If you’re anything like me, then you understand the importance of a good content marketing strategy. After all, without one your business is likely to suffer. That’s why I’m sharing my top 7 tips for creating a content marketing strategy that actually converts. Trust me, these tips will take your business to the next level!
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
A content marketing strategy is a plan for creating and distributing content that will attract and engage your target audience.
The goal of a content marketing strategy is to drive profitable customer action by creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content.
A content marketing plan is a detailed strategy that outlines who will create the content, what type of content will be created, when the content will be published, where the content will be distributed, why you are even doing content marketing, and how you will promote and analyze the marketing results.
You have a ton of product images, blogs, and instructional videos that are just sitting around.
How are you going to promote all that great content you’ve created? Do you have goals for how much traffic you want to generate?
Or maybe you want more leads to grow your business? How about increasing brand awareness and improving your social media strategy?
If you don’t know how to answer questions like these, then you need a solid content strategy.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A recent study showed that only 40% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.
Even if you’re in the 40% of salespeople who don’t use sales enablement tools, it’s still a good idea to establish or revise your existing marketing or content strategy.
This article will cover what marketing content is and how to create your marketing strategy.
Why You Need a Content Marketing Strategy
Without a proper plan in place, your content marketing efforts will be all over the place.
If you don’t have a content marketing strategy, you’ll likely run into the following problems:
- You’ll run out of things to post.
- You won’t know which type of content works best on which channel.
- Your audience won’t be engaged because you won’t know what topics they enjoy.
- You’ll miss opportunities to post because you won’t have a plan or calendar.
A content strategy helps you create, publish, and promote your content. It also gives you a way to measure your success.
Your sales team can nurture their leads into customers using a variety of materials, including brochures, white papers, and datasheets. Meanwhile, your marketing department can reach out to new audiences with email newsletters and blog posts.
No matter the size of your business, you will at one point or another need to use content to get the word out about your product. And if you do, having a plan in place will help keep everyone involved.
Rather than creating posts on the fly, you can schedule them in advance, giving you more time to focus on engaging with your audience.
Set Goals and KPIs
Before you create a content strategy, you need to establish your goals.
A recent survey of B2B marketers found that content marketing was successful in achieving various goals. For creating brand awareness, 80% said it was successful, while 75% said the same for building credibility and trust. When it came to educating audiences, 70% of respondents found content marketing effective.
Some popular goals for social media marketing are listed above. For each of your goals, you should have a measurable key performance indicator (KPI) so you know how well you’re doing.
You can track important metrics on social media, such as consumer loyalty and conversion rates.
Find Your Target Audiences
Next, you need to decide who your targets are going to be. This often corresponds with your buyers or your social media followers.
If you have more than one audience, then you’ll need to match up your content topics to each of them.
You can check out how to define and reach your target audience on social media, or look into social media demographics to get a better idea of who you should be targeting. Additionally, using buyer personas can help boost brand engagement. Finally, if you’re specifically looking for ways to connect with your target audience, you can do that on Instagram too.
Assess Your Content
If you’re not sure where to start with your content, an audit can help. It’s a great way to assess what you have and figure out what needs to be improved.
Once you have your list, you can begin to assess each piece. To get started, you’ll want to document all of the content you currently have. If there’s a lot, try setting a limit, like 3 months or a year. Once you have your list, you can start assessing each piece.
You need a data set that gives you a good idea of what’s being published.
A blog content strategy will help you determine what type of content is most effective for your audience. A thorough review of your blog may also reveal any duplicates or outdated posts.
Sprout Social’s social media audit template is a great way to get an overview of the content you’ve published on your social media platforms. If you want to get a competitive edge, try adding in a couple of competitors to see how your content stacks up.
When auditing your current content, take a look at the topics you are posting about, the types of content you are posting, and where you are sharing the content. Additionally, check how your posts are performing in terms of engagement and reach.
After you’ve documented your process, you’ll be able to see which channels and types of content are performing well.
Identify Best Content Channels
The places you currently have an engaged and active audience are where you want to start your content marketing. During the auditing process, you should have found which of your current distribution methods work best for the type of content that you create.
For even more information, check your Google Analytics to see which of your blog posts or pages are getting the most traffic. Are visitors finding your content via your email newsletter or social media posts?
Where do your customers come from? Understanding where customers are coming from will help you focus on those channels and efforts.
Fifty-one percent (51%) of social media users will unfollow a brand because of uninteresting or inappropriate posts.
Decide on Content Format
Not all content marketing formats are alike. There are a variety of different formats to consider, each with its own pros and cons.
Content comes in many forms, including images, videos, blogs, and user-generated content.
Your content strategy will change based on which stage of the sales funnel you’re at and who your target audience is.
Determine Your Budget, Tools, and Resources
Before you can put together a plan, you need to know what resources you have at your disposal. That includes your marketing budget, the tools you have, and any staff or freelance help you might have.
Creating great content from a remote location can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. In this stage, figure out which of your existing tools you can use and which will require approval from your manager.
You’ll need a content creator to produce the content, a content management system to store and publish it, and a content manager to oversee topics and production. Data collection tools like content analyzers and reports will help you measure your progress.
Optimize Your Content Calendar
A content calendar is integral to your success. You need a place to plan your content strategy.
Your social media management tool should allow you to schedule posts in advance, as well as keep track of the topics you post about and when.
An enhanced content calendar can help you keep track of the progress and performance of each piece of content. By tracking the status, distribution, and who is working on it, you can ensure that your content is performing well and reaching its intended audience.
