Article

Oscar Waterworth
Oscar Waterworth 6 March 2017

A Guide to Developing Your Content Marketing Strategy

Competition is becoming fierce and the first thing you need to do to stay ahead is to devise a solid content marketing plan. If you do not know exactly where to start, read on to get the idea on how to approach developing a successful content strategy.

Having a well-developed content strategy is now more important than ever. What we can learn from the research by Content Marketing Institute is that B2B marketers are creating more content in 2017 than in the previous year.

Competition is becoming fierce and the first thing you need to do to stay ahead is to devise a solid content marketing plan. If you do not know exactly where to start, read on to get the idea on how to approach developing a successful content strategy.

But first, let’s start with the basics.

The Importance of Content Marketing in the Business World

Content marketing helps businesses generate website traffic and leads. The popularity stems from the fact that it is extremely cost-effective and efficient. For example, a single, well-researched, informational blog post can do wonders for lead-generation. If you carefully place a CTA or embed a link to a free resource, a market report, or a white paper, you can expect at least some amount of organic traffic.

The useful resource that you create will be steadily spreading around the web for as long as the information it contains remains relevant. This influx of leads will be a time saver. You need time to do other things as well, such as email marketing, social media advertising, or placing sponsored content onto relevant publications.

Let us now go through the process of creating a content marketing plan.

Defining Your Goals

To know how to create a content marketing strategy for 2017, you first need to precisely determine your goals. Why exactly do you need a content marketing plan? What is the reason behind your need to produce content? Determining goals for your content marketing strategy is a must if you want to really be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-bound) about it.

Creating Buyer Personas

The next step toward creating a successful content marketing strategy is conducting buyer persona research. Creating a buyer persona is not difficult, but you will have to do some research on how to do it properly.

If you are just starting out, the whole process of creating a buyer persona will be very insightful. You will get an insight into your audience’s needs and desires, which will help you create content they will be interested in.

Running a Content Audit

Blog posts are the most frequent type of content that companies start with. This does not mean that you should start with blog posts. You have to think about delegating your resources in a way that will be cost-effective and impactful.

Some companies have an interesting approach to repurposing and combining different pieces of content. For example, you can turn multiple expert blog posts into one big guide, which you can give away for free. You should also think about creating infographics, which can easily be done by just transforming one of your blog ideas into a visual explainer. The most important thing to note here is that you should analyze how different types of content perform and create new content accordingly. Later on, I will list some of the possible types of content that you could be using within your strategy.

Brainstorming

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Now you have to start thinking outside the box and come up with ideas for your future content. The best ways to go about this are to read a lot of content from the top sites in the industry, analyze your competitors’ content, and use tools that will help you with gaining insight into exactly what kind of content you should create to suit your business’ needs.

Now I will list a couple of tools that can help you with brainstorming the content ideas.

All these tools will save you a ton of time thinking about what to write or create. They will help you with choosing topics, finding out what topics trend the most, help you with creating headlines, and so on. These will especially be useful for preparing your content calendar. Now let’s list the types of content you might want to use.

Determining Relevant Content Types

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  • Blog Posts - You are currently reading a blog post. They should be published on a site in order to attract visitors. The desired length of a blog post nowadays runs between 1000 and 2000 words, but this is by no means a fixed number. Some readers prefer shorter posts, so be mindful of your audience’s behavior.
  • E-books - After you have attracted visitors to your website with tasty blog posts, they might want to dive deeper into the subject matter. That is where e-books step to assist the leads. E-books are longer than blog posts and provide much more information. Remember not to give that information for free, rather kindly ask the leads to signup to receive the e-book. This will help you with determining buyer personas and with gaining insight into your potential client base.
  • Templates - You can create templates to generate leads as well. This is very popular with the visitors because it is a type of content that saves them a lot of time, it is extremely useful, and it lets them do business as other professionals in the industry.
  • Infographics - These are similar to blog posts, the only difference is that infographics tell a story in pictures rather than words. They are very well-received by audiences, and publishers also love them because they are visually appealing. This is why infographics can also generate leads, but only if they contain useful or actionable pieces of information.
  • Videos - This relatively new form of content in the world of digital advertising is gaining serious momentum. Although videos are more expensive that written content or infographics, they could potentially be much more effective. People love short videos, explainer videos, positive news about the impact of your brand on the world, etc. They are also excellent for distribution, especially on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, or YouTube.
  • Podcasts - This is yet another form content can take. And it is auditory, so mostly aimed at people who do not have time nor patience to read a long post or watch a video. They just play the podcast in the background and learn about their favorite subject matter passively. This is where you can grab their attention with freebies, CTAs, and generally increase your company’s brand awareness.
  • External Content - This type of content comes into play when you have enough already posted on your website. Then, you can start distributing your content throughout the various social bookmarking sites. Other than that, you can think about repurposing your content (blog posts into infographics, for example) and publishing it on sites such as Medium, or LinkedIn.

Publication and Content Management

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Distributing your content in the right way will prove to be of utmost importance when it comes to developing your content strategy. As I stated earlier, preparing a content calendar will help you balance all the types of content that you plan on publishing. In this way, you will achieve a well-balanced content library. Other than the editorial calendar, you can also create a separate social media content calendar which will help you with promoting the right types of content at the right times.

As you can see, you have to be extremely well organized to achieve success in balancing and distributing your content. If you work with an international team of remote workers, and your editors and content creators are in different time zones, you might think about using a shift schedule maker to maximize your team’s efficiency. By doing this you will create an atmosphere of organization and tidiness, which is essential if you do not want your people to get lost in tons of information that they will be handling.

This is Just the Beginning

Although all of this might seem to you a bit vague or a lot to take in, do not think that it is something that is too difficult or irrelevant. Content marketing is on a steady rise, so you will need to keep up with all the trends that are driving the industries forward. But don’t fret, because once you start, you will see how easy it is to create a content marketing strategy and start implementing it. And another thing- this is just the beginning, as you will dive deeper into the world of content marketing in no time.
 

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