8 Steps to Creating your Content Marketing Strategy

You need to have to have a well-strategized approach to the creation and distribution of valuable and relevant content to your target audience. Insert your content marketing strategy. Write it. Actually create a plan. Content marketers who document their strategy are more effective in nearly all areas of content marketing.

As content channels grow, so does the importance of creating a content marketing strategy. It’s pretty simple.

More Channels = More Opportunity = More Content = More Effort = More Complexity

This increased complexity requires not only experienced content strategists but also a well-documented plan for marketing teams to communicate and follow.

Follow these 8 steps when creating your content marketing strategy and repeat.

1. Research 

Research your competitors, target audiences, and overall industry. This will allow you to determine your unique value proposition and what differentiates you.

  • Determine your top three differentiators or competitive advantages
  • Conduct some general industry research
  • Know your customer demographics and preferences
    • This will help you create personas that you can draft content and marketing

2. Define 

Using the research you collected above you should define your target audience and create a customer profile using demographics as well as psychographics. You’ll find you may have multiple customer profiles and therefore multiple messages and strategies within an overarching strategy.

3. Be Unique 

Create unique content for your target audience. These stories should engage and provide value that is unique to your brand, service, or company. If you don’t provide value or standout, than no one will listen. Be sure to do the work in advance to build the foundation for a successful content marketing strategy.

4. Include Creative  

Combine strategy and creative to support your content with creative for all mediums (print, digital, social, direct mail, PR, event, tradeshow, etc.).

5. Multi-Channel Promotion 

Content marketing is an expected strategy now. The content that you promote should be distributed throughout multiple channels and promoted. An integrated strategy is key to success and require constant management. See which channels help support your content to increase results and continually optimize.

6. Engage

Create a conversation that is engaging and provides value. If your content begins a conversation, than the content is engaging. Why would they spend time with it? Because it holds value for them.

7. Measure

Measurement is key for knowing what to replicate in the future and what to change. While, creating brand awareness is often not measurable, but it pays dividends down the road. Luckily, when producing digital content, you will be able to track the success of your content.

8. Review

Take the time to review so you can duplicate successes and avoid mistakes. It will help you to optimize your content marketing strategy.

9 Digital Marketing Mistakes

The success of digital marketing depends on various factors. It requires understanding your company, product/service, marketing, target audience, brand and ultimately the needs of your consumers. With so many different factors coming into play to realize digital marketing success, companies and entrepreneurs can easily make mistakes that may hinder growth. Here are 10 mistakes you could be making.

1. Not Understanding (or Defining) Your Target Audience

The first thing any successful business needs is a clear understanding of their market and target audience.

The gap that a product or service fills is just the beginning. Marketing requires an in-depth understanding of consumer personas. Beyond a prospect’s needs, professionals should focus on how a prospect spends time, what other products or services the prospect likely wants, and where individuals who fit the persona are more likely to be living.

Detailed information about your audience can only make your marketing efforts more targeted and valuable. It will also allow you to develop customized content to these audiences.

2. Lack of Planning

Don’t have unrealistic expectations. You can’t do it all in the beginning.

Planning and organization are the keys to any type of success. Many marketers never achieve great success because they don’t have clearly outlined goals and a distinct plan of action.

Planning does not mean brainstorming in a room of decision makers. It means writing out an analysis of your current needs, strengths, weaknesses, and goals. Set objectives, allocate a budget and review results (KPIs).

Few marketing campaigns will achieve instantaneous results. With digital marketing you will learn as you go as with most marketing campaigns, it takes time for campaigns to receive pick up.

Digital marketing is a long race, not a sprint.

 

3. Unrealistic Budgeting

Many startups fail to allocate a fair amount of money for digital marketing. Though some digital marketing activities can be completed on a shoestring budget, many require a strategic investment. Avoid spending money on tools you aren’t sure will work out for your company, and focus on hiring talent inside and outside the company that can help you reach your goals effectively and efficiently.

4. Selecting Too Many Social Media Platforms

Social media platforms are a fun and fast way to develop a marketing campaign, however focusing on too many at once may weaken the overall campaign. Try to keep your social media strategy targeted and regularly deliver relevant information to that target audience.

Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn are great social media platforms to start with. Depending on your business audience, you may also be interested in pursuing a targeted campaign on SnapChat, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+.

5. Not Committing to or Investing in Content

Content is the foundation of any successful digital marketing campaign. Without relevant, engaging, and insightful content, you can post information all day long and not see measurable results. Video, written, and graphic content that adds value are elements that will convert site visitors into long-term customers.

6. Forgetting that Mobile is Important

The number of global mobile users exceeded desktop users in 2014, and most consumers now use their smartphones to access location information, reviews, websites, and applications. Companies that haven’t been paying attention to mobile technology will be forgotten and become obsolete. Mobile marketing should be synonymous with digital marketing at this point.

7. Failing to Measure Results

After you implement digital marketing, marketers need to track key performance metrics (KPIs) to assess the value and success of the campaign or tactic. The good news is a digital campaign is easier to track and report on and can also be adjusted Campaigns are not static – you can continue to use analytics throughout the campaign period to tweak posts, keywords, and other information to better target your audience. Optimizing will help you reach your marketing goals and exceed your KPIs.

8. SEO-ing the Old Way 

Simply put, don’t implement black hat SEO tactics. Beware of keyword stuffing, outbound link building, and other black hat SEO methods. As Google’s algorithms evolve, old SEO practices are penalizing websites and companies. Organic marketing and traffic is important. The key is to focusing on providing valuable content and creating natural inbound and outbound links.

9. Failing to Offline/Traditional Marketing with Digital

While digital marketing is very important, it should always be supported by more traditional marketing strategies. People still listen to the radio, drive by billboards and watch TV. Social cues and websites are ever-present in the bottom corner of magazine ads and on subway signs. Feature a hashtag and mention social media profiles or include your Twitter handle. Mixing traditional and modern marketing strategies is the best way to build a multilevel campaign that has the potential to not only reach consumers but connect with them on a deeper level.