With so many pieces of content being delivered daily, it’s no surprise that brands are doing all they possibly can to stand out in the crowd. One of the ways in which they do that is by implementing a content marketing strategy.
What is content marketing exactly? According to the Content Marketing Institute, it is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
By creating relevant content, brands can reach a high position on Google’s first search results page, generating even more organic traffic. After all, that’s how Google works – if you have informative content that will help answer questions its users might have, they will reward you with a higher position.
However, content marketing strategy is more than just good content – there are several things that it should include apart from this. So, if you want to find out more about what your content marketing should consist of, all you have to do is keep reading.
Brand Identity Guidelines
If you want your content marketing strategy to be successful, you need to communicate your brand’s identity by using the content properly. To understand it better, you should create guidelines that will help you choose a clear direction of what you want the content to look and feel like.
Brand identity is formed based on several features. We can divide them into three categories:
- Visual brand features – as the name suggests, this category includes the visual, such as your brand’s colors, typography, logo, style, etc.
- Brand story features – this includes the main purpose of your brand described through mission, storytelling, and vision.
- Brand value features – a unique value proposition, something that the potential customers can find only in your offer.
Defined Target Market and Customer Personas
When creating the content marketing strategy, one of the first things you should consider is your audience – the people you are directing the content to. Who are those people?
To understand that, you should establish your target market – the general demographics of the audience that could either be convinced or interested in purchasing your products and services.
Once you have that, you can go a step further – that is, defining your ideal customer. Where is your customer located, what services are they looking for, what are they actively engaged with on the internet, what do they do in life, do they have enough money to afford what you are offering them, etc. Finding answers to all these questions will allow you to create your ‘customer persona’ – the ideal customer.
Content marketing is about targeting the audience’s interests, values, and common challenges – defining customer personas can definitely help you with that and give you a head start. However, you have to keep in mind that this data changes as time goes by, which is why it is important to update it regularly.
One of the sections of your content marketing strategy should be devoted to the analysis of your competitors. This will not only help you understand what can make you different from them but also will help you see where your market is still unserved.
However, keep in mind that researching your competitors’ content strategy does not mean doing the exact same thing they did. Your brand is unique, which is why your content strategy should be as well. After all, your ideal customer is most probably different from theirs. Use this difference to your advantage.
Documented Content Goals and Objectives
After creating and introducing a content marketing strategy, you probably would want to know how it performs. Setting up goals will help you stay consistent with the content you are creating and help you measure the results.
A very popular way of creating goals is using the SMART framework. What exactly does it mean? Well, each of your goals should be:
- Specific – you need to know what exactly you are planning on accomplishing
- Measurable – you should be able to measure it in some way so that you know whether you are on track
- Achievable – take setting up some more challenging goals, but don’t make them impossible – choose the ones you know you will be able to achieve with a little bit of extra work
- Relevant – make sure the goals you are setting will help you with the marketing strategy
- Time-bound – establish a specific date or time period by which you want it to be done
The content goals should be aligned with the audience’s needs. To do that, first, you need to establish what it is that both sides expect. When creating the customer persona, you most likely established your ideal customer’s needs – try relating those needs to your goals.
Methods of Promotion and Distribution
The purpose of content marketing strategy is to attract more visitors to your website and bring awareness to your brand. Once you have your content, you need to decide how you are going to distribute it. We can divide those tactics into two ‘categories’:
- things you’ll do for every published piece of content – this should include actions that don’t require a lot of effort, but still, bring traffic to the website. A common example is sending an email with updates to your subscribers.
- things you’ll do for more significant pieces of content – since big pieces of content, such as ebooks or webinars, require a lot more research, time, and resources to be produced, you should probably choose promotion and distribution methods that will match the amount of effort you put into creation.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, content marketing strategy is much more complex than just simply writing quality content – while it is without a doubt an integral part of it, it’s not the only one. It’s more about understanding the market, your potential customers’ needs, and properly planning how to introduce the content to them.
It might sound complicated, but once you get the hang of it, you will realize that it’s actually not that bad – you just need to know what to do. Good luck with your new content marketing strategy!