Back in the early days, just writing content was enough—if you covered the right keywords, people would see your articles. But today’s virtual landscape is filled with brands vying for attention. If you want to stand out, you need more than static web pages or the one-off blog post—you need a content marketing strategy.
Here is the basic anatomy of a great content strategy that will help boost online visibility for your brand.
Today, people are inundated with content. There is always another article just one scroll away. If you don’t know who you are targeting, you will have no hope of captivating their attention. The first step in any serious content marketing strategy is to clearly define who you are writing to.
Use your top customers and most engaged audience members to form a selection of buyer personas to target. Use real data (not assumptions) to determine their interests, concerns, pain points, dislikes, professional title, industry and more.
Define who your audience is—and who it isn’t. Look at who your competitors are targeting and consider whether you want to fight for the same audience or if there is a better niche you can target that is currently underserved.
Next, know what you are trying to accomplish with your overall content strategy and each piece of content you write. It’s impossible to set a strategy if you have no marker for success. Every strategy should have key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics that you plan to use to see if your strategy is working or not.
To increase your chance of success, set SMART goals:
Specific: Vague goals are impossible to measure. Provide percentages or numbers you want to achieve with each goal.
Measurable: Determine the best metrics to measure your goal, setting KPIs.
Attainable: Choose a goal you can directly influence with your content.
Realistic: Make sure your goal is based on improving your existing numbers.
Timely: Always set checkpoints and a deadline to assess your success or failure.
Remember, failing your goals isn’t the worst thing that can happen. It’s better to know your efforts aren’t working than to keep pushing a strategy without realizing it is falling flat. At every checkpoint and campaign deadline, you can assess to see if your plan worked or needs adjustment moving forward.
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You need to know where you are before you determine where you want to be. Take into account your existing metrics before you set reasonable goals for your content strategy. Then, determine how each piece of content will accomplish a part of those goals. A real plan will come with tactical guidelines for specific actions you plan to take and results you expect to see.
Put together a content calendar where you will plan out upcoming content. Assign each piece of content a specific goal. Determine how that goal will be backed by keywords, audience target and call to action (CTA). Audit your existing content to see where you may have content gaps.
It’s difficult to build an audience if you aren’t setting expectations for value and consistency. Within your content calendar and content strategy, note how many times per month you will publish blog posts, how often you will email leads and how frequently you will post to social media.
Commit to only publishing content that offers value to your audience and remains consistent to your brand. While posting regularly is key for a consistent presence, the content value has to remain consistent as well. Quality is more important than quantity in building your brand reputation.
If you are on top of your content calendar, you will create most content ahead of time and schedule when you want it to publish. Working ahead of time ensures you aren’t rushed to publish content that is subpar or not well-aligned with your goals.
Don’t get caught in a rut of content production. Use checkpoints to work towards your bigger goals and use your deadlines to assess your strategy. Mix it up and think outside the box. Your audience will continue to evolve, trends will shift and marketing tools will change—so be ready to adapt.
It’s easy to make decisions based on your belief of what will work or what your audience wants to see. Using analytics to drive your strategy helps you avoid the pitfall of following assumptions. While you don’t want to be all over the place with your strategy, you do need to be able to pivot when things change, or new information comes in.
You don’t have to take everything on yourself. If you are strapped with work, then outsourcing your content marketing strategy can be a huge relief. An outside team can help you set goals, measure results and stay consistent with your brand. Outsourcing allows you to hire expert partners who can help you execute a highly effective strategy to meet your goals.
Are you ready to create a stronger content strategy for your company? Let’s chat! Strategic 7 Marketing is an award-winning, full-service marketing and digital agency with decades of combined experience. Contact Sarah Chula at 440-772-0184 or email Sarah.
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