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Whether you are producing a series of monthly blogs, a new website or investing in a content hub, a well-organised strategy is essential for ensuring you get the optimum return from your content.
A successful content strategy sets the agenda for budgeting, resourcing, ideas generation, planning, production and delivery. Crucially, it encourages the creation of content that fulfils a purpose aligned to a clear set of objectives, ultimately linking back to ROI.
The best content strategies align content goals with business objectives. In the first instance, it’s always best to establish exactly what your content marketing goals are. Some examples could include:
Increasing brand awareness
Driving referral traffic back to your site
Increasing email subscriber numbers
Driving visitors to a specific landing page
Pinpointing exactly what it is that you hope to accomplish through your content makes it easier to move forward in the creation process. We recommend checking each objective against the S.M.A.R.T model – an acronym used to ensure that targets are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-orientated.
2. Understand your audience
Knowing your customer demographic is key when devising a successful content marketing strategy. You can either create an audience profile, or take the more personal route of developing individual buyer personas. If you have the time and resources, combining both methods will provide you with a much richer insight.
Some key aspects that should be considered in relation to your audience include:
Where do they spend most of their time online (are they often on social networks, blogs or forums)?
What types of content do they share (what is the preferred format, tone, source type or length)?
How can you best reach your target audience? (this could be through outlets such as search, social, paid advertising or email)
In order to accurately define the attributes of your audience, you will need to use a variety of resources. Google Analytics and social listening tools such as Hootsuite and Mention are sure to come in handy here. Ideally, your ultimate goal is to create a form of customer database that is quick and easy to analyse.
3. Generate ideas and compare content types
Different types of content support certain stages of the customer journey more than others. It’s important to consider this before generating ideas, so take the time to revert back to your primary content marketing goals as you decide which type of content to create. Keyword research can be really useful when determining which type of content is getting the most pick up at any one time. We recommend using tools such as Buzzsumo, which allows you to seek out the most shared content across the web.
For example, let’s assume that your primary goal is to increase brand awareness. In order to generate a buzz around your brand during the early stages, creating content that has a broader theme and isn’t solely aligned with your products and services is key. Remember, you want customers to engage with and share your content – being too sales-driven is a sure fire way to raise suspicion. Content should be valuable, usable and shareable in order to reach the widest audience possible.
Creating a calendar provides you and your team with the tools to deliver content with a clear process, timeline and brief in mind. The calendar can be as basic or as in depth as you’d like, depending on your specific needs. eConsultancy have created this handy list of templates, which serves as a great starting point for those with limited time or experience.
Make sure to share the finished calendar with everybody involved in the content creation process and encourage each individual to keep it updated. Keeping a running record of your entire content marketing strategy in one place is key to ensuring that deadlines are met and can come in particularly handy during the measurement stage, too.
5. Formulate a promotion plan
Even the best content can’t be found without some form of promotion, so take the time to devise a reliable sharing strategy. We’ve already discussed how actively promoting content is key to raising brand awareness, particularly if you’re working with a limited budget. After all, why work hard at creating valuable content if it seldom has the chance to be read?
Promotion can take place across a number of mediums, including on social media, closed online groups or through email campaigns. Referring back to your audience profile will again come in handy here, although it’s always a good idea to experiment and try avenues of promotion that you may never have considered before.
6. Measure and refine
This final step is perhaps one of the most important. Measuring the impact of your content is vital when determining what works for your business and what doesn’t – something that will save you time, money and resources in the future.
The key here is to establish how well you’ve reached the goals set out in step one. There are plenty of tools available to help you measure engagement. Again, Google Analytics and Mention come in handy here, although alternative sites such as Followerwonk and Quintly can offer a unique perspective on the impact of your content.
If you’ve accomplished what you set out to, be sure to pinpoint exactly what worked well and continue to implement the strategy moving forward. If you find yourself falling a little far off the mark, step back and analyse the areas of your marketing technique that weren’t so effective. You may never completely finish refining your strategy, so be willing to grow and move with the direction of your business.
The power of a killer content strategy cannot be underestimated. After all, it’s where all of your Return on Content™ happens. For more information about how our Return on Content™ concept could help your brand, visit our website or get in touch today.