A lot of folks confuse the term content strategy with content marketing strategy.
And most people will say, “There is no difference at all!” but an expert content marketer will say the opposite.
Well, the idea behind these terms can be confusing, I agree.
If I may say, there’s one obvious word that links both terms - content.
Content is what businesses use to sell stuff, educate, add value, and nurture prospects.
As to why and how content works, I will break it all down for you today.
What is Content Marketing Strategy?
According to Google, interest in content marketing started rising around 2011.
As you can see, interest in content marketing has consistently continued to climb.
Think of a content marketing strategy like this...
A #ContentMarketingStrategy is a mixture of under the radar sales techniques and organic marketing.
A content marketing strategy is used to soft sell potential customers by educating and teaching them about your products and services. Some of the content you might use are blogs, white papers, mobile marketing, PR, social media marketing, inbound marketing, email marketing, SEO, and much more.
Content marketing is a way for you to sell customers on your business without making them feel like they are being sold. You use content to engage and deepen the relationship you have with prospects and current clients.
An excellent content marketing strategy answers the following specific questions:
- What types of content does my audience need or want?
- How should I organize and structure my content?
- Who should post and maintain my content?
- How often should I publish content?
- How does my audience interact with my content?
Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing Strategy
To understand the difference between these terms, I want to define what a content strategy is.
A content strategy is like the blueprint of a house. It is a master plan for how you are going to use content in every aspect of your business. It involves the planning, development, and management of every piece of content, not just your content marketing pieces.
A content marketing strategy is simply a piece of or a subset of your overall content strategy as it concentrates only on creating, measuring, and publishing pieces of content marketing that target specific audiences.
See the difference?
So, how do you create a content marketing strategy? Let's see...
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Now that we know what a content marketing strategy is, here are the steps to create one...
Define Your Mission and Goals
It is imperative to know what goals you want to achieve with your content marketing.
Without goals, you are shooting with a blindfold on.
Here are some goals you may want to focus on:
- Boost brand awareness.
- Increase web traffic.
- Generate more sales leads.
- Convert more leads into paying customers.
- Retain customers and drive upsells or cross-sells.
When you figure out your content marketing goals, it's time to proceed to step 2.
Establish KPIs for Tracking
Marketing key performance indicators or KPIs are essential in creating a content marketing strategy because they will tell you if your strategy is working or not.
Here are a few content marketing KPIs worth tracking:
- Consumption (Page views, Average time on page, and Unique visitors)
- Retention (Return rate, Bounce rate, and Pages per visit)
- Sales (Pipeline generated, Pipeline touched, and Revenue influenced)
- Engagement (Comments, Session duration, and Page depth)
- Lead metrics (New leads generated and Touched existing leads)
- Sharing (Social media shares, Social media likes, and Email forwards)
- Production/cost (Time to publish, Content throughput, and Content backlog)
Take note that you don't need all these KPIs, simply identify the ones that matter to you most.
Know and Identify Your Target Market
Now that we have identified your goals and established the KPIs, it's time to know and identify your target market.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Who is my ideal client?
- What problems do they have that our company can solve?
- How do they consume information?
- Where are they online?
- What type of information are they looking for as it relates to our products/services?
Start by creating a buyer persona to describe the type of client you want to target using content.
When you know who your ideal clients are and the information they need as it relates to your products/services, it becomes much easier to outline the type of content you need to create and the topics you should focus on.
Audit Your Current Content
A content audit helps you evaluate your current content and improve your future content marketing strategy.
It helps you answer the following:
- Which of our current content is performing best?
- What topics encourage our audience to engage?
- Which content stayed relevant for a long time?
Conduct a content audit regularly to identify your most significant pain points and where your successes lie.
Identify Content Channels
Just because you have access to almost every content platform doesn't mean you should publish on all of them.
Identifying your content publication channels could make or break your strategy. Not choosing the right channels could translate to a loss of time, effort, and money.
Here are a few great channels where you can publish your content:
Decide on Content Types
Just like choosing a content channel, you must carefully select the type of content you want to create.
There are many types of content that you can create. Here are a few of them:
In picking the type of content, you need to choose the ones that will help you achieve your content marketing goals in the best possible way.
Don't forget your ideal clients either, what type of content do they gravitate towards and enjoy consuming?
So have decided on the type of content you want to create?
If your answer is YES, then welcome to step 7.
This step is where you'll make sure you have all the resources you need to execute your content marketing strategy.
Answer the following questions:
- Who will produce and maintain content for my business?
- What tools and resources do I need to create the content? Is it in-house content creators, or will I need to outsource content creation?
- What will my content publishing workflow look like?
Create a Content Calendar
This one is related to the one above.
Gone are the days when planning a content schedule involves a physical pen and paper. Today, what many content marketers use is a content calendar.
A content calendar is a shareable resource that organizations can use to plan and monitor all content activity.
The benefits of creating a content calendar are:
- it helps increase inter-and cross-department alignment
- it gives you a 360-degree view of your content
- it enables you to identify content milestones
- it helps you spot content gaps
- it allows you to match content with the content creation workflow
Now that you have completed the first eight steps, it's time for the heavy lifting part of any content marketing strategy.
Your first task in this step is to research. There are many content research tips you can use to improve your strategy.
Next is to create your content. You can choose to be professional or casual at this point. My tip is to write content that will reflect your brand’s personality.
Once you create your content, it's time to move on to the next step...
Promote and Market Your Content
Promotion and marketing is the key to getting the best results out of your content. Remember, step 1? Content promotion allows you to reach your goals.
Here a few ways to promote and market your content:
- Share your content on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Distribute your content to the people in your email list.
- Work with relevant influencers to boost word of mouth about your content.
- Use content promotion tools to boost traffic.
Now that you have successfully promoted your content, it is time to measure results.
Track and Measure Results
At the end of the day, it's all about return on investment or ROI.
Measuring the effectiveness of your content is the only way to know if you need to tweak, change, or delete something in your strategy.
Your content KPIs will play a huge role in measuring success, so go back to them when you reach this step.
Also, I recommend you take advantage of content marketing tools to measure and track your content.
And that's it, folks! That's how to create a killer content marketing strategy.
Creating your strategy will take time, but when you're done, you will have a framework that will lead you to success.
For additional content marketing resources, check out the articles below, or TALK TO US!
Recommended Content Marketing Resources
How to Explain Content Marketing to Anyone
How Content Marketing Builds Your Business
25 Clever Content Marketing Examples With Amazing Results
So, what do you think about this article? Are you ready to create a solid content marketing strategy? Did I miss any tips?
Leave a comment, and we'll respond as quickly as possible!
Also, feel free to SHARE this article if you got some value from it.
Creating a solid marketing strategy is a must for effective marketing? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Marketing Strategy to learn more.
Header courtesy of Stockunlimited.