How to Craft a Content Marketing Strategy

Julia McCoy

Julia McCoy

Creator and Co-founder

Data Driven Marketing

So, you’ve got a knack for crafting engaging content? You could write an essay on the evolution of the coffee bean and still make it sound riveting. But when it comes to online writing, your stellar pieces seem to vanish into thin air.

The truth is, creating captivating content isn’t enough.

Before writing your blog posts, you need a Content Marketing Strategy. Think of it as building bridges between your high-quality content and those who’ll love reading them.

This isn’t just about throwing words onto a page. It’s about planning how those words will reach your target readership—like guiding stars through a vast digital cosmos.

Sounds complicated? Don’t worry! We’re here with practical tips that’ll help set up an effective strategy!

Understanding Content Marketing Strategy

What if I told you that a solid content marketing strategy is like your favorite homemade dish?

You know, the one with the secret sauce that makes it irresistible. Just as every ingredient in your dish serves a purpose, so does each component of your content marketing strategy.

A content marketing strategy, at its core, is about creating and sharing valuable information to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers.

Sharing content related to what you offer, you can provide customers with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about your product or service.

But why do we need this strategic recipe for success? Well because 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing.

It’s clear: without a well-planned strategy, we might just end up cooking something nobody wants to eat.

The Ingredients of Your Content Marketing Strategy Recipe

You can’t make lasagna without pasta sheets or béchamel sauce. Similarly, there are some key ingredients required for an effective content marketing plan:

  • Your Business Goals: Knowing what you want to achieve through your efforts is crucial – whether it’s increasing website traffic or boosting brand awareness.
  • A Defined Target Audience: Understanding who will consume (read) your content helps tailor messages effectively. After all, not everyone likes extra cheese on their pizza.

Creating Your Strategy: Mixing All Ingredients Together

If you want to create a successful recipe (or strategy), you must do three things:

  1. Understand your audience’s needs and interests.
  2. Produce high-quality content that meets those needs.
  3. Distribute it through channels where your audience can easily find it.

For instance, if you’re a pizza place looking to increase sales, you might create engaging blog posts about the history of pizza or recipes for homemade dough. Then distribute these on social media platforms where potential customers hang out, like Instagram or Facebook.

Analyzing Your Target Audience

Determining who your target audience is should be the first priority in developing an effective content marketing strategy; otherwise, it would be like shooting arrows into a dark abyss.

To kick things off, let’s identify who exactly your target audience is. You might be tempted to say “everyone,” but that’s as useful as throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping it sticks. Instead, focus on defining key demographic details of your ideal customer – age range, location, occupation etc.

Digging Deeper: Psychographics Over Demographics

Demographic data helps shape our understanding of our target audience but we need more than just surface-level information. This is where psychographic segmentation comes into play.

The goal here isn’t just knowing what job they have or where they live; it’s about discovering their values, interests and lifestyle choices. If demographics give us the ‘who’, psychographics reveal the ‘why’. For example, why do they choose one brand over another?

Leveraging Social Media Insights

Social media platforms are gold mines for gathering valuable insights about your audience. Sprout Social reports that 70% of consumers want businesses to understand their needs before making contact.

If used wisely these tools can help you decipher patterns in behavior among followers which can inform content creation decisions moving forward so remember: stalk them (ethically) online.

Gathering Feedback Directly From Your Audience

Audience feedback plays a pivotal role when analyzing your target audience. Questioning your target audience directly can provide invaluable insights into their problems, desires and preferences.

Consider conducting surveys or even one-on-one interviews to understand their pain points, needs and wants better. Use this information to tailor content that hits home for them every time.

Competitor Analysis: Learning From Others

Doing a competitor analysis isn’t just about mimicking what others do. Instead, it’s all about learning from their strategies and finding ways to improve upon them.

Setting Clear Goals and Objectives

Establishing explicit, quantifiable objectives is the beginning move in constructing a content marketing plan. Measuring progress is essential to determine success; it’s like a compass guiding you through the journey. Without them, you’re like a ship sailing without a compass.

Your goals need to align with your business objectives. For example, one of your content marketing goals could be to reach 1 million views on YouTube within six months if you want to increase brand awareness.

