How to Develop A Content Marketing Strategy in 2020
Content marketing forms an important part of any digital marketing strategy. Studies have shown that roughly 70% of people would rather get information about a company from articles or blog posts than through traditional marketing methods.
Content marketing involves creating and sharing content like videos, articles, and social media posts online. This content does not promote brands directly but is focussed on creating interest in the products or services of a business.
A content strategy forms the backbone of these efforts. It is an action plan that maps out what needs to be done and guides decision-making towards achieving marketing goals.
WHY IS A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY SO IMPORTANT?
The importance of content marketing’s potential to increase your business revenue cannot be overstated. When you consider that a staggering 95% of B2B service and product buyers consider the type and quality of content when evaluating a company for its business, you simply can’t afford NOT to take advantage of content marketing.
– A content marketing strategy is vital to reap the rewards of content marketing:
– A strategy makes sure your content attracts the right customers.
– It ensures that content is produced that these customers find useful.
– It helps to produce content that has a purpose.
– Helps to retain existing customers and lead new ones down the sales funnel.
– Helps you to achieve your digital marketing goals.
QUESTIONS TO ANSWER WHEN DEVELOPING A CONTENT STRATEGY
Before you develop a content strategy, there are a few important questions you need to answer:
1. Who will be reading your content?
2. What problem will you be solving for them?
3. What makes your business/product unique?
4. What content formats are you going to focus on?
5. Where will you publish your content?
6. How will you manage the creation and distribution of your content?
HOW TO WRITE A CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
Here are 10 steps to developing an effective content marketing strategy:
1. SET GOALS & ESTABLISH KPIs
As with any business strategy, setting goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) is important to the success of the strategy. What is the purpose of the content? What would you like to achieve? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or boost conversions, search rankings? What is important for your business to achieve?
Keep these goals clear and achievable and in-line with the overall goals, mission, and vision of your business. Setting goals and KPIs early on makes it easier to keep your focus on what’s important (and what’s not) and to stay on track towards achieving these objectives.
2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
One of the most crucial elements of a content marketing strategy is to know exactly who you want your audience to be so you can know what kind of content to create that will appeal to them. Analytics can tell you about your a lot about your audience’s behavior, things like what sites they visit, what articles they read, and what videos they watch, what social media groups they follow.
If you already have a following on social media, speak to your audience, read comments, listen to feedback. These are invaluable in determining what kind of content to create.
3. FIND A NICHE
Content is huge, nearly 4.5 million blog posts were published every day in March 2019, and that’s only blog posts! Search for almost any topic and you’ll find numerous articles on almost exactly the same thing. It’s easy to see how your content can get lost in the crowd, which is why you need to create content that stands out.
Before you figure out what content to create, first find out what your competitors are doing, then do something different. Create content that is more useful, free (people generally don’t like paywalls, at all), builds long-term trust, motivates and inspires, educates, and entertains.
Your content doesn’t have to do all of those, but a combination works great.
4. CHOOSE CONTENT TYPES
There are many different types of content, including blog posts, ebooks, case studies, infographics, how-to guides, podcasts, and videos. The type of content you produce depends on what you would like to achieve and who your audience is — how-to videos are extremely popular, especially with food, cosmetics, and DIY, while case studies are popular among business professionals.
Ideally, you should have one main type of content, with others to support it. Videos can be supported by linked blog posts related to the topic covered. The important thing to remember is that content should be valuable and shareable, and encourage people to take action.
5. DECIDE ON BEST CONTENT CHANNELS
The type of content you produce will determine the platform(s) you will use. For instance, blog posts work platforms like Facebook and Twitter (via links, while case studies work well on LinkedIn. Images favor places like Instagram and Tumblr, and video is great on almost any platform, from Facebook to Instagram, Twitter to TikTok, and of course, YouTube and Vimeo.
Each of these platforms caters to specific markets, though. TikTok has a decidedly younger audience, while LinkedIn predominantly caters to professionals. Use analytics to help you determine which platform is most suitable for the type of content you want to produce.
As you work through this process, you’ll start to get a sense of where your audience is hanging out, and where you already have a successful online presence. It’s best to focus on what’s working and expand from there, rather than try to do everything at once.
But to be absolutely sure, you’ll need to take another look web analytics. When you’re in Google Analytics, go to Acquisition » Social » Overview to see the main social networks where your content is being shared. For example, in our screenshot, most of the social activity takes place on YouTube.
6. IDENTIFY & ALLOCATE RESOURCES
Now you know who your content is for, what type of content you want to produce for them, and what platforms you want to share it on. But before you get going with producing the content, you need to determine the resources you need to produce and deliver this content.
The number one consideration is who will produce the content.
It’s easy to think you can just produce content yourself, but if you want high-quality content, you need professionals. There is a big difference in quality between an article produced by a professional writer and the video produced by a professional videographer. These people are experts at their craft and know-how to produce content that appeals to certain audiences. Employing good content producers isn’t cheap, but it’s definitely worth the expense.
7. CREATE A CONTENT PLAN
Content calendars, also known as content plans, are essential to the effective execution of a content marketing strategy, especially if you’re publishing over multiple platforms. It helps you to plan when you are going to post content, and where, and makes sure your strategy stays on track.
The best strategy is to publish a constant stream of content to keep your audience engaged and your business top-of-mind. A content calendar will make it easier to achieve this by scheduling posts and setting deadlines for content creation.
8. CREATE GREAT CONTENT
Everything is in place, now you need to create the content. But before you start, think about what you want to achieve with each piece of content, then plan it accordingly.
Do research, by looking at things like what SEO keywords must be included in the article to boost rankings, how long must the article or video be so that people will read or watch it until the end.
Sometimes you don’t actually need to produce new content, you can update, repurpose or reuse content, curate content if you already have plenty, break content into smaller pieces (like long articles or videos — podcasters do this very effectively), or use user-generated content.
9. PUBLISH, MANAGE & MARKET
Once you have created the content, you need to decide how you are going to publish it, how you’re going to manage it, and how you are going to go about marketing the content.
A great way to publish and manage content is through content management platforms like Hootsuite, Later and Loomly These platforms make it easy to schedule and track posts and work hand-in-hand with your content calendar.
Marketing your content can include anything from linking from digital marketing activities like paid advertising, linking from other content pieces, or if you an existing following on channels like YouTube, encourage your audience to activate alerts so they get notified every time you publish new content.
10. MEASURE RESULTS
The final, and arguably most important, step in a content management strategy is to measure the results and determine its performance against your KPIs and whether you’re on track to achieve your goals. You can use metrics like engagement, user behavior, SEO results, and, sales metrics.
Use these numbers to make changes to things like the content you produce, where you publish it, and how frequently you publish.
This will allow you to keep your campaign on course towards reaching your content marketing goals.
Creating and executing an effective content strategy isn’t particularly difficult, but it does take time. It’s an ongoing process that involves a lot of trial and error. But once you find what works, the process becomes more efficient.
However, as with everything online, things are always changing and what works today might not work tomorrow. By keeping an eye on the digital environment and constantly optimizing your strategy, you stand to exceed expectations.