I don’t know about you, but when we stumble upon a good idea that sounds like a good fit for a project I’m working on, I like to do our research in order to find everything I can on how I can implement it.
You can’t put something into practice without knowing a little bit of theory first
Crafting a content marketing strategy fits right into this category.
If you’re just like me and you like to do your homework before you start working on a new task, then this article is right for you.
Over the past two years, we’ve developed dozens of content marketing strategies for the clients we’ve worked with, and we successfully continue to do so to this day. We’ve also noticed the fact that most people don’t really know where to start when it comes to content marketing.
This is why we decided to write this article that will point out the most important things you need to keep in mind when you craft your own content marketing strategy. We will also make some notes on a few things we’ve learned along the way.
The most common misconception about what a content marketing strategy is
When you work in the digital industry, you will often hear and read a lot of different opinions about content marketing.
One of the most common and most deceiving myths states that having a blog or an editorial calendar which you promote is all that it takes to have a content marketing strategy. If it were that simple, we believe that every company in this world would use content marketing to grow their business, right?
In fact, content marketing should be integrated in all your other marketing strategies. They need to complement each other, so that you’ll be able to reach your goals. We know, this sounds really poetic, but it’s how it works and how you’re going to succeed.
What a content marketing strategy really means for your business
A carefully crafted content marketing strategy is going to help you guide your future customers through the buying stages. But it’s not only that. It will provide your audience with value, quality information and actionable tips that they can use for their own business.
If we look at some statistics, we will see how content marketing has evolved over time. In 2008, 16% of Fortune 500 companies had an active corporate blog. In 2014, this number increased to 30%.
Companies discovered that, through blogging, they are able to attract more leads than ever before.
How to create a content marketing strategy
It’s time to get to the actionable tips. So grab your coffee or tea, or whatever beverage you enjoy, and keep on reading.
1. Start with your company’s buyer personas
Define the profile of the buyer persona. This is going to help you get to know your audience much better. By knowing the particularities of each profile, you will be able to tell what type of content suits each and every one and what information they need.
But the profile isn’t enough. For every buying stage, the buyer personas are going to need different types of information. For example, a person who is in the first stage of the process will not need the same content as a person who is very close to making a purchase.
2. Set objectives for your content marketing activities
Do you want to increase your website’s traffic? Do you need to attract more qualified leads? Do you lack engagement and want to improve this aspect?
You can think outside the box and try to figure out how you can use content marketing in order to improve the overall progress and growth of your business.
3. Establish how you’re going to measure the success of your content marketing strategy
As with any marketing strategy, you need to have a KPI for content marketing as well. Think about how you can measure the success of your content marketing efforts.
This will of course vary depending on the type of content you will create for each buyer persona.
For example, for an eBook, a measure of success could be the number of downloads, while for a landing page, the success will be the actual conversion rate.
4. Do research to see how other companies from your industry are using content marketing
There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of stalking, especially if you’re going to find some valuable information.
If you find a company with a similar profile as yours, you won’t harm anyone if you get inspired. But pay attention: We said get inspired, not copy every little thing they do.
If you do that, it most definitely won’t work for you as well because businesses are extremely different. You have to adapt what already works for others, so that it works for you too.
5. Determine what type of content you’re going to create
There are various types of content that you can use. Instead of focusing on all of them (which is a bad idea), make a list with the types of content that will best fit your business. Make sure they will also help you achieve the objectives you set in the first place.
We’ll talk in a separate article about the different types of content that you can use.
6. Set a budget
Your budget is going to determine how far you’ll be able to go with content creation. You need to figure out how much of your marketing budget is going to be invested in content marketing. And even if you don’t have a big budget to begin with, it’s important to find creative ways to use the amount of money you have to make the most of it.
We will also further discuss this topic in a separate blog post.
7. Make a plan
After you’ve figured all of those things mentioned above, it’s time to sketch a plan regarding how and when you’re going to create the content. Maybe you’re going to need some resources, materials, props and other things like that.
“Making plans is nothing, but planning is everything” is one of our favorite quotes, which can definitely be applied in this case.
You can’t go to war without a strategic thinking
Content marketing is something that most people don’t know how to approach. Even if they do, they often confuse it with a content strategy, which is definitely not the same. We’re hoping that this article managed to clear your mind at least just a little bit in regards to what a content marketing strategy is and how to create one. If you have any questions, just leave them in the comment section below.
Content marketing has been successfully used so far by some of the biggest companies in the world (Coca-Cola, L’Oreal, Cisco, Toshiba and IBM).
Hopefully you’ll enjoy these stories as much as we did.