Your Checklist for a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
When talking about marketing, there is a popular phrase that marketers like to use. It's sometimes referred to as the "content is king quote” and was made famous by Bill Gates.
And he was right.
It is no surprise that content continues to be a key driver of digital marketing success. The way you create and distribute your messages can make or break an online campaign, and every marketing strategy needs a plan for creating quality content that will keep readers interested and engaged with your company's products or services.
DEFINING CONTENT IS KING
Content is the backbone of any marketing plan. Without it, you are left with nothing but air - no connection between yourself and customers.
This is the age of information, and you don’t succeed in marketing without great content.
The concept of content marketing is not new, but it has recently become more popular due to how much attention customers get. It's all about understanding your customer and what they want from you rather than simply advertising or branding efforts- this gets people involved with the company in an emotional way which leads them back for repeat business.
When it comes to content marketing, the phrase ‘content is king’ has never been more true. We'll dive into why this form of promotional material can be so successful for your business in just a minute.
But first, WHAT IS CONTENT MARKETING? Content Marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating and sharing consistent and relevant content. This content is engaging and provides valuable information; it also reaches out to a wide audience. To make sure your content drives profitability, you need clear goals. And to do that requires an in-depth strategy. There's no way around it, you need detailed personas and scenarios to make content that really solves customers’ problems. The content of your website should be relevant and consistent. We always go on about how it's important because that will lead you straight towards success, with some other factors such as value or quality thrown into the mix for good measure. So, here is a Content Marketing Strategy Checklist that will help your content stand out from the rest:
CONTENT MARLETING STRATEGY CHECKLIST 1. Conduct In-Depth Persona Research
You can't create an effective content marketing strategy without understanding who you want to reach. If your posts are too general, then they'll never have any impact on the people that matter most - which is why specificity matters.
To develop a content strategy that is relevant and contextual, you must first find out who has the need for your product or service. What are the major pain points it solves against? Where do potential customers go when looking at information on these topics including their preferences in mediums such as blogs posts with pictures from social media sites? Does this apply to better enterprise companies vs small business owners or SMBs?
Use your customer success and account executives to set up interviews with customers. Ask: how did they first hear about you? What pain points does your product solve for them, who was involved in the purchase decision (including any influencers), what's been the most rewarding part so far- these insights will help decide who or channels best target potential clients.
Useful Tip: Historic customer data is an important tool in understanding your customers. Take the time to review 10 closed-won deals from last year and see what kind of insights you can gather about their behaviors.
The content you use for your most successful deals can give insight into what buyers want. Look at which information was crucial in making a purchase and incorporate that into future strategies, like an evaluation of buyer needs based on this data-driven process.
Action Items: - Define your customer personas - Define your buyer’s journey 2. Align Your Strategy to Specific Business Priorities Start by identifying high-level business objectives that will guide decisions made within the organization. Maybe your website and blog are great, but the traffic is not reaching specific personas. Maybe you need to take a look at what's being communicated on social media channels for this audience or modify how content gets posted so that people who actually buy things can find it easier.
The business goals should dictate what content you produce. If increasing deal velocity and brand awareness isn't one of them, work on building out targeted nurture tracks like blog posts or white papers instead; but make sure to include sales enablement material as well if it will help with bottom-line profitability.
To strategize how to support these goals with content, it is important that you have a clear understanding of the company’s needs. If there are quarterly or pipeline revenue targets for your marketing team to meet, then factor those in when deciding on which campaign will be most beneficial for them; try not to leave any gaps.
Useful Tip: Your content strategy should be aligned with your business goals to create the right kind of information when you need it. Following an organized approach, shields you from ad hoc requests for new materials and helps ensure that all marketing efforts lead toward profitability.
Action Items: - Establish business priorities and revenue or pipeline targets - Write down 2-3 content objectives that support business priorities
3. Meet with Your Editorial Board When it comes to content marketing, make sure you involve internal stakeholders. Give them a voice and seat at the table so they can support your entire sales funnel with their needs in mind.
You need a representative from each content-consuming department on the editorial board. This meeting can act as an open forum for teams providing feedback about how existing pieces are resonating with buyers at different stages in their buying journey and where they feel gaps exist.
A content marketing editorial board is a great way to facilitate an open dialogue for ideation. Keep the list of ideas growing and group them into themes so you can best prioritize your needs going forward.
Useful Tip: In order to create a more productive meeting, it's important that you come prepared with answers and topics ahead of time. Answer any questions they may have concerning past content marketing campaigns performance metrics so we can focus on what will work best for your upcoming project.
Action Items: - Make a list of content ideas from the meeting - Group ideas into themes 4. Choose Your Content Themes and Assets Now that you have done your due diligence and gathered important customer insights, you are in a position to choose what content themes and assets will best support your business priorities.
Start by writing out all potential ideas, how they fit with the mission statement of your organization or company- it'll help you assess which ones should be executed first.
The next step after deciding on your content themes is to build out the different content pillars. A content pillar can be thought of as a major piece or article that you write about one specific topic, and it’s broken down into many assets including eBooks, reports, and guides for easy consumption by readers in their own format preference whether they want an eBook copy with all text printed together.
Useful Tip: It is important to make sure the content themes you commit are relevant and targeted. Pay attention when it comes time for writing, because if your words don't match up then customers will be more likely not to buy from you or work with you.
Action Items: - Commit to a few content themes for the quarter (number of themes pursued depends on size, scale, and goals of your business) - Build a content pillar to support each theme 5. Set Specific and Detailed Goals
To make sure that your content marketing strategy is successful, it's important to set clear goals at every level. A good starting point for developing an effective plan would be setting specific and detailed targets such as "accomplish 10% more leads than last month."
Successful campaigns are going to have a number of different metrics that can help determine their success. One important thing you should look at for any campaign is the KPIs or key performance indicators based on what your business needs, like increasing deal velocity in this case. You might not need traffic numbers alone- but click through rate across mid-funnel nurture track emails will tell us how well our email marketing strategy works overall so make sure those count too.
- Set goals at the asset level
- Set goals at the campaign level
Remember, document your content marketing strategy! Without it, your chances of success are at risk.