Categories: Content Marketing

How to Build the Perfect Content Marketing Strategy in 9 Steps

When implemented correctly, a content marketing strategy can greatly impact your brand awareness and credibility. It can also improve your relationships with your customers and drive high-quality traffic to your website.

Not convinced?

According to a study, researchers expect the content marketing industry to generate a revenue of $137.2 million by 2026.

Well, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering it is the most efficient and cost-effective way to build awareness, boost sales, and grow your business. And that’s also the reason behind the increasing use of content marketing

Now tell me, do you want your share of this $127.2 million pie?.

How effective is your content marketing strategy?

If your answers are “yes” and “not enough,” respectively – it’s high time that you take a closer look at your content marketing strategy.

It will help you uncover what’s not working for your brand. And based on that analysis, you can come up with some clever ways to create an effective content marketing strategy.

But before we go there, let’s take a look at the advantages of having a content marketing strategy. We will then talk about some clever steps to build the perfect content marketing strategy for your brand.

Advantages of Implementing a Content Marketing Strategy

According to a study, some of the benefits B2C marketers get from implementing a successful content marketing strategy include brand awareness, increased credibility, and loyalty.

Image Source – Content Marketing Institute

But those are not the only content marketing advantages.

Want to know what other benefits you can get from your content marketing strategy?

Well, let’s have a look at some of the best:

1. It’s a Platform-Independent Strategy

I’m pretty sure you are not using only one social media platform for your marketing.

Yes, having a presence on multiple social media channels can accelerate the growth of your brand while also boosting your content marketing strategy results. However, I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s difficult to manage multiple social media accounts.

And you know what? I can feel that you are nodding along.

Well, let me tell you a little secret that’ll help you in situations like these.

A content marketing strategy can bind each of these platforms together like glue.

How is this?

You can always reuse and repurpose your content and tailor it according to the social platform you are posting on. Doing this then ensures that your messages and marketing goals are always in sync.

2. Enhances Your Relationship with Customers

You know how important it is to turn your loyal customers into brand advocates, right?

But how will you go about it if you don’t have great relationships with your customers?

Don’t fret.

A content marketing strategy can help you with this too. Informative and engaging content can help you build strong relationships with your customers.

Wondering how?

Well, here are some ideas you can implement in your content marketing strategy.

You can develop interesting content around any new updates about your brand or products with your customers.

Secondly, design exciting and personalized emails for frequent communications or write informative (not boring) blog posts and share them with your customers.

Attractive and appealing content is always a great way to interact and answer the inquiries of your customers.

Let’s consider an example to understand this better.

Leading broadcasting and publishing house Cox Media Group used content marketing to build their brand’s online image. But their usual advertisements were not able to reach and tap into medium and small-sized businesses.

So the company decided to launch a “Success Kit.”

This was available online and was full of tips and tricks to run a successful business. The kit was available in ebook and video formats.

And the good news?

This innovative kit was a great success and got downloaded more than 5,000 times.

3. Generates High-Quality Website Traffic

Are you looking for effective ways to drive high-quality traffic to your website?

Let me tell you that a robust content marketing strategy can help.

Quality content enables your business or website to be found more easily by your clearly defined audience. People can search for and find your products easily and quickly.

And when you create useful content, it will motivate your users to visit your website again and again.

But ensure that the posts are informative, actionable, and, more importantly, relevant to your industry. These blog posts will continue to bring in high-quality organic traffic, month-on-month, even after being published.

4. Improve Your Brand’s Credibility

If the content you create in-house is of great quality and useful to your readers, it can boost your brand’s credibility.

But apart from creating engaging and informative blog posts, how else can you build your brand’s credibility?

Well, the answer lies in including reviews and testimonials in your content marketing strategy. These are the best ways to drive your users to make a purchase.

Your potential customers will always look forward to hearing from people who have already used your products and about the kinds of experiences they had. We are naturally wired to gather information about the performance of a product before investing money in it.

In fact, according to studies, 89% of shoppers check reviews before purchasing, while consumer-created content influences most buyers to purchase.

Image via Stackla

So don’t forget to collect testimonials, user-generated content, and reviews from your existing customers and share them with potential customers. This will improve your brand’s credibility and lead to more sales.

For example, Glossier, a makeup and beauty brand, can attribute most of its success to its effective content marketing strategy.

They have many stories from users on their Instagram account with most of them being really humorous and engaging. They also post updates and news about any new releases, collect honest feedback from their users, and post it to Instagram.

Image Source – Instagram

5. Position Your Brand as an Industry Expert

Every business should try to position themselves as experts in their niche.

