A Content Marketing Strategy is the map that makes sure your content gets to where it needs to be and delivers the results you want. Without this you’ll simply end up producing content for content’s sake and distributing it in a scattergun way.
You might get lucky and grab the attention of your ideal customer by accident. To begin with you might even want to test a few different content ideas to see which works well. Ultimately though, it’s better to try and manage this process more formally so that all the pieces of the puzzle fit together properly.
Content is King
Without content your business will have very little to say for itself.
The idea of a Content Marketing Strategy is to identify up-front the sort of content your audience might like to see, establish what format to produce it in and work out how to distribute it. This plan should form a key pillar of your overall marketing strategy so that ALL of your activity is consistent and works together.
You want your content to work hard for you. It’s got to persuade people to trust you and give them a flavour of what you’re like to work with. It has to build a relationship by showing that you understand your audience and their lives. It’s got to dig beneath the surface and find reasons to connect with people, on a variety of levels. It’s a big ask. So a bit of forward planning will help map this out and make life easier.
What should you consider in your plan?
Your strategy doesn’t have to be complicated.
The point is to get some structure around your content activity.
- Who is your audience and what might they be interested in – write a long list so you’ve got a bank of ideas. Consider ways you can show your audience that you are in touch with what is relevant and topical to them, and that you’re an authority on your area of business.
- Where are your audience spending their time and what is the best way to reach them – social media, email, magazines and so on.
- What other things are they engaging with content-wise already? See who your followers are following to get an idea.
- When should you produce new content and how often? You don’t want to overproduce, but you need to keep a regular flow of new and interesting stuff. Content Marketing is an ongoing process. Consider breaking content down into digestible chunks so you have multiple reasons to communicate.
- How will you create new content? Do you have any relevant and shareworthy information already or does it need to be created or sourced from elsewhere?
- Decide what sort of results you want and how you’ll measure the success of your activity.
Remember this isn’t about churning out sales messaging and product information. Its much more than that. It’s about giving your audience the information they need to make choices. The key is stay focused on your target audience and what’s important to them. It’s a softly, softly approach to marketing. Try to design content that will engage your target audience on different levels. What will they find useful? What can they learn? What do they like to talk about to their friends? How can you help?
Also, have fun. Content Marketing provides an opportunity to bring storytelling, entertainment and a sense of community to your marketing efforts. So go on, get stuck in and get creative.
Still not sure?
If you are in any doubt about how important content marketing is and why you should have a strategy for it, read on….
Content comes before Social Media Strategy. Tweets, Pins and posts have to lead somewhere. Make sure you’re not all mouth and no trousers. Have the content in place to back up what you’re twittering on about.
>>Begin the search
Content forms the backbone of any Search Engine Optimisation strategy. Google (and the likes) love websites that have lots of content. However, they’re clever chaps. You can’t just stuff a load of keywords into your web pages and fool Google into thinking you’re an expert in your field. You have to prove it too. Content that is specific to your cause, knowledgable and useful to the real people you’re targeting is the best kind of content for Google too.
>>Share and share alike
Inbound marketing and link building is based on having content that is shareworthy for your target audience and their online network. You produce relevant and useful content. They’ll see you as a trusted and credible source. They’ll signpost their web visitors to your site, quoting and crediting you in the process.
>>Read all about it
PR works best on the back of interesting and newsworthy content. It’s about creating multiple reasons for the media to talk about you or your business. Breaking content down into small and useful chunks (sound bytes if you like), will provide different angles and different stories. Perfect PR food.
Content Marketing is a very effective brand building tool. The type of content you choose to circulate and the tone of voice you use will help to build a personality for your business.
Get the idea?!Content is a brilliant marketing tool. Use it and use it well.
P.S Want some content inspiration? Check out my list of 4 ways to generate good content.
Need some help with developing your Content Marketing activity? Want to get hold of some cracking copy? Give me a shout.