Content marketing is a concept familiar, perhaps, to any marketer, each of whom in this field has their own ideas about this vast, interesting and exciting field of activity that has developed on the basis of work experience.
But does any of them know and thoroughly understand that in addition to the content marketing process itself, it is extremely important and necessary to develop its strategy? Without it, the lion’s share of efforts can, as they say, fall into the “milk”, i.e. not bring the expected effect, not give the planned results. Experienced managers in one form or another, of course, apply strategic approaches, sometimes even intuitively, based on their previous experience, successes, or failures in the “promotion” of a brand, product, or service.
Therefore, we first define that strategy in the general case as the art of leadership, which is based on extensive knowledge of a particular subject, experience, and deep, flexible, and competent command of the situation. A strategy is a plan of action that changes depending on external factors, leading to a specific and measurable goal. Once the concept of “strategy” was used only as one of the components of the art of warfare when the goal is not just victory, but the achievement of certain social, economic, and political goals. But with the development of society, this concept has acquired a different meaning. We hear “enterprise development strategy”, “economic strategy of the party, the government”, etc. So, content marketing, also Email marketing automation, also simply has to have its own strategy, i.e. a time-bound plan of action, and measures aimed at achieving the set task or tasks.
And now let’s move on from a long introduction, not forgetting, by the way, about the basic principles outlined in it, to the actual content marketing strategy. A strategy is a general and time-varying global plan of action for agency tools aimed at achieving a stated result. And in order to compile it, now we will not talk about whether we are going to place an article or a video somewhere. It will be later, this is exactly what content managers are basically doing. And now it doesn’t matter whether we increase sales of a particular product or make a future politician recognizable. A strategy is a universal tool applicable in any area of work of content managers.
So, let’s take care of our environment, external factors, and the “hyped” product (it doesn’t matter what it is). When building a strategy, we must understand the following factors and basic principles, without which success cannot be achieved:
1. Our target audience
In general, the concept is familiar to everyone. A product, idea, or service is needed or will be needed after your successful actions by a certain circle of people, or apps for consultants․ And no matter how you “beat” your head against the wall, it is hardly possible to interest the weaker sex in some kind of super-drill significantly (unless as a good gift for your loved one) or “untwist” a newfangled rapper among pensioners. Therefore, the first and most important step in developing a strategy is to define and describe your target audience. And, of course, content managers do this regularly. But there are some features and details that may not have been given due attention. Just saying that your target audience is a lady of a certain age range working there and there is not enough. The target audience may consist of several types of consumers, potential electors, etc. Segment, i.e. divide your target audience into specific groups.
2. Key messages
Actually, having studied your target audience, you will already know how to “approach” a specific representative. For each set of prospective clients, identify the most salient problem or set of them and give them a solution. But this should not be a huge set of phrases (this is a matter of the future), but compress everything down to one or two capacious and self-sufficient, simple sentences, imagine introducing a new yoga studio software․
3. Define your mission
It’s difficult but necessary. You should combine key messages aimed at a specific segment in one capacious phrase, a set of short but “sounding” phrases. Don’t waste your time and energy on this! The mission is the ideology of your entire campaign, this is why you will be recognized, this is the basis of the foundations of specific content marketing. This is the style, slogan, and vision that you will use in the future in your profiles (social networks, main pages of sites, best WooCommerce plugins, etc.)
4. Set goals
What do we want to achieve? Clearly, growth in sales, demand for a service, increased awareness of someone, etc. But for this, we need to specify what methods, and ways we will achieve this. For example, the ultimate goal, sales growth, can be achieved by increasing physical traffic from any search engine or a combination of them. The goal should be specific and measurable, tied to a specific time interval. For example, after 3 months – the growth of “visits” by 50% of the current volume, and after a year – 2 times. The goal is defined in time, and measurable.
5. We follow competitors
It is clear that especially in the field of sales, it is quite possible that not only you, your company, are engaged in similar products or services. Analyze what and how your competitors are doing, if any, and track their actions on thematic portals, networks, etc. Perhaps some of this will prompt you to new thoughts, and ideas, or, on the contrary, help you make yourself recognizable and different from others.
6. We develop topics and key phrases
For each segment of your target audience, now find topics that will be of interest. Study them, you should express an expert opinion on this topic. These will be headings. Choose key phrases for each.
7. We are looking for clients
Visit profiles in social networks, forums, and blogs, and analyze all open information. Make a list of content that is popular with potential customers, see what they post, share, etc. It is clear that if you are promoting consulting in the field of thermal power engineering, then comics and anime are unlikely to please professional bison, on whose forums a simple ordinary consumer of a utility resource with a phrase like “what an expensive communal apartment we have!”
8. Design Headline Templates
Having understood what kind of content is distributed by representatives of your target audience in networks, you will understand what materials are “top” and what keywords should be used. See what topics your competitors are interested in each of your segments. Using this as a base, create your heading templates by arranging them for the types of content you need (article, blog, comic, video, etc.)
9. The penultimate but important step
Now let’s create a content map. The tabular form is usually used, but you might go the other way. It doesn’t matter how it is presented. The content is much more significant, since it will be the plan of action, the way to evaluate the results obtained, and the elegant tool of work. So, let’s break down the types of content by the popularity in your target audience, not forgetting the possibly very different segments. We determine which channels we will use for each of them.
10. Actually, we got a strategy
Now, when entering a new existing site for you, it is enough to simply understand whether it is suitable for your goals and whether the audience will be loyal to you. And you no longer need to come up with topics – they are in your strategy.
In general, by following the described steps consistently and carefully, you really get a thoughtful guide to action, which is based on real facts. And your strategy will help not only to make content marketing effective but also to apply financial, moral, and intellectual resources in the direction leading to the goal!