To achieve this, you need to develop attractive, intriguing, and engaging content for your customers.

And, if they perceive you as an expert, they’re more likely to listen to you. This means that they’ll be more likely to take your recommendations into account when making a purchase decision.

But how do you go about positioning yourself as an expert when there are so many big players already competing in your niche?

It’s not so difficult if you have a working content marketing strategy.

You also just need to focus on creating content that is unique and different from those of others in terms of components, design, innovation, or target audience.

For example, everyone loves pizza, and there are already so many players in this niche.

But Domino’s used its content marketing strategy creatively to differentiate itself from others. They introduced an innovative Domino’s Wedding Registry. It’s a wedding registry for pizza.

Image Source – Domino

They also had pizza registries for honeymoons, bachelor, and bachelorette parties.

Sounds exciting, right?

Which is why the company managed to make $1 million from these registrations. In a week’s time, the company got 3,000 registrations and and generated 1 billion impressions.

These are just some of the benefits of running a great content marketing strategy. However, the question still remains, how do you build one?

Find out below:

9 Steps to Build the Perfect Content Marketing Strategy

Now that you understand the advantages of having a content program let’s look at some smart ways to build an effective content marketing strategy.

1. Define Your Content Marketing Goal

The first and foremost step is to identify and define goals for your content marketing strategy. It doesn’t matter if you are a startup or a well-known established company, you must define a goal for your content marketing strategy.

Furthermore, if you don’t know what you want from life, no matter how much you plan, you will never succeed.

The same thing applies to your content marketing strategy too.

Before you and your team of content creators can go ahead with “what” you want to create, you need to have an answer to “why” you want to create it..

So you need to start your content marketing strategy by identifying and defining an objective that ties into your overall business goals.

You may be wondering why it’s so important to have a goal for your content marketing strategy.

It’s because this will also act as a parameter to evaluate the success of your campaign. Otherwise, how are you going to evaluate it?

It’s easy to get carried away with all the strategies in your content marketing plan, but make sure to define a goal.

Without an answer to “why,” no matter how strong your marketing tactics are, they are likely to fall flat on their faces.

You don’t want that to happen now, do you?

Once your goal is thought through and well-defined, it will help you make quick decisions on other aspects of the campaign. These include issues like what key performance indicators you should track, content channels, and so much more.

2. Research and Understand Your Audience

Once you have figured out the “why,” the next step in your content marketing strategy involves researching and understanding your target audience. You need to understand “who” is going to read and see your content.

What’s more?

The key to creating an effective content marketing strategy is to involve your target audiences and take their feedback into account.

Furthermore, the best content marketing strategy aims at answering the questions of your target audiences. And the idea is to transform them into customers by educating them about your brand.

So, how are you going to do it?

Well, first you must understand the psychographics and demographics of your target audiences. Then you need to create buyer personas for your target audiences.

But wait.

Are you wondering what a buyer persona is?

It is a generalized interpretation of your ideal customers. It will help you relate with and understand the thought processes of real people. And for every audience persona, you should write down their attributes, which include psychographics and demographics.

Also, if you want to amplify your content, you need to find out where your target audiences are spending their time.

Which social media platforms do they use most? Which websites do they read regularly?

What’s more?

Discover their pain points so that you can create relevant content that speaks to their needs and buyer’s journey.

3. Set Up Your Blog

With this step, you enter into the technical part of building your content marketing strategy.

Don’t worry, if you haven’t set up a blog yet, or if you haven’t found a host. Now is the right time to get it done.

And guess what?

Unlike the old days, now you have many easy options for setting up your own website. There are fully customizable templates and ready-to-use platforms as well.

Now the big question is: do you want to use a hosted service or develop your own platform?

Management tools like Squarespace can help you build your own blog powered by WordPress. Or you can simply put your content on host platforms like Medium, Apple Podcast, or YouTube.

There are of course, advantages and disadvantages to each of the aforesaid options.

For example, developing your own website or blog can be really taxing and costly. Also, if you have no audience to start with, it is difficult to get your content noticed.

But creating your own website gives you the freedom and flexibility of how you want it to be.

The host platforms will go easier on your pockets, making them the best suitable option for startups. Host platforms can also help you reach audiences actively looking for content.

The downside of this option is, there is little scope for customization of your content.

So, now that you have a fair idea about the options available, think through and decide whatever suits your content marketing strategy.

4. Update Your Current Content

You must run a content audit that allows you to re-evaluate your content marketing strategy and modify it. The content audit can also help you find out what articles or blogs you should repurpose to fit into your new content marketing strategy.

