Content is everywhere. It is one of the essential building blocks that unrelentingly fights for our attention while we’re going from one place to the next on our exploration online world. But content, more than anything, is a tool. When we’re looking for fun, content provides us with entertainment. If we’re looking to get informed or even educate ourselves on a particular subject, we can be safe in the knowledge that somewhere in our browser we can find answers to our questions. We are often willing to spend hours rummaging around different search engines and social media platforms because the payoff of finding just the right piece of content is so rewarding
All marketers are aware of this phenomenon. The great ones understand how to make the big bucks from it. You see, getting involved with content marketing is really not that difficult. The mere process of creating and sharing online material is something even children do on a daily basis. The real value comes from being able to use it in order to achieve a specific brand or business-related goal.
The first rule of content marketing is making content which is useful and relevant for your target audience. Once you figure out how to do that, you can add to the notion by providing your content with some structure, by making a platform, and planning out how to keep adding to it. Lastly, when you are able to understand how to adapt your content marketing efforts to achieve a specific goal and to do so in a way that is aligned with your brand’s vision and mission – well you’ve got yourself a content marketing strategy.
The essential purpose of the process is to predict and create a network of events, situations, and behaviors between your content and your customers in order to achieve real, tangible value for your brand. In order to do this, you’ll need to go through some predetermined steps and ask some very important questions.
Knowing Your Target Audience and Defining the Goals of Your Content
There’s no point in content marketing if no one is consuming the content, is there? Let’s reflect on the first rule a bit. In order to really make content both relevant and useful, you need to understand the people it’s for. Who are they, where are they hanging out… what are their likes and dislikes? Get ready to roll up your sleeves because extensive research is required at this point.
Once you’ve gathered enough data and you’re able to put together a decent enough profile of your target audience, focus on two questions. What are their problems and what is their idea of fun? Do whatever you can to shape your message in a way that embodies and reflects on these two aspects of their profile.
Choosing the Right Medium
If you invested time into the two previous steps then this one should be pretty easy to unravel. Target audiences will differ from one another by their preference for different types of content. Some enjoy the visual media more, some like to listen and others still might have a preference for the written word. If you were able to dive into the patterns of your potential users and customers, the decision is relatively straightforward. You can pick several mediums as long as they’re all adequate for the message you’re trying to send out.
The most well-established types of content, meaning they’re easiest to promote and for your audience to consume are:
- Case Studies
- White Papers
Another thing you need to take into consideration are your resources. This doesn’t only come down to finances and budgets, but also to your ability to make quality content. If you are able to set up the right processes that will lead to an engaging article, or podcast or whatever, only then should you move on to the next step.
Planning Out Content Production
Whether you’re working as part of a marketing team or you’re fighting the good fight all by yourself, the key to being and staying efficient is organization and planning. You need to define who is in charge of what, when are the deadlines, what tools will be used, etc. The best way to answer all of these questions while having a clear overview of the entire process is to create a content marketing calendar. There are several plugins and templates you can download, but there is a great benefit in customizing one for your team or yourself. In the end, you and your team will have needs that are somewhat specific so there’s a good reason for optimizing it to that extent. They’re pretty easy to make and you don’t have to go much further than Google Sheets to create and use your very own.
Assessing Your Strategy’s Success
The work of a true marketer is never done, and as the market changes, your strategy needs to adapt and modify accordingly. Defining parameters for estimating your success is the very last but crucial step for your content marketing strategy development. Without adequate and relevant feedback, there are no conditions for valid testing and optimization of the process, both essential for improving your strategy over time. Google Analytics can be of great use, and you can click here to read more about how to use Google Analytics to measure and improve your content marketing.
A good content marketing strategy is not something you can stumble upon or easily come by. It will take a lot of analysis, brainstorming, planning, organization, and reflection before you can actually get to the production stage. You’ll need to make well-informed decisions, but also learn how to nurture, develop and optimize your strategy over time. And while you’re doing all that, you need to be wary of making some of the most common content marketing mistakes.
It sounds like a lot but it is. Content marketing is no joke since everyone and their uncle are getting involved. There’s so much noise out there it’s not even funny. But it doesn’t mean you should get scared off and quit before you gave it a chance. Hopefully, this guide will help bring you one step closer to developing a strategy that simply can not fail. Unstoppable. Bulletproof.
Mark is a biz-dev hero at Invoicebus – a simple invoicing service that gets your invoices paid faster. He passionately blogs on topics that help small biz owners succeed in their business. He is also a lifelong learner who practices mindfulness and enjoys long walks in nature more than anything else