According to surprising research from the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and Marketing Profs, nearly 63% of businesses do not have a documented content marketing strategy even though around the same number believe that understanding how to develop a content strategy is crucial in today’s business arena. Content marketing is not considered as important as other business strategies and it can prove deprecating for a business. Companies giving priority to this area are most likely to achieve higher success rates.
It helps to know that creating a content marketing strategy is not very complicated. Some simple tips as explained below can guide you in your strategy planning:
Identify Your Audience: The first and hardest step is to identify and differentiate your target customer base as per specific interests. One can start by identifying commonalities in the existing customer base, create personas for them and list other demographics one would like to focus on. Next, perform competitor analysis and send out surveys to existing clients/past customers to figure what they expect.
Target Channels: Knowing how your audience engages with your brand online is key to creating a strong content marketing strategy. Each demographic has its preferred social media platform, for example, young people prefer Instagram while those 45 and older are most likely on Facebook. Also, each category, be it age, education or occupation has its own set of likes and dislikes. For example, people on LinkedIn are mostly career oriented and like to read informative articles while Facebook users of all ages like short videos. Businesses need to exploit these specific interests and choose the channel that appears most beneficial for promoting their content and boost traffic to their sites.
Define Your Goals: The development of a new content marketing strategy starts by explicitly defining a clear mission that defines the company’s direction and destination i.e. what you want to achieve. A clear and accurate description of your goals helps the marketing team take appropriate decisions to promote your content. For example, if the mission is to be recognized as one of the top 10 companies in your domain, the team will need to set measurable goals to aim for over a set timeframe. This could include increasing newsletter subscriptions and social media followers, gaining recognition by reputed trade associations and other such methods. When the mission is well defined, it helps shape the strategy, understand what competitors are doing and translates objectives of an organization into work structures to guide them on what to measure and how to measure.
Knowing the Audience: After you have clarity on the mission and KPIs, focus on gaining a better understanding of your audience. For a successful content marketing strategy, you need to know who you are targeting and understand their expectations. Savvy marketers turn to market intelligence agencies to get an accurate picture of their customers and create buyer personas accordingly. If you’d rather do it in-house, consider starting out with keyword analysis to understand how your customers search for information on the internet. Speaking to fellow employees that have direct contact with customers, such as sales and customer service teams, can provide deep insight into the needs, questions, and expectations of the target audience. Interpreting customer requirements can help devise a more targeted marketing strategy and create a greater impact. Segmentation helps categorize the target market according to demographics and psychographics.
Assessing Competition: Once you have a fair idea about user expectations, the next logical move is to conduct a competitive analysis. Analyze your market positioning, pricing, website traffic, marketing collateral, and compare them to competitors to identify opportunities you can capitalize on.