Questions to address in a content marketing strategy
In last month’s feature, we discussed the value of having a social media policy in place. This month we tackle developing a content marketing strategy. So, what is a content marketing strategy? A content marketing strategy looks at the different ways content marketing can be used to influence the buyer’s decision-making process. A great content marketing strategy looks at is how content can be used to support multiple marketing and sales strategies.
So why do you need a content marketing strategy?
The term content marketing can be applied to many social and marketing efforts and can mean many things to many people. It’s less tangible than search engine marketing or PPC for instance. This is exactly the reason why you need to connect the role of content marketing to your overall marketing and sales strategy. In fact, this is one of the main factors that could sink your content marketing efforts.
By looking at the role of content marketing in a strategic way, that’s integrated with overall marketing and sales goals, you don’t need separate buy-in. With content marketing, if it’s tied to other sales and marketing goals, it’s often not viewed as an additional budget item.
Here are some of the questions you should be asking yourself when developing your own content marketing strategy:
- Who are your buyers and what types of content do they prefer? What types of information do your buyers need as they progress from research to ultimately making a buying decision? What formats do they like, what channels do they prefer, and what level of detail are they looking for. Developing buyer personas is a good way of creating a clear picture of who you are communicating with.
- Which marketing and other organizational goals can be improved using content marketing? A few examples might be: traffic building, lead development, event marketing, email marketing, social media marketing, sales collateral, customer service, etc. can all be improved by content marketing. To maximize your effort and investment, ask what organizational goals you can support and strengthen instead of trying to develop single-use content.
- How will you gauge your content marketing success? What data can be used? It’s important to find a common language across all digital marketing and business efforts. Aligning your marketing success factors with your content marketing measurement ensures it’s viewed as part of your overall marketing efforts.
- How is the industry you are in changing? More specifically: how is the buyer’s journey evolving in the industries your customers and your business are active in. What role can content marketing play? Look at trends, competitors and industry magazines to determine on-trend topics and major industry shifts.
- What questions need to be answered and steps taken to plan and put your content marketing strategy in action? Surveying sales, customer service, and marketing help provide a clearer picture of what needs to be addressed and what topics are of the greatest interest.
- How to budget for content development and marketing? For example, you may have a budget set for your website but maybe it’s better to invest a portion of that budget to develop relevant content for your blog. Or maybe your organization can look at increasing the success of its lead generation effort by developing targeted content.
Getting Started on Your Content Marketing Approach
Developing a content marketing strategy shouldn’t be done without first considering your marketing and sales goals first, then seek out ways to use content marketing to support established goals. The second step in your preparation is outlining your sales process and what types of information prospects need at each stage. By combining marketing and sales goals, clear content needs become more obvious and goals can be assigned to each type of content.
We’re lending a helping hand with our free Content Marketing Plan Checklist. Use the checklist to guide your own efforts and feel free to reach out if you get stuck.