This step will become much easier to implement once you have finalized the type of content to produce. And by “types” I mean the topics you want to cover consistently.

What’s more?

The topics which you are going to cover are the foundation of your blog’s success. Whatever topic you select, make sure to address the three key attributes of content – engagement, events, and evergreen.

Engagement: Ensure the content kickstarts conversations.

Events: Write content focused on particular events.

Evergreen: Write content focused on key aspects of your business that you can go back and update whenever required.

If your already published content is working towards achieving your goals, then great! But if it is not, then it’s time to update and fit it into a new content marketing strategy.

5. Build an Email List and Figure Out How to Use It

If your content marketing strategy is not reaching the right people, then it’s a waste of resources.

But how can you get connected with the right people?

Email marketing is one of the best ways to communicate directly with your audiences. And if you build an email list in the early stages of your content marketing strategy, it will help you amplify your content.

Wondering which tools are best for email marketing?

Before you decide which tools to use, you need to understand what an email marketing tool is supposed to do.

An email delivery service provider or ESP helps you create and maintain an email subscribers list and assists you in sending emails. The ESP can also conduct an analysis and produce reports on the performance of your campaigns.

Some of the most popular and cost-effective tools you can use in your content marketing strategy include ConvertKit, AWeber, ActiveCampaign, MailChimp, and Campaign Monitor.

Other than which tools to use, the most common question brands have is what types of emails should they send?

There are broadly three types of emails that you can send to support your content marketing strategy:

Automated Messages – You can send these types of email messages to a broad audience. They could be lists of your top-performing content, welcome emails, or tips on how to do something.

Communication to Targeted Segments from the List: You send these emails to a particular set of audiences. For example, re-engagement emails for dormant customers or rewards for your frequent shoppers.

General Newsletters and Campaigns Emails: You can send these to all of your subscribers from the list. These types of emails can promote new releases or communicate any new updates.

But how often should you send the emails to your audiences?

Well, it depends on how regularly you come up with news, updates, or any useful content that is worth sharing.

6. Find Innovative Content Creation Ideas that Suit Your Audience’s Wants

Alright, by now you have figured out “why” you want to create content, and “who” your target audiences are. You’ve also set up a blog and selected email marketing services.

Now is the time to discuss and decide upon the actual content for your content marketing strategy.

I bet you have loads of innovative and exciting ideas.

However, to design an effective content marketing strategy, you need to be strategic and not fall into reaction mode. The key is to set your own agenda and focus on your content marketing plan.

But how?

You need to write and create posts based on meticulous keyword research. Find out what keywords potential buyers search for to find content such as yours.

You can follow the steps below to come up with specific topics along with keywords that your defined audiences look for. This is a step by step guide by Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz:

#1. Think of Innovative Terms and Topics – Start by jotting down ideas for topics and terms which interest your audiences.

#2. Use A Keyword Research Tool – Use tools like Moz, keywordtool.io, and Google’s Keyword Planner to find relevant keywords.

#3. Expand and Improve Your List – With the help of your existing email list, create different segments and smaller lists.

#4. Prioritize the Terms by Making a Spreadsheet – The spreadsheet will help you get organized. Prepare a spreadsheet that includes estimated search volumes, difficulty levels, and keyword opportunities. Also, allocate a priority to each one and find out the most important ones for your brand.

#5. Outline the Content Based on the 3 Key Needs: Prepare an outline that mentions your goals, keyword targeting, and the needs of users. Ensure you are not matching or copying content from other posts.

7. Decide on Content Format

There are many formats available to choose from when developing your content marketing strategy. However, whatever you select, you must ensure that the content is engaging, shareable, and can successfully connect with your audience.

Here are some of the most popular types of content:

#1. Blog Posts – You need to publish blog posts on a regular basis. The posts need to be informative and useful for your audiences. This will help you gain new customers as well.

#2. Ebooks – You can use ebooks to generate maximum leads. The frequency of publishing ebooks is generally lower in comparison with blog posts. Interested audiences need to fill in a basic contact form to download the ebook.

Ebooks are great for inbound marketing. When audiences fill out the contact form, your business generates a new lead for your sales teams to contact.

#3. Videos – Videos are a great way to engage your audiences. They’re easy, quick, and simple to share across all social platforms.

#4. Podcast – Creating podcasts will help audiences to learn about your brand if they haven’t heard about it yet. Podcasting is the best option if you have an expert to be interviewed or a conversation to host.

Now that you know the various types of content formats, it’s up to you to select the best ones for your content marketing strategy.

