How To Build A Content Marketing Strategy
Every brand can benefit from a content marketing strategy. In our Internet-age where social media is king and blogging is queen, content marketing is increasingly moving to the forefront of advertising—and for a valid reason.
Why use content marketing
“Content” is anything written, visual, or downloadable. In most cases, a “content strategy” refers to anything that is posted online through blogs, social media, or other sharing platforms.
The purpose of a content marketing plan is to provide value to your consumer in a way that builds trust -- and in turn results in visibility and conversions.
Let’s compare this to traditional marketing. Think of billboards. They often feel invasive or intrusive—except for the occasional entertainment value on Route 66. They don’t add much to your experience of that brand. Consider TV ads. They entertain us and tell a story, but it’s a one-sided conversation from brand to consumer.
Content marketing overcomes these concerns. It isn’t invasive, as the content is naturally placed where people are already looking for information. It’s entertaining and fun while still providing value. It educates people about your brand while generating organic leads.
Most importantly, content marketing opens up a two-way relationship or conversation. It’s not preaching your brand to your customers. It encourages an interaction of the customer with your brand. This builds a deeper level of engagement that can create a strong generation of relevant impressions, customer loyalty, and repeat sales.
Content marketing builds high levels of traffic. Nearly 77% of internet users read blogs and websites with blog content have 434% more search engine-indexed pages than those without content. Today, 70% of consumers learn about a company through content rather than traditional ads online or in-person.
Content marketing also has a conversion rate six times higher than other marketing methods. 61% of US consumers have made at least one purchased based on a blog post. Moreover, content marketing is the number one way to improve SEO and search-related purchases.
Not only does content marketing generate more leads, raise conversion rates, and build a base of loyal customers, it’s also less expensive than other forms of marketing. Content marketing costs 62% less than other forms of marketing while generating 3x as many leads.
Learn more about the benefits of content marketing here.
You don’t want a haphazard marketing strategy. Brands with a formalized, documented content strategy see the greatest results.
In fact, research by the Content Marketing Institute found that those marketers with a documented strategy are:
More likely to consider their content strategy effective
More likely to spend a higher portion of their marketing budget on content
Less likely to feel challenged with content marketing
More likely to see a greater return on investment
You could quickly create content and throw it up on your website or Facebook page. But you won’t see a response because you’re not building a brand or voice.
You need a strategy or plan behind your content in order to make sure it delivers a return.
A content strategy ensures that the time and resources you put into the content will have the effect that your business requires. A documented plan also proves to your executives, clients, and shareholders that your content and marketing is proving a return on investment.
So what do you need to build a formalized content marketing strategy? What steps should you follow to create a clear vision for content success?
1. What is your content marketing goal?
The first step to building a content marketing strategy is to understand why you are creating content in the first place. How will your brand benefit from utilizing content marketing? What is your goal with a strategy implementation?
Consider how content marketing will fit in with your overall marketing strategy. What do you want the content to add to your advertising efforts? What kind of return do you hope to see from content marketing?
You should also consider how content marketing would supplement your brand. How will you use content to improve your brand voice? What messages and ideas do you want to communicate?
What do you hope your content marketing will deliver? Some examples of content goals include:
Create a better customer experience
Increase brand awareness and impressions
Launch a new product
Gain customer leads
Offer social proof of product
Show product differentiation
Improve online conversion rate
Interact with customers and gain personal feedback
Remember: every piece of content should have a call to action that directly impacts your content goals.
The goals of your content will influence everything about your content strategy. Start with a strong set of specific goals to build a comprehensive strategy.
2. Who is your target audience?
In most cases, the target audience for your content will align with your ideal customer.
The target audience will help you understand how to create and publish content that will reach relevant viewers. If you don’t have an ideal target in mind, you could spend your entire marketing budget attracting a viewer who will never convert to a customer.
For example, you sell tops for yoga. You are currently targeting all yogis, and you have a 50% readership of male yogis. While some of them may end up buying your yoga tops for the female loved ones in their lives, the majority of those content consumers will not purchase your product. You’re providing value without seeing any return.
Identifying your target audience ensures your content is relevant and significant with the possibility to convert to sales.
3. What makes your content unique?
Once you know your target audience, you can better understand what your audience wants to see. What kind of content will appeal to this audience? What kind of content will attract and convert this kind of audience?
This is where you should consider your competition. Your competitors are those who compete for your business and those with similar content to you.
For example, you sell yoga bras. Your business competitors are other yoga clothing companies. These yoga clothing companies are likely also your content competitors. However, you might also have other content competitors like yoga facilities and holistic medicine companies.
