If you want to understand what a content marketing strategy really is, it helps to start with the basics first: the definition of marketing. You probably know what the definition of marketing is, but some clarification will get things going in the right direction! At its core, marketing activities promote and sell products and services. While companies today still use older methods like billboards and newspaper ads to market their products and services, digital content is king and a content marketing strategy is how you can become a member of this royal family!
According to CopyPress, content marketing did not come into being until the digital age. The term was introduced in 1996 at an American Society for Newspaper Editors meeting. For any chance of success these days (22 years later, actually), companies need to employ strategic content marketing in order to meet their goals: The importance of a content marketing strategy cannot be understated.
Content Marketing Strategy vs. Content Strategy
The existence of the internet provided the opportunity to create many new channels for content marketing – as marketers began using emails, websites and apps, content became the main priority for marketers with internet connections. Before long, many companies realized the importance of using strategies to make their content stand out from their competitors.
Copyblogger points out that content strategy and content marketing strategy and are not the same things, though, even though they might sound similar! While a content strategy focuses on the research, planning, creation and maintenance portion of content creation, a content marketing strategy is an overall plan that uses the content created to build up an audience. The latter publishes and supports the content – hopefully on a consistent basis! The goal is to educate, entertain and/or inspire potential customers to become fans while also turning fans into customers.
Even the smallest companies can benefit from a solid, well-documented content marketing strategy. Of course, it helps you achieve your marketing goals, but it will also help you grow your company and help you feel more confident as you benefit from the results. And, just as importantly, a good content marketing strategy also makes it easier to attract qualified stakeholders.
I Need a Strategy!
Luckily, you need not be overwhelmed or afraid of designing a content marketing strategy. Start on the small side first – you can always build it up as your business grows! According to the Content Marketing Institute, a content marketing strategy can be compared to an outline of your company’s essential business and customer needs and a plan you’ve designed to address them. Of course, no two strategies are alike, but they cover some of the basic building blocks.
In order to get off on the right foot, determine what your business case is for using content marketing. Here you can hone in on your main reason for creating content, your vision for success and any risks that might be involved. From here you can develop a business plan that brings out the unique value your product or and service has with content designed to communicate this. Here is also where your brand story comes into play; you’ll have to characterize the content to reflect the messages and ideas you want to share.
Your target audience also needs to be well researched as you work on your strategy. Which audiences do you want to reach and how can you tailor your content for them? Take this time to learn about things like keyword research, content engagement cycles and buyer journeys. Finding the most effective channels to reach your audience is crucial as well, so you’ll need to incorporate a channel plan into your strategy. Certain platforms are used by some demographic groups more than others, so you need to know the right ways to connect them.
Content Marketing Strategy Maintenance
While some parts of your content marketing strategy can stay fairly consistent, other aspects will need to be updated. Keeping your original business case – your core principles – should always be your main priority, though. You can maintain a content calendar and incorporate ways to plan, monitor and update content and evaluate performance.
Semrush posts that audiences provide clear signals about what they are most attracted to, so analyzing content performance is the best way to determine your next moves. Content performance metrics focus on user behaviors, engagement, SEO results and company revenue generation (amongst other things). There are tools out there that you can utilize that can analyze existing content by auditing it and tracking the reach that you are achieving as compared to your competitors. You can also find tools you need to dig deeper into your strategy that can help you find ways to improve it.
Before you get started with a content marketing strategy though, give yourself permission to make some mistakes – even the most experienced content marketing professionals do the wrong things sometimes. Besides that, this is an industry that constantly evolving. New technologies and updated search engine protocols always keep content marketers on their toes, and no one wants to get left behind – and you shouldn’t, either!
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