Content marketing is a marketing strategy used to attract, engage, and retain an audience by creating and sharing relevant articles, videos, podcasts, and other media (Mailchimp). In today’s world, the audience expects relevant and valuable content from brands they trust on a consistent basis. Content marketing is important to all brands and organizations as it helps build that relationship with the audience, builds trust in the brand, and can improve conversion rates and generate leads. That is why it is even more important to develop a strong content marketing strategy so you, as the content strategist and creator, know who you are creating content for, when the content is posted and how valuable it is to your audience.
Creating a content strategy may seem daunting, but if you take the time to outline your content for your campaign or even just short term like week or month ahead, you will benefit from a full 360 view and your content will be more valuable to your reader.
Here are 10 steps to building a strong content marketing strategy:
1. Define your target audience:
This is the most important step, before you can begin to create content, you need to understand who you are creating content for. You need to identify who your ideal readers are, their demographics, interests, and pain points, what they are searching for online, and what keywords they are using. Answering these questions will give you better insight into your target audience and help you understand the type of content these readers will want to consume which will allow you to create content that is of value to them.
2. Set goals:
All content, no matter how big or small should have targets, goals and KPIs behind it. But start big, what do you want to achieve with your content marketing efforts? There are many KPIs you can choose to track based on your overarching goals. Do you want to increase awareness of your brand, product or service, drive traffic to your website or generate leads? The type of content you create will differ depending on what your ultimate goal is, and the content you create will then help you achieve that goal.
3. Audit your existing content:
Before beginning to create new content it is important to understand what you currently have available, what worked, what didn’t work and what has room for improvement. Creating a content audit will allow you to save time and resources in your creation strategy. Do you have content that worked well previously that could do with a refresh. or content that can be reworked to align with your new goals? What did you learn from previous campaigns that did not work well for your audience, knowing this information helps you to not to repeat the mistake again. This is an important element of your plan as you can outline what existing content you have, and what new content needs built ahead of time, which will save your time and resources.
4. Create a content calendar:
Now you have an idea of who your audience is, what your goals are for the content and what you need to create, you need to plan out the topics and types of content you will publish and when you will publish them. Putting all this together ahead of time will give you a birds eye view of the plan, hold you or your team accountable to the calendar, and ensure you stay on track.
5. Create a variety of high quality content:
Today’s readers want to consume content that is engaging, interactive, relevant and brings value with each touchpoint, which is why it is important for content not only to be high quality, but it should also be portrayed in a variety of ways. It is important to develop a mix of blog posts, videos, infographics and other interactive formats to appeal to different types of readers and keep your audience engaged with valuable content.
6. Publish your content appropriately:
The way you publish your content will have a huge impact on its readability, engagement levels and KPIs. Depending on how rich your content is, how much multimedia elements it contains, and how you want it to render on each device will determine the best output for your content. You can read more about this on our blog 5 things to consider when deciding in which format to distribute your content on. But if you want your content to be viewed seamlessly on all devices, and be accessible to all audiences you need to publish in a responsive format that brings life to your content, hosts interactive features, and has intuitive contents, navigation and search menus.
7. Distribute and promote your content:
You must make your audience aware of your content, use your own channels to distribute your content. Email campaigns, newsletters, and social media posts are great ways to promote your content and make your followers and others aware of your new content you put out. This keeps your audience engaged and helps increase and build relationships with new followers too.
8. Measure and analyze:
Track the performance of your content using data and analytics tools like Google Analytics or Microsoft Clarity. Tracking the performance of your content allows you to be aware of what’s working and what’s not working, and gives you insight into whether or not you are going to reach your goals and targets set out in an earlier step.
9. Optimize your campaign:
Use the data and analytics to gain insights into the performance of your campaign to make adjustments and improve your strategy over time. By continuously monitoring your progress you can make changes and optimize your content as needed to improve your results.
10. Rinse and repeat:
Creating content is constant, after each campaign make sure you complete a full postmortem, but the journey is not over – start all over again. You should be continuously creating, publishing, and promoting high-quality content to drive engagement and grow your audience.
Creating a content marketing strategy is an ongoing process that requires patience, persistence and a willingness to adapt. You may not hit the ball out of the park the first time, but that is why it is so important to build a plan so that you can plan out exactly what you want to achieve, define your target audience and cater your content to them. It is so important to measure and track the performance of your content so you know what works and what needs improvement. Being open to constant optimizing opportunities will help your content better reach your target audience and continue building those relationships.
Experios is 3D Issue’s all new Content Experience platform that produces stunning responsive digital publications in a magazine type format. Build and design your publications from scratch, publish anywhere and track your performance with a full tracking and analytics package that can link to your Google Analytics so you can always measure the success of your digital content. You can get started with Experios for free today, schedule a demo or start your free trial.