Content marketers regularly emphasise the need for a content marketing strategy, but how do you go about developing one? What makes it so important, and what should a good content marketing strategy involve?
Before we start, it’s important to draw a distinction from a content strategy, which is an area more related to detailed management of the actual content. A content marketing strategy, in contrast, focuses on how you will tell your organisation’s story and engage your target audience. Ultimately, it will describe how you expect to use content to improve business performance.
Why is a content marketing strategy important?
Those with a well-documented content marketing strategy tend to encounter fewer problems later in the process, as many common issues will have been identified at the planning stage. What’s more, they also tend to deal with the general challenges of content marketing better.
All this helps aspiring content marketers to feel more effective in their communications, which then makes it easier to confidently argue the value that content marketing brings.
What should a content marketing strategy cover?
Every business is unique, so there’s no definitive description of what a content marketing strategy should include. In essence, however, it should describe how you will use content to meet the needs of your business and those of your consumers. Covering the five areas below should give you a good start.
The business case
This should present what you expect from a successful application of content marketing. If you can present a tangible vision of what content can achieve, it will be easier for executives to buy into the idea.
The business plan
Having painted a picture of success, you now need to create a roadmap for how to get there. Your business plan should detail how you expect to achieve success through content marketing, such as how you will overcome common obstacles and take advantage of opportunities when they arise.
The target audience
The next step is to decide whom you will be creating content for, so you can start building personas for your core audience. Once you identify the audience’s needs, you can formulate a plan of how to generate content that will engage them.
This part deals with the larger story you want to tell about your brand. What kind of a message do you want to communicate, and how will this give you a competitive advantage over your competition?
The final element in your strategy is a plan for which channels you will use for your content. Different audiences tend to prefer different platforms, so this can be an important decision. If you decide to use multiple channels, you’ll need to define a process that ensures a tailored but consistent message is always presented through the various platforms.
Updating your strategy
While your goals will likely remain the same, you may need to periodically modify other parts of your strategy to ensure optimal performance. For example, you may want to extend your target audience, or you may need to adapt your channel strategy when certain platforms become more or less popular.