How does a business stand out in today’s digital space with over 150 million active websites? Short answer, Content Marketing.
Content marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your audience and generate leads, but it can also be a tedious task. So, if you want to stand out from the crowd and get higher engagement rates, then it is time to create a simple, no-nonsense content marketing strategy that wouldn’t be overly demanding and capital-consuming.
What is Content Marketing Strategy?
Content marketing strategy is an effective way for startups and businesses to market their products or services. We already established how content marketing helps you create high-quality, authoritative, and engaging content (here) but to further simplify it, you can think of content marketing as an alternative means of traditional PR. We say PR because good content marketing lets people understand your business and its value proposition.
Why you should build a content marketing strategy?
A lot of education and training goes into building a startup. Creating your own business is one of the most stressful things. So it is no surprise that many founders forget to consider content marketing strategy.
The right strategy is an essential step in online marketing. In today’s fast-paced world, it is crucial to have a solid marketing approach to ensure you reach your target audience.
Factors to consider when creating your content marketing strategy
You know the “right” strategy can make or break your company as a business owner. But how do you go about it? Always start with the end in mind. The best way to create a content marketing strategy is to consider the factors determining your business’s success. These factors are the things that will help you choose the “why” and “how” of your content marketing strategy. Some of the most important ones are;
- The type of business and its goals.
- The target audience that you want to reach out to with your content marketing strategy.
- How can you create a unique brand voice that stands out from other companies in your sector?
- What kind of content will help you achieve those goals?
Content Marketing strategy examples
Content comes in various forms. It can be written via blogs, email marketing campaigns, images or videos shared on social media and your website landing pages. Knowing what content type works for your business and your consumers are critical.
Examples of commonly used content marketing strategies are;
- Visual strategy: a company like GoPro opts for the more visual route in the content marketing strategy because they know their users prefer this. The GoPro website is home to numerous visual images shot by consumers using their products. This encourages users to buy more products as;
- There is a chance that their image will be featured on the website
- They have access to actual footage from other consumers who have used a product they might be interested in
- Written strategy: in 2014, McDonald’s Canada launched a “Question Time” page to increase product transparency. During that period, they answered over 100,000 questions from customers on their food process (mainly because Mcdonald’s had previously been questioned about what is in their food.) This strategy increased consumer trust due to how transparent McDonald’s was. In return, the transparency increased the brand loyalty of consumers.
- Hubspot: if there is ever any company that knows how to reel in, engage, and satisfies their consumers and increases leads, Hubspot is number 1. Over the years, they have developed and effectively executed a content marketing strategy that keeps readers coming for more. The website is informative, educational, and provides valuable answers to its audience’s questions.
Content Marketing Strategy in 9 steps
Step 1: An effective content marketing strategy starts with a framework.
Before starting a solution, it’s essential to define the problem—and what you want to achieve in your business. How can we expect others to know if we don’t know where we are going? The first step in creating an effective content marketing strategy is setting goals for yourself and your team, so everyone knows what they need to do. There are many ways of doing this, but here are some examples:
- Set tangible personal goals for yourself or other individuals within your organization so that each person knows their responsibilities and how far along they are towards achieving them by the end of 3-6 months’ time frame (e.g., send 450 email campaigns over 12 weeks)
- Set measurable KPIs (key performance indicators) against which success can be racked
Step 2: Once you’ve laid the foundation of your content marketing strategy, start thinking about your buyer personas (or target audience) and what questions they ask in each stage of the buying journey.
Buyer Personas are fictional characters that represent your target audience. They don’t need to be accurate or realistic—they’re just used as a starting point for creating relevant content for them.
A buyer persona is a general description of who might buy from you based on their interests and needs.
For example: if I’m selling shoes online, my buyer persona could look like this — “Someone aged between 20-30 who lives in New York City.” This would help me decide what content would be most beneficial for them when they next go shopping online!
Step 3: Determine what content formats the buyer personas will consume at each stage of their buying process.
Content formats include text, images, videos, audio, and podcasts. They should be relevant to the buyer persona and pertinent to its stage of the buying process (e.g., if they are currently researching a product or service).
