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How to develop a content marketing strategy [9-Step Guide]

It’s ok and it’s not too late. Regardless, if you are only now beginning with your content marketing efforts or if it’s been a while since you rehashed the old strategy.

It’s never too late to refresh your content strategy with the latest trends, out-of-the-box campaigns that engage your customers like never before. 

No matter what, studies say that 78% of CMOs believe custom content is the future of marketing. And that is already too much competition for you to ignore content marketing for your business and risk falling behind.

A powerful and well-thought-out content marketing plan that can engage your customers is the first step in getting ahead in the competition.

If you are here to get a fresh perspective on how to develop a content marketing strategy, then you have come to the right place.

This article is all about uncovering the best techniques to build your content marketing strategy. We will talk about what is a content strategy, why a content marketing strategy is important for business, and how to make a content marketing plan. Read on: 

What is a content marketing strategy?

The fact is there is some content available on the Interweb about how to build a strategy, that it makes you think but what is a content strategy exactly?

In the simplest terms, every business has a business goal to achieve (mainly selling products or services).

The plan or process of achieving those business goals by marketing self-created or owned content (be it audio, video, text, or more) is called content strategy.

It’s not enough to just create great content, you need a well laid out content marketing plan as well for your business to grow. 

Why is content marketing strategy important?

The concept of content marketing is to empower businesses with strong and profitable content that attracts genuine website traffic that converts into leads and customers.

You will be surprised how many leads you can generate by creating just one super engaging blog post that attracts constant traffic.

All you will have to do is embed a link to your lead magnet (ebook, free tool, etc.) in that blog, and you are good to go. You might have noticed the plugin for my free SEO checklist on the right that has been added for the same reason. 

Once your content starts generating enough source of traffic and leads, you can start testing other marketing techniques such as paid content on third party sites, social media ads, and distributed content to expand your sources of revenue.

Additionally, not only will your content bring in more leads, but it will also help create a buzz around your brand’s name (brand awareness) amongst your target audience. 

How to make a content marketing plan

Now that you understand what is content marketing, and why is it important, let’s get straight into how to create a content marketing strategy? 

Here are the steps for creating the best content strategy

  1. Setup your goals and KPIs
  2. Understand your audience
  3. Run content audit
  4. Figure out content marketing channels
  5. Decide types of contents
  6. Create content calendar
  7. Allocate resource and create content
  8. Publish and promote your content
  9. Measure the results

1. Set up your goals and KPIs

One of the most important aspects of any business planning and not just your content strategy is understanding and defining what you aim to get out of developing the content strategy.

Setting up exact goals for your campaign enables you to concentrate on the most important elements of your strategy, ensuring that you stay focussed on points that matter while creating your strategy.

Don’t forget to keep these three things in your mind while creating your content strategy- your target audience, the kind of content that will connect with them, and how will it benefit them. 

On one hand, these three pointers will ensure that your audience will get the most from your strategy, you also must establish how will this content strategy help you achieve your business goals, including increasing your revenue, getting more traffic, adding on to your SEO efforts, engaging with your audience on social media, and more. 

As goals are nothing but wishful thinking if you don’t add specific milestones and measuring metrics, to know where you stand.

Your strategy needs key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can check off. Your KPIs will be the measurable indicators of what you aim to achieve from the strategy, including web traffic, sales, revenue, ROI, and more

2. Understand your audience

Understanding your target audience is one of the most important aspects of developing a successful content marketing plan.

Knowing who your target audience will enable you to create a content plan that helps you develop content pieces that are relevant, engaging, and add value to your audience’s life.

This will enable them to have faith in your knowledge and urge them to convert leads and loyal customers as well. 

There are three steps your need to take to find your target audience 

Gather demographic data of your audience

Collect data including the age, gender, education, income, interests, and more of the people who visit your website, follow you on social media, subscribe to your email, and more.

You can get this data using tools like web analytics, social media analytics, and email subscriber analytics. 

Learn how to install Google Analytics to your website 

Collect Customer Feedback

You can learn a lot about your target audience by understanding what your current customers are saying about your products or services. 

You can learn about what problems your customers are facing and try and solve them. You can even understand where you need to promote your services to reach out to them and more. 

Create Buyer Personas

The next thing you need to do is sketch your buyer personas aka customer avatar based on your audience demographic and feedback.

This customer avatar describes what your ideal customer looks like and you create your content around them.

3. Run a content edit

This step is not applicable if you are creating a content marketing strategy plan template for the first time.

However, if you already are producing some kind of content including blogs, websites, etc, you need to check the results of your content marketing efforts from the past year.

