Simple 5 Step Guide to Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is indeed one of the most powerful sources for creating new traffic, generating leads, and customer acquisition. With 88% of B2B marketers currently using content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, it makes sense that businesses should create an active plan to generate these desired results. Yet, according to Content Marketing Institute, only 32% have a documented content marketing strategy to accomplish said goals. Most businesses face challenges with their content strategy due to lack of clarity in creating engaging content, knowing how to measure effectiveness, and producing content consistently.

Overcoming these objections is achievable with this five-step plan. If you are struggling with your content marketing but desire to hone strategy to create relatable content that reaches and engages your audience, these action steps are designed to help you!

#1 Being Clear On Your Target Audience

The first step to your content marketing strategy is understanding exactly who your target market is and knowing the pains this group experiences where you can help. You see, your ultimate goal is to create content that speaks to your audience, engages them, solves their problems and moves them to action. Being clear on your market is the only way to bring this to fruition.

Forming buyer personas is a great way to achieve target marketing because essentially you’re painting a picture of exactly what your ideal customer looks like based on the types of customers your business has and desires. This allows you to build deeper connections with your audience because you’ll be able to speak directly to them, making your content impactful and engaging.

#2 Think of Content that Matches Your Sales Process

Different prospects are at different stages in the buying process. Some are ready to buy now (most likely they’re familiar with your brand) while others may be getting to know who you are and how you can meet their needs. So it’s vital to create content that speaks to these different stages in your sales process.

Let’s briefly label the stages of a sales process and content ideas that fits each one:

Awareness Stage

Since the prospect is in the discovery process of your business you want to produce content that creates awareness and promotes your brand. Ideal content formats for this stage would be blog posts, webinars, white papers, and infographics.

Consideration Stage

So the buyer is familiar with your brand but not yet ready to make a purchasing decision. They do, however, respect you as a credible source in your industry.  Your focus is to capture qualified leads. Suitable content that complements this goal are video series, guides, product webinars, and case studies.

Decision Stage

They’re getting close to buying. They’ve warmed up to your nurturing tactics and may be ready to pull out the credit card to purchase. To convert these leads/prospects into sales, the best content types here are free trials, implementation (how-to) guides, and live demonstrations.

#3 Create Your Content

After identifying your buyer personas and thinking of content that fits your sales process, now you’re ready to produce your content. The beauty about content is that there are countless ideas to creating content you’ll never run out of topics to talk about and types of content to create. The goal is delivering variety to your audience to appeal to the different learning styles and later evaluate to see what’s more responsive with your readers.

Consider these types of content formats:

  • Blog articles
  • Visuals/images
  • Video
  • Case studies
  • User generated content
  • Research reports
  • White papers
  • Surveys
  • Infographics
  • Lists
  • Podcasts
  • eNewsletters
  • Webinars
  • How-to guides
  • Interviews
  • Print magazines
  • Slideshares
  • In-person events

With testing and measuring (which we’ll discuss more in step #5), you’ll discover which types of content best resonates with your audience, giving you a solid direction on where to focus your energies.

#4 Promote and Distribute Your Content

Once your content goes live, you want to get the word out quickly to your various marketing channels. Just because you create content, that does not mean the traffic will come automatically flowing (hence the term content marketing). It’s important to have a syndication strategy where you will distribute your content to get it in front of the right people.

Check out these quick strategies for promoting your content:

  • Email marketing – Your subscribers have already shown interest in your brand by joining your list…keep them engaged with valuable content
  • Social Media – It’s actually okay to share several times on social media sites. You can share the same post on Twitter 2-3 times a day throughout the week for effectiveness
  • Google AdWord: For a new white paper or eBook, create display campaigns to increase awareness and re-marketing campaigns to retarget visitors

#5 Track, Measure, and Tweak Results

Neglecting to track and measure your results is where marketers fail in their content marketing.  It’s important to know what your market is most receptive to so you can create more of that type of content. This is how you boost engagement, drive traffic, generate leads, and convert sales – by finding out what’s working.

Here are some questions to ask to gauge your content marketing results:

  • What type of content is shared the most?
  • What type of content is read the most?
  • How many page views does the content receive?
  • How many leads did my content generate?
  • What keywords do people search for to find my content?

These responses provide tangible data to use for your future content, also giving you ways to tailor it to meet the demands of your market.

With this five-step guide, you can proceed to creating a winning content marketing strategy that gets in front of your market and builds engagement. The key is to implement this quickly to discover which content works best for your audience and ramp up from there.

For more information on how to create a content strategy that is congruent with your business goals contact us. McAllister Marketing is a full service marketing company that helps you create brand believers.

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