Content marketing strategies require a sense of process and procedure to operate efficiently over time. This content marketing process looks beyond results and considers everything involved when you create content.
While it does consider content marketing goals and KPIs, that is just the first stage of a multi-step process that ultimately makes your content marketing plan more consistent, cohesive, optimized, and impactful.
Content may be a creative element of a digital marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean it should take place without structure. On the contrary, for a content strategy to be effective, you must align it with content marketing KPIs, build around those objectives, and then check to see if you are reaching them over time.
A content marketing process ensures that all of these things take place. It provides a systematic approach that marketing teams can use to ensure all of their content creates synergy as it works toward the same end goals.
There are many aspects of an effective content marketing strategy. If a content marketer wants their creative assets to be effective, both in the short and the long term, they must make sure they aren’t taking shortcuts as they go along.
Here are seven crucial steps that go into an effective content marketing process. They help marketers create content that comprehensively address key areas of content creation, from preparation to optimization and everything in between.
This is the step where you lay the groundwork. Determine the content marketing goals that will help form your content strategy and serve as your roadmap.
Use this to further flesh out a detailed content framework that can put your plan into motion. Conduct a content audit to gauge what content marketing resources you’re working with. Do keyword research to better understand what keywords to include. Define and segment what customers make up your current target audience.
Review your buyer’s journey and conversion funnel. Consider the team, tools, and techniques you have available and how they connect to your larger strategic vision. Pull together a content calendar, posting schedule, and overall timeline for your strategy.
At this point, you’ve assessed what you have, where you’re trying to get to, and how you can get there. Now, it’s time to consider the specific content topics that address each business goal.
These should be both general and specific. Start with the basic topic ideas that you want to cover. If you’re unveiling a new product, for example, consider what major content format and topics you should include whenever possible.
From there, get more specific. What topics are good for email marketing compared to a blog post? Are there topics that one portion of your audience wants to hear compared to another?
Content creation is time-consuming and resource-intensive. However, on a certain level, it’s refreshingly straightforward.
Once you’ve done your research, come up with topic ideas, and chosen your content type, it’s much easier to build out content that is focused on the right messages and contains powerful CTAs while also being valuable for readers and effective for on-site search engine optimization.
Once you’ve created your content, it’s time to get it up on the internet. Start by considering any editorial steps that should take place between the initial creation and final publication steps.
Once you’ve edited, proofread, SEO optimized, and otherwise massaged content into its final form, it’s time to publish it. Upload it to its official home (or send it to whoever will do so if it’s a third-party publication) and get it live.
When your content goes live, it’s time to create some synergy. Look for other ways to let your target audience know that it’s available for them to utilize. This can help marketers address potential customers and existing ones.
This could take the form of writing a guest blog post that links back to the piece of valuable content. It could also be an email or social post with a link or even a temporary PPC (pay-per-click) ad to give it some initial momentum. Whatever you opt for, make sure to do everything you can to give your content some momentum right out of the gate.
Once your content is live, it’s time to lean on those initial goals that you set. Consider the KPIs and OKRs (objectives and key results) that you’re trying to achieve.
Follow these metrics to see if each piece of quality content is performing. For something like a social media engagement or email open rate, you can check these metrics fairly quickly. For something like SEO on a blog post, you may want to wait a few months or even half a year before checking in.
As you begin to collect data, look for where you can make adjustments. Tweak individual pieces of content that are underperforming on a case-by-case basis. Improving their content performance will increase your chances of having a successful content marketing strategy and boost your brand awareness.
If you find there are consistent changes that you need to make across all content, you can add them to your content marketing framework. If gauging the ability of your content to convert is too confusing, it can be helpful to outsource some of the work to a content marketing agency.
Content creation may require a certain amount of inspiration. But it also needs a hefty dose of structure, too. Use the seven steps above to forge a process for your content marketing campaign. This will be invaluable as a way to keep your marketing team focused and effective every time they create a new promotional asset for your brand.