A well-planned Content Marketing Strategy is one of the most effective ways to create brand awareness, generate highly relevant leads and build an online community for your business. Today, most businesses are trying out content marketing one way or the other – through blogs, whitepapers, case studies, infographics and more. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute, 42% of businesses have had a positive impact due to content marketing. However, to make the most of your content marketing efforts, you need to have a robust content marketing strategy framework. Here’s how you can create a solid content marketing plan to grow your business.
How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
Here are the steps to create a content marketing plan to attract, educate and convert quality leads for your business.
1. Identify a Business Goal
The first step is to clearly define the business goal that you want to accomplish with your content marketing strategy. Why do you want to create a content marketing plan? Why are you creating and promoting content for your business?
Is it to increase brand awareness? Is it to generate more leads? Is it to increase conversions? Knowing your business goals makes it easier to set the right direction for your content marketing strategy and makes it easier to develop a custom content marketing plan to achieve your goals.
2. Define your Target Audience
Who is the target audience for your content marketing strategy? Defining your target audience is perhaps the most important steps of creating a successful content strategy. Knowing your target audience enables you to figure out what topics they’re interested in, what type of content they like to read, where you can find them online, and how to engage them. If you know your target audience, you’ll be able to create useful and valuable content that they like to read and convert on.
You can define your target audience simply using a buyer persona. You can create a buyer persona by clearly describing your target audience’s background, demographics, interests, and behavior. Be as detailed as possible. Here’s an example
Also, regularly revisit your buyer persona to see if your target market has changed, of if you want to expand your target market and reach out to new groups of people.
3. Do a Content Audit
Most businesses start with a blog, but if you already have existing content then it’s a good idea to review them. This will help you understand which content pieces need to be updated, and which ones can be re-purposed. For example, you may have written “Top SEO Tools for 2014”. It may be a good time revisit that post to see if those tools still exist, if there are any new ones that you may want to include in your list and how you can update it to be relevant even today. This will ensure that your content is always fresh and useful to your target audience.
Similarly, if you’ve written multiple posts about a specific topic, then you can probably re-purpose them as an eBook, infographic, slideshow, or even a series of white papers.
4. Determine a Content Management System (CMS)
The next step is to pick a content management system to host your content. There are plenty of CMS systems such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal that you can use for Content Marketing. However, while evaluating CMS platforms, look for key content management features such as content creation, content publication and content analytics. It’s great if they even include content promotion capabilities. Most Content management systems provide a base installation, with the ability to add custom plugins to increase its functionality.
In our experience, WordPress is the most popular and widely used content management system, with tons of free plugins and a very helpful online community. We’ve been using it for a long time and would definitely recommend it!
Bonus Read : Learn How to Promote Your Blog Effectively
5. Generate Content Ideas
Next, you need to generate a list of content ideas that you can use to create content. To begin with, simply brainstorm content ideas on a piece of paper, based on your understanding of your target audience, and also what your competitors (if any) are writing about. This will help you generate a seed list of ideas that you can expand upon , to create various pieces of content. You can also feed these seed ideas into one of the many online content topic generators to get even more content ideas. Here are a few blog topic generators you can get started with:
- BuzzSumo – BuzzSumo is an amazing content search engine that enables you to discover the top content and content ideas based on your choice of topics and keywords. It also shows the number of social shares for each content to help you find trending topics.
- ContentIdeator – ContentIdeator is a free content research and ideation tool by ContentForest. It enables you to find top content by your competitors, top keywords that you can use in your content, as well as popular content ideas.
- Feedly – Feedly is one of the best RSS feeds available, that allows you to track trending topics and the most popular content ideas about your business and industry. With Feedly, you can easily follow your favorite blogs and organize them into custom feeds, to stay up-to-date all the time.
Bonus Read: Check out our list of Best Content Curation Tools and Top Blog Post Ideas that you can use for your business. You can also read our list of Best Blog Topic Generators for content idea generation.
6. Determine the Content Types you want to Create
Next, you need to decide which types of content you want to create for your business. Most people start with a blog and slowly branch out to other forms of content, as their reach grows over time. Here are some of the most popular content formats used by content marketers.
If you’re new to content marketing, it’s advisable to start with one content type and stick to it for at least 6 months. This will help you understand if you’re targeting the right audience and the type of topics your audience likes to read, so you can optimize your content to increase its reach and engagement. Once you have a fairly decent idea of what your readers want, you can experiment with other types of content. In fact, you can always re-purpose your blog posts into other content types to grow your audience.
7. Manage your Content
It’s not enough to create just a few pieces of great content for your target audience. Content marketing is a continuous effort, so you need to clearly organize and manage your content to maximize its impact. Editorial Calendars are a great way to plan your content ideas, organize & delegate content creation tasks to your content marketing team, and execute them efficiently. Also, create a Social media calendar that will help you come up with content promotion strategies for various social media platforms, and monitor their performance over time.
You can also check out our list of Best Content Calendar Templates that you can use for your Content Marketing Strategy.
A Content Marketing Strategy template makes it easy to identify, plan, and organize content marketing activities so you can consistently target the right audience with relevant and useful content. A great Content Strategy attracts, educates and engages people, and converts them into valuable customers for your business.
Bonus Read : Check out our list of Best Content Marketing Tools for every content marketer.
Do you have any tips for creating a Content Marketing Strategy checklist?