Once your website is live, you might be tempted to think that’s the hard work over. If only it was that easy. Alas, having a gorgeously-designed website filled with carefully-crafted copy is just the beginning. This is when the real work begins. You’ve got a fantastic product or service that deserves to be shared, you just need to find the right audience and hold their attention once you’ve found them.
Enter your content marketing strategy.
Creating a killer content marketing strategy is what stands between your business reaching the clouds and being stuck in the mud. And let’s face it; being stuck in the mud is never a good look. A content marketing strategy allows you to define the needs of your customer, before figuring out how you can fulfil these desires.
But before we get to the ways you can create the best content marketing strategy humanly possible, it’s important to first understand exactly what content is in relation to the digital landscape.
What is digital content?
In its simplest terms, digital content is everything that makes up your website. Copy, images, videos – the whole shebang. But filling your website with pretty pictures and well-crafted words is really just the beginning. Once the beast is born, it’ll need to be fed. And it’ll be need to be fed regularly.
Blogging, social media and EDMs are all valuable marketing tools that will help you tell the story of your brand and build an audience. They are touch-points that should all be aligned in-line with your content marketing strategy.
Building a content marketing strategy
You’ve drafted your first few blog posts, your social media accounts have been created and are ready to go and you’ve commissioned a videographer to create a kick-ass Kickstarter campaign. You’re ready to start telling the world about your brand!
Not so fast. Pushing content out into cyberspace without a fully-formed content marketing strategy is like working on a novel without outlining the plot. So before you get started, here’s how to create a content marketing strategy that Nike or Starbucks would be envious of.
Note: There’s no template or required structure for a content marketing strategy – so feel to record and display the information in whichever way you choose. Just make sure you have it documented; a marketing strategy has no use simply living inside your head!
Know your brand story.
It all begins with the product or service, obviously. But to establish trust with your customers and keep them engaged, you will have to ensure you know what your brand story is to tell. From your website’s look and feel to the words written across your blog and social channels, your brand story will act as the glue that holds all of your business’ parts together.
Define your goals.
The first step to creating any decent marketing plan is defining your business’ objectives. Ask yourself, what is it you want to get out of your content? Think broader than simply generating revenue; of course this is the ultimate aim. But you need to focus more on the branding of your business.
For instance, you might make it a goal to grow your Instagram follower count to 5,000 in the first six months. Or perhaps you’d like to see your blog posts appearing on the first page of Google before the end of the year. Whatever your content objectives, just remember that it won’t happen over night. Much like a slow-burning movie, the benefits of content creation take time to show up. But when they do, they’re oh-so-worth the wait.
Pushing content out into cyberspace without a fully-formed content marketing strategy is like working on a novel without outlining the plot.
Figure out your customer needs.
It goes without saying really, but the importance of understanding the wants and needs of your customers should not be underestimated. After all, they hold the key to your business’ success. Create a customer map by figuring out the demographic of your target audience:
- Are they male or female?
- How old are they?
- Where do they shop?
- What do they read?
- What social media platforms do they use?
Which brings us neatly onto the next essential step of establishing your content marketing strategy.
Discover the channels that should be used.
Once you’ve figured out who your customer is and what they’re searching for, you’ll want to find out the channels they use so you can aim your content in that direction. Do they spend more of their time on Facebook or Twitter? Do they read print magazines or only blogs? Do they shop mostly in-store or online?
After you’ve figured this information out, you’ll want to integrate the relevant channels into your content marketing strategy. This might take some time, particularly if you’re just at the beginning of your business’ journey, so you could always leave some blanks in your content marketing strategy to revisit once you’ve got a better idea of who your customer is and where they spend their time.
Which brings us onto the final part of creating and developing a successful content marketing strategy.
Record. Revisit. Review.
Set up a system that allows you to record all the information you need to monitor the success (and setbacks) of your content. Google Analytics is perfect for monitoring your blog content and website views, while Facebook has a pretty sophisticated dashboard to keep track of your social engagement.
You should constantly revisit and review your content strategy, as it’s bound to evolve the same way your business and customers will. Technology changes so quickly, meaning you’ll want to remain on top of the latest channels emerging to best discover and engage with your audience.
Once your content marketing strategy is finally in place, it’s time to create a content calendar and get producing content! That’s when the fun work can really begin.