Content marketing is the fastest growing and most effective way to market your business, but creating a winning strategy can be hard. Most content marketers are struggling with their strategy because they don’t have a clear process for creating it. They’re wasting time on tactics that don’t work instead of focusing on strategies that do.
This guide outlines 5 steps you need to create your own winning content marketing strategy so you can grow your business online.
Step by Step Guide to Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy For Your brand
Step 1: Set Your Mission and Your Goals
The first thing you need to do is clarify your mission and write down your goals.
This will help guide not only this strategy but also all the other strategies you’ll develop in the future.
Think of it in this way, experts from full service integrated marketing agencies agree that setting goals is the most important first step in your content marketing strategy.
You can’t decide how to create engaging content if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve.
Your goals are different from a mission statement since they focus on specific actions and results, such as increasing customer engagement or driving more traffic to your website.
What Goals Should You Set?
Your goal could be to increase overall traffic to your website, drive more visitors from search engines, or convert more leads into customers.
Or you might want to focus on specific actions like increasing the number of subscribers or getting people to share your content on social media.
A good strategy includes not only a mission but also goals that are specific, measurable, attainable and relevant to your business.
For example, if you set a mission to become the number one player in your industry within five years then this could create huge pressure on you and everyone else in your company.
This goal is so large it’s almost impossible to achieve.
So instead you might want to set smaller goals for the first year, such as doubling your number of customers in a year or reaching $1 million in revenue.
Step 2: Understand Your Audience and Where They’re At
You can’t create an effective marketing strategy if you don’t understand who you’re trying to reach and why they’ll care about what you have to say.
Understanding your audience is not just about knowing how many people are in it and what their demographic profiles look like.
This is a good starting point, but you should also think about what else makes each member of your target group unique.
The best way to do this is by researching the problems they face on a daily basis and the questions they’re trying to answer.
- What questions are your target group asking?
- What problems are you solving for them?
- What kind of content do they find useful and what information would be a complete waste of their time?
How can you create content that not only provides the answers they’re looking for but also gives them something extra, like a piece of valuable insight or a useful tip?
Step 3: Get the Best from Your Team
With a great understanding of your audience and your goals clearly set out, it’s time to get input from everyone in your organization who has expertise that will help you succeed.
Not only should be involving other departments like marketing or public relations but also customer support and sales.
All these people have access to information that you need.
Sales people find out from customers what their biggest problems and concerns are.
Customer support staff can tell you which features customers ask for the most often.
Think of this as a brainstorming session – gather all the ideas, insights and suggestions together then take time to go through them carefully before making any final decisions.
What seems like a great idea initially might not be so good if you take the time to think it through.
Step 4: Know Your Audience and How to Reach Them
Once you’ve got an understanding of who your audience is, or at least a potential target group then what you need to do is find out how they like to consume information online – in particular, how they prefer to receive content from your business.
A lot of businesses have far more web traffic and social media fans than they can possibly keep up with because they’re creating the same kind of content for everyone.
This just makes it easier for competitors to reach the people who are interested in their products or services rather than yours.
So what should you do instead?
Find out which social channels your target audience is using the most and where they can be found. Identify those who are your competitors’ fans, followers and customers.
Create a plan on how to engage with them. If there’s a piece of content that is particularly well received, then focus on creating more of that type.
If there’s a particular subject or theme you know your target audience is interested in, then focus on creating more content around those themes.
Step 5: Create Great Content
One of the biggest challenges any business owner faces is knowing how to create engaging and useful content without spending too much time or money.
With all the marketing tools on offer, you can be tempted to rush in and try every single one of them.
The problem with this approach is that it doesn’t work.
You end up spending far too much time trying to manage all the activity you’re generating but very little time actually creating the content that’s going to help your business grow.
Create a content calendar that takes into account any other marketing activity you’re involved in, such as email campaigns or social media activity.
Don’t even bother creating content unless it’s part of the schedule – then stick to the plan and don’t deviate from it no matter how tempting it may be to do something else instead.
The Winning Content Strategy
There are many reasons why creating a content strategy for your business can be incredibly useful.
Not only will it give you a clear picture of what you should be doing and how to achieve your goals, but also how much time and effort is involved in achieving them.
It’s important to remember that the process never ends – when one goal has been reached, it’s time to start looking at the next.
And when you’ve got that goal in sight, take some time to look even further ahead and plan how you’ll keep your business growing once that target has been achieved.