After reading our latest post, you now know what content marketing is and why it’s important for your business. Next up? Put that knowledge to use!
Developing a plan for your content marketing is a huge task – and one that needs to be done right. To help, we’ve created an easy-to-follow checklist on how to make a content marketing strategy for your business. Let’s get started!
Step #1: Identify Business Goals
When you create a content marketing strategy, you need first to determine your reasoning for why you’re creating content. Without defining your goals, it’s difficult – albeit impossible – to create great content.
You may have multiple reasons for developing a content marketing strategy – but try to focus on your top-priority goal. Is it to increase sales? Create cost savings? Develop a loyal customer following?
As HubSpot shows, content plays different roles during each stage of the buying cycle. That’s why it’s critical you’re using the right type at the right time.
You want to make sure that your content marketing goals are sustainable for the long-term and resonate with your company’s goals and mission. Ask yourself what your current marketing initiatives are failing to do and evaluate how a proper strategy can help you achieve your goals.
Step #2: Research Target Audience
If you’ve been in business for a while, you may think you can skip this step. But regardless of how new or established your business is, every business owner can benefit from completing audience research. The world of marketing moves quickly, and new opportunities emerge regularly. You need the most up-to-date information on your target audience to be able to produce the best content.
Developing an understanding of your audience will provide you with the insight you need to make an effective content marketing strategy. Creating audience personas – helpful information about your target audience, including demographic profiles, content engagement preferences, and informational needs and goals – can help you recognize the value that your content will provide. You’ll learn what type of content will best meet your target audience’s preferences and drive productive engagement.
To gather accurate customer data for your personas, use a combination of the following:
- Interview your customer service employees to learn about typical consumer behaviour
- Conduct one-on-one customer interviews to hear about content preferences first-hand
- Complete external research, such as profiling data, industry blogs, and standardized forms
- Compare analytics data from your website’s back-end and Google Analytics to reveal important insights into your audience’s interests
Step #3: Create Valuable Content
Remember, your content isn’t all about you. Instead, it should always focus on your target audience – that persona you built-in step two. To accomplish this, make sure your content’s unique, addresses pain points, and offers value or entertainment.
Even the best content is useless if your audience doesn’t see it. Using the information you learned about your audience persona, distribute your content using the most suitable platforms. Maybe your audience is looking for answers on social media sites, or perhaps they’re more interested in reading professional blog posts. More than likely, you’ll end up using a combination of the 100+ content platforms available.
As for content that you’ve already created? Complete an evaluation to see what’s working and what’s not. Old, broken, or neglected content should be addressed. Otherwise, it can hurt your user experience and SEO score.
Quality is key when it comes to content, so never create content for content’s sake. Do everything possible to make your content stand out – like determining your unique brand story. Why should someone purchase your products or services? What sets you apart from your competitors? What type of value does your business provide? Make your brand story come to life through successful brand storytelling.
To determine the right topics to include in your content marketing strategy, be sure to complete some keyword research. What’s your audience searching on Google? What issues are currently trending in your industry? Craft some of your content around these terms.
Keep your content organized with an editorial calendar. Map out the key topics and themes you want to discuss, decide on a posting schedule, and outline your content’s key distribution channels. If you have a team, an editorial calendar is especially useful for keeping everyone on track with your marketing strategy.
Step #4: Review Your Results
You may be producing a lot of content – but do you know if it’s effective or not? To determine whether your content is delivering results, you need to get some feedback.
To start, access the same analytics data you did in step two. Consider the Average Time on Page, Bounce Rate, and Pageviews. What type of content has the most engagement? What has the least?
Next, review your social media sharing metrics to see what content is getting shared the most, which platforms are being used, and what content is producing conversions. Any other type of metrics you have access to – such as sales or lead metrics – should also be reviewed.
Your customers are also an excellent source for suggestions. Ask them for honest feedback about the type of content you’ve been creating and what kind of content they want to receive more of from you.
Combine all of this information to craft even better content in the future.
There’s a never-ending supply of content all over the Internet, so your content needs to stand out.
Finding the time that’s needed to create a content marketing strategy may seem impossible. But trust us: spending the time to develop a strategy now will reap you many future benefits. No longer are you left scrambling to come up with engaging content for your audience – which often leads to rushed, poorly written content. Plus, you’ll see improvements in social media traction, your authority online, and the number of leads and conversions you generate.
Without a proper content marketing strategy in place, marketing often gets forgotten about – which eventually shows in your bottom line. If you cannot find the time for strategy creation, our Toronto copywriting team can always help!