How does one create a content marketing strategy that not only looks great but also results in more conversions and better brand awareness? Here are six questions to ask yourself before beginning.
While some might think that content is overrated and doesn’t deliver results, I’m here to tell you that this is not the case. However, preparing a good content marketing strategy is not the easiest thing in the world, and if you succeed, it’s very rare that your strategy won’t need constant tweaks and improvement anyway. That’s why so many marketers drop the idea of creating more content altogether, or of optimising the content they already have.
In any case, if you’re willing to stick to it, here are six questions that will give you fighting chance at success.
What Is Your Current Situation?
Sometimes it’s hard to realise where you stand. Are you already working on content, or have you never given it a try? Did your content perform well in the past, or would you rather erase those bad memories? Have you invested enough time in content to realistically expect what you expected?
You need to identify your assets and weaknesses. I know it may sound harsh, but yes: you need to find out if you actually have all the necessary ingredients to create content that works. Manpower is one of the most critical factors: do you have a good crew of copywriters and content creators on board, or you could you use some outsourcing? The sooner you recognise your strengths and find your weak points, the better.
What Are Your Competitors Doing?
Some people say that “the less you know, the better you sleep.” It doesn’t apply to your competitors: the less you know here, the more mistakes you can make, and some of them can cost you a lot of time – and money as well. Detailed research is a must here: you need to know where your competitors are active and what ways to engage their target groups they are using.
You shouldn’t research competitors’ content sites only. Social media platforms can provide you with a lot of information, including campaigns that they are running. You can also make the most of social media monitoring apps: While this is time-consuming, it’s effective.
Who Is Your Audience?
This can be a very tricky question to ask, but it is hugely significant for your strategy as a whole. You need to know who you will be creating content for. Unless you don’t really want to go far with your content marketing efforts, you can’t be creating it just for yourself.
Identifying personas, their behaviours, and preferences is crucial for your success. Your target group does not include all the people in the world unless you sell air or water. You should prepare a set of persona templates and some segments of your target audience that you most want to reach. Finding out where they spend their spare time on the Internet, and what content they enjoy, will lead you to many answers to important questions.
What Are Your Goals?
This question should be more like “Why are you doing all this?” Your content strategy depends on your goals. If you regard content as a driver for better sales, you’ll have to create the schedule and plan topics that may be more “salesy” – and with more references to your products or services. If you want to raise brand awareness, you’ll give up sales content at the cost of expert and evergreen content. If you care about employer branding, you’ll have to tailor your content to reflect that.
Your content tactic will have to be different for different goals.
What Channels To Use?
This question is connected to what your answer is regarding target groups. Once you detect where your audience is, you can turn this knowledge into a practical approach. Did you know that your audience loves Twitter? If so, you’ll need to use this platform too if you want to reach your target audience that is. You may sometimes find out that your potential followers are not active on the most popular platforms – like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You may need to reach them with your content on platforms like LinkedIn or Quora.
If you don’t analyse your audiences beforehand, you can spend a lot of your efforts on working on your presence where it is not needed – or seen by your target groups. It sounds like a waste of time, doesn’t it? Also, speaking of social media, some platforms may be perfect for publishing longer posts, which means you may be able to give up the idea of a blog entirely. Look at Medium, LinkedIn Publishing platform or Facebook Groups for example.
This consideration can be a game-changer with regards to your strategy.
How To Analyze Performance?
This is a mistake so easy to make that we are not surprised that some marketers tend to hate content, or claim it didn’t work well for them. Working on content can’t be classified as a single activity. It is a process with a strong need for constant optimisation and analysis. Use tools like Google Analytics to identify the best-performing content and learn your lessons all the time, to ensure that you provide content that is loved, not avoided. Don’t be put off by first results – they may not be great, and that’s due to many factors.
However, the longer you work on it, the better effects it can have. Once you begin, it will be easier to analyse the pieces that hit the jackpot, allowing you to repeat their success with a similar process.
Working on content will take a lot of time, but when you get answers to all the above questions, it will be much easier for you to focus on the core of your strategy.