77% of companies say they have a content marketing strategy. (SEMrush, 2019)
A content marketing strategy or content strategy refers to the planning, creation, delivery and overall management of all forms of content, including written content, images and multimedia. A concrete strategy will help you define, plan, prioritise and stick to your marketing goals, because content should be an ongoing priority, not a one-off campaign. It will also enable you to measure goals versus actual tangible results. A good content marketing strategy is essential if you're looking to build a loyal audience and position yourself as the go-to business or be seen as an expert or trusted advisor in your particular field.
In today’s fast paced and fiercely competitive business environment, getting the right message to the right person in the right way at the right time is crucial. This can be pretty tough when the online world we spend so much time in is saturated with a sea of content, where so many businesses and individuals are vying to be seen and heard.
Here are our 5 top tips for creating an effective content marketing strategy:
1. Know your audience... and know them well!
Getting to know your audience is a crucial part of your marketing strategy. If you don’t know your audience inside out, you’ll be stabbing in the dark when it comes to setting your strategy.
Firstly, you’ll need to do your research and ensure the demographics you’re looking at are the right ones.
Next, look at your competitors. Analyse their brand, their voice, their marketing strategy, and the messages they’re sending to their audience. Get a feel for what resonates with you, and what you think would work for your own audience.
Create a target persona to help you conceptualise your target audience. Is this personal male or female? What age are they? Where do they live? What’s their educational background, job, income, personal and career aspirations? Where do they shop, eat, holiday? What are their hobbies? There are endless questions you can ask in order to create this fictional character that you will talk to through your marketing efforts.
Get to know your existing customers or clients personally. What drives them, excites them, concerns them? What are their goals, wants, needs, like, dislikes? What’s important to them?
Monitor the habits of your existing customers. Plug in to the online conversations they’re currently engaged in. Where do they hang out online? What are they reading, liking, sharing, commenting on?
Create a good old-fashioned survey. There’s no better way to understand your target demographic and gain quantifiable answers than to conduct a survey that simply asks the right questions.
2. Goals and objectives - what’s the purpose of your content?
A good content marketing strategy is necessary to ensure what you’re doing is actually effective i.e. you’re not just spewing out content for the sake of it. Firstly, it’s imperative to establish what your goals are - why are you creating the content? Do you want to build trust with your audience or be seen as an industry expert?
Do you want to connect with potential customers, generate leads, improve conversions, increase sales? Do you simply want to educate, entertain or inspire your audience, or give them something enjoyable to read?
3. Switch up your content
In today’s online world, consumers expect nothing short of high-quality, consistent content from their favourite sources or brands. If they don’t get it, they’ll simply go elsewhere and you’ll become a distant memory. The golden rule to creating content is that it must either educate, entertain or inspire your reader, and if you do this consistently you’ll hopefully turn strangers into followers and followers into loyal customers. Creating high-quality, original and consistent content, however, is no easy task!
To keep things fresh, consider different types of content. You don’t have to stick to the same medium or style. If you post blogs or articles, try adding some images or multimedia. Try your hand at making videos or recording a podcast. Get creative, have a play, see what works.
Video has become the most commonly used format in content marketing, overtaking blogs and infographics.
87% of video marketers say that video has increased traffic to their website and 80% of video marketers claim that video has directly increased sales.
4. Repurpose repurpose repurpose. In other words, create less, promote more.
Yes, we mean it! Repurpose your old content. Repurpose everything, everywhere. That article you wrote a year ago that only a handful of people read? Repurpose it! Give it a freshen up to make sure it’s current (maybe you have more to say on the subject now, too) and send it out to the world again for new eyes to see. It will undoubtedly reach new audiences as well as boost SEO! And rememberMarketing’s Rule of 7 - something needs to be seen 7 times to be effective, and repurposing old content will help to achieve that quota.
If you’re used to posting articles or written copy time and again, try using visuals to capture reader’s attention or to add context to a story or message. Re-evaluate the channels you’re publishing your content on - if you’re not getting any engagement on one channel, try another (again this goes back to knowing your audience and knowing where they hang out - maybe they’ve gravitated from Facebook to Instagram these days? Things change quickly online!)
Review your most popular posts - where were they posted and why were they so popular? Old content can be repurposed in many ways - a whitepaper or article can be chopped up and used as daily bite-sized chunks on social media, turned into an ebook, video tutorial or podcast series. But remember, prioritise quality over quantity, and always ask yourself if you’re adding value to your reader.
Garrett Moon of CoSchedule offers a helpful reminder:
“Content repurposing doesn’t just mean that you reuse an old piece of content again and again. True repurposing requires that we alter it to make it fresh and appealing to a new audience.”
5. Distribute smartly - producing content is one thing, distributing it is another!
You can create the best content in the world, but if you don’t distribute it smartly you won’t achieve your marketing goals! Welcome to what is known as a content distribution strategy. And yes, you need one. So once again, you need to get absolutely clear on what and who the content is for, whether it’s a snappy blog post or a research-heavy whitepaper. This will help you determine the best channels to publish your content and the best times to publish so you can kill the random scattergun and hope for the best approach. You may need to customise content for a particular platform (for example you can’t post a 500 word blog on Twitter).
You may want to share one particular piece of content i.e. a blog post across multiple platforms, or you may have created a number of different pieces of content (a video reel, a visual advert and an industry article) - you’ll need to know what will work best on what platform.
And finally, when you’ve done, evaluate, rinse, repeat. Or in other words, monitor how the content is performing (use analytics where possible), assess, tweak accordingly.
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