Content marketing is the best way to grow your customer base and attract new customers. However, there is one problem that many brands have to face when trying to implement it: putting together a strategy.
Your content marketing strategy is the keystone of your content marketing efforts. Without one, your content marketing efforts will be scattered and without a clear purpose. This can lead to a poor ROI.
This is why 19% of content marketers consider their efforts to be “very successful.” 9% reported that their efforts were unsuccessful.
img alt=”Only 19% content marketers rate their efforts as very effective.” class=”aligncenter” height=”491″ src=”https://marketinginsidergroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/CM-Stat-Opening.jpg” width=”683″/>
Image source: SEMRush
These categories don't necessarily have to be your only option.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know in order to create a content marketing strategy that produces results for your company. We will be:
- Learn the foundations of a strong content-marketing strategy
- Follow these steps to implement your strategy
- Consider the many benefits that a content marketing strategy can bring to your company.
- Remember what to avoid when you are using content marketing
- Here are some best practices and tips for content marketing success over the long term
Let's get started!
- Content marketing strategies are a way for companies to organize their content marketing efforts in a central, goal-oriented manner.
- Always align content with customer requirements and optimize for search engines.
- Set SMART goals for your content marketing strategy and define KPIs to ensure greater success.
- Multichannel content marketing strategies are more effective and provide a variety of content types.
- Smart strategy decisions can only be made if content marketing is data-driven. This includes data from the industry, customer, and market.
What is content marketing?
First, let's answer the question “What is content marketing?”. Content marketing allows companies to show their thought leadership through SEO and content insights. Content marketing uses a variety of content types, such as blogs, videos and infographics, and different distribution channels, like websites, social media and email, to reach diverse audiences.
A content marketing strategy is a plan that centralizes all components of your content efforts, including distribution channels, content assets, data, technology tools and human resources.
It also includes:
- All the important information about your brand and guidelines
- An execution plan
- Information about who, what, when and how each task is performed
- KPIs and how to measure them
You should take a holistic approach when creating and sharing content to help your business grow. Your content is used to increase brand awareness, drive organic traffic, attract new customers and establish brand expertise.
It takes planning and time to launch a content marketing strategy that works. To see the full ROI, patience is also required.
Content marketing isn't always easy. Those who have the right strategy understand that it takes time to build results. You will reap an exponential return on your investment if you do this.
Why is content marketing important?
It is changing how consumers interact with brands, from businesses to individuals to large corporations, and vice versa. Buyers are now in control of the purchasing process thanks to the internet. Buyers look online for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. They also find brands that can help them.
Both B2B as well as B2C sectors are seeing this trend. Research has shown that 81% retail customers research brands and products online before buying or visiting a store. B2B buyers do 57-70% research online before they ever reach out to a brand.
Your content is the most important thing when it comes to engaging potential clients during this research period.
Other reasons why your company should have a content marketing strategy are:
- Searches are the foundation of 93% all online experiences. You are likely to be invisible to your target audience if you don't rank on Google's results pages.
- 81% of consumers believe brand trust is an important factor in purchasing decisions. Brands should have high-quality content as a tool to build trust.
- Brands can use content marketing strategies to build their industry reputation and position themselves as leaders in the market. Your competitors will control the narrative if you don't have content.
The foundations of a successful content marketing strategy
Without setting clear, specific, and time-bound goals, it's difficult to build a content marketing strategy that works. Your goals are the foundation of the rest. Give it direction and hold your team accountable.
Start with your overall vision and then expand to smaller goals that your content can help to achieve. Your goals must be aligned hierarchically. All of your smaller goals should have a purpose to help you achieve the bigger, more important ones.
The SMART framework can help you set goals that meet these criteria and guide your strategy.
Your content marketing strategy will be influenced by the composition of your team. Your human bandwidth, industry knowledge, and skills will all be determined by your team. Some companies have an in-house team that manages all marketing activities. Many companies outsource content to agencies. Some companies use a hybrid approach and have their own team work with an agency.
Which one is best for you? To decide, consider your internal team first. Are they able to manage your content marketing strategy and have the necessary time? You might be able execute the project in-house if they have the time and qualifications. You might consider outsourcing or creating a team that is hybrid. You'll need to decide on your budget, evaluate potential agencies and then choose the best agency for your company.
This is your bread and butter! Your strategy should include a variety of high-value content, which will be distributed across multiple channels. While we'll be covering more content types and channels in the next section of this article, here are some best practices that you should keep in mind regardless of which one you choose.
Your content should be aligned with customer pain points
Your customers will be more likely to identify their pain points and seek your solutions. Content that is able to relate to customers' pain points resonates better. This builds trust in your ability to deliver the solutions they require.
The value proposition canvas can be used to identify customer pain points and find the best ways for your brand to show value in relation.
