Our expert guide into creating the best content marketing strategy
Why Do You Need A Content Marketing Strategy?
Creating a content strategy is the first step you can take towards elevating your business above your competitors. Most organisations do not have a documented approach to the content they put out on their digital marketing platforms, so developing one is kind of a no-brainer, right?
If you’re reading this and thinking, “My content marketing is doing just fine without a written strategy in place, thank-you!”, consider this research conducted by the CMI. I get it, you’re up to your eyeballs running a business and you don’t have time to read the whole thing… Let me break down the key points for you.
Companies that have a documented content marketing strategy are more likely to be able to justify higher spending on content marketing in their annual budgets.
Secondly, these organisations felt less overwhelmed by the concept of creating, implementing and delivering copy on all marketing platforms, digital, or otherwise.
And, they are more likely to be considered effective at content marketing. Who doesn’t want that?
Additionally, as your business scales, it becomes more and more difficult to convey your goals and objectives to employees without a documented plan of action. Having a strategy is essentially giving your entire organisation insight into exactly what you want to achieve with your content marketing, how to go about that and what to avoid. Without this, big businesses could see some pretty costly mistakes and damaged reputations.
So, now that we’re aware of why a content marketing strategy is so important, we can set about creating the perfect one for your business. here are our top tips:
- Outline your objectives, goals and set KPIs
- Define your target audiences
- Assess your current standpoint
- Do your keyword research
- Decide on channels and types
- Evaluate your capabilities and allocate resources
- Grab your calendar
Outline your objectives, goals and set KPIs
These will be derived from your overall business values and mission. How do you want people to view your brand? What are you trying to educate your audience on? Ultimately, you need to be assessing what you are providing, why you’re providing it and who you are providing it to. Once you have those defined, it gets easier to break these down into content marketing objectives. These could include:
- Brand awareness
- Gaining a larger market share
- Organic visibility
- Larger followings
- Becoming an authority within your industry, or niche
- Drive website enquiries
- Increase sales from a particular channel
The possibilities are endless.
Next, we need to make sure these goals can be measured to establish if your strategy has been successful. You probably already have key performance indicators for your business activities, like the number of sales you want to achieve per quarter, or how many email sign-ups you want to have gained by this time next year.
Write down realistic, measurable targets that you feel will help you to advance your organisation and that show your ROI, being careful not to set yourself up for a fall.
Define your target audiences
This might be something that you have already considered within your company. After all, you need to know who you are marketing to, in order to reach them effectively.
You may not be converting who you originally set out to convert, so it’s crucial to analyse who is accessing your products and services and where those people are coming from. How many visitors are you currently driving from social media? What volume of visitors are spending time perusing your blog posts?
However, each marketing channel has a juxtaposing audience who respond differently to many types of content. For example, the average age of a TikTok user is between 16 years old and 24 years old, while Twitter’s statistic stands at 25 years old to 34 years old. Website visitors who find you through organic searches are most likely in a different demographic to those who find you via the app store or social media.
So, it’s important to be specific when defining your target audiences and pay attention to the current landscape to get the most out of your activities.
Assess your current standpoint
Much like you would survey the modern digital marketplace, you need to understand where you are sitting within your industry. Get to know your competitors, the market leaders, the up-and-coming startups. Find out what your ideal customers are responding to and what their pain points are.
This is a key aspect in developing your KPIs too, as you need to know where you’re starting from to determine where you want to end up. Are you already meeting any of your goals and objectives? Do those who are engaging with your social media content go on to purchase from you?
Tools to assess your current standpoint:
- Log all your content pieces and analyse any correlations between the ones that worked well and the ones that didn’t
- SEMrush’s Position Tracker
- Backlink Audit
- Social media engagement insights
- Ahrefs’ content gap analysis
- See what is driving traffic to your competitors’ sites
Do your keyword research
Effective keyword research is the catalyst for SEO success, so it’s no surprise that search engines optimisation and content marketing go hand in hand.