You can do that by running a content audit that shows you what is working and what is not working for you. 

Once you have the results for your audit, you can figure out what you would like to add, remove, improve, and edit from your previous strategy and real align your goals. 

4. Figure out content marketing channels

By this stage, you will already have a clear idea about the most frequent channels where your audience is finding and engaging with your content, Ideally, it is suggested to focus on one or two channels that are bringing you results rather than doing everything at once. 

However, avoid the guessing game of what’s working and what’s not by checking out the data from Google Analytics or other tools like BuzzSumo.

These tools will give you details about how your content is perceived on different social media channels. As a result, you will be able to decide which channels to focus on to market your content.

5. Decide types of contents

The next agenda in your content strategy is to figure out what types of content would you include in your strategy.

There are some must-have content types like blogs and websites that are by default included in all content creation strategy templates.

Your content marketing plan will largely depend on the content published on your website to drive visitors and convert them to leads. Different types of content that you can include in your plan are: 

  • Blog: They always deliver results and should be a crucial part of your plan
  • Video: In recent years, video marketing has been able to successfully engage with potential customers and has boosted the lead generation efforts.
  • Visual content: There is no denying that audiences connect more with visual content like images, infographics, and gifs as compared to text. 
  • Other content types:
    • Ebooks
    • Webinars
    • Podcasts
    • Worksheets
    • Case Studies
    • White paper
    • Checklists 
    • Templates 
    • Guides
    • Infographics
    • Videos
      and more can also add value to your content marketing plan

6. Create content calendar

No content marketing plan can be successful without an effective content calendar that details what content you are publishing on different platforms and when you are publishing it.

Thus, it is important that you create a content calendar to ensure that all your content is scheduled at the right time.

You don’t have to do it manually, there are so many project management and content publishing tools available like Google Calendar, Publer, Asana, Hootsuite, and more that allow you to manage your calendar and schedule different parts of the content creation process.

7. Allocate resource and create content

The next thing that you need to tackle is to acknowledge and allocate resources (financial and human resources) as per your strategy and the content types.

Understand the resources available to you and decide, who will be creating the content for you, what kind of resources will your need to create the content including human resources, money, and tools needed to create and market the content. 

Once that is sorted out, you can start focusing on actually creating the content. You must keep your brand identity in mind while creating the content. Decide if your brand voice will be too formal, casual, or very casual and more.

8. Publish and promote your content

Content distribution and marketing your content is what it all comes down to because all your efforts will fail without proper distribution and marketing plan.

You have already created your strategy, so now is the time to execute that plan and you can do that by religiously following and publishing your content as per the calendar you made earlier. 

Follow the below points for promoting the content you published:

  • Create a plan to share your content on your selected social media channels immediately. 
  • Additionally, make the plan to reuse the same content for your drip campaign as well. 
  • Email marketing is another great way to share your content with your target audience. 
  • You can even dabble with influencer marketing to market your company further.

9. Measure the results

Measuring the success of your content strategy is the last step in your content marketing strategy guide.

To measure your success, you need to refer to the KPIs of your strategy to analyze if you were able to achieve the goals set by you or if anything has changed since you made the plan. 

You can do this by examining how your content is performing on different channels through tools like Google Analytics, Buzzsumo for your website content.

You can use the inbuilt social analytics tools to check how your content is doing on social media channels and verify the number of email sign-ups via analytics in your email marketing software. 

Measuring the progression of your content plan will not only help understand where you stand but also help you tweak your plan to improve the performance in the future. 

Bonus Strategy: Create a plan for updating your old content

While it is always great to continuously produce fresh and relevant content, it requires a lot of effort and consumes a lot of time as well.

What you can do instead is create a plan to update your old content. Updating your old content will not only take less time and effort but will also deliver faster results. 

Additionally, Google will see your refurbished content as a new piece and that will increase the traffic to your website. So, there are a lot of benefits for a little amount of work. 

To refresh your old content, you can use Google Search Console to find out some of your old low performing blogs.

You can analyze these blogs, find the gap in the content, and fill them with some fresh and relevant content, and it is as good as a new blog. Additionally, you can also merge similar blogs to create a detailed new one as well.

That is it!

You now know all the steps to build the best content marketing strategy and are ready to create your own successful content marketing plan.

What did you think of this blog?

Let me know in the comments.



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1 thought on “How to develop a content marketing strategy [9-Step Guide]”

  1. Knowing your audience plays a key role in this process Viken. Excellent job on this post buddy. Know them and you market effectively to them. Knowing not your audience makes it difficult to both create content and to market to these folks.

    Ryan

    Reply

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