All content should be SEO-friendly
Search engine optimization is a must for content. Even the most valuable content will be inaccessible to Google without ranking. For all the details, refer to our SEO checklist.
Your Key Performance Indicators
KPIs will keep you from getting lost in the unknown of whether your content marketing strategy is working. KPIs are what determine the success of a particular activity or initiative. You will need to use several KPIs in order to measure different elements of your content marketing strategy.
These are important KPIs for content marketing:
- Organic traffic is the number of people who visit your site from search engines.
- Search rankings – How high is your content ranking in Google's results pages
- Conversions are the number of people who have taken meaningful actions on your site (i.e. Subscribed to the newsletter, purchased, etc.
- Leads – Number of interested prospects or inquiries generated by your content
- ROI is the return on investment you receive from your content strategy.
Your business will reap the benefits
A great content marketing strategy can bring you many business benefits. Let's look at the most important.
Search visibility refers to the amount of traffic that you get from organic search results. Content marketing strategies that are well-designed can improve your Google rankings, increase the number of keywords you rank for and increase your search visibility.
Moz tools can help you calculate your search visibility. They take your ranked keywords and estimate CTR based upon each ranking position. This includes weighting higher-ranking keywords accordingly, adding all your CTRs, then dividing by how many keywords you are tracking.
You can be confident that your search visibility is increasing even if you don't calculate it as a number.
Organic traffic refers to traffic that you get from non-paid sources, such as search engines. It is responsible for more than half the traffic companies earn across all industries. Paid search accounts for only 10%, while social media accounts to 5%. All other channels together account for 34%.
It is also the most popular metric content marketers use to measure success of their content marketing strategies.
Because of its impactful benefits, marketers are increasingly focusing on organic traffic. Organic traffic is cheaper than PPC ads or other paid channels. Because it requires consistent, authentic, high-value and insightful content, it is a sign of brand credibility.
Authority in branding
Your company's reputation and expertise in your field is what you call brand authority. Brand authority is based on content. This is important for customers as well as peers and search engine crawlers.
You can demonstrate your expertise in the most important topics to your industry by creating consistent, high-quality content that is supported by a solid content marketing strategy. It builds brand trust which is crucial for your business. This trust can be seen in your KPIs such as rankings, organic traffic and backlinks, leads and conversions.
Conversions and leads
Without leads and conversions, you can't make more revenue for your business. Content marketing has proven to be exponentially more effective than other marketing methods. Companies that use content marketing strategies get 3x and 6x more leads than companies who use traditional marketing.
Lead magnets can help you increase the number of leads that your content marketing strategy generates. Lead magnets are high value assets that solve user problems or assist them in completing a task. These are usually exchanged for contact information.
There are many types of lead magnets that you might find: checklists, templates and whitepapers.
Although content marketing can take some planning and patience, the long-term ROI is well worth it. You can expect to see long-term compounding results if you have a solid content strategy and implement it well.
What does that mean?
Content with a long shelf-life for relevance, or evergreen content, will continue to produce results year after year. This can have ripple effects on traffic, social media shares and engagement as well as overall brand demand. This is why the visual below shows how crucial it really is.
img alt=”Linegraph showing the compounding effects of SEO content over time.” class=”aligncenter” height=”445″ src=”https://marketinginsidergroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/SEO-Content-Compounding-Effect.jpg” width=”661″/>
How to create and execute your content marketing plan
You now know the basics: why content marketing is so important, how to build your strategy and what the benefits will be for your business. Now it's time for you to get started. These 8 steps will help you create a winning content marketing plan that is tailored to your business.
Check your content.
A content audit will give you an overview of the resources in your library. This can prove to be a treasure trove! Brands can increase their ROI and boost traffic by repurposing old content.
Your content audit can be used to identify content gaps and opportunities for new content. Our A-Z Guide to Conducting a Content Audit can help you understand how to do it.
Define your target audience
Your content marketing strategy should include targeting the right audience at exactly the right time. To do this, however, you must first identify your target audience. This step has three key components:
- When people are looking for solutions to their problems, they need to identify the pain points and needs that they experience.
- Empathizing with their feelings and experiences
- Provide the solution in the form of content, and ultimately your product or services.
img alt=”Steps for identifying your target audience” class=”aligncenter” height=”479″ src=”https://marketinginsidergroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Target-Audience-Steps.png” width=”718″/>
Source: Image Source
Empathy is a key ingredient in content development. It taps into the real motivations people have to consider your brand. It is easier to make content that your readers understand, which will lead to a stronger connection and more sales for your company.