Determining Your Content Marketing Goals

To set effective content marketing objectives, consider what action you’d like your audience to take after consuming your content; such as subscribing or sharing it with others.

  • Do I want them to subscribe?
  • Share it with their friends?
  • Make a purchase?

This exercise will help clarify what metrics matter most for tracking progress towards these outcomes—whether that’s newsletter sign-ups (for subscriptions), social shares (for viral potential), or conversion rates (for sales).

Making Your Goals SMART

A helpful framework for goal-setting is the SMART model: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound:

  • Specific: Clearly define what you want achieved.
  • Measurable: Identify how you’ll track progress and know when the goal has been reached.
  • Achievable: Set realistic targets based on resources available and market conditions.
  • Relevant: Aligns directly with overall business objectives.
  • Time-bound: Includes an end-date by which time the objective should be met.

I remember setting my first content marketing goal for Content Hacker: To reach 5,000 unique monthly visitors to our blog within the first year. It was specific (reach 5,000 unique visits), measurable (we could track it with Google Analytics), achievable (based on our budget and resources), relevant (more traffic would boost brand awareness) and time-bound (one year).

Conducting a Content Audit

A content audit is like spring cleaning for your website. It lets you assess what’s working, what needs improvement, and the changes needed to reach your marketing goals.

What does a Content Audit involve?

Taking a tally of all the material on your website is where the process begins. This might sound daunting but using tools such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider, can help simplify this task.

You need to check every blog post, landing page, product description – basically anything that counts as ‘content’. Keep track of everything in an organized spreadsheet.

Evaluating Your Content

This step requires critical thinking skills. You need to ask questions about each piece:

  • Does it align with our brand voice?
  • Is it meeting its intended goal?
  • How well is it faring in terms of SEO and user interaction?

If a blog post isn’t driving traffic despite being perfectly optimized for search engines, maybe there’s an issue with its quality or relevance.

Determining What Stays And What Goes

Your evaluation will give insights into which pieces are keepers and which ones aren’t making the cut. Some may just require minor tweaks while others might be better off deleted entirely.

No one likes throwing away hard work but if something isn’t contributing positively towards your objectives then keeping it could do more harm than good.

Devising A Plan For Improvement

Based on these findings, start drafting up an action plan. Maybe you noticed that your audience responds well to video content but you haven’t been producing enough of it.

Or perhaps, a certain topic generates more traffic and engagement than others.

Identify these trends and start adjusting your strategy accordingly. Don’t forget, improvement is the end goal of every audit.

Rinse And Repeat

Just like spring cleaning, a content audit isn’t something you do once then forget about. It should be an integral part of your content marketing strategy to ensure continual growth and improvement.

Developing a Content Creation Plan

Building a solid content creation plan is like preparing for a marathon. It’s not about sprinting; it’s about consistent pacing and direction. To begin, here are the steps to follow.

Idea Brainstorming

The first step is idea brainstorming. Like sifting for gold in a river of thoughts, good ideas often surface when we allow our minds to wander freely.

Pick those golden nuggets, then analyze their potential impact on your audience. With practice, you’ll become more adept at spotting winning ideas.

Crafting Your Content Calendar

A content calendar functions as your roadmap guiding each piece of content towards its publication date – just like how Google Maps guides us from point A to B.

This tool helps ensure that deadlines are met and important dates aren’t overlooked. Check out this helpful guide by CoSchedule on making an effective content calendar.

Assign Roles Clearly

In any team sport, players need clear roles – the same goes for your marketing squad. Assign tasks based on strengths: writers write; designers design; social media mavens tweet.

Maintaining clarity avoids confusion and ensures everyone knows what they’re responsible for delivering.

Scheduling Time For Creation And Editing Process

Your writing should be precise yet catchy enough to hold reader interest while delivering value – kind of like composing an addictive song tune.

Edit ruthlessly after writing because even Ernest Hemmingway said, “The first draft of anything is shit”. Tools like Grammarly can help ensure your writing stays crisp and clear.

Promoting Your Content

Last but not least, make sure you’re heard. It’s like throwing a party – you’ve got to send out those invites. Use social media platforms or email newsletters for promoting content.

Buffer has an excellent guide on content distribution strategies, which can provide further insights into promotion tactics.

