How To Create An Effective Content Marketing Strategy
One of the significant differences between a successful and unsuccessful campaign is a strong content strategy.
A sound content strategy governs and directs your content marketing. It helps to ensure your goals are on track, business objectives are met, and that you’re working to a plan for success rather than creating directionless content for content’s sake.
How does it differ from content marketing?
Content marketing is the creation and curation of relevant and useful content that attracts and engages a defined audience. You’re not hard selling your business; you’re communicating to your customers through consistent, quality content with the intent to action or influence their behaviour.
Define your objectives and discuss challenges.
The first step to forming a content strategy is to define your content marketing goals – why they’re important to your business? What marketing challenges are you facing? And how can your content help overcome them?
This will be a process of discovery and will require brainstorming and input from other team members – this may include people outside of your core content team, including management.
This is also a good chance to convey what content marketing actually is to those in your business who are less unsure of the practice. By defining your content marketing objectives, you’ll garner further support in your efforts when you do eventually form your content production schedule.
From this brainstorming session, form a content marketing mission statement or short summary of intent.
This summary should be accessible and understood by your entire content marketing team. You should also reassess as you meet certain goals and your objectives change.
Discovering who your customer is, what content resonates with them and a sharing strategy.
Build a profile of your target customer, highlighting their interests and pain points, and identify how your content can effectively address their needs.
You’ll be able to use this customer profile to guide the format and distribution of your content through different channels. This could be blog posts, video content shared through social channels such as Facebook, or on a visual medium such as Instagram.
Securing and allocating resources.
You’ll need to ascertain what resources you have at your disposal to execute your content plan.
Who in your business can you utilise to help facilitate this? Aside from key members of your content team, is there anyone else who can contribute to content creation? For example, graphic designers and video editors.
Remember, content extends beyond writing and includes video, photo and other forms of visual based content. Consider how you might utilise one medium to support the other, for example, how visuals might support a blog post or how you could create an infographic to share information across a visual platform such as Pinterest.
Form a content plan.
Now that you’ve established your content marketing objectives, you’ll need to form a content marketing plan.
Create an editorial calendar, detailing dates for the production and publication of your content. This calendar will work as a production schedule that should be easily accessible by your team to reference for the generation of future content.
Your calendar should be constructed in a way that provides a clear outline for the weeks, or months, ahead, and should include content ideas, a strategy for sourcing material, and a detailed list of assets required to fulfil planned content. It’s also worth including an archive with an inventory of past content as part of your content plan for the purpose of repurposing and recycling content.
Don’t focus on creating content until you’ve established a content strategy to guide you. You’ll fail to engage your audience and waste your time producing purposeless content that doesn’t help your objectives – a great content strategy is essential to successful content marketing efforts.
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