To put this idea into practice, you can use tools such as the empathy map in Alexander Osterwalder's or Yves Pigneur’s book Business Model Generation.
img alt=”Empathy Map Template” class=”aligncenter” height=”419″ src=”https://marketinginsidergroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/Empathy-Map.jpg” width=”648″/>
Source: Image Source
You can then use the buyer persona framework in order to identify exactly who is part of your target audience, and what their unique problems are.
Don't forget, buyers aren't the only ones in your audience. You should also consider people who are interested in your topics or who simply enjoy following you. Although they may not purchase directly from you, these users can be brand advocates and help you grow your audience. Learn about their perspectives and include them into your content marketing strategy in the same way as potential buyers.
This step is complete and you can move on to planning your content.
Ideas for topic ideas?
What topics should your content be covering? This is one of the most critical decisions you will make when planning your content marketing strategy. We have good news for you: it doesn't have to be done alone.
Your marketing team will be able to identify the key content pillars and high level topics that will resonate with your target audience. However, keyword research tools can help you drill down to the specific searches they are performing in relation to these topics.
For example, if you are a content marketing agency like us! SEO is one of the most important topics that your customers are looking for. SEO is a vast topic. It is important to identify the details of SEO that your customers are looking for.
Free keyword research tools such as Ahrefs Free Keyword Generator or SEMRush's Keyword Magic tool are available. Simply enter the keyword “SEO” and you will be presented with dozens (or even more) of relevant search queries. These queries can be used to create content.
This approach has allowed us to create niche content on SEO such as:
- The Complete SEO Checklist For SaaS Companies
- The Content-Driven Guide for Enterprise SEO
- How your small business can improve SEO through content marketing
- B2B businesses need to use content marketing and local SEO
These articles will appeal to different audiences (SaaS businesses, large corporations, small businesses, and B2B companies), and focus on the most relevant SEO topics for them.
We've also been able create general SEO content that is relevant to all these groups.
- What is SEO Marketing Strategy?
- Google Ranking Factors 2022: What You Need To Know
Our attempts to provide SEO services for web visitors at both broad- and niche-level levels would have been futile without keyword research. Do not make content creation an exercise in guesswork! Keyword research is a great way to optimize content relevance, rankings and traffic.
Outline content channels
What are your options for delivering your content? There are many options for content delivery. One thing is certain: Your content marketing strategy must be multichannel. This means sharing content wherever your customers are searching. These are the most important facts to know:
Your blog is the central point of your content library. The best way to increase organic traffic to your site is to publish high-quality, relevant blog content.
Email communication is preferred by consumers over any other form of brand communication. It can be used to send newsletters, blog content, nurture leads and promote special offers.
More than half of consumers conduct brand research online today, and 90% purchase from brands they follow through their personal accounts. Your content will be more visible and shared with your audience by sharing it on social media.
Video is taking over! Cisco predicts that video will make up 82% of all internet traffic by the end this year. People consume video more than any other content. Video can be used to create educational content similar to blogs, share social media stories and host online events.
Over 25% of Americans listen to podcasts weekly, and this number is growing. Podcasting can be a creative way of providing unique content, such as interviews with industry leaders and commentary on current industry events. Podcasts are easy to create and publish.
Which channels should I choose?
We recommend that you start with the channels you are most comfortable using and where there is the most traffic. Your blog is a key driver for content sharing across all channels. You can continue to grow your business and add new channels as you are able.
Document your strategy
It is crucial to document your content marketing strategy to ensure that all parties are clear about brand guidelines, goals, tasks, who is responsible, and when they should be completed. You can also get a high-level overview of your content marketing strategy to see how it works together towards achieving your goals.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketers who had a written strategy were more successful than those without one. This content marketing strategy template will guide you through the process of creating and executing your strategy.
Create your content calendar
Content calendars plan and track when each piece of content will be published, created, delivered, or delivered. These calendars help you to optimize the content's timing and ensure that nothing is missed. For more information (as well as several templates), visit our comprehensive guide on content calendars. ).
Publishing your content is all about quantity. To maximize your ROI, you should publish multiple times per week on different channels.
HubSpot research showed that brands publishing 11-16 blog posts per month earn 3x more traffic than those that publish less.
HubSpot Image Source
We also recommend sharing blog content via social media and email, as this will allow you to reach your readers where they are. This makes your content more visible and more likely to get shared.
Measuring your performance
Keep in mind the KPIs that you established before you created your content marketing strategy. You should measure them regularly as part of your execution plan. You can quickly identify gaps and opportunities and adjust your strategy accordingly by measuring your KPIs.
You can hold yourself accountable by creating a data dashboard with your KPIs. (See the MIG example below) and holding regular meetings with your team in order to assess your progress.
img alt=”MIG Content Marketing Planning Template” class=”aligncenter” height=”645″ src=”https://marketinginsidergroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/MIG-Content-Dashboard.jpg” width=”1315″/>
You can find additional resources for the development of your strategy in our article How to Develop an Effective Marketing Strategy. This article explains how to set goals, prioritize content, and create strategy documentation.