Remember that crafting top-notch content is only the first step; it needs to be seen by appropriate viewers at an opportune moment.

Implementing Your Content Marketing Strategy

Your content marketing strategy is like a road map. Let’s get going and put the plan into action. But before you hit top speed, remember – implementation isn’t just about creating and publishing content.

You need to promote your work too. Why? Because even if you’ve written the next ‘War and Peace’, it won’t mean anything if no one reads it.

Promoting Your Content

A successful promotion strategy begins with identifying where your audience hangs out online. This could be social media platforms, industry forums or even their own inbox.

Consider these strategies for getting your content in front of as many eyes as possible:

  • Email Newsletters: They’re not dead yet. Regularly sharing updates can help keep you on top of mind for customers.
  • Social Media Promotion: Share snippets from your blog posts on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn profiles.

Gauging Performance Through Tracking

To know how well your plan works, track its performance regularly. Use tools like Google Analytics which lets you measure website traffic and user behavior.

This will give insights into things such as which types of content are performing best or what channels are driving most traffic towards them.

Google Analytics, for instance, gives an accurate picture of who’s visiting your site – how often they visit, their average session duration, etc.

Metric NameDescription
Page viewsTotal number of pages viewed.
SessionsThe period of time a user is actively engaged with your website.
Bounce RateThe percentage represents single-page sessions. These are instances where a person visits your site but leaves from the entrance page without any interaction.

Continually Optimizing Your Strategy

Your content marketing strategy isn’t set in stone. You need to stay agile and adapt your approach based on performance metrics and market trends.

Keep an Eye on Performance Metrics

The heart of optimization lies within data analysis. It’s crucial to consistently measure the success of your content against key performance indicators (KPIs).

This might include tracking website traffic, social media engagement or conversion rates with Google Analytics.

If one type of content is getting more attention than others, give it more focus in your plan. But don’t just blindly follow the numbers – remember to question why certain pieces are performing better.

Pivot Based on Market Trends

Beyond analyzing your own stats, keep a pulse on broader market trends. Tools such as Google Trends can help you identify what topics are currently hot within your industry.

This doesn’t mean jumping onto every trending bandwagon though. Ensure these topics align with your brand voice and audience interests before incorporating them into your strategy.

Incorporate Feedback Into Your Plan

A critical yet often overlooked part of optimizing any strategy involves listening to feedback from both customers and team members alike.

Actively seek out opinions via surveys or direct communication channels to get valuable insights that will allow for practical adjustments moving forward.

Tweak As You Go Along

You’ve heard it before: ‘Fail fast’. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new types of content or promotion strategies if something isn’t working as expected. For example, A/B testing blog post headlines or trying out a new social media platform.

Remember, the key is to discover what works best for your distinct crowd and objectives. Continually analyze, learn and adapt to ensure your content marketing strategy stays as dynamic and effective as possible.

FAQs in Relation to How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

What are the seven steps in creating a content strategy?

First, understand what content marketing is. Next, analyze your target audience and set clear goals. Conduct a content audit before developing your creation plan. Then implement the strategy and continually optimize it based on performance.

What is an example of a content marketing strategy?

A shoe company blogging about foot health to boost their brand awareness among fitness enthusiasts could be one example of a solid content marketing approach.

How do you create a successful content marketing strategy?

Create success by understanding your audience, setting measurable goals, auditing existing material, devising creative plans for new stuff, and regularly refining your tactics based on data feedback.

What are the four steps to creating a content marketing strategy?

The first four stages include getting savvy about what exactly this kind of advertising involves, figuring out who you’re trying to reach with it (your target crowd), outlining some realistic aims, and finally examining current resources via an audit.

Become a Content Hacker Strategist

The journey doesn’t end here!

You need to keep optimizing your strategy based on data and analytics to keep delighting your readers.

I’d like to invite you to join me and learn about content strategy in our Content Hacker Community.

You’ll learn about content marketing, leveraging AI, and more—from expert content hackers and fellow community members. Plus, you’ll get access to amazing resources and free trainings. Will I see you there?

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Become a Content Hacker

Collaborate with other growth-minded, savvy Content Hackers – plus a host of experts. The price of two coffees/month gets you in.

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