Having a documented content marketing strategy is one of the primary indicators of whether or not you will be successful in your content marketing efforts. Whether you have an abundance of content and you’re overwhelmed at the thought of organizing it all or your content library is pretty lean – this quick and dirty content strategy guide will help you think strategically about your next marketing move.
Below are the recommended steps you should take to build out a documented content marketing strategy for your business. It’s only when you are able to be clear in these areas that you can truly organize your marketing efforts to support your bottom line.
Step 1: Document your business goals
What are three to five business goals you hope to achieve this year? Is it reaching a certain level of sales, successfully entering a new market, launching a new service or product? Whatever it is for you, get it down in writing as the first place you start when you think of marketing.
Step 2: Write your brand short story
What’s your brand about and why does it matter? Can you communicate in 30 seconds or less why your brand exists and why your audience should care? For planning purposes, don’t pen a Tolstoy novel. Seriously, no one has time for all that. Document the essence of your brand – the must-know climax of your story. Clear and concise in an ever impatient, interrupted World will only help you in the long run.
Step 3: Craft a content marketing mission statement
What is the purpose of your content and for whom is it being created? Boom. Done. This statement should be tied up with a bow in less than 140 characters. Why? Because focused content is high-performing content. This statement will help you keep your content on target, on message, and on brand – providing a consistent brand experience across all your digital and other content assets.
Step 4: Detail the desired user experience
Pretend you are the audience you are trying to attract with your content. From finding your content to becoming a client – sketch out a map of how your content is going to lead them back to your website to take which actions and then what happens after they provide their information. This is your buyer’s journey, so make sure you’ve paved the road for your audience to have an easy and enjoyable trip.
Step 5: Document the content creation process
How will your brand create content? Document the operational process from brainstorming, creation, revisions, approvals, and publishing. Make sure it’s clear so that you and others can get into a rhythm that won’t bottleneck at a certain point, potentially threatening your ability to maintain a consistent publishing schedule.
Step 6: Assign roles for content contributors
Who is in the lead and then who is responsible for copywriting, design, editing, publishing, promoting, and tracking performance? Becoming a publisher of your own original content will likely take more than one dedicated resource and so it’s good to have your team assembled and on the same page so everyone can work together successfully.
Step 7: List out content marketing priorities
You have everything in place and are clear about your business goals and the ultimate purpose of your content. Now it’s time to list out a few priorities for your content marketing program. You won’t be able to master everything at once, so start with what you most want to accomplish. Building your subscriber list, increasing your audience on social media, driving more traffic to your website – whatever it is, jot it down.
Step 8: Identify and detail your target audience
Build out detailed buyer personas. If you don’t document them for you and your team to reference, you are cutting a necessary corner. Who are they, what are they like, what are their primary responsibilities, what are their challenges, how does your business solve their problem, where do they go for information, and what are common objections they have to work with you?
Step 9: Build out your specific campaigns
This is the nitty-gritty! The actual WHAT TO DO of content marketing. Craft campaigns that serve the marketing priorities and don’t forget to assign a purpose and desired outcome for the campaign. It’s easier to know what to do at this stage when you have so much clarity over what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish.
Step 10: Set SMART marketing goals
Specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Based on your marketing priorities and efforts, set some goals so you can remain focused and build motivation and momentum.
Step 11: Identify key performance indicators
It’s a good idea to measure your performance against past performance and industry averages. Success is measured incrementally and comprehensively. Tracking certain KPIs will inform if you’re on track to reach your larger goals and alert you to any adjustments you may need to make along the way.
Step 12: Generate an editorial calendar for content creation and distribution schedule
Finally, get it scheduled. I mean in it – all the best ideas in the World will go to Hell in a handbasket if you don’t actually schedule it to happen!
This is the quick and dirty of content marketing strategy! Of course, there is more complexity to nail down each of these steps, but at least you now have a frame of reference to get you started in the right direction.