Gone are the days when ‘content’ simply means coming up with and writing blog posts for your company’s websites. Nowadays, content marketing includes a diverse set of content types and multiple channels to push them through. If you want your social media marketing agency to grow and remain competitive, then you need to use all of the tools in your content marketing arsenal.
If you’re already using social media, then you are doing content marketing to some extent. The next step is to get a strategy in place. Putting a strategy behind your content will help your business reach its goals, discover your audience, and convert leads into customers.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through why having a content marketing strategy is important, and explore the different ways you can get started on your own. By creating a step by step content marketing plan, you will be ready for growth and success.
What is Content Marketing and Why is it Important?
Content marketing is when you take or create any type of content (digital or physical) and purposefully send it out to your audience. In planning out a content marketing strategy, you will be able to learn more not only about your audience, but also about your business.
A content marketing plan should pay attention to your goals, your customers, and what platform will work best for your target audience. Adding a strategy to your content marketing efforts means that you’ve thought about these aspects of your company, and will help strengthen the quality of your content efforts.
A typical content marketing plan will answer the following questions:
- Who is your audience?
- What channels will you use?
- What metrics will you use to measure success and ROI?
- What resources do you have?
- What pain points will you solve?
The answers to these questions are usually based on market segments. When you’re devising your content marketing strategy, you’ll do best to make certain types of content that will target specific segments.
Types of Content
One of the most fun aspects of developing a content marketing strategy is that you get to be creative. There are so many different types of content that you can create to cover an abundance of topics. Whether it is company blog posts, branded blog posts, or user-generated content like Instagram, anything that will attract and engage an audience is what you should be looking to create.
Other types of content you can consider include:
- Press Releases
Types of Channels
When you decide what types of content you want to make, you also have to decide what channels you will be sharing that content. You can distribute your content through email marketing campaigns, social media accounts, pamphlets, search engine ads, and/or a website.
The most common channel and one of the most effective channels is email. Approximately 82% marketers report it as most effective, and this could be due to the fact that it has a more personalized touch than other channels.
You should not restrict yourself to simply one channel, but make sure you don’t jump into too much before you’re ready. Start out focusing on two channels and expand to others once you’re comfortable.
Develop Your Strategy
Once you have assessed how your content marketing strategy will answer the aforementioned questions and thought about what types of content you’ll be creating and where you’ll be sharing it then you can work on developing your strategy.
Developing your strategy will require you to:
- Build your buyer personas
For any marketing strategy, whether you’re marketing offline or online, you need to know who you’re marketing to. Marketing is all about reaching people, and if you know nothing about the people you’re trying to reach, your content won’t land.
Buyer personas represent your ideal customer(s) and can be created by researching, surveying, and interviewing your business’s target audience. This includes demographics like: location, age, income, and job title.
- Define your goals & metrics
In content marketing, you can work at achieving multiple goals simultaneously and the goals are often matched with content types and channels.
For each goal, you’ll need to define metrics that you can use to measure success. You must ask yourself what the purpose of you content is—whether it’s a blog, video, or social media post—and who you’re trying to reach. Your content should then be created around these goals.
- Audit your current content
If you already have some branded content, conduct a content audit to help you understand what has and hasn’t been successful. Look at your blogs, articles, social media posts, and email content and figure out what was effective. What resonated with the audience, and what was missing in the content that didn’t hit?
In a Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 trends report, B2B marketers credited content creation and strategy as the top two factors in their content marketing success, which is why you need to start making it a priority for your brand.
Low-quality content doesn’t cut it anymore, especially if your competition is also focused on content marketing. If your content was mostly pushed through social media channels, performing a social media audit may be beneficial to you.
When you look at the engagement and ROI of your existing content, you’ll be able to see what type of content performed well and duplicate the similarities.
If your agency is new and you do not yet have any branded content, then it’s time to brainstorm. Create a list of topics built around what your audience is interested in. The key to good content is creating a connection with the audience. To connect to your audience, you need to develop content that finds intersections between what your brand’s expertise is and your audience’s pain points.
Once you’ve got a list of good content topics, it’s time to dive into long-tail keyword research and figure out the best keyword targets around those topics. There are many tools like Serpstat, Ubersuggest, and Keyword Planner will be a great help for this stage of your strategy development.
- Map your customer journey
Mapping your customer journey will help you better understand the customer you’re trying to reach. Certain types of content will work best at specific points of a customer journey. Mapping this for your brand helps you understand where your content can be best served.
Once you have the map down, then your content can be further tweaked and adjusted to reflect your audience and their journey status. Be sure to find out what the best time is to post, what days get the most engagement, and then create the content calendar around those days and times.
- Implement & review your content marketing strategy
Content calendars are essential, because with documentation, you’ll have a way to reference and steer your future content.
If your strategy was to promote your blog posts on both social media and email newsletters but you find that newsletters are receiving a lot of engagement, you may look into increasing the send frequency or creating a subscriber list for only the blog.
Create a marketing calendar so you can plan content for the year. This all-in-one calendar type is helpful for big-picture planning. This is also particularly helpful if you’re working with a partner or team—writing down everything from keyword targets to dates, so they will know what’s important to include in the content being created.
A social media-minded content marketing strategy incorporates both social monitoring and publishing. To monitor the topics your audience cares about, use branded keywords and search options to see who’s talking about you and to curate content for redistribution.
Content marketing doesn’t have to only include branded content. It also includes content that’s published about you or industry-adjacent news.
- Bring it all together
You’ve done the planning and the research, and now you have a solid vision of the elements that are going to make up your digital marketing strategy. Here’s what you should have so far:
- Clear profile(s) of your buyer persona(s)
- One or more marketing-specific goals
- An inventory of your existing owned, earned, and paid media
- An audit of your existing owned, earned, and paid media
- An owned content creation plan or wish list
Now, it’s time to bring all of it together to form a cohesive strategy. Using a CMS like Monday, Asana, Hubspot, or Zoho to schedule all of your content in one place will help with the planning stage. Once you have that set out, all that’s left is to create, publish, and manage your content.
- Review analytics
Any successful marketer knows that the work isn’t over once your campaign or content is published. You need to review your content 30, 60, and 90 days after it has been published in order to see what worked and what didn’t.
Look to see which topics had the most engagement, what had the best onsite clicks, the average time spent on a page (the longer the better), and bounce rates (the lower the better).
A good content strategy for any business means creating content that will resonate with your audience based on goals, buyer persona, type of content, and the channel it will be published on. Once published, the final stage to a strong content marketing strategy is in reviewing analytics to determine what content was effective and what was not.
If you’re eager to learn more about how to build a successful social media marketing agency, then enroll in our Digital Marketing School today. You can also follow us on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram for more helpful tips, or visit our blog for more FREE training.