7 Steps to Create an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

15.08.2017

For successful brands in the world, content marketing is not an also-ran, it’s the undisputed champion.

According to 2017 B2B Content Marketing survey, an overwhelming 89% of B2B marketers said their organizations were using content marketing.

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However, rather than just jump on the content marketing bandwagon, it’s important to drive a content marketing campaign with a “strategy”.

Those new to content marketing and looking for guidelines, here is a content marketing blueprint for you to profit from.

Determine Objective for Content Marketing

Content marketing requires meticulous planning, hard work, and consistency to achieve your business goals. In other words, it could be a frustrating journey if you didn’t have a concrete plan in the first place.

As a business, you need to determine the objectives of your content marketing campaigns. This is the most crucial first step in content marketing. Yet, an astounding number of businesses launch their content marketing plans with no clear goals in mind.

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Different businesses may have different goals; so, their approaches to content marketing will differ. Most businesses, however, consider one or more of the following objectives:

  • Increase Brand Awareness
  • Drive Referral Traffic
  • Increase Signups
  • Convert Readers into Subscribers
  • Prompt Visitors to Fill a Lead Generation Landing Page

Action Item: Sit down with your team and determine the actual objective(s) of your content marketing plan.

What’s Your One Thing

Now that you have determined the goals of your content marketing plan, you need to decide on how to set yourself apart in the crowd. Remember, the content marketing scene is very noisy right now. If you want to join the crowd without any differentiating factor, you’ll go unnoticed. That’s not what you want - you want to get noticed and seek attention from your potential buyers.

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Therefore, you need to figure out the value your content marketing will create for your prospective buyers.

Explore your strong suit and think about the most suitable content format and content platform for easier amplification. For example, at Moz, an SEO and content marketing software provider, they focus on educating their prospects about the industry best practices. Their co-founder Rand Fishkin hosts a weekly session (Whiteboard Friday) where he shares insightful SEO and marketing advice that powers their SEO community like no other. Not that there aren’t others doing such stuff successfully, but nobody comes close the influence Rand Fishkin has created through his weekly educational videos.

Action Item: Explore your differentiating factor and how you can leverage it to power your content marketing campaign.

Define Your Audiences

As in any other marketing strategy, content marketing also requires defining your specific audiences that are likely to buy your products.

Since your marketing budget is limited, you want to maximize the return on investment (ROI) for each dollar spent. With better targeting, you’re more likely to boost your ROI.

The process begins with discovering your audiences based on your products and developing buyers’ personals. Essentially, this means knowing who will buy your products and where they actually live.

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For example, if you’re a SaaS company selling enterprise software, you want to make sure you target the decision makers (i.e, CTOs) in enterprise companies. Similarly, If you’re a B2B company selling paid apps, you want to target people with specific demographic and psychographic criteria.

When you have built buyer personas that are very close to the actual prospects in the market, you’re giving yourself the best chance to boost your ROI.

Action Item: Research your industry, learn more about prospect behaviors and build personas.

Recommended Reading: Selling Saas Software to Enterprise: Challenges, Benefits and Best Practices

Research Audience Needs

Once you have built your buyers’ personas, it’s time to know their needs. In a sales cycle, different prospects would be at different stages of their journey. Therefore, it’s vital to know where they are and segregate them appropriately for building content that is most valuable to each prospect type.

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There are several ways to collect information about your prospects such as:

Social Listening: Use these social listening tools and learn what your prospects are discussing.

Sales & Customer Service: Reach out to your sales and customer service teams to collect FAQs from your customers and prospects alike.

Keyword Research: Conduct keyword research to map your prospects’ needs and map keywords to the buyer’s journey.

Action Item: Focus on real data rather than getting bogged down with spreadsheets.

Create a Content Execution Plan

Building great content is only as effective as its execution.

Most successful content marketing campaigns have at least one thing in common - they are designed and delivered keeping their prospects’ consumption patterns in mind.

A vital part of your persona development includes knowing how your prospects consume content and ensuring they’re not overwhelmed.

Moreover, since you’re targeting a wide range of personas having diverse needs and behavioral patterns, your content execution plan should be inclusive enough to offer value for types of consumers.

For every insightful and in-depth how-to guide, there’s should be a sharable, bite-size content piece that your audience can easily consume and engage with.

Recommended Reading: How to Create Shareable "Bite-size" Content for Marketing Success

Based on your understanding of different prospects across the buyer’s journey map, you need to:

Choose the Right Content Marketing Tools: Which content marketing tools will help you build content easily and efficiently?

Select the Right Platform for Promotion: Which platforms are most suitable for your audiences?

Plan Your Content Publishing Schedule: How often do you want to publish a blog post or YouTube video?

Recommended Reading:

Action Item: Build a content calendar and stick to it no matter what.

Create a Content Amplification Plan

Along with content creation and content distribution, you need to have a content amplification plan in place to ensure it reaches out to a maximum number of people.

While great content by itself is powerful enough to go viral, you still need an outreach campaign to give it the fillip it deserves.

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What if I told you your content could achieve ten times more visibility by a meticulous outreach campaign? Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, devised a popular content amplification technique (Skyscraper Technique) that not only worked for him but for many other brands. However, a great content amplification plans work well only when your content offers unique value to audiences.

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Action Item: When a content piece goes live, request your employees, customers, social media followers, and influencers to share it.

Measure Your Content Marketing

After doing all the hard work, how would you determine if you were on the right track and moving in the right direction?

As in any other marketing campaign, content marketing also needs an audit done periodically to measure its performance metrics.

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There are many tools to measure your content marketing performance based on your content marketing goals. From Google Analytics to SEMRush to Buzzsumo, you can use a slew of tools to measure your content marketing metrics.

Action Item: Stick to your content marketing audience schedule and let your metrics dictate your future content marketing planning.

Recommended Reading: 10 Tips To Get More Impact On Your Blog Posts

Final Thoughts

Running a content marketing with a “strategy and purpose” gives you a winning edge over the competition. Plus, you get better ROI on your content marketing dollars.

How is your “unique” content marketing strategy? Is there something you do to stand out from the competition?

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