Content marketing edition: What to avoid
You can skip steps
Although it can be tempting to just get to the content, the real ROI lies in the planning. Personas, keyword research, content calendars, etc. These are the components of your content marketing strategy that will drive success down the line.
So, no shortcuts. Do not skip steps during the planning process. You'll be able to execute a winning strategy with results if you put the right pieces together.
Inconsistency in publishing without a schedule is a sure sign of inconsistency. Your publishing schedule should not be random. Find the best publishing times for your audience and create a content calendar. Stick to it!
Be too salesy
Content marketing is a lengthy game. It is easy to lose readers by trying to sell every piece of content. Instead, let your content sell itself by showing your expertise and commitment in delivering value. You'll be able to see greater results if you build trust and loyalty with your audience over time.
Failure to measure performance
It is easy to forget about performance measurement. You put in the effort to create and launch your content marketing plan. You're busy! You can always cancel the assessment meeting. . . right?
You are missing opportunities to improve your performance and increase your ROI if you don't measure it. If you don't measure how your performance compares to your KPIs, you won't be able to know how effective your strategy is. Do not be the company that doesn't know if it's earning results.
You should create processes and set aside times to measure your strategy's success and be consistent in doing so over time.
Tips to long-term success
Your content marketing strategy gives you the opportunity to show your brand's personality and voice. Be creative in how you do it.
You can explore how you can cover different topics using different content types. Also, give your opinion on current trends and events in your industry. These creative content marketing examples will inspire you.
Encourage collaboration within the company
Every member of your company, from the executive team to sales and marketing to product design and other roles, has a different view. No matter how small or small your business is, everyone's perspective will differ depending on what they do.
These perspectives can help you provide a well-rounded and informed view of the topics that are important to your audience. Encourage your content team members to use their internal expertise in creating content even after your strategy is developed.
Different types of content can be published
A diverse content library opens up more channels for distribution and engagement. You shouldn't limit yourself to one type of content. Blog posts, ebooks and infographics. Video, photos, podcasts, case study, whitepapers, emails, and social media posts are all options.
It is possible to create multiple content types for a single topic. This is a great way to reuse great content.
MIG has, for instance, a blog article on how to write a perfect blog post. We also include two infographics in the article, which we share separately, and an email nurture series that we send to our clients, which reinforces much this content to help them succeed.
While you don't need to publish all types of content (and I don't recommend it), limiting your publishing options to one type will give you tunnel vision and limit the opportunities for your audience to interact with your brand.
Engage with users
There are many ways to interact directly with your audience through content. Make use of these opportunities! The smallest things often have the greatest impact. People will feel more connected to you if they take the time to reply to comments on social media and blogs.
Also, you can collect feedback via short surveys or forms, build community with groups and discussion boards, go “live” on Facebook to answer questions, or hold online events such as webinars based upon your educational content.
Visuals are a great way to communicate your ideas
These days, visual content is all that matters. These numbers are not misleading:
- Images are 94% more popular than articles without images in blog posts
- Tweets that contain images are retweeted 15% more than tweets with text.
- 8/10 consumers say they've purchased products after viewing a video from a brand.
Visual content can be daunting for many brands. However, you can start by using a simple approach and then build from it. Infographics are more shared than any other type of visual content. A single infographic can help you get a lot of traffic.
To make your writing more visual, you can also find high-quality images or videos from other sources (like the ones we have shown in this article).
Keep your strategy data-driven, last but not least. This applies to performance measurement and KPIs, but there are many other areas where data should be used in your content marketing strategy. Take, for example:
- Refine your target audience by using web visitor data
- Personalizing your content using customer data
- To help you make better decisions, look at the bigger industry trends and forecasts
- To understand your competitive position, you will need to conduct market research
These are just a few of the many ways data can help you stay informed, make better decisions, and improve your content marketing strategy.
More to you
You have all the tools and knowledge you need. Now it's time for your company to create a winning content marketing strategy. Are you looking for real-world inspirations? These content marketing strategy case studies will show you how companies put these principles to work for real results.
Marketing Insider Group has the resources and experience to help you with content creation. Our SEO and writer experts can provide you with optimized content that is ready to publish every week for a year or more. ).
To learn more, check out our SEO Blog Writing Service.
Marketing Insider Group's first article, Content Marketing Strategy: A Definitive Guide appeared on Marketing Insider Group.
By: Michael Brenner
Title: Content Marketing Strategy: A Definitive Guide
Sourced From: marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/content-marketing-strategy-a-definitive-guide/
Published Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2022 10:00:40 +0000