How To Create A Successful Content Marketing Strategy
5 simple steps to get your strategy established
We’ve all seen it. The scattergun approach to content marketing and it sucks. It’s embarrassing, as well as boring like watching paint dry. Have you ever watched paint dry? It’s fascinating how — nothing happens. It’s boring.
Right, so content marketing. Is it still a thing? Too right it is. Every business up and down the land is fighting for your attention. A millisecond of it will do, it is all takes to make you think about what you’ve seen.
That is what a content marketer wants to do, make you remember them.
So, why do so many companies set out with a scattergun approach? Do they not have a strategy?
You know, a strategy that defines what they are doing and why they are doing it. As well as having an objective they want to achieve. They must have a strategy, right?
Why Companies don’t have a Content Marketing Strategy
There is a flippancy to content marketing because it involves using social media and we all use social media, don’t we?
The logic, particularly in small companies is that content marketing is easy. After all, it’s publishing a blog post now and then. Easy, my teenage daughter can do that in her sleep.
To be fair, the perception isn’t wrong. Content marketing is easy when you do it badly.
So, how do you do it well? How do you it successfully?
To start with you need to know what you want to achieve from your content marketing. Yes, that’s right, you need a strategy.
5 Simple Steps to Creating your Content Marketing Strategy
Before we get into these 5 steps, I want to flag up a key point. This is a strategy. It is not a detailed marketing plan or calendar you’re looking to create at this stage.
Instead, your strategy should be read like a summary of your content marketing plan. It is important to define the big picture. This isn’t about individual posts, it is at a much higher level than that.
1. What do you want to achieve and how
I am reminded of a quote I came across recently that I think clearly explains what you should be looking to achieve.
“Our job is not to create content. Our job is to change the world of the people who consume it”- Andrea Fryrear
There is a danger that content writers create content for content’s sake. If that’s you then I hope this quote makes you pause and reflect on what you’re doing.
Moving into the world of content marketing is a logical thing to do for any business. But, let me be clear. You must define at the very start what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it.
It is easy to set a goal, anyone can do that. But, how you will achieve it is far more important. That’s the sentiment behind Andrea’s quote. It’s nowhere near enough to produce content, it has to influence and inform readers.
2. Set some objective measures
Objectives need to be exactly that, objectives. These should be established using the S.M.A.R.T acronym.
To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:
• Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
• Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
• Achievable (agreed, attainable).
• Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
• Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
If you are not familiar with this, please visit this Mind Tools page for more information.
3. Enshrine editorial standards
We live in your consumer-driven world where companies of any size are expected to have a brand presence.
We all know of big brands and their products. But we don’t tend to remember the products so well, more the branding.
Ask a child to draw McDonald’s and he is unlikely to draw you a burger. Instead, you are more likely to see the golden M which adorns all of their products and restaurants.
The same focus should be applied to presentation and editorial standards within any content that is created. It should be a key part of your strategy, which is to continue driving brand awareness. The key is consistency.
Some core areas to consider in this definition of editorial standards would be the following.
- Branding Rules | Logo Position — Font style (where applicable) Colours
- Word Count on Articles
- Copywriting Process
4. Set KPI’s to assess the performance
KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are essential in your content marketing strategy. A strategy by its definition has a stated goal, as well as the steps to be taken to achieve the goal.
Therefore, the KPI’s you use should be reflective of measuring the progress towards your goal.
Good KPI’s can enable you to see how the journey to your goal is progressing. These I would argue are crucial. Progress left unmeasured can provide some nasty surprises, which are best avoided.
5. Review & Adapt
A key part of the strategy must be to assess the performance of your content marketing. With your KPI’s in place, you will be able to see if your goals are being achieved.
With the review process in place, you can objectively see what’s working. You can also see what’s not working and using the framework of your strategy, you can adjust accordingly.
The process of content marketing is one that means you must consistently evolve and change to keep ensure you keep making progress.
The internet is awash with content. Some of it is very good, but most of it is rubbish. The fight to get attention is very much ongoing and as more and more of us spend more time online — your business must be there too.
Quite logically, your business wants some of that attention, so how do you get it?
What you shouldn’t do is leap into producing content for the sake of it. Without a strategy, it is a waste of time. Your content is unlikely to be seen and therefore useless.
Whether it be business or life, a good strategy underpins so much that becomes successful. Nothing in life is rarely won in a sprint. Instead, it is the long game, the strategic approach that delivers success.
Why should content marketing be any different?
So, stop trying to sprint and instead build a strategy. Use the 5 steps I’ve outlined in this article to think about what you’re strategy should look like. With a content marketing strategy in place, the hard work can begin to create the content itself.