A template can help you navigate your way through the process. You might not know where to begin if you don't use a template.
- Content marketing strategies are the blueprint for all of your content efforts.
- Although there are many components to a strategy, they all must work together to reach the goals that you have set.
- A template makes it easy to organize your strategy.
- A template will make it easier to put your strategy into practice sooner.
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
The content marketing strategy is the guideline for how you will use content to achieve business goals. It defines the guidelines for what you will do, how and where.
It is not a content strategy. The execution of the strategy is what content planning is.
It is also a living document, which will evolve and change as your products and customers do.
The majority of content marketers shifted in 2020 to make changes to their content strategy. According to the CMI (Content Marketing Institute), B2B Content Marketing report 94% of respondents made changes.
Some companies may be still “playing it by ear” when it comes content. Only 43% of organizations have a documented strategy.
This may seem shocking considering that 70% organizations invest in content marketing.
To drive business results (leads and sales), it is worth making an investment in consistently publishing content that your target audience enjoys. Without a strategy, it is difficult to sustain.
Why you need a content marketing strategy
It will help you stay organized and consistent, as we have already mentioned. But it's not just about logistics. Content marketing can help you build thought leadership and trust. A strategy is essential if you want it deliver.
Your website's content is key to attracting your target audience. B2B buyers now make different purchasing decisions. B2B buyers typically consume 13 pieces of content before they make a purchase decision.
13 of those will be from the company. It is most commonly found on the website, via search and social media.
A strategy is essential for your company because it cannot afford to lose the content that will help you get found. Without this foundation, you won't be able to know crucial things such as:
- What motivates your buyer?
- Which topic areas should you create content?
- What types of content will you create?
- You'll need to distribute the content.
- How to manage content creation and publication
- How to optimize search engines
- How and what you will measure content performance relative to your goals
- There's so much more
These things are not part of a strategy. You'll be reactive and not proactive if they aren't. The darts won't land in the bullseye, even though you're throwing them.
A Strategy is a Benefit
Will it be worth the effort to create a strategy? What benefits can you expect from a strategy?
- It will be easier for content marketing ROI to be tracked: A strategy defines how and when you will measure performance to continuously analyze it.
- Your content will align better with your audience's needs. This is an important part of your strategy. Your content will resonate more with the people you are targeting and build trust.
- It is possible to see all content efforts holistically. Content can be found in many buckets, including blogs, long-form, website, pages, social media, emails, and email. A strategy will allow you to see how each piece fits together.
- Consistency in tone and voice: No matter how many content creators your brand has, it is important that your brand's voice remains consistent. This is possible with a strategy.
- Organic traffic will increase if you include SEO. You will see an increase in organic traffic and rankings if you use the right keywords.
- Distribution is not random. Your distribution strategies will be defined by a strategy.
- You will get more leads. Content has many methods to generate leads. Companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per year than companies without them.
- Your brand will be recognized as an expert. Content with thought leadership angles isn't just about selling. It's all about education. Your audience will see you as trustworthy and credible if you do this more often with your content.
How to create a content marketing strategy
How do you create a content marketing strategy for your business? This is not an easy task. It is not something that one person can do. Everyone should be involved in some capacity.
Before we dive into the details, take a look at this video by SEMrush.
Let's now go over the steps and exercises.
Step 1: Define what content marketing means for your organization
Content marketing refers to the continuous publishing of relevant content that leads to business results. This is the general definition. But what does this mean for you company?
This introduction to your strategy will help you formulate the goals for producing content. These goals could include:
- More qualified leads
- Boosting trustworthiness and credibility
- Increasing brand awareness and equity
- Google ranks higher
- Assisting the sales team
- Increase traffic to your site
- Building a community
This section will also help you to identify the tactics that you will use to achieve your goals: consistent content production, better gated content, optimization content to rank well and nurturing leads.
You must also make the connection between revenue and content. This is for those stakeholders who aren't content marketers but make budget decisions.
If they don't see the connection, they will continue to view you as a cost center and not a revenue source.
This means that you need to monitor backend efforts. It is possible to attribute traffic and conversions to search engines, which can be used to prove that optimized content brings new customers.
Step 2: Determine your Content Pillars and Types
The main categories that all ideas are derived from are called content pillars. They help keep content creators on track. When you've created your content calendar, tag each piece with the pillar to help you audit for any gaps.
It is also important to record the content that you create. Content marketing is not just about blogging. This is a critical aspect.
There will also be long-form content, case studies and infographics. Video, social media posts, webinars are all available.
Step 3: Create Your Buyer Personas
Your strategy is based on your buyer personas. They are the ones creating content, so it is important to get to know them. This extends beyond titles and demographics.
It is also important to identify their pain points, assumptions and challenges.
The creation of buyer personas should be a collaborative effort that includes content marketers, product managers, and other SMEs.
To refresh buyer personas, it is important to revisit them at least once a year. It's a good idea to revisit your buyer personas if there are any major changes in your industry, or company.
Step 4: Create your Content Calendar and Workflows
This section will help you identify the content calendar's design and location. These content calendar templates are a great resource.
