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7 steps for creating a strong content marketing strategy.

What is content marketing and how does it bring value to customers?

Content marketing is a marketing strategy focused on delivering content to a clearly defined audience with the goal of driving action. Content marketers work to attract, engage, and retain their audience by providing them with quality articles, videos, podcasts, and other media. Advertising can be deployed in support of content marketing, but it isn’t the primary goal.

Follow these key steps for creating a powerful content marketing strategy:

Step 1: Define your content’s mission.

It’s important to consider your business’s mission, your audience, and the purpose of your work when creating content. Will it help your customers learn a new skill? Will it start a conversation among your target audience? Will it help with SEO or Google ranking? Lead generation? What buyer personas are you trying to reach? Honing in on the purpose of your content marketing efforts will help you see a clear path with clear goals.

Having a brand guide that answers these questions will help when trying to make the right content for your brand.

Step 2: Set goals for your digital marketing.

When creating content, you need to be able to measure and track its success with KPIs, or key performance indicators. Decide what goals you want to pursue and what metrics will best represent those goals. If you’re looking to create an infographic that connects with customers, focus on metrics like reach and engagement. If you’re crafting a case study that could result in an online sale, focus on conversion rate.

Step 3: Brainstorm content themes.

Define your subject matter and brainstorm topics that you want to explore in your new content. These topics should be broad enough that you won’t run out of content, insights, or interested readers. But they should be specific enough that they resonate with your target audience and relate to your brand. This is where understanding your brand’s mission and visual aesthetic is essential.

With your subject matter in mind, decide on the tone or point of view you’ll take. Will your content be educational, persuasive, or inspirational?

  • Educational content focuses on informing your audience about the nuts and bolts of your brand and products. It can be an excellent way to demonstrate expertise in your field.

  • Persuasive content often works to differentiate a brand and its products. This type of content is especially useful in a competitive environment to show the advantage your product delivers.

  • Inspirational content sets out to inspire and empower your audience and has the least amount of sales focus. This style of content is often focused on real people doing real things with your product or service.

Think about your customer’s pain points and consider content that could improve their experience. Understanding your mission, goals, and brand identity will help you find a compelling brand voice for your content.

Step 4: Decide where to host and distribute content.

Whether you make an SEO-optimized landing page, a regularly updated blog, or a creative social media profile, you need a place to collect and share your content. Keep your audience top-of-mind when making decisions about content platforms. Conduct a content audit of your competitors to see how they are hosting and distributing their marketing campaigns.

You don't have to use all social media platforms, research what your target audience uses the most and then use that platform.

Step 5: Define your content formats

Consider videos, articles, podcasts, social media marketing campaigns, and infographics when determining what forms of content you want to craft. Make sure the type of content you create is informed by your audience and distribution platforms. For instance, videos perform very well on Facebook, so if that’s where your customers are, it makes sense for you to invest in that medium. If your users frequent Twitter or LinkedIn, consider starting a newsletter to create long-form content and thought leadership pieces.

Step 6: Build a content marketing calendar

Creating a content marketing calendar ensures you’re delivering new content to your audience on a consistent basis. While this is a crucial part of your strategy, all the others precede it for a reason. Until you can understand the why, where, how, and who of your content production and marketing strategy, any content you create could miss the mark. What you’ve done is create constraints to help guide and focus your marketing materials, and from there you can craft an editorial calendar that ensures your content achieves your objectives.

Step 7: Test, learn, adjust, and repeat.

Your content strategy is a living document. It should change and grow as you create and gather insights from your users. Ask for feedback with surveys and polls, respond to comments on your posts, and monitor your website traffic and engagement. Then you can experiment with different content formats, topics, tone, and distribution. The more you understand your audience, the more effectively you can refine your strategy and boost brand awareness.

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