How to create a Content Marketing Strategy
Are you working with content marketing today, but experiencing challenges in publishing content regularly, creating consistent content or finding a clear purpose in your creative process? Without a clear strategy, it's easy to lose track of your communications, which is why we've created this guide. Get tips on how to create a content strategy that will help your business grow in the long term.
Content marketing is a marketing method that's becoming increasingly common, regardless of industry. If you don't show up, you don't exist, right? In today's digitized world, brands can easily meet their target audience in their everyday lives online through different content marketing activities. Whether it's social media, podcasts, newsletters - or traditional channels for that matter, you should build your brand for both potential and current customers through content that they find interesting, educational or entertaining.
It may sound simple to post a message on Instagram every now and then or put some links in a newsletter once a quarter. But without a clear strategy, goals and continuity, you'll be spending your resources with no results. Did you know that 60% of the most effective marketers actively work with documented strategies? Let the statistics speak for themselves. Let's go!
Understand your target audience
First, you need to get a clear picture of your target audience. Your content should be tailored to your recipients' preferences, so if you don't know where your target audience is, what format they prefer to consume or what their needs are, it will be a challenge for you to communicate interesting enough content. We recommend that you always keep your personas in mind, no matter what channel or format you are working with. If you haven't defined your audience in terms of personas yet, you can read more about it in our article here.
Once you know who your target audience is, it's time to dig deeper into what they need, expect and what drives them. Review content from competing players in the industry. What are they writing about on their social media channels? What topics do they highlight in their blog posts and what are the biggest headlines on their websites? Be inspired by the content that generates the most engagement. For example, if you work in recruitment, a guide on how to write a salesy CV or 5 quick tips for the interview could be rewarding content for your job-seeking audience.
Also, read through user comments, and see if you can define patterns. What content attracts the most engagement and what questions are common? Write down your ideas and insights on a piece of paper, you'll use it when developing your long-term content plan. But more on that later.
Without a clear objective, it becomes a challenge to know if you're doing a good or not so good job. The motivation for your creation should lie in the purpose. For example, you publish a post to drive traffic to a specific product. Or you sponsor a post, with the ambition that more potential leads will book a consultation. Often you don't have just one goal but several, you can of course work on these in parallel, as well as working towards the same goal through several communication channels. Let your platforms sync and collaborate. For example, if you want to increase traffic to your website, you should review your SEO, in parallel with creating traffic-driving ads on social media. This way, you'll be both visible organically when users search for products in your segment, and visible in your target audience's feed through paid marketing. Read more about how you can work with SEO here and ads here.
Develop a content plan
To avoid any question marks around production week after week, or longer breaks in publishing, you need to develop a clear content plan for your channels. A well-crafted content plan includes the following steps:
Content pillars, or content categories, usually consist of 4-5 topics that you want to highlight regularly in your communications. For example, if you work in recruitment, CVs, interviews, networking, skills development and rhetoric may be relevant headings for your content production. It could also be about your brand, employees, features or industry statistics. What do you want to communicate to your recipients? Do you want to entertain, educate or inspire? Choose the categories that you think are most relevant to your brand and services.
Write down the channels you are and/or want to be active on in the future. For example, social media, newsletters, blog posts and podcasts. You can also set a plan for the channels you want to add in the coming year, such as a new social media channel.
Create a publishing schedule, which includes the publication dates for the channels, the format and the categories. Also clarify your CTA (call to action) or purpose for each piece of content. This will make it easier for the production team, as it will be clear what to produce, why and when. It will also make it easier for you to create varied and relevant content. Put your plan into an excel document, for example, which is both clear and easy to share with everyone in the marketing team.
Once you have your plan ready, it's time to start producing your content. We recommend you start with the "big" content first, i.e., articles, interviews, whitepapers and blog posts that require a lot of information. You can then break this down into social media posts, video content for your website or podcasts.
Copy also helps you boost your SEO efforts, thereby increasing organic traffic to your website. But with that said, don't forget to include images to your copy productions, statistics show that text combined with images is viewed on average 94% more often.
Optimize your content
Before you hit publish, you should proofread and optimize your content. This is to ensure the readability of the article, you want the text to flow and be clear with interesting headings, prefaces and supporting images. You also want to rank as high as possible in the search engines. Through the Google Keyword Planner, you can find suggestions for keywords that can improve your SEO. This is especially important for your Meta descriptions and headlines. Read more about how you can optimize organic traffic here.
Scheduling tools will save you time, help you work long-term and streamline your workflow. Set aside one to two days every three months, where you produce all the content that will go out on your social media. Research new information, statistics, industry trends and write down everything that will happen in your company in the future. Will you be working on campaigns, launching a new product or starting a collaboration? Get all the evidence you need to cover your communications for three months ahead and then spread this over the coming weeks. Depending on the social media channels you work with, you can adapt the choice of your scheduling tool accordingly. We recommend you read more about the Buffer, Planoly and Later tools, which publish on the most common social media channels.
Follow up your marketing activities afterwards with statistics. Analyze if any topic is doing better or worse? Which publishing time or day is preferable? Is there a format that appeals to recipients more or less? There are several aspects to reflect on when it comes to results, often small adjustments can make a big difference. You can access overall statistics on your website through Google Analytics, as well as in the individual channels you choose to work with. Compile the data each month and note opportunities for improvement for each channel. This will help you reach out better with your communications and get closer to your overall goals going forward.
A well-thought-out content marketing strategy will help you create consistent, well-produced and relevant content that creates value for your recipients. By actively working on the purpose and relevance of your content, you can generate more traffic to your website, convert more leads and increase brand awareness - the plan is tailored to your brand's objectives.
The most important thing is that you take the time to develop a well thought out plan, which can work towards your long-term goals. Start small and add more channels as you go. We don't work on quantity; we work on quality! Don't forget that all forms of communication become the face of your brand. So, make sure the image you send out is representative of what your brand stands for and wants to communicate.
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