How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

Content. Content. Content.

Today’s digital marketing efforts are all centered around one thing.

Content.

Want to build your brand? Produce more content. Want to sell more products? Content. Interested in generating leads? Content.

Alright, you get the point. Content is important. The more content you produce the more likely you are to be seen. It’s a fact. It’s not all about quantity, though. Quality matters, too. Content can punish you just as much, if not worse, than it can help you. As my little Italian grandmother always says, “Do it right or don’t do it all.”

Throwing Spaghetti at the Wall

Content can be compared to throwing spaghetti at the wall with hopes of it sticking, whereas the actual content strategy is the sauce that makes or breaks the meal. You can have the world’s best spaghetti, but if the sauce sucks, then nobody will notice. On the flip side, you can make the world’s best sauce, but if the pasta itself is undercooked, then nobody appreciates the sauce. The moral of the story here is you have to plan and then execute. Find what works and do more of it.

Making the Sauce

The first step in any content marketing strategy is to sit down and figure out what the heck you’re trying to accomplish. Just for fun, let’s say you’re the CMO at a large manufacturer, and you’re toughest task is trying to convince your boss the internet isn’t a fad. The easiest way to make sure your voice can be heard is to be prepared. Put together a plan and go through it line by line with the key decision makers in your office.

Start with Why

It doesn’t cost a whole lot of money to create a piece of content. But it does require time. The biggest question you need to answer is why we need to do this. When you answer this question, you need to think of the company as a whole. Here’s a few sample questions to ask before you can really zero in on an answer:

  • Who will produce the content?
  • What will the content be about?
  • Where will the content be published?
  • What platforms will you use to promote the content?
  • How often can you produce content and be consistent?

These are five questions you need to ask yourself, and more importantly, the team around you. Give everyone a seat at the table. Content strategy is not a job for one person. It’s a job for an entire company.

Sit Down and Build the Foundation

As CMO, you can certainly run point on this conversation, but the key is getting everyone involved: The CEO, VP of Sales, COO, someone from your customer service department, and anyone else that you feel may be impacted by or have an impact on a content strategy. Get everyone in the same room and talk it out.

The key to a good content strategy is knowing your customers inside and out. In the inbound marketing world we call them buyer personas. In addition to knowing your best customer, you also need to know their typical decision-making process, or their buyer’s journey. This is why you need individuals from all departments involved in planning.

  • What industries are your best customers in?
  • What questions are they asking during the decision-making process?
  • Do they share a common problem or seek a certain opportunity?
  • How does your company help solve their problem or opportunity?
  • Where do they hang out on the internet?
  • Are they active on social media?
  • Do they prefer to pickup the phone or email?
  • How often do they purchase?
  • What type of support do they typically need between purchases?
  • How did they find you?

If you can answer these 10 questions, you are ready to build out a content strategy.

Time to Write

This blog is packed with questions you need to answer before you can actually sit down and write a blog post, produce a podcast or shoot a video. The final step in developing a solid content strategy is taking what you learned and catering your content toward your buyer persona to support them at each stage of their buyer’s journey. For example, let’s say you’ve decided to blog once per week and develop a white paper once each quarter. Here’s what that strategy might look like:

Month One

  • Decide on the title of your whitepaper
  • Write the content for your whitepaper
  • Write the marketing emails for those opting in to your whitepaper
  • Design your white paper to fit your brand
  • Design a call-to-action to promote your whitepaper
  • Develop a landing page to capture form submissions in exchange for your whitepaper

Month Two

  • Blog #1 (Include a CTA promoting the white paper)
  • Blog #2 (Include a CTA promoting the white paper)
  • Blog #3 (Include a CTA promoting the white paper)
  • Blog #4 (Include a CTA promoting the white paper)

Analyze. Adjust. Repeat.

Digital marketing as a whole is awesome because you always know what works and what doesn’t. Everything is tracked, and you can tie your efforts back to a number. Analyze those numbers and make adjustments as you need to. Content marketing isn’t a “set it and forget it” strategy. It’s a “set it, analyze it, adjust it” strategy and it never ends.

Overwhelmed? Let us help.

At ProFromGo Internet Marketing we have a team of marketers who eat, sleep and breathe content marketing. Whether you’re trying to figure out how to make the time, where to find the resources, or just need someone to bounce ideas off of, give us a call. We’re happy to help.

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