Now it’s time to create the content itself. You should have a good idea at this point of what types of content and which platforms you will be utilizing. This includes coming up with ideas, developing them, and curating them.
Publish and Promote
After you’ve set your calendar and created the content that you’ll be using, it’s time to publish it to the different social media channels you decided on.
If you have multiple marketing platforms, it’s helpful to have one central hub where you can view your scheduled posts.
If your content is resonating with your audience and isn’t tied to a specific holiday or time, consider repurposing it for other channels or types of content. There’s no need to be afraid of sharing the same piece of content multiple times as long as it continues to perform well.
The final step in your content strategy is analyzing. If you don’t collect data, you won’t be able to tell if your efforts are paying off.
To properly measure the success of your content marketing strategy, you’ll need to use Google Analytics or similar tools to track your website’s performance. For social media platforms, take advantage of Sprout’s native analytics tools to get detailed insights into each post’s engagement.
The Post Performance Report is a great way to see how each piece of content you publish is performing. You can see how many likes, impressions, and engagements each post gets.
The Instagram Business Profile Report will give you insights into each network’s performance. You’ll be able to see which posts performed the best and get an overview of your content strategy.
11 Tips to Create a Smart Content Marketing Strategy for Small Businesses
The more high-quality, relevant content you produce, the more likely you are to succeed.
Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3 times as many leads.
1. Define Your Mission
The mission statement defines the purpose of each piece of content, and not all pieces of content marketing have the same goals.
The goal of any business is to generate qualified leads, build brand awareness, increase retention, turn leads into devoted customers, and build thought leadership. However, these goals can often overlap.
For example, if you want to turn a lead into a customer, you first need to engage with them. If you want to increase customer retention, you need to ensure they’re engaged with your brand. By keeping these goals separate, you can more easily measure your success and determine which areas need improvement.
If you’re a restaurant, your “why” could be to share your delicious, original recipes and kitchen secrets.
2. Know Your Target Audience
Know what your audience wants to hear so you can tailor your message accordingly.
Defining your mission’s content is important, as is targeting that content to the right audience.
If you want to create content that will attract your ideal customer, you’ll need to know who that is and what they’re interested in. The best way to find out is to research your topic using tools like Semrush and Quora. You can also hire a professional service like Crowd Content to help you scale your content needs.
3. Create Objectives
For each of your goals, create an objective so you know when you’ve achieved it.
If an objective is to increase brand awareness, then share your brand’s story on your website and across social media. If you have any awards or press mentions, be sure to share those as well. Collaborate with other businesses or influencers in your industry to help get the word out there.
If one of your objectives is to increase traffic to your website, then make sure your site is optimized for search engines and that you’re using the right keywords. Promote your content on social media and other channels. You can also run ads or use retargeting to reach new audiences.
4. Set Realistic and Measurable Goals
How will you track and measure your results and performance?
Make sure you have the proper tools installed so you can measure your content marketing effectively.
Some things you may want to measure are:
- Revenue: How many sales, subscriptions, or paid downloads has your site acquired month-over-month?
- Leads: Form submissions, newsletter subscriptions, conversion rate, opt-ins.
- Brand awareness: Site visitors, video views, engagement within your social media accounts.
- Loyalty: Returning customers, bounce rate, subscriptions minus unsubscribes to anything subscription-based.
- Engagement: Social media growth over time, reactions, comments, shares, views, and retweets.
5. Resource Allocation
First, start with your budget and your goals, and your objectives with your content marketing.
If you need additional resources, sites like Upwork and FreeUp could help with any needs regarding the content or virtual assistants.
6. Set Up Your Content Calendar
A content calendar is a tool that keeps you on track and on time.
You don’t have to use any particular project management tool if that’s inaccessible.
You can use a simple spreadsheet to track your content marketing progress. Include columns for the topic, date, platform, focused keywords, and inspiration. Doing this preliminary research will help you focus your content so it is more effective.
7. Optimize Content
Keyword research is key to success in any SEO campaign. You need to find keywords with high volume and low competition to rank well in search engines.
When you’re doing research for your content, it’s important to take note of what people are actually searching for. This way, not only will your content be easier to find, but it will also appeal more to your target audience. Google’s autocompleting function is a great tool for finding out what people are looking for online.
Your content must be visually appealing to capture your audience’s attention. Make sure your CTAs are placed in strategic areas so that viewers will know what actions to take.
8. Repurpose Content
Look at your data (Google Analytics, YouTube videos, and blog posts) that received a lot of traffic and repurpose that content for social media, new blogs, and videos.
This tactic can save you a lot of time and effort as the initial groundwork has been completed.
9. Keep Your Evergreen Content and Pages Updated
Make a note to review your old content in each quarter. Many industries change rules and regulations, so it’s important to keep your information up to date.
Your content needs to be updated regularly so that you don’t appear outdated or uninformed about what is happening in your industry.
10. Ongoing Content Promotion
Evergreen or popular content should be promoted often to ensure maximum reach. Try repurposing this content to make it more engaging, or simply spread it out over time so that more people have a chance to see it.
You’ve put a lot of time and effort into your content, so make sure you get the most out of it.
Once you know what you’re tracking, it’s easy to see what worked and what didn’t. Look for ways to replicate your successes.
It could be that short-form content is more successful, or maybe it’s the topics you cover. By regularly analyzing your data, you can identify new opportunities to help you achieve your goals.
If you want your content marketing strategy to be successful, then make sure to follow these tips. By understanding your audience and creating killer content, you’ll be well on your way to conversions galore!