Content marketing is something none of us can ignore, but a lot of us tend to do it in an ad hoc manner.
Maybe we have a good idea for a blog, so we write a blog and randomly post it. Or we look at things that have worked for other marketers and go, “Well, let’s try that” without thinking about whether it actually maps to our industry and audience.
Not having a good content marketing strategy leaves you out in the cold. Your customers and prospective customers will see you as disorganized, or they will forget you are there until you post something, then wonder why they were, say, subscribed to your newsletter.
Or you might send something to the wrong target audience, resulting in some highly annoyed people who might not only not buy from you again but tell their friends not to either.
Uneven marketing efforts can be almost worse than none at all. So, how do you generate the right content marketing strategy for your company?
What Is a Content Marketing Strategy?
A content marketing strategy is a way of planning and organizing the part of your overall marketing plan that relates to content. It is how you create and distribute useful content that fits your business goals.
This may spread into all of the content you have, such as material distributed to customers to help them more effectively use your product.
But the key thing is that you have a strategy that covers when you distribute content, how you distribute content, what content you distribute, and to whom.
Marketing Goals: Establishing Your Needs
The first step to creating a proper content marketing plan is to work out what your goals and needs are. Let’s talk a bit about the overall goal of your content marketing efforts.
The goal of content marketing is to attract customers and increase profit and revenue by providing useful information and looking like an expert. In many cases, content marketing is about brand awareness more than it is about direct sales
If people know you know what you are talking about, they are more likely to look at your product.
In fact, this post is an example of content marketing. We’re providing useful information about marketing to you in the hope that you will look at Welcome for your needs.
This means that you need to look at the following to establish what kind of content marketing you need:
- Who are your customers?
- What is the specific problem your product(s) are solving? Using Welcome as an example, the problem we want to solve is disorganized marketing plans. You already know what the pain points are, or you wouldn’t be here.
- What kind of information will your customers find useful?
- Where do your customers look for information?
Younger customers may look for information in different places from older ones. Oh, and content marketing also needs to be a little bit, well, fun. Nobody enjoys reading dry material.
By looking at these things, you can decide whether your content marketing strategy should focus on social media, blogging, a podcast, videos, or all of the above. Then you need to work up pieces of content for all of these things.
Content Creation: Working Out What You Already Have
If you have been doing content marketing, but without a plan, then you probably already have some cool content sitting unused! You need to do a content audit to work out what you have and put it into a database.
A good content marketing plan requires a digital asset management system to manage your content and help you repurpose pieces. It’s like having a magical pie shop where you can sell each pie multiple times (as long as you don’t do it so much your customers notice!).
You can then work out what new content you need and what you have lying around that you can use.
Don’t forget that you can also repurpose content across media. For example, you might have a fantastic blog post, and you can take it and turn it into an episode of your podcast.
Also, work out what you have that can be turned into case studies and testimonials to show off what your company can do and let people know you have satisfied customers. You do, right?
Designing your Editorial Calendar
Once you have audited your existing content and established what you need, the next step is to design an editorial calendar.
Welcome has a feature called team calendars that is ideal for this. You should also set up a master content calendar.
Your editorial calendar should also be split by channels and by buyer personas. In combined view, Welcome will show them handily color-coded so you can immediately see what is going on.
You set up the editorial calendar by:
- Going into team calendars.
- Create a calendar and label it appropriately.
- Bring your team of content marketers together to brainstorm content ideas. You will already have existing content that you can use and repurpose.
- Set deadlines for each piece of content. Ideally, your editorial calendar will encourage you to create content well in advance of when it is needed.
- Assign content tasks to team members or outsourced contractors as needed. For example, you may have somebody in the team who is really good at infographics and will be handling that task. For your podcast, you may be assigning tasks to an audio production company.
- Assign content to the appropriate communications channel and audience segment.
- Propagate the calendar by assigning each task to a reasonable deadline. Again, you want to give extra time so that when something goes wrong, nobody will have to scramble.
- Crosslink your editorial calendar to your per segment and per channel communications channels. You can have the best material in the world, but it’s useless without proper content distribution!
Determining KPIs and Metrics
Once you have a functioning editorial calendar and your people are making great content to fill it, you will need to work out how to know if your strategy is working! This means you need the right metrics. Welcome has great solutions to help you establish whether your content is high quality, optimize your content for SEO, and tell you whether it is working.
Some of these are determined by channel. For your email newsletter, you are probably looking at open rates. For your podcast, listener, and subscriber rates. If possible, you want to try and measure how many of your listeners are bringing new people.
For your blog and website, using Google Analytics can help, and you can also track how many backlinks you’re getting. Having a landing page for each channel will help you keep track of exactly where people are coming to your site from.
You want to know people are talking about your stuff. Some companies find that posting blog posts and articles to LinkedIn is very effective, but your mileage may vary.
Over time, you can use this to work out what types of content are really worth the effort. Or you can use it to work out what to experiment with.
Perhaps you are getting feedback that shows that your one or two Youtube videos are getting a lot of attention and although video is hard to make, it’s worth a try.
Make sure that you cross-link to sales so that you know what type of content is giving you the most lead generation and good conversion. However, bear in mind that not every part of content management is going to give you direct, measurable results.
If people are talking about your brand, then something is working. Good awareness and great content will give you those really valuable organic search results you’re craving.
What Types of Content Should Your Marketing Plan Include?
We’ve talked mostly about your content marketing plan template so far, but before we go, we’d like to talk about the types of content you might want to put out there.
We’ve already mentioned a few of them. But here’s a quick list:
- Blogs: It’s pretty much impossible to function without a blog these days. Use WordPress to set up a blog on your own website. You can also consider crossposting your blogs to other sites, such as LinkedIn and even Medium (be careful, though, as Medium tends to take a dim view of being too obvious with your content marketing as they want people to stay on the site).
- Podcasts and video podcasts: Podcasts are really useful if your target audience is people who drive a lot, commute a lot, or younger folks. They are basically audio blogs, which are great for posting interviews, lectures, etc.
- White papers: White papers.are longer posts that are designed to go very deep into a subject. White papers.are not used to attract sales! They’re entirely to show off how much you know about a topic.
- Webinars: Webinars are also about showing off how much you know. They tend to be longer videos that are educational to your audience and prospective customers.
- Social media content: Social media posts are, by definition, shorter, but you still should be providing quality content. Yes, even on Twitter. It takes skill to write good tweets!
You need to have a content marketing plan that involves your entire marketing team and provides your audience with high-quality information.
These days, it’s not enough to talk about your product; you have to appear to be an expert. Ideally, a friendly one that your customers like to talk to and listen to.
Without a plan, though, you will instead come over as a schmuck who only thinks they know what you’re doing.
The solution is Welcome! Our platform is designed to help you organize every marketing campaign and get everything right.
Your customers will see how smart and competent you are and they will want to buy your stuff.
To find out more, check out our website and get started with your free Welcome account today!