The start of any good marketing campaign always begins with a well-built strategy. Without this, your company will have no general guidelines for following through with tasks, and trying to figure out what you should do next will be a total shot in the dark. That’s why you need to strategize before implementation.
If your company has recently decided to pursue a content marketing campaign, you’ll need a good strategy. Luckily, we’ve put together this guide on how to create a content strategy for your business. With it, you’ll be able to figure out everything you need to put into your plan before executing it.
Determine Your Overall Goals
Just like any other marketing strategy, the first step is to figure out what you want to accomplish with this new development. Obviously, you’ll want to increase your sales potential, but a lot more specifics go into that. Some examples include:
- Increasing traffic to your website
- Gaining influence in your industry
- Finding higher quality leads
- Improving overall engagement
- Reducing your marketing costs
While you might not want to actively try for all these goals, they certainly are possible. However, when first starting, you should choose only a few to see how your company can handle them. Select your goals carefully, though, because they’ll shape the rest of your content strategy as you go.
Check What the Competition Is Doing
Once you have a good idea of what you want to accomplish, you should check out what your competition is doing in this area. Not only will this give you a good insight into what’s already working, but it can also help you better form strategies down the line that’ll improve upon what your competitors have already done.
While copying successful ideas from your competitors isn’t a bad plan right off the bat, you’ll want to make sure you differentiate your content marketing attempt a little bit. If you follow another company’s strategy too closely, someone might call you out for being a copycat. More importantly, though, even though your competitor’s target audience will be similar to yours, they’ll likely vary quite a bit. That means what works for them might not be ideal for you.
Learn More About Your Target Audience
That’s why the next step is to learn more about your specific target audience. By this point in your company’s history, you probably have a good idea of who you typically target, but how well do you actually know them? Determining which type of content your business pursues in this strategy largely hinges on your desired demographic.
That’s why you need to format a buyer persona to figure out who your fictional ideal customer is. Follow that up with a buyer’s journey analysis to determine where you lose most of your potential buyers. Once you know this information, picking the right content will become much easier.
Lay Out Your Available Resources
However, it’s not time to pick a content type just yet. First, you need to determine which kinds of resources you currently have. Depending on the kind of content you think might be best for your target audience, you’ll need a couple of things before getting started. Computer programs for creating content and distributing it are obviously important, but the more crucial element you’ll require is people. Here are some roles you may need:
- Content writers
- Professional editors
- Image and video producers
- SEO strategists
- Web developers
- Content marketing managers
These are just the more common roles you’ll need employees for. Depending on the content format you want to use, you might need to have some more niche roles. If you already have most of the people you need, it’ll be easy to fill in the gaps with some new hires or freelancers. However, if you don’t have any of these people, you might be better off hiring a company that can produce this content for you.
Pick Your Content Channels
With all that out of the way, it’s finally time to pick your desired content channels. Blogs, social media posts, and videos are popular avenues companies start with. While often forgotten, email is still a strong choice for your content strategy as well. If you have lots of information you’d like to share, you can also look toward webinars and eBooks.
Regardless of which ones you choose based on what your target audience wants and what you can provide, one crucial thing to be aware of is that some content works better in certain areas of the marketing funnel than others. Knowing which content you should choose for each stage of the funnel is crucial for determining which type your company picks.
Create a Starting List of Keywords
Once you know how you want to target your customers, it’s time to develop the tools needed to do so. These tools come in the form of keywords, which are the phrases your target demographic is searching for. While you might think you know the keywords, it’s better to use a keyword research program that can analyze trends to give you a better idea of what people are actually typing in their searches.
While hitting the bigger keywords that everyone uses might seem tempting, you’ll run into some stiff competition. It’s better to start small, find some success with the terms that not everyone is searching for, and work your way up as you improve.
Audit Any Preexisting Content
Even though you’ve only just begun your process of learning how to create a content strategy for your business, there’s a good chance that you’ve created some content in the past. Whether it’s some informative pages on your website or a poorly updated social media page, you need to take the time to audit these preexisting channels.
While this may seem tedious, plenty of online programs exist that compile all this data for you. Once you know which pages perform well and which ones could use some help, you can use your new keywords to boost the searchability of struggling pages you’d like to see some improvement from.
Set Up a Content Calendar
Now that your strategy is all but complete, it’s time to plan for the future. Creating a content calendar is the best way to do that. Even though most companies usually start out their new content campaign by creating a consistent amount of content, it usually doesn’t last. People start to fall behind, and after enough time, some companies might call it quits altogether.
Creating a calendar helps keep everyone accountable. Even if a task falls behind schedule, you’ll be able to go to the calendar and figure out when the best time to release it will be. Just be sure that you spread all your content out fairly well. Grouping it up can lead to droughts in your data, which could hurt your SEO rankings.
Figure Out a Way To Track Results
Finally, the last thing to plan for your strategy is a way to track your results. Putting content out into the world with no way of seeing how well it’s performing is essentially useless. Your content might look good on paper but pull in no real results for your company.
Carefully tracking your KPIs is the best way to know how much impact your content is having on your site. Even though looking at the data yourself is the best way to determine how effective your content is, some online programs can help you make more sense of the numbers.
Once you know what’s working and, more importantly, what isn’t, it’ll become easier for you to make adjustments during your future efforts. While the goals you’ve set for yourself at the beginning of this strategy are there to guide your efforts, you’ll make most of your decisions based on your content’s actual results. Changing your tactics accordingly is the only way you’ll be able to reach your goals.