In today’s digital world, content is king. For any business looking to grow its online presence and connect with customers, a solid content marketing strategy is essential. When done right, content marketing allows brands to attract and engage with their target audience, build authority and trust, and ultimately drive conversions and revenue.
But creating an effective content marketing plan is about more than just producing content. There are several key steps we should follow to develop a high-performing content engine that delivers results. In this post, we’ll break down a step-by-step approach to building a complete content marketing strategy.
Define Your Goals
What do you want your content to achieve? Before mapping out a content plan, take time to establish clear goals and success metrics. Be specific with targets – do you want to generate more leads? Increase brand awareness? Grow site traffic? Goals should tie to broader business objectives and help focus the strategy. Common content marketing goals include boosting search rankings, nurturing leads towards conversion, educating customers, and building brand loyalty. Outline the outcomes you want so you can shape content accordingly.
Get To Know Your Audience
An audience-focused mindset is integral to effective content. Once you know who you’re creating content for, you can ensure relevancy and value. Build detailed buyer personas – representing key customer groups – to uncover insights into behavior, motivations, pain points and content needs across the buyer journey. What information do they want at different stages? How and where do they consume content? Understanding your audience inside-out allows you to provide tailored content that resonates.
Complete A Content Audit & Analysis
Before creating new content, audit what assets you already have and analyze performance. Inventory existing content types across channels – website, social, emails etc. Assess metrics like views, clicks, shares and engagement to see what’s working well. Identify content gaps where you’re lacking. Look for ways to refine and repurpose evergreen performing content too. Doing a content audit gives you a solid baseline to build upon in shaping future plans.
Map Out The Buyer’s Journey
The customer journey should serve as the framework for your content marketing strategy. Map out key stages prospective customers go through when considering, evaluating and deciding to purchase your product/service. Buyer journeys vary by business but may include steps like awareness, consideration, decision. Outline triggers driving customers between phases and note typical questions they have at each point. With customer journeys clarified, you can create tailored content that provides value when they need it most at different touchpoints.
Build An Editorial Calendar
An editorial calendar helps organize and plan content development across channels over time, based on audience needs. Plot out content types matching buyer journey stages – like introductory vs comparison vs decision-based content. Identify gaps to fill with new content aligned to goals. Look at seasonality too. Schedule blog posts, social content, emails etc needed to nurture leads at each phase. Calendars should be flexible frameworks that can adapt to reflect new topics and changing priorities. Review regularly to publish the right content, for the right personas, at the right times.
Choose Content Formats
With your map in place, the fun part begins – deciding what content formats and specific topics to produce. Align content types to audience preferences and consumption habits at various touchpoints. Look at a mix – articles, whitepapers, ebooks, infographics, video, podcasts, case studies etc. Consider search trends and seasonal content opportunities. Tap into data and analytics on high-performing topics as inspiration too. Brainstorm ideas, then narrow down to priority content pieces that will meet defined goals. Outline these pieces in detail within the editorial calendar.
Create And Curate Compelling Content
Now it’s time to create! Brief writers well so content aligns to strategic objectives for each stage and persona. Produce well-researched, high-quality content shaped for different formats as planned. Optimize content for findability and shareability – with compelling titles, meta descriptions and visuals. Over 75% of content shared is curated rather than original. So alongside owned content, share relevant third-party content to provide more value. Source user-generated and influencer content too where possible. Follow posting schedules from your editorial calendar to publish engaging content regularly.
Promote And Distribute Broadly
Creating awesome content isn’t enough – if no one sees it, it won’t have impact. Promotion and distribution are critical to content success. Leverage owned channels like your website, emails and social platforms to directly share content with your audience. Pitch relevant guest posting opportunities to place content on third-party sites. Use paid distribution like social ads to amplify reach. Share content in relevant online communities and groups your audience engages in. Make content easy to access through on-site search and navigation. Through wide promotion, you can get quality content in front of those most likely to find it valuable.
Measure And Refine
Adopt a test-and-learn mindset with your content. Use metrics aligned to goals set out early on to gauge content performance. Assess impressions, engagement rate, click-through rate, conversions and ROI per piece. Tools like Google Analytics can support tracking progress. Analyze to see which content resonates best at different buyer journey points. Feed lessons learned back into your strategy – double down on high-performing content and refresh underperforming pieces. Review what competitors are doing too. Continually measure and refine content to improve results over time.
With these steps for developing an audience-centric content marketing strategy, you can build an effective engine to attract, engage and convert customers. Define success, get to know your audience and their journey, schedule content that meets their needs, promote it widely and keep optimizing based on data. By providing value at every touchpoint, you can establish your brand as a trusted leader. With a solid strategy powering relevant, consistent content development, you’re primed for content marketing success.
The key is keeping the customer at the heart of your efforts. Build relationships through content tailored to who they are and where they are in their journey. Become a go-to resource by informing and supporting buying decisions. When content delivers genuine value, results will follow. By following this strategic blueprint, you can create an audience-first content experience that builds loyalty and drives growth.
Contact 427 Digital to help you create a winning content marketing strategy today!