5 oct 2017

HHRR

Eight Steps To Develop And Maintain Your Content Marketing Strategy

Have you ever completed a marketing campaign and realized that, while it may have been a success, it will be difficult to replicate because there wasn't a defined strategy or process behind it? If so, you're not alone.

Comprehensive marketing campaigns can have 10 to 30+ individual content-related tactics that need to be executed to make them integrated and cohesive campaigns. These content-driven tactics are usually being executed in tandem to ensure all the pieces fit together to build a campaign that is going to drive traffic, leads and new customers to your organization.

Most importantly, it is critical to ensure you are not only building a content strategy that is repeatable but that you have something that is documented and understood by all members of your team. When the campaign is over and it's time to analyze the results, a gaping hole often becomes evident: There was no documented strategy to drive the tactics. This scenario helps explain the statistics that only 37% of B2B marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy. In the absence of a strategy, we see that while marketers have the best intentions, sometimes these operational pieces get missed. This tends to leave a gap in your department that could become detrimental as your team changes over time.

A content marketing strategy should address the crucial “what are we doing?” and “why are we doing it?” questions. Strategy provides the rationale behind your campaign and the pieces that are going to work together to make your campaign a true success. Tactics play a pivotal role as well, but they come second because they address the “how are we going to do it?” question.

Think of your content marketing as a way to provide direction and keep a campaign on track. Content can go in many directions and can take on many forms, including email, website, landing pages, social media, blogs, articles, video, whitepapers and much more. Without a mapped-out strategy, it can become a tangled mess that is almost impossible to unravel.

Here are eight steps to ensure you're creating the most comprehensive content strategy to set up your team for success:

1. SET GOALS WITH A CONTENT MISSION STATEMENT. Consider starting with: “We must provide X type of content to fulfill Y need or want and/or evoke (this emotion) in our target customer so they do Z (visit our website, purchase this product or service or take another specific action).” Now is a good time to discuss the overall tone of your content, though it may change as you drill down and select your preferred modes of communication.

2. REFINE THE PROFILE OF YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER. Also known as your buyer persona, it is vital to define the demographics of your target customer, as well as the psychographics that will highlight key points about your customer's lifestyle, opinions and values. This will help you understand the types of content that will engage these prospects.

3. CONDUCT A CONTENT AUDIT. Publishing weekly articles on your blog may be the cornerstone of your content marketing strategy, but now is the time to see how those blogs are performing and how your audience responds to them. Review your content efforts with a critical eye, paying attention to how you are fully capitalizing on all of your content, especially on social and through segmented and optimized email marketing.

4. BRAINSTORM CONTENT IDEAS. Content ideas are everywhere, and content truly is limitless. You can take one piece of content and use it to create five to 10 additional unique pieces. Think about the content you have and how you can leverage it to create new forms of content. Focus on what your business does best and how it differs from the competition. Many good content ideas should flow from that process.

5. IDENTIFY TYPES OF CONTENT THAT WILL SERVE YOUR NEEDS BEST. You cannot, and probably should not, invest time and money in all forms of content. But this is where formulating a content marketing strategy will become invaluable, steering you to choose between the types of content your target customers want and need most. The options may include lists and how-to articles (favorites among many personas), case studies, interviews, infographics, videos, podcasts and emails.

6. SELECT A CONTENT ANALYTICS SYSTEM. Just as marketing supports sales, your content marketing strategy should support your business goals. To make sure it does, carefully select an analytics system or partner with a company that can help. The Content Marketing Institute offers excellent advice: “Don’t measure simply for the sake of having some numbers to present to upper management. If you aren’t certain what you should be measuring, ask yourself these two questions: 1. Do these metrics support my key goals? 2. Can I take action on these metrics?" The way you measure your content is critical because it’s how you’ll be able to see success and areas for opportunity.

7. SHARE YOUR CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY WITH STAKEHOLDERS. Everyone who has a vested interest in the success of your strategy ought to be apprised of your progress with content. This will foster a sense of involvement and will encourage feedback. Sharing your content with stakeholders will give them an opportunity to get a closer look at what you are doing as the marketing team to drive value, while also getting their personal brand in front of your target audience.

8. PUBLISH AND MANAGE YOUR CONTENT EFFICIENTLY. All your content should be placed on an editorial calendar so that you always know what lies ahead and can adjust your plan accordingly. It’s important to remember this step so you don’t have content reaching the same audience too frequently or not frequently enough.

Developing a content strategy doesn’t happen overnight. It's not a one-time strategy session. Your content mapping strategy is at the helm of everything you do as a marketer -- from small campaigns to large, comprehensive online and offline campaigns. Remember to continue revising your strategy and sharing it with your team so it is documented, repeatable and understood by all members of your organization.

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