How to Create a Successful Content Marketing Strategy

How to Create a Successful Content Marketing Strategy

Even though most marketers and business owners understand the importance of content marketing, many of them still don’t know how to go about implementing it. In fact, according to a study, 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content marketing strategy. However, in today’s fiercely competitive world, the only way to beat your competitors is to use a well-thought-out and effective content marketing plan.

Before we delve deeper and discuss how you can build a successful content marketing strategy in 2019, let us first understand its importance.

Why You Need a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing has come a long way from being a novelty to becoming the most sought-after choice for digital marketers and business owners. High-quality, original content is very useful in generating brand awareness and help you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry. It is crucial to improve your SEO rankings and to drive more traffic to your website.

In addition, content marketing also helps you engage with your potential customers and build long-term relationships with them. It can help you generate new leads for your business and retain your existing customers. If executed properly, it can increase your revenue by driving sales and conversions. Top-notch content cuts through the noise and gives you an edge over your competitors.

It is evident that high-quality content is necessary to strengthen your brand reputation and take your business to new heights. The only way to ensure that you achieve these desired results is by laying down a well-thought-out content marketing strategy. In fact, 64% of marketers feel that one of their greatest educational needs is to understand how to build a scalable content strategy.

A content marketing strategy is a framework for your content that helps you achieve your business goals. It guides your content team through different stages, starting from content development to distribution. It keeps your content on track and ensures that it is useful for your target audience. If you still don’t have a content marketing strategy for 2019, it is high time you start working on it. Here’s how.

1. Revisit the Previous Year’s Work

The first step in designing a content marketing strategy for 2019 is to take a good look at the content you have already published. If you already have a well-documented strategy, performing a content audit becomes easier. In its absence, you should focus on the kind of traction your content received and whether it helped you fulfill your objectives or not. It is crucial to identify what worked in your favor and what didn’t.

Use Google Analytics to find how much traffic your blog posts received and from where. You can also use it to take a look at how your content is being shared on various social networking platforms. It will give you an idea of the top-performing distribution channels for your content. Finally, evaluate whether you were able to achieve your desired goals or not.

The idea is to find out the type of content that was most well-received and shared by your target audience. Then ask yourself if those topics will still be relevant in 2019.

Pay close attention to the type of content (social media posts, videos, blog posts, etc.) that got the most traction. Weigh out your options to understand whether you want to continue on the same path or if you need a complete overhaul of your existing strategy.

2. Establish New Goals

A content marketing strategy won’t be useful unless you have a clear idea of your end goals. Do you want to drive more traffic to your website? Perhaps you want to drive more conversions and increase sales? Or are you looking to establish yourself as an industry expert and improve your brand reputation and credibility?

Your answers to these questions will determine the type of content you publish and the distribution channels you use. If your goal is to engage with your audience and earn their trust, social media platforms might be better suited for you. On the other hand, product reviews and videos might be more useful for lead generation. So, it is crucial to lay down a set of clearly-defined goals that you want to achieve using content marketing.

Since a new year is expected to bring new challenges, it is a good time to review your goals as well. Consider if your objectives are still relevant to your business. If not, then it is time to establish new goals and work towards achieving them. For instance, if you have successfully established a strong connection with your target audience, it is now time to focus on driving conversions.

Once you have identified your goals, the next step is to define the key performance indicators (KPIs) of your content marketing strategy.

KPIs are metrics to help you understand when a particular goal has been achieved. In other words, KPIs are useful in evaluating the success of your content marketing strategy.

Typically, you can define one or more of the following KPIs depending on your objective:

  • Hit a certain number of followers on social media.
  • Get a certain number of email subscribers or new signups.
  • Achieve a certain revenue target every month, quarter, or year.
  • Improve search engine rankings of key web pages.

3. Know Your Audience

This is the most obvious rule for any form of advertising. You can’t publish content that appeals to the sensibilities of every internet user. So, it is crucial to identify who your potential customers are and streamline your content to get their attention.

For instance, if your target audience includes tech-savvy millennials, social media posts and videos might be a better way to connect with them than blogs or webinars.

When identifying your target audience, you should pay close attention to the following parameters:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Occupation
  • Education

In addition, you should also take a closer look at your audience’s online behavior. Find out the devices they use to access your content and the amount of time they spend on your website or social media profiles. Take a look at the times of day during which they are mostly online. You can use Google Analytics and social media analytics to check out these metrics.

Finally, it is also important to have a thorough understanding of what kind of content your audience expects or wants. Demographics and online behavior data will give you some useful insights into this. However, it is crucial to connect with your audience even before you publish your content. Identify their pain points and attempt to resolve them through your content.

One way to get this information is to solicit feedback from your audience. Monitor the comments on your blog and social media posts. This will give you a fair idea of how they feel about your content. In addition, you also get access to a treasure trove of new content ideas that your audience wants.

Image via Instagram

Likewise, many brands slowly realize the importance of social listening. Keep a close eye on the comments, mentions, likes, and shares on your social media posts. In addition, you can also conduct polls on platforms such as Twitter and Instagram to get a better idea of your audience’s priorities and demands. Conducting a live AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Instagram or YouTube can also be helpful.

