How to Create an Effective Strategy For your Content Marketing Initiative

By Ilia Jones | November 2018

You wouldn’t board a train without knowing its destination, would you?  Well maybe you’re seeking some type of adventure, but that same exhilaration does not apply to your marketing strategy. When it comes to a content strategy, you want to know exactly where that train is headed, who the passengers are, and the exact time the train will pull into the destination station. 

It’s become essential for businesses to have some sort of digital presence.  Moreover, it’s become essential for those businesses to have engaging content as part of that digital presence.  Everyone is eager to get content out there, but they’re skipping over the whole strategy aspect of this type of marketing.  Truth be told, the strategy part is going to give you success in your content initiative, so it’s very much a necessity. 

Not to worry! We’ve given you four tips on creating a successful content strategy that will take your business to the next level.

 

Set Your Goals

This first step seems obvious right? Well, there’s more to it than meets the eye.  When setting goals for your content strategy, think in layers. Create short-term and long-term goals, then create initiatives and measuring tactics within those goals that will help you get there along the way.

If your long-term goal is simply to get more customers in the doors of your brick and mortar store, think about what metrics you should be focusing on. For example, to get more foot traffic, you’d want to set a goal around increasing awareness.  You should be measuring the number of visitors to your website, followers on social media, and visits to your yelp page.  

Now that you have your metrics, think about what kind of content will be most compelling to potential customers and how best to get that content in front of them. Then, use those metrics to measure the success of your efforts.

 

An example of a great way to structure your goals is below:

Goal Structure Example

Know Your Audience

Is everyone on board with the reality that no one is really a stranger anymore?

Think about it in terms of dating. Before meeting someone, we know their age, face, and have likely already had a weeks-long conversation through whatever dating app we prefer.  We Yelp the restaurant before choosing it, we get the name of our Uber driver before hopping in, and if you use the internet as many do, you probably know your date’s sister’s boyfriend’s dog’s name before you sit down across from them. 

The point is that with most interactions, we’ve done our research.  This is incredibly important to your content strategy. Without knowing your audience, you’re pretty much wasting your time.

There are a few key steps in defining your audience.  

First, you should look into your current customer base.  What are their common motivations, characteristics, and interests?  What are their goals?

If these people are frequenting your business or benefiting from your product, it’s likely that those similar to them will as well.

On the most basic of levels, start building your audiences with the following demographics:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital or family status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic background

Once you have your audiences well-defined, create your content with these people in mind.  Think about the content they want to see and the information they will be looking for during the buying journey.

 

Make a Plan

Your strategy should be like a blueprint for your marketing efforts. Your goals and audience are really the foundation, but your strategy would be obsolete if you stopped there. 

You now have the what and for who of your strategy, you need the how and why. These come in the forms of types and channels for content (how) and the incentive your audience has to engage and follow along with your digital content (why).  

Every piece of content you create should have a strategy behind it.  For instance, if you create a video of the history of your business, where will you put that video and why?

What channels will result in the most engagement for that piece of content? If your audience is segmented, which of your audiences is that video meant to engage?

This is the step where you sit down and determine the outline of all of your content. With a clear and defined strategy, your content will be able to meet the goals you’ve set and all of your content will be intentional.

 

Think Outside the Box

The beauty of content marketing is that you get to experiment with different forms of content.  You don’t have to just stick with one type of content, in fact, you shouldn’t. As you get started in your strategy, you should already have a good idea of the kind of formats your audience engages with.  Do they prefer images, text, or video? You should keep this information in mind but play around with all formats of content.

Look into what your competitors are doing and then find a way to do it better.  Don’t be afraid to put something out there that hasn’t been done before. You want to stand out to your audience and be a leader in your industry, and that means thinking outside the box.


If you’re finding that you're stuck in a strategy that isn’t working for you, follow us on social or subscribe to our blog for helpful insights that will get you out of that rut.

 

Topics: Marketing Strategy, Digital

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