When it comes to content marketing, nothing can derail you quicker than not having a clear idea of what you’re aiming to achieve and how you intend to do it. By creating a well thought out strategy, you can better envision goals and ensure you have what you need to accomplish them. If you’re like me, you have tons of ideas flying through your head at once and without a solid game plan, you can end up taking on too much at once and risk a pileup of projects that never reach their full potential. But, how does one go about defining a successful content marketing strategy?
Tip #1: Know your brand
This may sound like common sense, but you can easily find your content missing its mark if you don’t have a clear idea of your brand’s goals, mission, story, etc. As content marketers, it’s our job to communicate these things effectively to our target audience. This means we must put in the time studying our brand and understanding what makes it tick and why our audience should be excited about it.
If like me, you work in a startup environment, the management style is typically open and accessible. Capitalize on this by scheduling time to chat with the owners and others in upper management to really develop a clear idea of your brand’s identity.
Tip #2: Know your brand’s goals
You can wind up wasting oodles of time pursuing content marketing opportunities that don’t align with your company’s goals. To avoid this, make sure you have a clear understanding of:
- The overall goals – what is it your brand ultimately wants to achieve?
- The yearly goals – what does it want to accomplish this year? How do these goals contribute to the overall objectives?
- The quarterly goals – what are they aiming to achieve this quarter? How will this contribute to the yearly goals…etc?
By clarifying these, you can ensure you’re only investing time in projects that are in sync with your brand’s objectives. At POWr, all of our goals are shared openly and discussed in team meetings. There is also accountability throughout the team to ensure that no endeavor is taken that doesn’t contribute to our objectives. By embracing this strategy of openness and accountability, you can safeguard against wasted time and energy.
Tip #3: Define your brand’s voice
If you’re managing content marketing for a newer brand, you may be left with the responsibility of defining your brand’s voice. This is an exciting opportunity! You’ll want to study up on your target audience to better understand what they find most engaging. The Content Marketing Institute offers great insight into what steps you should take when creating your brand voice.
At POWr we embrace a fun, informative, quirky voice. This was greatly influenced by the founders themselves and POWr’s overall story. In contrast, I have worked in environments that utilized a formal, professional tone. For their audience, this was appropriate. The aim should be to choose a voice that best represents your brand and connects with your target audience.
Create an actual outline of your content marketing goals and break it down by overall, yearly and quarterly. This will help you better develop an effective content strategy. If you’re like me and have a steady flow of ideas rushing through your brain, this can aid you in sifting out any that won’t contribute to your objectives. I recommend writing them down and keeping them at hand–goals can change and you may just find a home for that list of untapped ideas.
Goals can also aid you in discerning what outcomes you should aim for. For instance, if I have a yearly goal of achieving 5,000 new social media followers, I know I’ll need to average around 104 new followers each week, and I can plan my content strategy accordingly.
Tip #5: Map out your strategy
Once you’ve gained a thorough knowledge of your brand, understand it’s goals, defined its voice, and outlined your content marketing goals, you’re ready to map out the content strategy. Yahoo! Use your goals outline to develop each action and be sure to fully detail how it will contribute to your objectives and what the measurement of success will be.
Here are some things you’ll want to consider in your strategy:
- Who is your target audience?
- How will it benefit them? For instance, if you sell fair trade, eco-friendly cashmere sweaters, you’d want to highlight that when customers purchase from you, they aren’t simply getting a cozy, well-made sweater, they are helping make the world a better place.
- What makes your brand different/stand apart from your competition? Let’s say, unlike your competition, your sweaters use no synthetic materials or harmful dyes–highlight that!
- Set aside time developing content ideas — one of our favorite things is coming up with a list of “blue-sky” creative content ideas. These can be borderline outrageous, but they can help spark something new and unique for your strategy that you may never have considered otherwise.
- Which platforms, social media channels, etc. you’ll be using? A great way to discern this is to take a look at your analytics and assess which outlets get you the most engagement and conversions on your site. If your content marketing is in the early stages, you can also check out what channels your competition is utilizing.
Tip #6: Execute your content marketing strategy
Now that you’ve mapped-out and created your content marketing strategy, put that effort to good use and begin execution. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t garner the results you hoped for, especially if you’re just getting your content marketing off the ground. Use it as a learning opportunity, adjust your strategy accordingly, and apply the insight you’ve gained to your next content strategy.
It’s completely fine to make changes to your strategy as you go–there’s no need to sink more effort into ineffective outlets. For instance, we tried contributing to a forum at one point, but after a few weeks, we found that the effort wasn’t worth the results we were seeing. We adjusted accordingly and focused our energy on other opportunities.