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Like it or not, we live in a digital world. And if you run your own business, it’s more important than ever to connect with your customers online.
But that’s more complicated than it may sound – especially if you don’t have a solid game plan in place.
A content marketing strategy is a must for anyone who wants to effectively promote their products and services. Let’s take a closer look at why developing this strategy is so important and how you can go about creating one for your brand in 2022.
What is a Content Marketing Strategy and Why Do You Need One?
First of all, what exactly is a content marketing strategy?
You wouldn’t go to war without a plan of attack, nor would you set out on a trip without figuring out a route to take. The same principle applies when you set out to achieve your business goals.
You can’t simply throw something at the wall and see what sticks. Whether you want to sell more products, improve your brand recognition, or boost your website traffic, you need to establish a plan of action that will help you attain those aims.
Specifically, your content marketing strategy will allow you to determine what kind of content you’ll create to market your business, when and where it will be distributed, and how you’ll execute and monitor this process.
Moreover, you’ll also need to determine how your strategy will work to help you accomplish the goals you have in mind for your business.
Your content marketing strategy should ultimately support your brand’s purpose, ensure you provide value to your customers, and consistently help you reach your key performance indicators and other success metrics.
With this information in mind, you may be wondering why having a content marketing strategy is even necessary.
You might have heard the saying that “content is king.” But your content won’t reign supreme if you don’t know how to develop it or ensure it’s seen by the right people.
Even if you’re a great writer or you innately understand the kind of content that resonates with readers, that’s not enough. You need to consistently assess your progress and actually achieve measurable success with your content marketing.
Having a content marketing strategy is the basis for that. With a strategy in place, you’ll ensure your voice and pace are consistent, that your posts provide value, and that you’re being held accountable for your results.
Without a strategy, it’s far too easy to let marketing go on the back burner. Sporadic publication, confused messaging, and a lack of analytics will lead to marketing failure. Your posts will probably fall flat and you won’t have the data needed to pivot.
The bottom line is that customers will have a harder time trusting you (or even finding you) without this strategy. While they might not realize it exists, they’ll feel the effects every time they see your content online.
This strategy can help you create posts that convert while building customer relationships, improve your reputation, and make better use of your marketing budget.
Steps to Create Your Content Marketing Strategy
With all that in mind, it’s clear to see why you need a content marketing strategy. But how do you go about actually building this strategy for your business? Here are just a few steps to take as you begin this process to ensure you’re set up for success.
Identify Your Goals
In order to achieve your ambitions, you first need to establish what they are. You need to figure out the main accomplishments you want to address with your content marketing and how you’ll measure your progress.
For some people, the goal might be to get more website traffic or more engagement on social media. For others, sales, newsletter signups, or SERP rankings might matter most.
It’s not a bad idea to physically write out what you want to achieve with your marketing in the form of a mission statement. Your team can refer back to this statement as needed, which can help you stay focused when creating and distributing content.
No matter which goals you decide to focus on, they should be measurable and should support your overall definition of success. In other words, don’t pick an arbitrary goal that doesn’t have a clear connection to business growth. Instead, figure out what would help you get to the next level; then, you can determine how your content marketing will get you there.
Perform Market Research
Just because you have an endpoint in mind doesn’t mean you’ll automatically know how to get there. Before you dive into content creation, you’ll need to do your research.
You’ll need to find out who your ideal buyer is, what kinds of solutions they need, and how you can provide the answers they’re looking for. You’ll also want to find out what your competitors are doing (and what they aren’t doing!) with their content marketing. This can allow you to fill in the gaps or even improve on what already exists.
If you aren’t overly familiar with different marketing platforms or the kinds of software available to you, now’s a good time to gather that information, as well. Learn about the different options for content marketing, including blog posts, guest publishing contributions, email blasts, social media channels, and more.
Finally, you’ll also want to dig deep on an internal level. Chances are that you may already have done some content marketing work in the past. You might not even realize you have content that you can add to, repurpose, or improve upon.
Do an audit of the content you already have and determine whether or not it has a place in your strategy. You’ll also be able to figure out what you don’t yet have, which can inspire you to address those needs early on.
Simply put, you can’t execute a strategy if you don’t have all the facts. Gathering this valuable information can give you a sense of direction when it comes time to put your plans into action.
Design a Content Calendar
Finally, it’s time to map out the what, who, where, why, when, and how of your content marketing.
The easiest way to keep track of your plans is with a content calendar. With a content calendar, you can focus on both the small details and the bigger picture. You’ll have everything related to your content marketing listed in one place and can easily see how everything you do relates to your overarching goals.
The way you create this calendar is totally up to you. Some will rely on a simple spreadsheet, while others prefer project management platforms. Pick a method that’s accessible to your whole team and that will keep everything organized and updated.
Having a content calendar can help your team brainstorm topics, determine the best distribution channels, decide who’s responsible for what, and establish a workflow for content creation, distribution, and promotion.
Don’t skip over this step! While your strategy provides the necessary foundation for your marketing, a content calendar will make sure that your strategy is executed to the fullest.
This will guarantee that nothing slips through the cracks and that content goes live at the right time, every time.
For Content Marketing Success, Take Time to Strategize
As time goes on, our society will only become more dependent on the internet. If you want to succeed in 2022 and beyond, you need to have a clear content marketing strategy.
Content marketing can allow you to reach your customers in a way you can’t replicate with traditional advertising. But to make the most of this opportunity, you need a proper plan.
By developing a strategy for your content marketing, you’ll know where you’re going and how to get there.
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