No matter how the market changes and new tools emerge, there aren’t that many tools that can replace a proper content marketing plan that taps into the interests of your audience and brings the best out of your brand.
To implement a good content marketing strategy, you need to take the process seriously and dig deep to get the best insights. Creating value for your audience can take time, but it’s always worth it in the long run.
Let’s go over the steps that will help you craft a tailor-made content marketing strategy that’s going to do wonders for your results.
1. Define a buyer persona
The more you know about your audience, the easier it’ll be to create the right type of content. When you know who’s going to engage with it, there is a clear intention behind everything you put out, adding value to each piece.
Of course, demographics are a good starting point, but “male, 20-45” isn’t exactly something you can base your whole strategy around. That’s why you need to do thorough research before you start.
Here’s some of the key information to get while defining your buyer persona:
- The biggest challenge they’re facing
- Their core values and interests
- Online behavior
2. Determine what you want to achieve
You need to set specific goals for your strategy and define KPIs that will let you know if it was a success.
Depending on your business plan, you’ll prioritize visibility in some cases, while going for more conversions in others.
Here are some of the most relevant ones to consider:
- Get an X amount of new leads
- Improve search ranking by X
- Achieve X percentage of traffic increase
3. Assess the current strategy
What does your current communication landscape look like? Are you publishing content and is it in line with the goals that you want to accomplish?
Make a list of the channels you’re using to communicate with your audience at the moment and review the results so far. Focus on inbound links, relevant keywords and the overall popularity of your content. A good starting point would be to look at the previous year and create a report with relevant metrics.
This way you’ll have a benchmark that serves as an additional way to set your KPIs, while noticing best practices that can be useful in your new strategy.
4. Decide on what to use
After you’ve analyzed your communication, you need to decide what you’re going to include in the strategy and which formats will serve as your foundation.
It’s hard to cover all potential channels with the same quality, so you should aim to drop those that are the least relevant for your audience and that bring in the least traffic.
Double down on those that have worked better in the past, while also considering potential channels where your audience may be and that you could benefit from but aren’t using currently.
As for the formats, they depend on your goals, but some that you can’t go wrong with are:
- Case studies
- Social media posts
5. Define your message
After you’ve decided on the list of channels and tools you’ll use in the strategy, you need to create a base that will connect all of your content.
If you don’t have a key message already, you need to create one based on your goals and USP. This should be the starting point of every piece of content marketing that you create.
When you have a theme that’s going to tie everything together, it becomes easier to stay focused throughout the phases and put out relevant content constantly, without losing the focus of your goals.
6. Plan out the timeline
The best way to go about preparing for the execution of your strategy is to set the phases and create a calendar that’s going to include the frequency of publishing for your content.
Based on your KPIs, you can plan out the steps of your strategy to include different stages. For example, it can be split into the familiar awareness, consideration and decision phases that make up the conversion funnel.
A calendar that covers what you’ll make should define some of the key things before moving forward:
- Types of content
- Their description
- Planned publishing dates
- Keywords and relevant links
- Promotion plans (channels and budgets)
7. Start preparing the content
Finally, it’s time to begin the creative process.
You should always keep your audience in mind and focus on creating content that can provide added value for them.
Organize your process into steps and try to keep to the schedule you created earlier – few things beat consistency when putting out content.
Start with the research, then move onto production. After you’ve created a new piece of content marketing, review it and check if it fits the brand voice, the message you’re trying to send and if it works in line with the KPIs you’re trying to get.
You can explore the SEO software market and find a tool that can help you with the process.
8. Implement the new communication
After all the preparations, it’s time to put your content out there.
Share the content on your social media, push it to relevant stakeholders through your email marketing list and try getting shares from relevant industry influencers as well.
In line with the plan you put in place, use the budget to further promote the most important pieces of content.
It’s good to stick to the plan, but don’t hesitate to move things around in the calendar if something more relevant comes up so you can capitalize on the moment.
9. Evaluate the results
It’s not enough just to put the content out there and call it a day.
You need to keep track of your KPIs, paying close attention to what works and what’s not going according to plan. As we talked about setting specific goals, you should have a good idea of whether your strategy is working and if the results are there.
Use the information you gather along the way to plan your future efforts. For example, if an infographic is getting a lot of traffic, consider creating some more similar content in the future.
10. Keep working on it
Finally, you can always tweak and adjust, balancing the plans that you previously made and reacting to the insights you gather from your audience along the way.
Be ready to show flexibility and adapt to the results. A piece of content may unexpectedly blow up so be ready to push it in multiple ways later on to maximize traffic.
It’s important to remember that no strategy is perfect, so you have to stay hands-on along the way to get the most of it.
Always start with research. You need to be in touch with the market trends and know the pulse of your audience.
You also need to understand your current presence to build on it and get the most out of your channels.
Put in work and plan out the phases of your communication in line with the business goals.
Keep listening and be ready to adapt in line with the insights you get along the way to achieve the best possible results.
About the author:Nick Chernets is the Founder and CEO of DataForSEO, the leading provider of marketing data. Just as much as he is passionate about data analysis and SEO — Nick also enjoys sharing his experience from the business side of the industry.