9+1 things you need to do to build a successful content marketing strategy.
Krista Neher put together a great list and I added one because I like top 10 lists.
A content strategy can be as simple as a single or a comprehensive microsite with content that is updated frequently. Regardless of what you’re trying to achieve, creating a strategic plan is important to your success.
Step 1: What do you want to achieve? The first step to understanding content marketing is to define your goals and objectives. Your broad goal is probably to drive sales and grow your business, but a more specific objective for your content strategy will allow you to create more specific and meaningful content.
Define the purpose of the content as specifically as possible.
Step 2: Who do you want to reach? Defining your audience as specifically as possible is key to a solid content strategy. Know your specific goals, and define the demographics, psychographics, and behaviors of your audience.
Step 3: Identify triggers. A trigger is an event that prompts someone to seek out information online. For example, I won’t wake up one day and decide to research diabetes or browse for bicycles. An event or motivation triggers the initiation of a search. Understanding the triggers for your audience will help create a content strategy that gets results.
Step 4: What is the editorial strategy? This is an area that’s often overlooked or given only a cursory thought to, but is one of the biggest keys to success. Most businesses will describe their tone with a few words, but when bringing their content to life it lacks a clear personality.
Consider the tone, values, and voice of your content. What tone could best achieve your marketing objectives and speak to your audience? A clear personality or tone in content makes it more relatable and allows your audience to feel connected.
Step 5: What content should you create? The next step is to decide what content you should actually create. The content creation plan should include the themes, messages, and topics. To create a good content strategy, it’s helpful to research the landscape and look to discussion forums, Twitter, search, and blogs to understand what your audience is interested in.
A recent study by Outbrain that was featured on eMarketer asked marketers what types of content they were planning to create this year. Surprisingly, video ranked first, followed by blog posts, articles, and slideshows.
Also consider the action that you want someone to take as a result of engaging with your content. Bridge the gap between brand objectives and audience desires.
Step 6: What forms should your content take? Once you know what content you want to create, the next step is to determine the format of the content. Should the content be a white paper/ebook/download, a video, photos, infographics, a slideshow, articles, blog posts, webinars, or live chats? Based on your objectives, a landscape analysis, and knowledge of your target audience, determine the most appropriate and achievable forms for your content.
Step 7: How do you make it better and more creative? This step should be added to any planning process, digital or otherwise. Once you have the basic idea – the content and the form – consider how you can creatively make it into a bigger or better idea. Brainstorm positioning, titles, partners, and execution to make your content really stand out.
Step 8: How will the content be created? This step is pretty obvious – decide who, what, and when.
9: How will the content be promoted or syndicated? This final step is also often overlooked. If you build it they probably won’t come. Good content needs a good syndication and promotion plan. Consider paid, earned, and owned media as options. Use social networks to spread the message, and integrate social media sharing into the design of your content, not as an afterthought.
Step 10: Develop a Content Schedule. Though this is buried in # 8, I feel it merits its own # and again, I like Top 10 lists better than 9. Your audience plays a critical role in determining the proper frequency that will work. And lets not forget, it has to be a schedule you can maintain.
Taking the time to build a strategic content plan is vital in a digital world where we’re bombarded by content. Consider that an average person on Facebook has over 200 connections to people, pages, groups, and events, or that there are over 30 million blogs in the U.S. With so many things fighting for our attention, it’s harder than ever for brands to stand out. Be strategic to break through the clutter and drive real results.