Content marketing means more than different operations with content (sharing, writing and spreading) and its aim is more than just audience attraction, branding, lead generation and other actions possible with content marketing.
The main idea of every strategy, including content marketing, is a strategic approach to each step. Content marketing can be a part of a strategy for marketing. However, it demands its own strategy: learn how to create one. But, like every other strategy that concerns marketing channels (for example, Internet, e-mail and social media marketing) this kind of strategy needs to become a part of a wider strategic plan.
The term “content marketing strategy” differs from “content marketing.” It is involved in the analysis of various methods of usage of content marketing in a buyer’s journey. It also concerns customer’s life cycle and/or various customer experience. Sometimes it goes further than these terms. All in all, it is used to watch how a strategy (not simple content marketing) can cooperate with other marketing strategies.
What questions does a content marketing strategy answer?
- What does the term “buyer personas” mean and what type of content do they need and prefer? This question concerns different “prototypes” of customers at the time of the buying journey and represents customers’ preferences in communication and content formatting. This term is not only about content marketing strategy. It appears in any type of marketing plan. However, content marketing indeed makes you take a closer look at this subject.
- What intentions can be implemented or improved with better usage of content marketing? There are a lot of examples that show how content marketing and its strategy can affect things: social media and email marketing, marketing automation, generation of leads, building traffic, conversions, technical and customer support, event marketing and more. Content marketing strategy affects them all. As a matter of fact, don’t just ask what organizational goals content marketing serves. The main trick is not to ask what goals can be achieved but to separate content marketing from other branches and integrate it into the overall strategy.
- What standards and KPIs should be applied for success in content marketing? Despite some peculiarities of content marketing metrics, one should speak about it in a language common to business and marketing terms. As it is not a separate happening, one of the parts of a successful strategy is tracking ROI and content marketing ROI within the organization.
- What structure of the organization is more interesting? Or it is better to ask how we can make sure that everything that concerns content marketing processes cooperates well with other marketing teams? Usually, experts say that there is a need to build a team that is devoted to it to some degree. As practice shows, it rarely happens, except in some big corporations. A team is more likely to focus on tasks better than on its role.
- What other marketing and business strategies can benefit from content marketing? There are a lot of examples beginning from the support department and finishing with sales and conversions.
- What data do I need to have and what should I know about in order to achieve success? The following important questions should be answered before attempting to create a content marketing strategy, content creation, and stock-taking.
- What are the changes in your industry? Let’s be more specific: how do the buyer personas with their buyer journeys concern the industry of yours and your business? What is the role of content marketing? Take a look at the progress of B2B industry for example. Look deeper than just the role of content. Key Account Maintenance seems to be crucial for that industry. Can an optimized strategy for content marketing be applied there? Notice the diversity of customers in this sphere and their influence.
- What are the main questions that we need to answer and what is the plan that will turn our content marketing strategy to take action and make it concern more aspects bound to content?
- What amount of money can we invest for the best results? What are the areas that will gain unbelievable incomes? Let’s imagine that you have got a budget for a website. It would be better to invest it into some useful content for your buyer personas than into design. Or you may concentrate on getting traffic instead of conversions. They can be expanded by investing in more valuable content.
- Where can we find a budget when there is no available money? If your organization is missing out on important opportunities – and it always is – you need to make a calculated case for additional budgets.
Content marketing strategy has got some questions to answer.
What purpose does a content marketing strategy have?
Content marketing is not a separate happening, there is a reason there is a strategy for it.
Consider content marketing to be an umbrella term, which means that it can be applied to many people and for many reasons. For example, search engine marketing is more palpable. That is why the strategy of content marketing is so important for you and the health of your organization. Without a proper strategy, there is a risk to concentrate only on goals and stop noticing everything happening around. It is one of the hardest mistakes in marketing. It is a pity, but this mistake appears too often and leads to a spoiled view on things.
Now is the time of overall integration and globalization. Thinking that content and social media marketing are two same umbrella terms is unacceptable.
Content marketing is connected to other areas too tightly. You cannot look at it like at social media marketing, for example, where the budgets are gathered from separate sources. The “nowadays” approach in content marketing deprives less time to buyer personas than to an audience. However, this point of view requires a strategy as well. Otherwise, your company must live only with the help of Internet traffic. Make sure not to look at content marketing only from a social point of view.
The points of a strategy of content marketing
Here is the list of the most common steps of each content marketing strategy.
- Check what type of content will be more useful. You need it for meeting different demands of the customer journey or for the purposes of the brand.
- Complete stocktaking should be performed in order to identify all possible resources of information and already existing content that could be turned into valuable content.
- Create proper plans and schedules.
- Create a history of the brand’s promise and unique value propositions. Bind customers’ needs, your brand and your goal in your content.
- Content should appear in time and for a specific purpose in order to automate special marketing processes.
- Each channel should have its own content marketing strategy. Of course, it is not the first thing you should do, but keep in mind that different social media links or instruments have different characteristics. Make sure that your content strategy fits them all.
- Be confident that your content is being spread between different customers and marketing groups successfully.
- Identify metrics that are specific to content and those that will help you to check if the chosen content strategy flows well.
- Apply different approaches to content and make it look perfect.
- Make sure to identify an appropriate mix. It should fit all parameters that concern customers’ needs and goals.
- Applying various formats to content, with special calls-to-action for each type. Make sure to have a wide diversity of content formats. It is not a rule, but a recommendation, as different customers have different needs. A big number of touchpoints creates a good influence. Choosing between different relevant content formats is not bad.
- Creating content correlated with a buying cycle and pain points. One should elaborate on the buying personas. Watch the buyer journey and the sales cycle (these are not the same terms; they even do not cooperate).
- Make sure to plan your campaigns in order to watch if different content marketing approaches can be united.
- Define the governance. Keep in mind the flows of content, its assets. Save all ideas and related data.
- Do not forget about teaching and coaching people who will take part in the process of strategy creation.
- Identify a loop between the parameters of sales and marketing, involving content too.
- Notice the less usual things, e.g., at customer and technical support.
- Analysis: make sure to gather all data about your competitors on the market, needs of your customers and prospects, etc.
- Check, test and make optimizations. Repeat and repeat…
- And so on.