8. Use Social Media to Promote Your Content

Your content marketing strategy should involve social media. However, including social media sites in your campaign is more than just posting about your brand on Twitter or Facebook.

You need to use social media marketing to win the trust and draw the attention of your audiences while portraying your brand as reliable.

So, how do you start using social media platforms in your content marketing strategy?

#1. Voice – First, you need to find a suitable voice for your brand. Will your posts be humorous or more professional?

#2. Platform – Select a suitable social media platform to put your brand’s voice in front of your potential customers. You can use multiple social platforms but ensure that the social media content you create is platform-specific.

#3. Content – Decide if you want to use graphics, words, or visuals. Which types of content suit your brand best?

Now that you have a fair idea of how to use social platforms in your content marketing strategy, go ahead and give it a try.

9. Manage your Content

We’ve almost reached the end of your content marketing strategy.

However, apart from creating content, you need to manage your content production process.

What does this entail?

Have an editorial calendar listing publication schedules. You should also track your content performance on various platforms.

But what platform has the best content calendar feature?

You can use HubSpot’s editorial calendar to maintain a consistent schedule for publishing content.

Most importantly?

Ensure you post about trending topics along with evergreen ones as they will boost your traffic manifold.

FAQs

Q1. What is a content marketing strategy?

A. It’s a plan that helps you build an audience through creating, publishing, maintaining, and spreading content that entertains, inspires, educates, and drives profitable customer action.

Q2. How do you create a content marketing strategy?

A. Use these steps to create a content marketing strategy:

  • Define your goals
  • Research your audience
  • Start a blog
  • Build your email list
  • Brainstorm innovative content ideas
  • Choose content formats
  • Promote on social media
  • Manage content

For a detailed explanation of each of the steps, check out the post above.

Q3. What are the 4 types of marketing strategies?

A. The four marketing strategies include:

  • Product development
  • Market penetration
  • Market development
  • Diversification

Q4. What are content marketing tools?

A. Content marketing tools are platforms you can use during your content creation process, curation, content distribution, and digital marketing.

Q5. What is a content strategy framework?

A. A content strategy framework is a structured plan detailing why you need to create content, how to do it, whom to write it for, and how to market it.

Key components to include in the framework include:

  • Content marketing goals
  • Buyer personas
  • Segmentation depending on touchpoints, flow, user behavior, etc.
  • Funnel stages
  • Content types
  • Channels

Q6. Which content is best for a website?

A. The best content for your website keeps people coming back for more. It offers value, inspires, educates them about your products, and convinces them to buy.

Additionally, good website content gets rewarded by search engines.

Q7. What is brand content strategy?

A. Brand content strategies involve using content to communicate about brands. They define who you are as a brand, why you exist, and what you do.

Q8. What are examples of content marketing?

A. Examples of content marketing include those where you create:

  • Reports and data
  • Original research
  • Interactive content
  • Video content
  • Social media content
  • Guides
  • Guest posts
  • Ebooks
  • Blog content

Q9. What makes a good content marketer?

A. The following characteristics make for good content marketers:

  • Deeply analytical
  • Creative
  • Good researcher
  • Great writers
  • Storyteller
  • Organized
  • Persistent

Q10. Is branded content effective?

A. Yes, it is.

In an age when consumers use various ad avoidance strategies, your brand needs content that generates conversations and inspires emotional responses. You need content that energizes them to act, intrigues them, and awakens feelings of happiness, sadness, etc.

And guess what?

You can achieve that with branded content. You can provide an experience that adds value to your audiences' lives while also informing them about your brand and products.

It’s Time to Kick-Start a Perfect Content Marketing Strategy

Now you understand the basics components of a content marketing strategy.

Well-planned marketing campaigns can increase traffic, position your brand as an expert in your niche, and improve customer relations.

But remember:

When planning your content marketing strategy, don’t forget to identify and define clear goals. Secondly, carefully decide on the type and format of content you wish to use. And finally, make sure you manage your content effectively and publish it based on a schedule you’ve planned.

Now you are equipped to plan and implement an effective content marketing strategy for your brand. If you have any other ideas or thoughts on creating a perfect content marketing strategy, feel free to share them in the comments below.

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav Sharma is the Founder and CEO of Attrock, a results-driven digital marketing company. Grew an agency from 5-figure to 7-figure revenue in just two years | 10X leads | 2.8X conversions | 300K organic monthly traffic | 5K keywords on page 1. He also contributes to top publications like HuffPost, Adweek, Business2Community, TechCrunch, and more.

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