Developing A Content Marketing Strategy
So, today we want to talk a little about your developing a content marketing strategy. In contrast to your content strategy, which focuses primarily on the content itself, your content marketing strategy encompasses everything from the content itself, to how you disseminate it and how all of this affects your brand. As always, in typical UBS Digital fashion, we’re going to dive right into it.
As with all marketing endeavours, in content marketing, strategy is everything. That is why you must begin your content marketing campaign with a solid strategy. [Note: this is different from your content strategy.] So, how do you develop a content marketing strategy?
A proper content marketing strategy consists of 4 main elements:
- Purpose and objectives
- Target audience
- Image (in relation to your brand)
- Execution plan
Element 1: Purpose (goal) and objectives
Content marketing is often about the big(ger) picture. It is about image, brand, rankings, and ultimately, leads. In content marketing, your purpose (or goal) defines what you hope to achieve with your content marketing strategy, and your objectives are measurable indicators that let you know how well you’re doing with regards to meeting your goal.
For example, if the purpose of your content marketing is to be seen as the most friendly computer technician in the neighbourhood, one of your objectives could be to increase the number of neighbourhood folk signed up to your PC self-help forum. You see, this, you can easily track.
It is good to have one main goal and a few solid objectives that will guide you. These objectives must be measurable – this is very important. If your objectives don’t have measurable indicators, how then will you be able to track your performance? How will you know how well your campaign is performing? You see, this is why you need measurable objectives.
Element 2: Your audience
When we talk about your audience here, the focus is more on their behaviour, than their attributes. So, you’re less concerned about regular demographic indicators like age, sex and marital status; and more interested in behaviourial indicators like the type of films they enjoy, whether they read or not, and how likely they are to buy a DealDey spa deal on impulse. And how do you find people based on their behaviour?
Do some research
Research your target audience. Work out the people you’re most interested in ‘selling‘ to, and find out what they need, what they want and what concerns them. Your content needs not only to appeal to them, but they must find it (and you) useful. One of the best ways to do this is to create buyer personas.
Create buyer personas
A persona represents your ideal customer. This is the person you want reading your content, and engaging with your company. By creating a persona, you’re able to better understand your target audience better and thus, you’re more likely create content that they’ll find beneficial.
Creating buyer personas requires knowledge and insight of your target audience. So, back to our previous point: do some research. How close your persona is to your actual target audience determines how effective your content marketing will be.
Some of the ways you can conduct this research include:
- Customer surveys
- Focus groups
- Customer feedback
- Checking out your competitor’s customers
In practice, you’ll probably need to create a few personas because your customers may behave differently, yet have the same interests.
Element 3: Your image (in relation to your brand)
This part determines the sort of content you share and how you present it. Over time, you want to develop and personality based on your brand. And this personality must be attractive to your customers. You want to ask yourself questions like, “what does my brand stand for?” and “If my brand were a person, what would they sound like?”. These questions will help you determine your tone, your style, the kind of content you deliver and much more.
Element 4: Execution Plan
How are you doing to deploy your content? Are you going to use social media? If so, what social networks are you going to use? How often are you going to post? Who are you going to follow? What sort of posts should you engage? These are the sort of questions you ask yourself when you’re designing your execution plan.
Your execution plan determines how you’re going to deploy the content that you’ve created. What’s the point of creating content if nobody sees it? So, your execution plan ensures that your content gets to the right people, and at the right time.
Things you ought to consider:
These are the ways by which you’ll get your message across social media, video, audio, infographics, etc. We discussed them in our previous post.
In considering your channels, you want to look at the social networks that will give you the best results. You also want to look at how different kinds of posts perform on different platforms. Figure out what’s best for your market, your target audience, and for your brand.
Your Content Schedule
At this stage, you want to think about the things you want to post and when you want to post them. For example, you may not necessarily send out your newsletter at the same time you publish a blog post. You want to look at the times when different types of content perform the best. This, you can simply do by checking out your analytics and performance insights.
Create a content schedule, and more importantly, stick to it. Be consistent. Your customers need to know when to expect your newsletter or a new blog post from you. People are looking forward to reading your new post on Monday morning, and to that podcast of Thursday evening. You don’t want to let them down.
Measure. Evaluate. Update. Repeat.
Don’t rest on your laurels. Track your performance, see what’s working well and what’s not working that well, tweak a few things where necessary, and do it all over again.
Create an amplification plan
An amplification plan looks at how to use one’s fan base to propagate content.
So, say you have 1000 followers on Facebook, and each of those followers has 500 friends. Then, you have 10 employees, who, again, are all on Facebook and also have 500 friends. If you put up a post normally, and you reached 16% of your fans organically (as Facebook suggests), you’d reach 160 people. However, what if you encouraged your fans and your employees to share your post?
Let’s take a look:
Total pool for 160 followers (with 500 friends) = 500 * 160 = 80,000 people.
Organic reach potential (@ 16% of total pool) = 16% of 80,000 = 12,800 people.
Add that to your employees’ friends:
Total pool = 5000
Organic reach potential (@ 16% of total pool) = 800
You’re now looking at a reach potential of 12,800 + 800 = 13,600 people, as opposed to 170 (160 + 10) assuming all your employees are cooperatives and they share your posts.
Influencers tend to have a massive following. So, if you’re looking to reach a large crowd, they can help you do just that. Connect with them, engage with them, encourage them to share your stuff. It’s all part of the plan.
Today, we’ve looked at the basics of creating a content strategy. Hopefully, you’ve found it useful :). Next week, we’ll see how to put this stuff to practice. I reckon we should use a travel agency as our case study. Any objections, please let me know. Any questions, as always, feel free to ask. Otherwise, see you next week. Cheers!