Your sole focus should be to create and publish content that strikes a chord with your audience. It should be original and insightful. It should also address the problems faced by your audience and attempt to resolve or answer them. In addition, a deep understanding of your audience will also help you determine the best distribution channels for your content.

4. Choose Your Content Type

The type of content you will create is dependent on your end goals and your target audience. Depending on these parameters, you can choose from the following types of content:

  • Blog Posts – Anyone who is even slightly familiar with content marketing knows the importance of having a dedicated blog section on your website. It can help to improve your search engine rankings, increase website traffic, and strengthen brand reputation. It can even help you generate leads and drive conversions.
  • Case Studies and Research – These are useful to add credibility to your content. Publishing groundbreaking research also establishes you as an authority figure in your niche. It helps you earn the trust of your audience. This is crucial for customer loyalty and retention.
  • Ebooks and Guides – These are great tools to increase brand awareness and reinforce brand credibility. Since many people use the internet to conduct research on various topics, this form of content is extremely valuable. It strengthens your brand identity and helps with lead generation.
  • Webinar – Many marketers use live webinars to interact with their audiences. By sharing insightful information and tricks of the trade, your brand earns the reputation of an industry expert. Webinars are also useful to communicate directly with your audience to get a clear idea of their priorities and pain points.
  • Podcasts – According to research, 40% of Americans listen to podcasts. In fact, podcasts are becoming increasingly popular as more people switch to mobile devices. Also, podcasts give you the opportunity to deliver content to your audience on any device of their choice, even when they commute. It is great for branding too. You can make your podcasts more effective by partnering with influencers and industry experts.
  • Videos – These are an effective way of communicating vital information in an interesting manner. From product reviews to plot-based narratives, you can create different types of videos for different objectives. They are useful to generate leads, drive conversions, and create brand awareness.
  • Social Media Posts – These can include visual content such as infographics, memes, pictures, quotes, etc. They are great for stirring up a conversation about your brand and expanding your reach. Social media is also useful for gaining a deeper understanding of your audience. It is equally important for customer retention.

5. Perform Thorough Keyword Research

If your content marketing strategy involves publishing insightful blog posts, keyword research is crucial. You can use tools such as Ahrefs or SEMrush to identify the most relevant keywords in your niche.

Analyze these keywords to identify the level of competition associated with them and evaluate whether it is worth targeting them. The popularity of virtual assistants also demands that you take a closer look at voice search queries that are being used.

Even if you choose a content type other than blog posts, keyword research can still be useful. For instance, you can use it to get ideas for new videos. You can also identify relevant keywords to craft hashtags for social media. And voice search queries can give you a plethora of new ideas for podcasts and webinars. So, regardless of your content type, keyword research is a step that should not be ignored.

6. Create a Content Calendar

One of the main pillars of a successful content marketing strategy is consistency. Publishing a great piece of content once in a blue moon won’t yield good results. Instead, you should upload high-quality content regularly to stay alive in the memory of your audience. An easy way of doing this is by creating a content calendar.

Once you have identified your content type and selected a set of topics, set a timeline for content publishing and distribution. It ensures that you never miss a blog post or podcast. In addition, a consistent timeline also creates some amount of anticipation among your target audience.

For instance, if you start a weekly podcast series, make sure you publish it on the same day every week. As the series begins to gain traction, your audience will start looking forward to the next episode.

In addition, you should also set a specific time of day for publishing your content. Study your audience’s online activity and find out when they are most likely to be online. Also, decide on the frequency of content publishing. For instance, while podcasts can be uploaded once a week, social media posts can be published once a day for maximum engagement.

7. Outline a Concrete Distribution Strategy

Even the best content will fail to deliver any results in the absence of a proper distribution plan. This is especially important at present because almost every business, big or small, is trying their hands at content marketing. Therefore, if you want your content to cut through this noise and reach the right ears, you will need to deliver it with a bang. The only way to do this is by increasing its reach through different distribution channels.

Don’t try to reach your audience via all possible distribution channels. Instead, narrow down your distribution channels to the ones that your target audience is most likely to use. Use data from the past to identify the top-performing distribution platforms and concentrate on them.

The choice of distribution channels depends on your target audience as well as the type of content you create. For instance, blog posts can be marketed through email newsletters, LinkedIn, and Twitter. On the other hand, videos will find better traction on YouTube and Instagram. It is also crucial to cross-promote your content through different channels in order to maximize reach.

8. Collaborate with Influencers

The start of a new year demands an innovative and experimental content marketing strategy. Working with influencers can help breathe new life into your content. Since influencers create user-centric content for their followers on a regular basis, they can steer your content strategy in a new direction.

In addition, collaborating with influencers also gives you direct access to their loyal and engaged audiences. This ensures maximum reach for your content. It also helps improve your SEO rankings by increasing website traffic and helping you earn high-quality backlinks.

Final Thoughts

Content marketing has changed significantly since its inception. There is no need to limit your content to blog posts and social media posts anymore. Explore new content types such as podcasts and videos. Develop a thorough understanding of your target audience before you decide on the type and topics for your content.

A solid distribution framework is also necessary to get your content to the right audience. Traditional channels, such as email newsletters and social media platforms continue to yield results. However, new tactics, such as collaborating with influencers, can add a unique dimension to your content marketing and distribution strategy.

Can you think of any other ways to create a successful content marketing strategy in 2019? Let us know in the comments section below.

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