You’ve heard the phrase content is king. Well, it still is. 82% of marketers actively invested in content marketing in 2021, up 70% from 2020, according to Hubspot. That’s why it is critical for your company to develop a viable content strategy to compete using modern marketing methods. Without a content marketing strategy that takes into account what your competitors do to rule the digital space, you could lose on conversions and revenue. A fantastic content strategy for your team can outline strengths and weaknesses, how to rank more highly in organic searches, and improve your content marketing efforts and ROI.
Welcome to our comprehensive guide on how to create a powerful content marketing strategy in six easy steps.
But first, we answer a few important questions.
What Is a Content Marketing Strategy?
Your content strategy needs to outline several key areas from start to finish:
- Goals you want to reach and in what timeframes
- Types of content you want to use and when
- How long do you want to run the campaign
- How to measure success and ROI
- How to tweak the strategy when you examine metrics
- Your target audience
Your content strategy should attempt to reach targeted members of your audience using a diverse range of engaging content that resonates with your prospects at every stage of the sales funnel. For example, let’s say you want to increase brand awareness. Consider implementing a content marketing plan focusing on SEO to improve organic traffic and your rankings in Google search engine results pages (SERPs). Your stated conversions for this strategy would be more interactions with products and services pages. A viable content marketing plan generates three times more leads at a 62% lower cost compared to traditional channels, according to HubSpot. That’s why you need your website set up and designed the right way along with great content that speaks to your audience’s pain points to generate leads through the right conversion points.
Why Do You Need a Content Marketing Strategy?
Content marketing speaks directly to your target audience to increase awareness at every stage of the sales funnel. Your content marketing strategy helps your team develop a concerted effort using best industry practices, to reach that audience.
You might need a content marketing strategy if:
- People are getting their answers from your competitors because they outrank you in a Google search
- You want to increase your brand visibility online through as many channels as possible
- Don’t know how much staff time it’s going to take and you need to hire more help
- You desire to develop relationships and connections within your industry
- Your sales team needs more leads through form fills and phone calls
Modern businesses can’t afford to get behind in a content strategy because SEO builds trust, authoritativeness, and expertise over time as your body of content grows.
Need more convincing?
If your competition doesn’t have a content marketing strategy, you’ll already be ahead of the game. The Content Marketing Institute notes that in 2021, more than half of content marketers stated they did not have a formal content strategy. Companies that do employ a concerted content marketing strategy consistently say their marketing efforts are much more successful compared to those that don’t. In addition to the great content on your website, consider tapping into the inbound marketing methodology. This paradigm imagines your marketing as a flywheel with attract, delight, and engage stages along a continuous wheel that keeps your target audience aware of your brand. Along with attracting prospects, you can leverage a content strategy for sales enablement and customer satisfaction at a later stage.
Now we’ll take a look at how to create your content marketing plan in six powerful steps.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy in 6 Steps
Now it’s time to start developing your content marketing plan.
1. Ask Plenty of Questions to Set Goals
As many as 70% of content marketers reported the pandemic impacted their content marketing strategy in moderate or major ways, leading them to reassess how to develop successful plans, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s aforementioned report. Now that the pandemic is easing, it’s time to readjust your plan. Ask your team questions about what content marketing goals they want to reach with your new campaign. Don’t forget to make your goals actionable, timely, and measurable.
- How long should the campaign last?
- What channels do we want to use?
- What types of content do we want to create?
- What content marketing KPIs do we measure?
- What staffing levels and time do we need?
- Should we outsource our marketing efforts to experts?
- What does a good content marketing ROI look like?
- How do we measure content marketing success?
- What type of revenue can our SEO generate?
- What past successes can we draw from?
Use the answers to these questions to develop a concrete strategy moving forward.
2. Develop Ideal Customer and Buyer Personas
Delve into your target audience’s demographics and psychographics to figure out their pain points by developing ideal customer and buyer personas. There is a distinct difference between the two. A buyer persona uses demographics and information you have on hand regarding your current customers. An ideal customer persona should look into the mindset of the customers and prospects you want to attract.
Take a look at these items to look into for your personas:
- Family status
- Pain points
- Anything other relevant information that would lead to a conversion
Personas are a powerful tool that puts you inside the minds of people who want to pay for your products or services.
3. Assess the Current State of Your SEO
Organic searches for search engine optimization (SEO) are important because they take into account a user’s intent when they try to find your products or services. For this, you have several tools at your disposal to look at how well you rank compared to your competitors in an organic search.
- Google search engine results pages
- Google Search Console
- Google Analytics
- SEMrush, Moz, Ahrefs, and similar third-party tools
- Google My Business (if you’re a local company with a specified geographic range)
Each of these tools delivers different statistics on the behavior and search patterns of your target audience. Knowing your current status allows you to figure out what channels you want to use during your marketing campaign. Did you know that 35% of all website traffic comes from organic searches? This is why Search Engine Journal states you need a solid SEO plan for creating any type of content.
4. Decide on Content Types
Content involves everything that you put out there on the web.
There are three main types of content:
- Writing (landing pages, blogs, and verbiage)
- Audio (podcasts)
- Visual (images and video)
Each of these types of content may be more or less labor-intensive and cost-effective, depending on the resources you wish to allocate to the project. Podcasts, when done properly, need professional-grade recording equipment (although prices are coming down). Your team can produce quality photos, images, and videos using top-of-the-line smartphones that your staff probably already has on hand. If you want to wow someone, consider aerial footage taken from drones. Writing can be long-form content, blogs, social media posts, landing pages, ads, and more.
5. Create a Content Calendar
This is when you map out what content is due by when, and when it gets posted to your website or on social media. Having a content calendar in place lets you see when to start tracking metrics on various content when you measure KPIs and make adjustments to the strategy. It also allows you to allocate resources at appropriate times for staffing levels.
6. Measure KPIs and ROI
Measuring success means tapping into your metrics to gauge the KPIs and ROI of your content. Of course, you would love to have more conversions and an increase in revenue. You can measure that in a couple of ways, through Google Analytics and by simply asking your client how they found you. Once you measure success from this content marketing plan, you can adjust for the next one to improve on the first one.
Tools You’ll Need to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy
Luckily, you have plenty of great tools to use when creating, implementing, and measuring the success of your content marketing plan.
Google Drive to Ask and Answer Questions
Often, one meeting is never enough to get everyone’s questions in one place. Create a Google Doc or Google Sheet to track everyone’s questions during the initial stages of your strategy session.
HubSpot’s Buyer Persona Development Tool
Google Analytics and Google Search Console allow your team to see what your users do when interacting with your website and how they find your website.
SEMrush to Determine What Content to Write
SEMrush has a content generator to give you ideas of what content to write and what keywords to use as you try to outrank your competition.
Asana for Your Content Calendar
Asana is a great productivity tool to measure the time spent on a project and to set deadlines.
Google Suite for KPIs
Measuring your KPIs and ROI goes back to Google. Google Analytics shows you conversion goals that happened, while Google Search Console shows you how your pages increased in their rankings over time.
Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy With Us
We hope you enjoyed our comprehensive guide on how to create a content marketing strategy for your company. Don’t have time for marketing? We can help. Contact us, and we’ll talk about what we can do for you.
Want to see what we’re capable of? See what makes us one of the best content marketing agencies for your industry. Take a look at our content marketing case studies as well as a content marketing strategy case study and proof of a successful content strategy.
We hope to hear from you soon.