach. Not bad for answering a few simple questions!
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