Content marketing, and a good content marketing strategy, are essential for success in today’s market. A good strategy is something which helps people plan for how they will bring new traffic and conversions to their online presence. Even such a seemingly simple thing as a blog post is a useful addition to a content marketing strategy — if it brings in leads.
Creative content agencies will encourage businesses to form a coherent strategy for content marketing because such a strategy, if successful, can mean that businesses can consider and try out other marketing strategies without suffering from any loss of revenue. Another reason having a strategy is being able to form a coherent brand, and perhaps also to find ways in which your marketing can teach your intended audience, as well as persuade them to become customers.
It is important to know that there is a visible difference between a content marketing strategy, and a content marketing plan. Where a content marketing strategy asks why, a content marketing plan asks how, so the strategy should come first. The strategy lays out all the details of why the business is creating content, who it is being created for, and why the potential customers should look to that business over others. In contrast, the marketing plan, according to top content marketers, should contain information which is more along the lines of what topics will be covered in the marketing itself, and what content the business will create, and so on.
How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
A good content marketing strategy will help to show how the marketing itself will introduce people and potential customers to the business and what it values, as well as detailing how that will be addressed. There are no strict rules for what such a strategy should look like, but many creative content agencies cite the following five rules as good components of any strategy.
- Make the case for using content marketing: there are many forms of marketing – explain why the business chose content marketing over them.
- Explain what the content marketing itself will involve. What will the business achieve through content marketing, what they are going to provide through said content, and what the customers themselves need.
- Audience personas and content marketing maps: describe the audiences who the business is targeting, what values it is going to show through the marketing, and what the needs of its audience are.
- Brand story: what message does the business want to get across to its audience, and what values.
- Channel plan: what channels are the business going to use to spread their message? Will social media be involved?
Measure your content marketing strategy: goals to achieve
The best content marketing agencies will make sure that the businesses they work with are clear about what they want out of their content marketing – what goals they have. A business knowing what they want to work towards in terms of the goals they want to achieve. Knowing what results they want in terms of content, channels, and audience at the very least makes it more likely that the strategy will be successful.
Not every strategy is successful. Sometimes the audience has been misjudged, or sometimes they don’t respond as well to the brand which is being marketed to them as was previously thought. A failed strategy does not necessarily mean a complete failure, however. It simply means that whichever part of the process failed needs to be re-evaluated.
A strategy which is not fully thought out is one which is more likely to fail. Therefore, it is necessary to be absolutely sure of your goals when it comes to content marketing management.
The research done
Research which is driven by results is research that knows, in some form, what it wants. While knowing the exact results would negate the need for research, it is important to at least know some general points about the direction you want your research to take – what audience uses social media, for example, and what iteration of the company brand would be best received.
Research can sometimes fail, through either the fault of the business, or the fault of inaccurate information. Sometimes a business does not always pay attention to the result of their research, leading them to make decisions which are not in their best interests. Sometimes the information itself is out of date, for various reasons. This can lead to a business taking certain marketing avenues, but not achieving the desired results due to having outdated information.
Types of content and channels
The type of content and the channels used can differ according to the audience which you seek. Good research will help sort out which channels and what content is best. For example, social media is better for a younger audience, while blogs and traditional websites are good for older audiences. Social media relies on smaller pieces of content than do blogs, and so on.
Failed strategies in this, again, revolve around a lack of research. A good example would be the use of social media; bad research would lead businesses to use social media to reach an audience which has no use for social media. The content marketing would fail, as it would have no way of reaching the intended target audience.
Tracking results during the content marketing process is vital for a good company. The best content marketing agencies will all recommend it, as businesses can track how the marketing is faring by using it, and so keep a better eye on what is happening.
Failed strategy in this area can come about either through a failure to track anything in the marketing campaign, or a failure to do anything about the information being tracked. If a business knows that one area of marketing is not successful, then leaving it as-is is a failure.
Updating and Experiments
This naturally follows on from tracking – having a content marketing strategy allows you to explore new ideas which might act as good follow-ons from what is currently happening.
Running experiments with no clear idea of what works and what doesn’t in a marketing campaign. Not knowing what is working in a particular campaign means that any experiments lack support in that area, and are more likely to fail.
The top content marketing companies will tell businesses that having a coherent content marketing strategy, one which covers the five stages of planning, implementing, measuring, analyzing, and improving is imperative for success. Following these five stages will allow for the creation of a strategy which is likely to succeed.