- Targeting the right audience/buyer persona
- Determining the needs of said audience, and attempt to answer their questions and solve their problems with your contents
- Content formats you will focus on, or if you want to be diverse, how diverse?
- The uniqueness of your contents
- Which channels you will publish your contents
- Content scheduling and management
- Content promotion
- Content leveraging
A Step-By-Step Guide To Creating a Content Marketing StrategyFor the rest of this guide, will discuss the key steps you will need to take in building a content marketing strategy. Let us begin with the first one.
1. Determining Your Goals and PurposesAny marketing plan, or even any plan at all, should begin by defining your goal(s). Your goals should be both specific as realistic. Focusing on too many goals at once not only can lead to confusion, but will divide your efforts. On the other hand, if your goals are unrealistic, you simply won’t produce the desired results, or any result at all. Specific to content marketing, here are the common (and proper) goals you can focus on:
- Brand Awareness
- Lead Generation
- Nurturing Your Leads and Customers
2. Finding Your AudienceMost businesses assume they know their audience, and they are right. However, it is also common for businesses to target the wrong audience, and they only realize it when they are too late. Don’t make that mistake!. Knowing your audience is very important in content marketing, so that you can produce contents that are relevant and valuable for that specific audience. The most common (and effective) method to find your target audience is to create your buyer persona: a fictional, ideal representation of your customer. Here are several approaches you can try:
- Arguably, one of the easiest ways is to look at how your competitors are doing. Chances are, their audience can also be your audience. This is where competitive analysis (Link to guide) comes into play/
- Use your forms effectively to capture important information regarding your persona. Information like age, occupation, and gender are obvious, but you can also aim for more specifics depending on your niche.
- If you already have previous campaigns, look through your contact database and find patterns about certain leads or customers demographics.
- Collaborate with your sales team. Your sales often have more interaction with your leads and customers, and so they can have insights you don’t.
- Actively interview your customers and leads, it can be in person, over the phone, or even by utilizing forms. Especially, your interviews should be able to answer what they like about your brand, products, and services.
3. Determine Your MediaNow that you’ve determined your ideal audience, you should choose the right content media(s) that will cater to that audience. Just because video and live streaming seem to be where everyone is nowadays, doesn’t essentially mean it is the right medium for your business. Audience is definitely the number one consideration here, as certain personas will be more comfortable with specific medium(s) over the others. However, there are two other major considerations you should have:
- Your Message
4. Develop A Content CalendarArguably, the most important part of your content marketing strategy is to have a content calendar to effectively manage the what (content topics and ideas), when (to publish) and where (the media) of your contents. There are two key aspects to developing a content calendar: first is to come up with content ideas that will turn into topics, and planning when and where you should publish them. Try to at least come up with a 6-months worth of content editorial calendar, with a 1-year calendar being most ideal. There are many tools you can use in the idea generation process:
- Keyword Analyzer Tools like SEMRush, Moz’s Explorer, and others
- A very handy Blog Idea Generator tool by HubSpot
- RSS is still a thing, use Feedly to keep track of trending topics and contents in your niche
- Headline analyzer tool by CoSchedule
- BuzzSumo, a powerful and popular site to analyze and generate topics
5. Get a Content Management SystemIn conjunction with your content calendar, you can use a content management system to manage everything about your content marketing strategy in one place. A good content management system should at least cover the content development, publication, and analytics processes. There are many options you can try from free to paid ones, WordPress is arguably the most popular content management system out there, as well as a popular blogging platform. HubSpot also offers an excellent content management system.
6. Content PromotionContent promotion is a pretty broad subject, and this guide won’t give it much justice. Refer to our previous content promotion guide for a more in-depth discussion here (link). The idea is, promoting your content is as, if not more important than the content creation itself. It’s no use to have an excellent piece of content without anyone reading it. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Promote your contents in your social media channels not just once, but with a set schedule depending on your customer’s behavior
- If budget allows, consider getting an influencer in your industry to promote your contents
- Guest posting still works if you do it properly, the key is not to focus on backlinks but reputation
- Paid advertising is always an option, if not the most important option out there. Consider running ad campaigns to promote your contents