Creating exceptional content takes time. Rarely does someone hit the ball out of the park on his or her first try. Unless you are the ‘someone’ who experiences those rare occasions, you will need to develop a content marketing strategy. Now, this may seem overwhelming at first, but if you answer these next four questions, you will be on your way to creating a successful content-driven marketing strategy.
1. What are your goals/what is your mission?
Before you do anything else, you need to answer this question. If you’ve been in business for some time, then you should have a pretty good idea how to answer this question. If you are just starting out in business, then you should consider focusing on your short-term goals rather than your long-term goals. Over time, the answers to the question above can change, so don’t feel like you have to consistently follow those answers.
Some examples of both long-term and short-term goals include:
– Creating brand awareness
– Expanding your customer email list
– Increasing website traffic
– Establishing a competitive SEO ranking
– Strengthening social media following and engagement rates
– Producing a significant ROI (return on investment) on digital/paid media spending
– Generating conversations, thus driving sales and increasing revenue
To properly measure your success, set up key performance indicators, or KPIs. This way you are able to compare where your business stands 3, 6, 12 months [and so on] from the time you set these goals for yourself. They also act as a checklist to keep you organized and focused on what matters the most.
2. Who is your target audience?
Who are you selling to? Where do they live/work? How old are they? What value will your product/service bring to their lives? These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself when decoding your target audience. Extensive research is required, so take your time learning about their characteristics and traits. With this information you will have a better understanding of their specific needs and interests. Creating ‘buyer personas’ and a ‘competitor analysis’ will help you better understand the people you are targeting as well as the companies they are already buying from… your competitors.
Segmenting your audience(s) into different groups is also valuable. Break them down by geographic location, generation, purchasing habits, and so on. In doing so, you will be able to customize content and disperse said content to the appropriate channels specifically meant for each group.
3. Where does your target audience hang out online?
We live in a digital age so no matter what type of consumer you are targeting, there’s a pretty good chance that they are online in some capacity. This can mean on social media, browsing the internet, email subscribers, visiting specific websites, the list goes on. Once you have indicated where your audience visits the most, you will have a firm grasp on where to reach them.
4. What type of content do they like?
This is a very important question to answer; it is a content marketing strategy after all. After you figure out where your audience spends their time online, you will have a better idea of the content they are interested in. For example, if your audience spends most of their time on Instagram, focus on creating visually stunning images. For Facebook, produce captivating videos. If they are avid LinkedIn users, concentrate more on informational articles and whitepapers.
The types of content mentioned above can be offered in places other than social media as well, such as print advertising, email campaigns and on your website and/or blog. Other forms of content include infographics, case studies, webinars, worksheets, eBooks and downloadable checklists and templates.
Create and track your results
After you have answered the four questions above, and have created the appropriate content for your audience, the last thing to do is track your results. Remember those measurable KPIs we talked about earlier? Keep referring back to those and keep track of your progress to help you stay focused.
Creating a successful content marketing strategy does not happen overnight, but with this information, and a little patience, you will be on your way!