Your content marketing strategy is a critical part of your marketing plan.

Content marketing strategy is a great long-term investment has the power to bring in new customers, drive revenue, educate leads and customers, and eventually build a powerful brand. And that’s why content marketing has been moving at a speed of light in recent years.

It’s 2019. Ready?

You need to maximize your SEO efforts if you want to succeed online.

Let’s face it. If you don’t, your business will be left behind. SEO is a top priority for marketers.

Over 70% of clicks go to organic searches that rank on the first page of Google.

Ranking on the first page of Google can be the deciding factor in making your business thrive online. You probably already know that, right?

It’s not difficult to locate evidence to prove the effectiveness of content marketing for your business.

If you’ve been working in digital marketing for awhile, you know that search engine optimization (SEO)  is a critical part of your digital marketing plan. For the B2B marketers, every piece of content that they write must be written for their target audience as well as search engine search bots.

What is a content marketing strategy?

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing relevant, valuable, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined target audience. Ultimately, you want to drive profitable customer action.

For example, Content Marketing Institute prepared a list of stats showing that a good marketing strategy pays off:

  • Content marketing generates three times more leads per dollar spent than paid search
  • Content marketing generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing while costing 62 percent less
  • Small businesses with blogs get 126 percent lead growth than small businesses without
  • 61 percent of U.S. online consumers made a purchase after reading recommendations on a blog

If you decide to begin your way in content marketing, you’ll discover an endless number of tactics, methods, and techniques online. To help you make a solid performance-based content marketing plan, I’ve compiled seven steps to creating a documented content marketing strategy that you can use right away.

content marketing plan

Step #1: Determine Goals for Your Strategy

If you have any experience in marketing, you know that everything related to this field begins with goals. Content marketing strategy is not an exception.

But before you develop your content marketing goals. You should do a content audit. The content audit will let you know where you stand today. It will help you develop your plan moving forward.  It makes sense to take a look back a year. Specifically at your editorial calendar and see if your last year’s marketing objectives and goals supported your business goals.

In order to make effective goals for your content marketers, use the SMART strategy. It means that every goal is:

  • Specific: clearly identify what you need to achieve
  • Measurable: if you can’t measure a goal, you’ll never know whether you achieved it
  • Attainable: ensure that you can achieve the goal within the deadline set for it
  • Relevant: each goal should be helpful for your business, in both short- and long-term goal
  • Timely: always have a deadline for each goal.

An example, of a SMART goal:

By October 20, 2018, our website should have 2,000 subscribers.

SMART GOALS

Step #2: Research Your Audience

Once you have a clear understanding of why you’re producing content, you should shift your focus to the readers. Simply put, this step is all about answering the question: who are we trying to reach?

A good way to research your target audience and define the final user of your content is to develop content marketing personas. They could also be referred to as buyer personas or reader personas. A persona is a composite sketch of a target user based on validated features that inform your strategy.

Content Marketing Institute recommends taking these five steps to create actionable content marketing personas:

  • Envision an ideal customer and define their demographics, job title, company, industry, and experience
  • Consider specific roles, goals, and challenges that the customer may encounter while performing their role
  • Characterize their role in relation to your business’s buying cycle
  • Fill in their personal communication preferences
  • Map the results to create an engagement scenario.
Buyer Persona Template

Step #3: Determine Content Types

People read and consume different types of marketing content. It helps to understand the psychology of selling and pair that with your buyer personas.  Some people digest information that is visual.

picture-worth-thousand-words

Despite popular opinion, your content marketing plan isn’t limited to blog articles. In fact, it includes such types of content such as:

  • Video
  • Email newsletter
  • Research studies/reports
  • Case studies
  • eBooks
  • Infographics
  • Social networks posts
  • Whitepapers
  • Quizzes
  • Polls
  • And others

Research what types your target audience prefers and focus your effort on producing them.

Step #4: Create Marketing Content Your Reader will Love and Share

“Your content should be written on the topics that are most closely related to your product but also resemble the interests of your target audience,” recommends Ben White, a digital marketer at Proessaywriting. “For example, you can write about a problem that your potential customers encounter on a regular basis and which could be solved by your product/service.”

When you develop content be sure that you are writing for your target audience and the search engine bots.  be careful with your SEO strategy and only use whitehat strategies rather than blackhat SEO strategies.

Also, develop the process of content creation so your marketing team has clear guidelines. For example, your content writers may follow these steps:

  • Come up with a topic (use Hubspot’s Blog Ideas Generator)
  • Select a date to publish on your site, social media, etc.
  • Research keywords
  • Write an outline
  • Write and revise a draft
  • Publish the final version
free seo audit

Step #5: Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Only now you can begin creating your strategy. You have great content, know when to post/publish it, and have a long-term strategy, so it’s time for the promotion and lead generation.

First, determine the techniques you’ll use to promote your content and how often. For example, if your promotional channel is a blog, you can post there one or two times a day. Or, if you want to use email marketing, it may be a good idea to send your subscribers two to three messages a week.  

Email marketing also requires a documented strategy to achieve maximum results, so make sure you’ve developed one before sending out your content.

Step #6: Distribute Content

The next step of the strategy involves distributing, amplifying, and marketing your content anywhere you can. This is an important step when you finally introduce your audience to the content you’ve created.

If you don’t market it, you won’t get results, so here’s how you can distribute it:

  • Social media. Share your content on your social media pages and encourage users to comment and share it.
  • Email marketing. Send content to subscribers who might be interested in getting some assistance and describe how they can benefit from reading/watching your content.
  • Blog. Posting the content on your website is a must-do.

Step #7: Measure Your Content Marketing Strategy Results

Set up dashboard using metrics from Facebook, Twitter, Google Analytics, CRM, Marketing Automation platforms or other analytic tools you might be using. The most common metrics to measure include page views, unique visitors, average time on page, bounce rate, email open rate, click-through rate, shares, keyword positions, and others.

BONUS: Be Sure to Organize all Your Content with an Editorial Calendar

A content marketing editorial calendar is essentially a planning document that gives your team a plan of attack. Like a traditional editorial calendar, it gives you a bird’s-eye view of what is going on.

Your editorial calendar is a content plan for your blog or other distribution channels. It is thinking ahead about what you’re going to write and publish.

2019-content-calendar

Wrapping Up

The next phase of the plan is executed. At this point, you have pretty much everything you need to plan an excellent content marketing strategy. The only thing left to remember is to constantly measure. You should adapt your strategy to meet the ever-changing requirements, pain points, and needs of your customers.

Tom Jager is a professional blogger. He works at A-writer.  He has a degree in Law and English literature. Tom has written numerous articles/online journals. You can reach him at G+  or  Facebook.

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