Finally, they should provide value in an easily digestible format that is easy for them to share. Most shares occur on social media channels like Facebook or LinkedIn, with large followings already established with other professionals who might also be interested in learning more about your offerings!
Step 4: The most important thing to remember is that your content should be helpful for the buyer personas and not have a promotional tone.
Focus on creating content that solves your audience’s problems and helps them achieve their goals. This will ensure that you are writing something valuable, which means people will want to share it with others rather than just reading about your products or services.
Step 5: Once you have shortlisted the topics you want your content to be centered around, you need to present the information so your audience can easily digest and apply it.
- Make it easy to read and understand.
- Make it easily sharable.
- Make it easy to remember or use as a reference point in future conversations with your audience.
Step 6: Decide how frequently you will produce content across various platforms and assign ownership to your team members.
Once you have decided upon the number of times and the length of time you want to produce content, it is essential that you assign ownership.
Ownership means that someone is responsible for creating this content and will be accountable for their actions regarding their work. It’s also essential that they understand what needs to be done when so they can ensure that nothing gets forgotten or overlooked.
For example: If I tell my marketing manager, Joe, he needs to write an article about what our company does every month, then he knows exactly what his role is at all times throughout the year!
Joe doesn’t just sit there thinking, “Hmm, I wonder what else could go into this article?” Joe knows exactly how much time he has available each month because we’ve already talked about whether we’d like him to write articles monthly or weekly, so there isn’t any guesswork involved here!
Step 7: Determine how much time and resources would be involved in creating each content piece and how much of that is available to you
Once you’ve determined the content types and topics included in your strategy, it’s time to determine how much time/resources you need to create each piece of content. For example, if your goal is to create three works of blog posts per month and two infographics per month, then this would mean that:
- You’ll have 12 hours (approximately) worth of content creation per week
- You’ll have 2 days (roughly) worth of research time each week
Step 8: How do you plan on measuring results? What are the KPIs?
The content marketing strategy is simplified if all team members know the KPIs. This is why we encourage businesses to have their KPIs predetermined and explicitly spelled out, so every team member is on the same page.
- KPI one – Visits from a specific source (Google, Facebook, etc.)
- KPI two – Referrals from a particular source (Twitter etc.)
- KPI three – Number of leads generated by our content marketing efforts
Defining these metrics early in the process cannot be overstated. Without knowing how your business will be measured, it can be challenging to determine if your strategies are effective or not.
Step 9: Hone in on your budget to effectively decide the costs incurred on design, editing, promotion, and internal resources required.
You should have a budget that’s realistic, flexible, and agreed upon by all stakeholders.
- Hard costs refer to the instruments or services directly related to the project. In this case, they are; design, editing, and promotion.
- Soft costs are also known as indirect costs, which refer to the general overhead costs that occur in executing your content marketing strategy. These are the internal resources required.
- Budget creation should be based on the priority goals of your project and not ones that can come later.
Earlier, we mentioned how an effective content marketing strategy needs a framework well that still stands. The framework should capture and accurately outline all your business objectives, goals, and KPIs.
A framework is simply an organized system of tools, processes, and resources that you use to achieve your overall business goals. It helps you categorize information about your company or product so that it can be easily accessed later. It also helps create new ideas for different projects and track progress toward achieving them (e.g., “We’ll create X number of blog posts per month starting now until January 2023”).
Developing an effective content marketing strategy can be demanding and unproductive if you don’t know how to go about it but thank goodness for the tips above. Before you decide what content marketing strategy you want to use, make sure it isn’t based on your competition.
As a business owner, especially one focused on the business-to-business (b2b) aspect of products, you need to be sure of your “why” before you take any step.
*Your “why” is why you got into the business; believe it or not, if profit is your sole marker, you won’t get far.
Once you have figured out your “why” and it involves a passion, developing an ideal content marketing strategy becomes easier. The above steps are the guidelines after determining your “why.” It is like a straight track; you are bound to succeed as long as you remain on track.
If you have any questions, reach out to our support team. We are always available to help.