Content marketing has becoming increasingly popular as part of a business/brands marketing strategy. The reason behind this is partly due to the many benefits it has to a business as a result of good content marketing. Some such benefits are things like: enriched brand recognition and reputation, improved SEO and even a better social media presence and popularity.
Content marketing can seem like a fairly straightforward process and this apparent ease of executing a content marketing strategy is a reason why it has gained popularity amongst businesses and their marketing teams. However, thinking that it is easy or that you can improvise your way through content marketing (without a real strategy) can actually hurt your brand or businesses rather than develop the marketing and exposure it gets.
The reality is if you want your content marketing to succeed then you need a strategy, a good one too. Below we discuss some steps that can help you develop an effective content marketing strategy:
- Market Research: The first step of developing any marketing strategy whether it is content marketing, digital marketing or anything else is to do your market research. A thorough market research and understanding your customers and products are the foundation to a good strategy. Your business (unless it’s a new one) should already know the target demographic for its products or services. But it’s important to look a little deeper beyond demographic and ask questions like:
– How do your customers react when they come across your business blog or articles?
– Where are they in the buying cycle (or decision making process) before purchasing your products or services?
– What is it they want and need? What exactly are they looking for?
– What problem do they need help solving?You can conduct surveys and monitor blog/social-media activity to help you answer some of the above questions and gain better insight. This way you can develop the content you release so it helps resolve these issues for the customers.
- Competitive Research: Knowing your readers and what they want is one thing, but equally important is being aware of your competitors. What are your biggest competitors doing in terms of content marketing? Do they have an aggressive marketing strategy to pursue the same target demographic? Or maybe they are neglecting and important part of a successful content marketing strategy? Asking questions about your competitors can help you find certain offensive and defensive opportunities that you may not have initially noticed.
- Setting-up Goals and Targets: Once you’ve got the research phase out of the way, the next step is to lay out the goals and targets you hope to achieve with your content marketing strategy. When it comes to goals you have to be a little specific so as to see real value.- Are you looking to ptimarily increase conversions/sales?
– Or simply improve on traffic to the website?
– Is the focus of your strategy going to be to attract new customers or keep your existing ones?You can have multiple goals, but it is vital to keep them specific and actionable. If possible break down your goals to sub-goals or targets that can be tied to a specific action (for instance the type or number of posts you want to share each week).
- Budget: Now that you have your goals outlined, it’s time to plan out a rough budget for your overall content marketing campaign. If you have already been given a set budget from your supervisors you can start specifying goals to match what the given budget is capable of achieving, this way if more funds are required you can request them with justification as to why it’s needed.
- Allocate resources: The distribution of your budget is next on the list of steps. To do this you will need to set your priorities and carefully allocate resources as required. For instance do you want to build up an audience first or focus on fresh onsite content until you have an archive ready for display? Who is going to be writing these posts? Are you going to be working with any outside agencies or content writers? Clarify responsibilities and division of labour in detail so there is no room for ambiguity.
- Accountability: Last but not least is adding a layer of accountability across your whole content marketing strategy and campaign. How do you plan on measuring progress and when are you going to measure it? Who is responsible for various tasks if they aren’t actioned properly? If the marketing campaign deviates from the original strategy, who is responsible for getting things back on track? These questions of accountability need to be addressed in the very beginning when planning and developing your content marketing strategy.