Content marketing strategy isn’t a nice to have, it’s a requirement. Content marketing’s purpose is to attract and retain customers by consistently creating and curating relevant and valuable content with the intention of changing or enhancing consumer behavior. It is an ongoing process that is best integrated into your overall marketing strategy, and it focuses on owning media, not renting it.
What is content marketing:
It a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
How to write a content marketing strategy step-by-step
Let’s walk though how you can write a content marketing strategy—onethat pulls together all the pieces and gives you a clear plan for moving forward.
Start with an outline
Writing a strategy can sound like a daunting task. How detailedshould it be? How high-level should it be? Starting with an outline canhelp you conceptualize all the ground you need to cover—and it may saveyou from expending your energy covering unnecessary ground!
And what is the right ground to cover anyway?
A good content marketing strategy will answer three basic questions:
- Why are we making content in the first place?
- What content do we need?
- How do we get that content to accomplish our goals?
Your outline will help you structure your research and ideation so that you’re focused on answering these key questions.
For example, one way this could look is by splitting the remaining steps below (all 20 of ’em) into each of these buckets.
What’s Your One Thing?
What will you create in your content marketing strategy program that sets youapart? There is an enormous glut of content (and more on the way). Willyou be disproportionately useful? Will you create Youtility (I say YES!). Will you be disproportionately motivational,inspirational, or otherwise? What is the heart and soul of your contentprogram?
Research Audience Needs
What do your audiences need to know from you? Use search and socialmedia, plus conversations with customers and your internal personnel(sales and customer service, especially) to better understand theinformation and persuasive requirements of your customers. Then,organize those needs by persona and funnel stage to create a map ofnecessary content.
Remember: don’t settle for data, get real insights (this requires customer conversations, not just spreadsheet mining)
Write down what you’re selling
I’ve found it helpful to write out what the product or service I’mtrying to sell is. It helps me think through the features, the different product tiers, the sales cycle, etc. When you know what you’re selling, you can more easily frame the kind of content you will need to sell it.
Of course, you may be the product creator, the marketer, theone-human show, and this might not be something you need to write down.If not, feel free to skip this part.
Decide on Overall Content Marketing Strategies
There are three different types of content marketing strategy: long-form, short-form and conversations (e.g. sharing).
Long-form includes blog posts, articles and press releases — basically, anythinglonger than a couple of sentences. Short-form includes tweets, Facebookand LinkedIn status updates and graphics. Conversations and sharingincludes participating in and driving conversations through blogcommenting, link sharing and comments on videos. This type helps toencourage discussions between other thought leaders within yourindustry.
You can stick to one of these forms of contentmarketing strategy, or you can use all three. They are each effective on theirown, but they are also powerful when used together.
Content Ideas for Your Marketing Plan
Maintaining a steady stream of content that’s unique and interestingto your target audience is a challenge. But with a big dose ofcreativity (and a little help from content idea generators), you cancreate content that’s not only valuable to your market, but also standsout from the sea of information.
40 Fantastic Types of Content
If your Content marketing strategy includes publishing original content you might need some ideas. There are tons of options out there for content you cancreate. Forty four content types are outlined below, so look through the list and see which ones would make a perfect fit in your marketingplan.
List of Content Formats
Email Newsletter/ Autoresponders
“Day in The life of” Post
helpful Application/ Tool
Use different content formats.
Your audience varies in terms of how they consume information. This translates to the use of a variety of content formats.
- Utilize text. This is the most common content format.
- Add attention-getting photos. Show your products, employees and customers. Photos attract an audience.
- Put your products in movies. Think 360° views as well as story telling.
- Give your content a voice. Use audio.
- Show your information. Create presentations whether in real life, at conferences or just for Slideshare.
Make your content attractive to prospective readers.
Useful content, while necessary, isn’t sufficient to convert prospects into customers.
- Eliminate poor grammar and bad spelling. It hurts your authority.
- Use headlines that attract attention. Understand that only one out of five prospects will read further than your title. Spend time editing your titles.
- Add eye candy. Include catchy images that attract people.
- Chop your information into easy-to-consume chunks. Long pages of uninterrupted text appear difficult to read.
- Employ design elements to guide readers into your content. Think in terms of outlining and bolding to help make your content more accessible.
You can’t assume that distributing your content by itself is sufficient.
- Support your content distribution with advertising where appropriate. Think in terms of social media and paid search.
- Cross-promote your content on other owned media. Don’t underestimate the power of your retail establishment and other advertising.
How have you incorporated a content marketing strategy into your overall marketing plans?