Before the creation of a content marketing plan, you need to understand how people are finding you. What do they type into search engines, directories, social media, hashtags, etc. that result in them ending up at your digital door?
If you’re new to keyword research, here are some tips on how to do it efficiently.
- List your products and services
- List your locations and target areas
- Identify what is driving your competitors’ organic traffic with tools like SEMrush.
- By using online tools, check the search volume and difficulty of the keywords you’ve written down, any search volume too low isn't worth attempting.
- Collect ideas by looking at the People Also Searched For dropdown on search engine results pages.
If you need any more tips on keyword research or want to crack on with writing SEO-friendly content, check out our guide here.
Decide on channels and types
You might think that a blanket approach, especially with regards to social media, is the way to go when choosing your content channels, but no. Putting time, effort and resources into content channels that will prove fruitless is a great way to waste said time, effort and resources. Not to mention making your analytics reports look bad and potentially decreasing the morale of staff.
Take in what your insights are telling you, what your followers are telling you and make judgements based on what is effective at driving conversions. If you’re seeing half the levels of engagement from Twitter, compared to Facebook, then log on to Twitter, see how the big accounts are driving engagement and make a decision on whether you can do the same.
There’s no need to rule out a content channel forever, it’s perfectly okay to take a break while you reassess your strategy. Bear in mind that different social media channels expect varied content types, levels of formality and even imagery sizes and video resolutions. One piece of content that works great on Instagram, might not be appropriate for LinkedIn, so tailor content accordingly.
It is generally considered best practice to switch up your content types regularly, as followers can often get bored with seeing static pictures every day and an uninterested audience show pretty poor levels of engagement, let alone conversions.
Mix up your content strategy by creating videos, blog posts, polls, podcasts, to name a few! Each content type has its positives and its negatives, so make sure that whatever you decide on reflects those goals and objectives we discussed in step one.
Evaluate your capabilities and allocate resources
Every business has a slightly different level of capability. What may be attainable for a blue-chip organisation may not be for a small start-up. Rest assured, every company can deliver a strong content strategy that will convert more clients.
If you don’t have a designated content marketing department, it may be useful for you to establish a hierarchy of staff to manage your strategy. Agree on who are the decision-makers, who can give approval on content and who is in charge of conceptualising, creating, monitoring and evaluating channels. This will ensure that your content strategy performs seamlessly and is uninterrupted with workflow issues. An example of a productive content workflow could be:
- Create a content plan of initial ideas
- Receive approval
- Write copy for the content plan
- Send off briefs for imagery, videos, etc.
- Receive approval
- Monitor for engagement and issues
Compose a list of tools that your organisation needs to create enough content for your desired channels in the allotted time frames, the monetary value associated with these and if it is suitably contributing to your strategy. What is being produced in-house? What is being outsourced?
Grab your calendar
Content always needs to be planned in advance and never rushed. Mistake are made and your content will not perform against your KPIs when there is no thought behind why that piece of content is being published.
Try and plan your content one month ahead to ensure there is time to gain approval, receive any outsourced work and schedule in your posts.
Additionally, having a bank of evergreen content means that you can schedule pieces even further in advance, whatever your industry, your content must always be topical and relevant to drive traffic, so try not to get too crazy with the calendar.
There are a whole host of great content scheduling tools, most of them with basic free plans available. Find out what we thought of our tried and tested scheduling tools.
Bonus tip! Evaluate, Assess… Repeat
The content marketing landscape is one of consistent evolution, so you must keep up to date with everything going on in the digital marketing world. Staying up to date with your company changes, content trends and even keeping an eye out of up-and-coming social media platforms will ensure that you stay at the top of your game.
There you have it! Our top tips for creating the perfect content strategy. If this all sounds like way too much effort, we get it, you’re busy. Luckily, we offer all this and more with our digital marketing services, including social media management, search engines optimisation and pay-per-click campaigns. Get in touch to take your business to the next level.