A content calendar is a living document which provides visibility across all projects. This is where you will find your workflows. It takes many tasks to get a piece of content from conception to publication to amplification.
Step 5: Create a voice and tone
Tone documents and brand voice create guidelines for content, attributes and product language.
At least three attributes should be part of your brand voice. One could be conversational. Then, describe it. It's not formal. Slang is acceptable. Benefit-driven, but not feature-focused.
Next, you can list some rules and guidelines. As you can see, a conversational voice is not able to use complicated words but is friendly and personable.
Next, define parameters:
- Structure, syntax, and readability are important (e.g., sentences should be shortened, confident statements should be used, not finite ones and passive voice shouldn't be used).
- Word choice: What language do you use to call your customers? Which language are they most familiar with?
- Avoidable Phrases: A list of words that you should avoid, such as cliches
- Blog parameters: Sub-header usage, minimum word count, appropriate CTAs, etc.
- Your USP (unique selling proposition), your value proposition and your elevator pitch are all part of the foundational language
- Product language: A messaging system that is specific to each product
Step 6: Develop Your SEO Strategy
SEO is essential to content marketing. But, Google first, people second!
- Keywords to track and target
- Problems that cause crawling or ranking problems. An audit will likely be required. Ahrefs has a video that demonstrates how to do it.
- SEO best practices for all website content (e.g. internal links, meta descriptions and using image alt tags)
- Backlinking opportunities (guest posting, outreach, editorials, etc.)
- Site health and issues that impact it (e.g. broken links, mixed content issues).
It's a smart idea to use a platform for tracking your SEO efforts. It will give you insights and help you to identify issues quickly. It is important to track your rank.
You should understand why you have lost ranking. Next, take steps to rectify the situation.
Step 7: Outline Your Distribution Strategy
Now you have content. Now, you must send it out to the world.
You'll find several buckets in distribution.
- Social media: Create the profiles that you will use, the content you'll publish, how often, and how you intend to tie social media engagement to revenue.
- Email marketing: Which emails will you use to share content? Newsletters? Offers of long-form content? How to nurture your customers?
- Tools for amplifying content: You have many options, such as Boca, Converge and GaggleAMP. These are worth looking into if you have the resources and budget.
- Third-party distribution can be either paid or organic. Sponsored content opportunities can be found with respected industry publications for paid. Organic means working with a partner in order to create mutually-beneficial content.
This is a template that we use to calculate the ROI for various distribution options (organic and paid).
Step 8: Show how content marketing supports traditional marketing
Content marketing can be used to complement traditional marketing such as PR, trade shows, product launches, and PR.
This section will explain how content can help in these areas. You can, for example, create blogs pre-event about a tradeshow, promote a piece of content to registrants and then deliver the content post-show.
Step 9: Determine the important metrics
How do you measure content marketing ROI? How can you determine if your content marketing goals are being met? These are the most important content analytics:
- Traffic to the website
- Top pages
- Pageviews: Blog pageviews are the most important
- Source referrals to the site: organic search, social media, third-party sites
- Average time on site
- Rates of bounce
- Social media engagement (likes, shares, comments, clicks)
- SEO site health, visibility and position rankings
- Conversions are possible through content marketing efforts
- Clicks and opens of email
Here is the content marketing dashboard template that we use:
Choose a content marketing template
After we have explained the steps involved in developing one, it is time to make it work for everyone.
It is not possible for everyone to view or use it to be an expert in content market. When reviewing these content marketing templates, be aware of this.
This is a completely free content marketing worksheet (googlesheet) that I give away to clients and share with them in our content strategy workshops.
DivvyHQ is our tool of choice. They have a 30-day content strategy template. This template provides lots of guidance and direction on how to create a strategy that will help you achieve your business goals. Although it has 10 steps, it is not overwhelming.
Backlinko provides a content marketing template available in three formats. Although it isn't as detailed as the others, it's a great starter template.
CoSchedule provides a stronger template and instructions for how to use it. You can download it by completing the form.
ContentCal claims its template is flexible. That's a good thing. The template's use is also explained. You can even see their strategy to inspire you.
HubSpot offers a content strategy book that you can download. It is very detailed, particularly in regards to types of content and the ideation processes.
You might find it helpful to use parts of each template to create your own. This will allow you to address the specific components of your company.
A Content Marketing Strategy Template for Action
It's a great way to start your content marketing efforts by going through these steps and organizing the template. You'll have to actually put it into practice. Implementation can be difficult.
We can help you with that. As your content creators, we can help you create the strategy and implement it.
Our Content Builder Service can help you get more visitors to your website by publishing quality content consistently.
Contact me to set up a consultation and I will send you a PDF copy of my books. Get started today to generate more leads and traffic for your business.
Marketing Insider Group published The Ultimate Content Marketing Strategy Template.
By: Michael Brenner
Title: The Ultimate Content Marketing Strategy Template
Sourced From: marketinginsidergroup.com/content-marketing/the-ultimate-content-marketing-strategy-template/
Published Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2022 16:00:13 +0000
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