How to Develop a Solid Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing is for sure not a new type of marketing. However, especially in such times, businesses must have a strong online presence. If you paid less attention to it in the past, it is now the right time to benefit from content marketing and reduce losses caused by the pandemic. This type of marketing is the art of “selling without selling”. It generates an impact on your business, attracts audiences, and eventually increases sales. Learn how to create a content marketing strategy that will serve your purposes.
We’ve invited Velvet Content Agency – a member of The Collaboratory‘s community – to tell us more abou content marketing and how businesses can successfully use it to grow.
What is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy is a plan to attract an online audience towards your brand by consistently delivering valuable content. It is important to mention that content strategy and content marketing strategy are different concepts with different results. The key point of the latter is a strategic analysis of the customer experience and the buyer’s journey. After in-depth research, you build a roadmap to achieve specific goals. The final goal of the process is usually to turn prospects (potential customers) into customers.
Why is having a content marketing strategy important?
Without a strategy, it is difficult to keep track of achievements. Content Marketing is much more than sharing content on various channels; it is a complex process that starts with identifying your ideal audience and the type of content that they need or want. Creating a content marketing strategy is relevant for your business because, among others, it helps you to:
- Increase brand awareness
Especially if you are just getting started and on a tight budget, content marketing can put your business on the map.
2. Build trust with your prospects
A competitive strategy achieves trust. Developing a strong relationship with the target audience is a long-term commitment and it is content that fuels it.
3. Generate leads
Content Marketing is a very affordable method to bring in more new leads. At the same time, it generates around 3 times more leads than traditional marketing.
Key Points of Developing the Content Marketing Strategy
Use the questions below to develop and document a competitive strategy.
What are your goals?
The very first step is deciding what you are aiming for. Randomly publishing non-targeted content might be worse than not publishing at all. Therefore, you need to set the goals that content marketing should meet for your brand. For great results, set your goals using the SMART strategy. In other words, create goals that are: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound. Having a clear structure of your goals makes you understand the opportunities and prevent potential challenges.
Who is the target audience?
Content Marketing is not about you and your business, but about helping (potential) customers. This does not mean that your brand will not benefit from it, but that the spotlight is on them. A clearly defined audience helps you adjust and improve how you communicate your message.
Try to understand your target customers on a deep level. This allows you to find out their pain points and address their issues the right way. Demographic information – like age, gender, region, education – is a good start to get to know the target audience better. However, to enhance your strategy, you need more research on habits, desires, and motivations – so-called psychographics.
What is your target audience struggling with?
Now that you know who you are marketing to, the next step is to discover their pain points. A solid Content Marketing strategy addresses the needs of the target audience. If you know their problems and know how to solve these, you will easily reach the prospects. The demographics and psychographics are relevant to get the information that you need. At this step, make sure to take a close look at details as what types of websites the target customers visit, what type of content they prefer, which social media channels they use.
- Which content formats work best for your brand?
Most businesses choose to distribute their content on their website, as blog posts. But there are many other types of content and some formats work better for your business than others. On the other hand, it is also important to consider the size of the audience that you aim to attract. Here are some content types to choose from:
- Social media posts
- YouTube videos
Each of these has advantages and disadvantages. Make a decision based on the preferences of your target audience. Test, adjust, improve.
Which social media channels to pick for content distribution?
This is a key element that either boosts the engagement of the target audience or leads to poor results. So, it is a decision that requires a thorough analysis. All social media channels are important tools to reach prospects. Nevertheless, only some channels might work for your business. Again, these details also have to do with the traits of your target customers. Try to understand the benefits that come from using different social media platforms. For example, if your target audience consists of teenagers, you will not find them on LinkedIn, but on TikTok, or Instagram.
If you prefer a blog on your website and you only publish there, consider social media for promoting it. Your presence on social media is vital. Use platforms strategically to raise awareness of the content you publish on your blog.
How often should you publish content?
The cadence of publishing content is not universal, but different from one case to another. Determine how much time you need to produce quality content and how often you can find the time to it. Come up with a schedule after you know your availability. Also, your goals determine the cadence of publishing. Review your goals and figure out which plan works best to meet them. Behavior patterns of the target audience is another pillar to consider. Check how often they consume similar content of your competition, or even yours. On the other hand, focus on publishing with consistency, the frequency matters less.
Create quality content
Efficient content marketing gets you the desired results. And the key to that is the content. Performing research helps you determine what type of content to create for serving your purposes.
While identifying your goals, target audience, distribution channels and frequency keeps you on track, producing quality content is what makes the difference. But quality content has to do with the goals you have set. So, check if the content helps you achieve or get closer to them.
Also, it is the tone that makes the music. Adapt the tone of your content to your target audience and situation. Last, but not least, provide genuine value with your content. Ideal content informs, inspires, persuades (non-promotional), or entertains. Usually, a mix of using these functions leads to maximum results.
Developing a solid Content Marketing strategy is something that you must work on consistently. The initial plan only determines the key points. But implementing the strategy and adjusting it as you go is what keeps you on track. However, be patient, as content marketing strategies do not work overnight. The results show up in a couple of months, therefore sticking to a strategy and being consistent is the key to achieving your goals. It might be challenging at the beginning if you do it by yourself. Sometimes, delegating (even if partially) is more efficient and allows you to dedicate more time to doing your business. Either way, you now have the big picture of how to develop a content marketing strategy.
About the Author:
Edisa Apostu is the founder of Velvet Content Agency. Her company helps small and middle-sized businesses to get their content marketing strategy in place. From content writing to implementation of content marketing strategies, Velvet Content Agency comes up with solutions meant to identify and attract target audiences. Edisa believes that impactful content is the fuel in strong relationships between companies and potential customers.