Have you ever heard the phrase: content is king? If not, it’s a phrase that’s been going around the marketing world for a while now.
It basically means that to stand any chance of being competitive or building trust with your customers, it’s not enough to just have a great product or service anymore. These days, people consume so much content that it’s become an expectation for your business to also provide some kind of value-adding content for your customers.
What is a content marketing strategy?
A content marketing strategy is your strategy for using high-quality, relevant content to achieve your business goals. However, unlike a general marketing strategy, the main focus of your content marketing strategy is on, well, content!
Content is a very broad term, but some of the most popular types of content to include in a content marketing strategy are:
- Social media posts
- Website copy
- Website landing pages
Why do I need a content marketing strategy for my business?
Usually, you’ll create your content marketing strategy for customers who are still getting to know your business. You can use your high-quality content to showcase your product or service. But there are also other big benefits to a content marketing strategy such as:
- Building brand awareness
- Establishing trust
- Showing the human side of your business
- Demonstrating your brand values
- Showcasing your expertise
When you’re regularly producing content, you’ll be front of mind for your existing customers which will help you retain them and is much cheaper than always finding new customers.
And don’t forget, those existing customers are also a great source of new customers when they refer you. Your content can help them recommend your product or service because they’ll have something to share with others to showcase your brand and demonstrate your value.
How do I create my content marketing strategy?
You can create your content marketing strategy by following the steps below:
What content are you sharing right now and where are you sharing it?
Spend some time looking at your analytics and work out what performs best and what hasn’t performed as well for you. You should look at messaging, imagery, organic content, paid content, timings and engagement. You should include a channel mapping exercise so you have the full picture of where you currently share your content.
Develop your content marketing objectives
What is the point of your content marketing strategy? What are you hoping to achieve and how does this contribute to your wider business objectives. E.g. if one of your business objectives is to improve understanding of brand values, your corresponding content marketing objective could be to share more behind-the-scenes content of you business.
Create your customer personas
Who is this content for? Don’t skip this step because if you don’t know who is going to be consuming your content, your content marketing strategy will not succeed. There are so many factors affecting when, where, what and how different people consume content these days. Being clear on things like age and generation, location, pain points and even hobbies can give you a big steer on what your content marketing strategy should look like.
Review your value proposition
What problem will you be solving with your content? This is your value proposition. Think about how your content will help your audience and ease their pain points. Creating great content is time-consuming so you need to be confident your audience will benefit from your content efforts. Which, in turn, will ensure you’re on track to meet those content marketing and business objectives we talked about earlier.
Create a content plan
Now you know what content you’re currently sharing, your content marketing objectives, who the content is for and your value proposition, it’s time to create the plan. Your content marketing plan should include the following:
- What channels will you be sharing your content on?
- What format will your content be?
- What are your key messages?
- What resource are you using to create this content?
- How will you monitor the performance of your content?
What kind of content should I create?
The kind of content you create will be informed by all the factors above. Important note: don’t try and skip straight to this step. You need to go through the previous questions before thinking about this or prepare for a whole world of pain. There are possibly infinite ways to create content, so you need to stay focused on what’s going to bring the most benefit for your business.
Here are some examples of how you can use the information you have from the content planning stage to work out what content you should create:
Channels and format are closely linked when deciding what content to create. There are lots of specifications to consider for different channels. For example, you might have decided that video is going to be a great content format for your business. But all video is not equal. Depending on where you want to share that, you need to create different versions. If you’re going to put your videos on YouTube, you’ll need a landscape format and can produce long-form videos. This can also work for Facebook. But if you want to share videos on your Instagram feed it’s worth thinking about a square or portrait version that’s a bit shorter as it’s more suited to short-form video content.
Let’s say high-quality images are part of your content marketing strategy. That’s great, but where are they going? If they’re going to be used as banner images on your website, they’ll need to be large, but not so large they slow your load speed down. They’ll also probably be landscape, so are you going to use different versions of the same image or completely different images for your social feeds and advertising? If you can answer these questions before you book a photoshoot or designer, you can create tailored, high-quality imagery for all your channels from the outset.
Start looking at content around you and you’ll notice that some of the best content links imagery with messaging. Your content marketing strategy and plan should be a combination of words and visuals that make sense together. Decide on your key messages and then build your content around that e.g. if you’re talking about going on a journey, use travel imagery or if you’re talking about saving time, use a clock (very basic examples but you get the idea!).
Here we’re talking about skills, time and money. Remember when I said it takes a long time to create high-quality content? Don’t be fooled into thinking you can cut corners to do it quicker or learn a whole new skill yourself like video editing to save money. Know your limits and if you need to, invest in content specialists who can help you out. Find specialists whose bread and butter is content creation. Specific areas you should consider outsourcing are:
- Web development
- Graphic design
- Social media management
All these areas take a lot of time and expertise to do well. So save yourself the hassle, invest some money and get it done by a professional so you can focus on the bits of your business only you know how to do.
The final piece of the content marketing strategy puzzle is monitoring the performance of your content. Make sure you know how you’re monitoring it, what success looks like to you and how often you’re going to monitor your content.
For example, if part of your content marketing strategy is to get a new website, make sure you have Google Analytics set up and think about doing a customer survey on your website.
Or if you’re using content to build your social media presence, decide what metrics are most important to you and make sure you know where to find your insights, whether that’s within the channel itself or maybe through a scheduling tool.
If you’ve outsourced any of your content creation, make sure you give your supplier clear expectations on how often you want reports and what you need them to include.
If you need any help creating and implementing your content marketing strategy, get in touch to book your free 30-minute call with me!