We’ve all been there. You’ve completed a successful marketing campaign, yay! But now you realize that it will be difficult to replicate because there wasn't a defined strategy or process. Friend, you're not alone!
A comprehensive marketing campaign is like a puzzle. There are anywhere from 10-50 pieces, and each piece is a content-driven tactic. All of the pieces are worked on simultaneously so that the campaign can be a complete, cohesive picture of success, which ultimately drives traffic, leads and new customers to your business.
After the puzzle is finished, stand back to admire your work. Similarly, when the campaign is over, and it’s time to analyze the results, a gaping hole often becomes evident (gasp, a missing puzzle piece!). There was no documented strategy to drive the tactics.
It makes sense that only 37% of B2B marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy. Without one, we see that marketers have the best intentions but sometimes operational pieces (like tiny puzzle pieces) go missing. After all, building a content strategy that is repeatable isn’t the goal, but one that is well documented and understood by all members of your team. A missing piece leaves a gap in your department that could become detrimental as your team changes over time.
A content marketing strategy answers “what are we doing?” and “why are we doing it?” Tactics (aka puzzle pieces) address the “how are we going to do it?” question.
Your content marketing is a way to provide direction and keep a campaign on track. It can include email, website, social media, landing pages, blogs, articles, videos, infographics, whitepapers and more. It’s difficult (but possible) to complete a puzzle without a picture, and your content marketing can become a tangled mess without an effective strategy.
Set your team up for success with these 8 steps that ensure you're creating the most comprehensive content strategy:
1. Use a content mission statement to set goals.
Fill in the blank: “We need to provide X type of content to fulfill Y need/want, or to evoke (this emotion) in our target customer so that they do Z (visit our website, purchase our product/service, etc.).” Don’t forget to consider the general tone of your content as well.
2. Refine the profile of your buyer persona.
It is absolutely necessary to define the demographics, lifestyle, opinions, and values of your target customer, which will help you to understand better the types of content that will engage those personas.
3. Perform a content audit.
Like most people, you probably publish weekly articles on your blog. Take this opportunity to see how your audience responds to them and how those blogs are performing. Look over your previous content strategy with a critical eye; notice if you are fully capitalizing on all types of your content; pay attention to your social media and email marketing trends.
4. Brainstorm new content ideas (or recreate old pieces of content that were successful).
There is no limit to new content! Browse your competitors’ sites, read a book in a related genre, scan social media, or have a conversation. Focus on what your business does best and how it differs from your competition. Those creative juices won’t take long to get flowing! Grab that older piece of content that was awesome. Use it to create 5-10 additional unique pieces (videos, infographics, ebooks, podcasts, articles, etc.).
5. Identify types of content that will best serve your needs.
Don’t aim to invest your time and money in all forms of content. Instead, allow your valuable content marketing strategy to steer you to the types of content that your target customers most want and need. The options may include lists and how-to articles (favorites among many personas), case studies, interviews, infographics, videos, podcasts, and emails.
6. Pick a content analytics system.
Your content marketing strategy should support your business goals in the same way that your marketing supports sales. Having an analytics system or partner will help you measure your key goals and take action on those metrics. The way you measure your content is critical because it is the paradigm for how you will see areas of success and opportunity.
7. Share your content marketing strategy with stakeholders.
Anyone who has a vested interest in the success of your business should be made aware of your content marketing strategy, and it’s progress. Not only will this foster a sense of involvement but it will also encourage feedback, giving them an inside look at what you are doing, how you’re driving value, and how you’re getting your brand in front of your target audience.
8. Efficiently publish and manage your content.
Create an editorial calendar in alignment with your content marketing strategy to prepare a plan and timely execute it. Remember this step, so your content isn’t targeting the same audience too frequently or not frequently enough.
Large puzzles aren’t finished in one evening, and neither is a content strategy. As a marketer, this strategy is at the core of everything you do. Set calendar reminders to continue revising your strategy and sharing it with your team, so it is documented, repeatable and understood by all members of your organization.