Consider how you will differentiate your content from these business and content competitors. What kind of tone and aesthetic will attract attention to your brand? How will you provide new and unique value to your audience?
Content is the strongest way to create a differentiated and unique brand voice that attracts consumers and engenders customer loyalty.
4. On which platforms will you share your content?
Choosing where to publish your content is more than just deciding where to click “post.” You want to choose those platforms that will attract a relevant and engaged audience.
On which platforms does your ideal customer hang out? You should be posting where your customers are spending their most time online.
Potential platforms include:
Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google, Reddit, etc)
Anywhere that your readers are looking for content
Keep in mind that a key aspect to content marketing is building a personal relationship and connection. This means you’ll want to respond to comments, post in groups, follow influencers, and interact one-on-one with your followers. If you have too many platforms, you likely won’t have the time or resources to devote to engaging with your customers.
Don’t spread your content or engagement too thin. Pick one to three platforms where you can delve in and focus on interaction with your ideal audience.
5. How frequently will you post new content?
You’ve decided where to post. Now it’s time to decide how frequently you’ll reach out. Consider your target audience. How often do they want new content? On what days and at what times are they most active online?
A high frequency isn’t always important to a content strategy. Consistency trumps frequency. You want to create a consistent posting schedule so your audience always knows when to expect and look forward to your content.
Why does consistency matter to a content strategy? Because it tells you exactly how often you’ll be communicating with your viewers. This defines your reach, which directly links to your ability to meet your content strategy goals.
Choose the frequency and consistency of posting based on the needs of your target audience, the resources you have on staff, and the capacity to connect with your audience.
6. What types of content will you use?
“Content” can include blog posts, pictures, videos, infographics, podcasts, downloadables, eBooks, and more. Some brands will choose one type of content to master, while others will use a variety of content to reach different types of audience members.
Choose the type of content you’ll use based on the audience, the platform, and the goals. A few examples:
Audience: A younger audience generally wants videos and social content while older customers prefer email content.
Platform: Facebook users like videos and pictures while LinkedIn users are interested in blog posts and news articles.
Goal: Viral videos are great for a high number of shares and impressions, while blog posts are stronger at converting followers to purchasers.
You should also consider your own resources. If no one on your team knows how to edit a video, you’ll either need to outsource video creation or choose another type of content.
The content you use will become the basis for your interaction with customers.
7. What is your SEO strategy?
SEO, search engine optimization, helps push your content towards the top of search results. This allows users to organically find your content when performing relevant searches. The greater your optimization, the greater your reach and relevance with customers.
SEO consists of:
Short-form and long-tail keywords
Inbound and outbound links
Engagement (comments, likes, shares)
The “rules” of SEO are always changing and variable, though. Ultimately, quality content gets optimized. “Quality” content provides a unique value to your audience in a well written, attractive, digestible, and shareable way.
Building an SEO strategy allows you to meet your content strategy goals. It will improve your reach and impressions while ensuring your brand reaches the right people at the right time.
8. How will you manage publishing?
With your formalized plan, you should find a way to streamline publication and engagement. Create a content management system that answers the following questions:
When and how will you create content?
When and how will you publish content?
When and how will you repurpose content?
When and how will you analyze content feedback?
There are three options for content management:
Content software, like Hootsuite
Outsourcing to a third party, like us at Palm Beach Content Co.
Generally, self-management is the most time consuming and the most challenging to track. Content software will assist you with creation, publication, and analytics, but it still requires a high level of self-management.
Outsourcing is usually the best way to maintain control of your brand content without expending significant time or resources. Hiring an experienced company like PBCCo. to handle content ensures you always have access to the top expertise, trends, and content creation.
Learn more about Palm Beach Content Co. services here.
9. How will you track content success?
Return to the goals for your content marketing strategy. What did you hope to achieve… and did you achieve it?
Metrics can help you understand your content’s success. How well are you relating to your audience and meeting your marketing objectives?
Some possible metrics to track include:
Consumption: total visits, unique visits, downloads, time on site, bounce rate
Leads: newsletter signups, downloads
Social media: likes, comments, shares, followers, conversion, post reach (organic and sponsored)
SEO: keyword ranking, bounce rate, visits, conversion rate, time on page, page views, backlink, page/domain authority
Sales: conversion, transactions
Tracking your metrics is the only way you can prove a return on your investment.
Over to you
In just 9 steps, you can start building a formalized, documented content marketing strategy.
But it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the variables and details of a content marketing strategy.
A number of marketers and businesses feel so confused about building a strategy, in fact, that they never even start.
Don't get stuck in aimless content creation. Call us today to get started on your content campaign.