Content Marketing Strategy: 8 Essential Parts
One often finds the formulation of a content marketing strategy difficult or confusing. But it is less complicated than you might think if you follow these 8 parts step by step.
Content marketing strategy or content strategy?
Many companies and organizations are stuck with a content strategy. They think of what content they get to work with, what they want to achieve with them and create a content
calendar. In itself good, but you are at a fairly operational level and it is often more difficult to always keep in mind the exact relationship between content and marketing.
A good content marketing strategy includes a content strategy, but goes further. It reliably relates the content to the orientation and buying process of your target group and it includes a clear vision and approach that is related to other aspects of your company such as pricing policy.
1. Make content for people but think of searches
It is a mistake to over optimize or write with the prime aim of ranking in search engines. However well and extensively you make your keyword research analysis, you still have to regularly guess the reasons people have to do certain searches especially if those assignments are fairly generic.
Your content and content marketing strategy must ultimately revolve around people. Therefore, start with an analysis of keywords, but make an in-depth study with additional research. This can be done in many different ways: through desk research, for example by looking at forums what people are looking for about broad concepts and questions. By means of additional quantitative research with questionnaires among the target group. Or with qualitative research at, for example, a call centre, the reception or account managers. If there is time and budget you can make a combination of those three.
If you work at a somewhat larger marketing or communication department, then also look in the digital archives. At many organizations I regularly encounter pearls of research results that they themselves had forgotten that they had, because they are deeply hidden away on a common disk.
2. Target group research
Many companies think they know what their target group is looking for and how they can best serve or please. For that reason too, the additional research from the previous
section is so important. By doing extra research you often discover other questions, issues and topics that you use to tailor your products or services to the needs of the target group. If you are talking about your own company, field of expertise or branch, you will soon think big. But sometimes the gain is precisely in detail. These are subjects that are so
self-evident to you that you do not even see them. But by addressing them anyway you tell your target audience that you really understand them.
3. The competition analysis
You cannot distinguish yourself if you do not know what other content providers do and do not do. What content do they make and how successful is it? What can you learn from
this and how can it encourage your company to create even better content?
Therefore make a selection of important competitors, see which content they make and how successful they are. An important indicator is how often content is shared on social media (and on which social media the target group prefers to share). Also check whether you can find out which pages on the sites or blogs of competitors are frequently visited and with which queries people end up there.
There are all kinds of tools to map successful content from competitors and thus create your own chances.
4. Your approach
As with all other communications from your company, there must be a relationship with your overall marketing policy. Here too you cannot do without a central approach, vision and core message. With what content (stories, facts, atmosphere) do you convince people that they are at the right address and distinguish yourself from the approach of competitors? Which part messages are in your approach? What is the tone that you use? How is the relationship between your content and the positioning of your company, your current and possibly desired image, sales and after sales? This is often the most elusive part of a content marketing strategy.
5. There must be a distinction
Everything has already been done. It is an illusion to think that your content is the first or only of its kind. But you can certainly distinguish yourself with your content by:
Going where others stop
Make that extra storey and give away what your competitors keep for themselves.
In this article you will read exactly the steps that I take when I think up a strategy for a customer. If you want to try it on your own, then that is only beautiful.
Especially when a working strategy is rolling out there. I am not afraid to share my method because I know where my added value is and keep enough customers who want to
benefit from it.
Choosing other forms
Written articles are valuable, but can be made more stimulating or enticing. So see if you can explain something with, for example, a video, an interactive image, an animation, an infographic or personal feedback on the results of your own research. Bundle your material into an ebook that you distribute well and possibly even offer for sale at an introductory
6. Content distribution and promotion
Often the focus is on making content. This is placed on the website, shared in a newsletter and social media and that was it. But then you leave many opportunities. In addition to these actions, content marketing delivers a lot more when you include distribution and promotion of your content in your strategy. For example:
In which forms you can (re) package certain content.
With this you make your content suitable for more channels.
For which other parties your content can be suitable
Are there any partners or platforms that want to share your content?
How to promote the content for a long time
A lot of content is shared once or only in the first month after creation. That is sin forever.
7. The sales funnel
All content must lead to something. Earlier on this post you read about the ideal content mix and the corresponding four types of content that you can distinguish: informative, helping, inspiring and entertaining content.
Whatever content or content ratio you choose, the ultimate goal comes first. For example, inspirational or entertaining content often aims to increase brand awareness or to promote brand preference.
Informative content does that too, but because you share valuable knowledge here, you can request something in return. It is therefore perfectly suited to generate leads. This also applies to helping content, but if you use helping content smartly, you can use it to give customers that last push to choose your offer.
The type of content that you make must therefore be linked to the so-called customer journey: which steps your target group is going through in the orientation or purchase
process. Consider which type of content connects to each phase and deal with that in your strategy.
For many, it is not the best step in the content marketing process and therefore regularly neglected. That is pretty crazy. Not only does it give you valuable feedback with
which you can make further improvements, it also gives the much desired stimulus to continue because it's great to see that certain content creates more visitors to your
site and leads, that people like your content and share it on social media or that people call you or your company because they've seen something from you. Good and regular
evaluation gives you both a quantitative (results in figures) and qualitative (wow!) ROI of your efforts.
It is not very difficult to evaluate. Formulate a number of KPIs that are important to you and check them regularly in Google Analytics and other statistics that you usually
can easily find:
Number of visitors on your website on specific pages
Duration of visit and number of pages visited (shows interest and involvement)
Conversions on your website: sign-ups / applications, purchases, completed tests or forms
Growth of newsletter subscribers, open rate and clicks on links
Growth of followers on social media and interaction / involvement
Identify the moments, what you will measure and how you subsequently incorporate the outcomes into your chosen strategy.
The key to succeeding in everything you do with content marketing is and remains the strategy. By going through these 8 steps you will more easily be able to formulate a
successful content marketing strategy yourself.