When it comes to content marketing, the most successful businesses make sure they have a plan. Content that has an impact is purposeful, needs driven and innovative. It delivers answers to your customer's questions, it provides information they didn’t even know what they were looking for, and most importantly it catalyzes action.
A solid content strategy means your content will stand out, reach the right people and ultimately deliver what you want it to – whether that’s increased website traffic, newsletter signups or direct sales.
So what are the steps every business should take to create a content strategy that works for them?
Identify your audience
Before you even start curating content, you need to know who you are creating it for.
Without a clear picture of who your audience is you can’t develop material that’s tailor-made to make them sit up and pay attention. Create a customer profile and get to know them, what they like, what they dislike, their habits, their hobbies and so on – the more detail the better.
Identify their problems
Every piece of content should have a purpose, and identifying the unique problems your readers have will drive not only the content itself but how you present that content to your audience.
Understanding the issues your readers have and offering solutions should be two-fold. They may not know what their challenges are, and your content clarifies this for them, or they may already know, and your content reassures them.
Either way, you need to provide a solution either via the content itself or by directing people to use the product or service your business offers.
Identify your competitors and your USP
It may be that your product or service is very niche or unique, but chances are there is competition out there that leaves you fighting for your customer's attention.
Clarifying your USP and what makes your products and services better (or at the very least different) to your competitors should influence your content – it’s your chance to prove you are the best in the business.
Identify your purpose
What do you hope to achieve from this piece of content, what is your overall aim?
Make sure you have clear, identifiable goals as this will make it so much easier to measure whether your content is doing what it should be in the long run, and will help you identify what’s working and what’s not – so you can tweak it to make it even more effective the next time around.
Create a content template
Once you are clear on the above, you can move onto to develop a template that can serve as a framework to structure and direct every piece of content you produce.
A template should include:
Which form of content you’ll use – a blog post, infographic, video, how-to guide, brochure, etc.
Where you’ll publish the content – your website, via your social media channels and so on.
How you’ll promote the content -via targeted ads, social media, guest posting, door to door leaflet dropping, or all of the above!
When your content will be published – research the best times of day to make sure your content reaches the people who need it most.
How you’ll manage your content – is it evergreen? When will you refresh or replace it?
Brainstorm content ideas
After you have done your preliminary research and designed a content creation template, you should begin to brainstorm content ideas.
Find out what people are searching for, and what keywords you should use. Initially avoid being overly critical, then you can begin to refine your ideas making sure they fit with your purpose, your brand, and your target audiences needs.
Create a content calendar to make sure that you have a regular output of content that will not only boost your business's profile and SEO ranking but will help create customer loyalty and manage their expectations too.
Put analytics in place
Finally, every content marketing strategy should include how you’ll measure the success of each piece of content against the goals you set for it. Analytics can help you better understand your customer behavior and their likes and dislikes, and will help inform your content and continue to improve it in the future.
Having a solid content marketing plan will make content creation so much easier, and more effective too. So if you want your business to create content that makes an impact, use the above to create a kickass content marketing strategy that will grow your customer base and boost your business success.
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