Whether you're a well-established business or a new startup, creating valuable content and marketing it in the right way is the need of the hour.
That's the reason why more than 93% of successful B2B marketers are seriously committed to content marketing.
Moreover, according to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about three times as many leads. Yet, 63% of businesses don't have a documented content strategy.
The reason being that most of them don't know why they should be creating one, followed by how to create one.
The answer to the first one is that a well-documented content strategy can strategically drive your business's marketing efforts and boost ROI.
Often businesses create content just for the sake of creating. They don't have a proper strategy or a system to measure the results of their content. They put time, energy, and resources into creating content. Still, they're unable to track and measure their performance of their content against a strategy because that strategy is not there to begin with.
Other than that, there are also businesses with a content strategy, but they fail to update it from time to time. They just create a strategy and then forget it for several months or even years.
As we're moving forward in 2020, we can see that many changes are happening in every industry. What worked for your business a few months back won't work now. And you have to adapt to these changes and modify your strategy accordingly.
But the question remains how to create one, which we'll be discussing in detail in this article.
The reality is that there's no one size fits all content strategy for businesses. What's working for a business might not work for you. There's no cookie-cutter or a defined roadmap for this. You need to have your own strategy specifically created to cater to your marketing needs.
But what if I say that there's a framework that can help you to create a content strategy specifically for your business?
That's my 4-Steps Strategy.
But before diving in, there are two things to consider
What is your target audience?
Your target audience is basically what you call your ideal customer. The client or customer you want to attract with your content. Start with a picture of who-
This is going to be the foundation of your content strategy. The reason is that who you're trying to reach, convert into a lead, and then into a customer will dictate the answers to the four questions.
Take a few minutes and create a buyer persona that will help you to move forward with your content strategy.
What are you selling?
Another thing that you need to keep in mind is what product or service you are trying to sell your audience. And what's the price point of that product or service. Now, based on these two things, determine what type of content is most likely to:
So, that was all about the two things that you need to consider. Now, it's time to move on to the article's final part: The 4-Step Strategy.
Start with what is the goal or goals that you want to achieve through your content. You need to start with the goal because while some content can do a great job of accomplishing your goals, some might even do a terrible job. So, it's always a great idea to begin with, the end in mind, which is your goal to get the metric that can help you measure your content strategy's success.
There are three types of goals that you can start with:
First things first, before getting leads and converting them into sales, you need to make people aware of your existence. And this is the first type of goal that you can have. There's nothing wrong with creating content that drives more organic traffic or increases brand awareness, or just getting more impressions on social media. This is the audience growth type of metric, and certain types of content work best for this type of goal.
The second type of goal is to generate leads for your business. These leads are the contact details of your target audience, aka potential customers. To generate leads, there are certain types of content that you can use as lead magnets. Lead magnets are the free incentives or resources you offer to your audience to exchange for their contact details. Some of the best lead magnets are worksheets, checklists, PDF guides, and webinars.
So, suppose you're generating traffic to your blog, podcast, or anything, and you're not converting that audience into leads. In that case, your content strategy can prioritize creating content that turns your audience into leads.
The last goal is getting your leads to make buying decisions. So, if you're generating enough traffic, turning those people into leads, the next step is, of course, to convert those leads into your customers. To achieve this, certain types of content do a great job of converting, such as free trials, demos, consultations, etc.
These were the three types of goals that you can have. Also, it's okay to have all three goals, or you can break the funnel and can focus on a specific goal for a quarter and then choose the other one for the next quarter and so on. Just remember that certain types of content work best for each of these goals.
What platforms does your target audience spend most of their time on? You need to think about how your audience likes to find and consume information online. You need to determine if they're using social media platforms or watching videos on YouTube, or listening to podcasts. Now create your content strategy accordingly because there's no point in creating content for a platform that your target audience is not using.
Decide upon 2-3 platforms that your target audience spends their time on. And finally, bake that into your content strategy as the places you're going to publish and promote your content.
The third question you need to ask yourself is: what type of content are you going to produce? There are four main content types:
The content selection entirely depends upon which type of content your audience is most likely to consume. It can be videos or podcasts or blog posts or anything. Now, most online traffic watch videos, so choosing video content has the least chances of going wrong. So, it's safe to say that you aren't excluding anybody when you create videos.
However, if you're focusing on just blog posts or podcasts, chances are you're excluding the part of your market that doesn't consume that kind of content. Other than knowing your audience's preferences, you also need to analyze what resources you've to create content. For example, if you don't like to write and don't want to hire writers, you should focus on blogging. So, analyze your resources, your team members, and then decide upon the content types.
The last question that you need to ask is: how often are you going to produce content? Here a piece of content doesn't mean a Facebook post or a quote on Instagram or a tweet. It implied an evergreen piece of researched, well-crafted content and was intended to help you achieve your goals on a long-term basis. So, have a realistic goal like creating one piece of content every week, such as one article or one podcast or video or anything.
With the content created, you may repurpose them and do promotion and try to get the content in front of as many people as you can. To repurpose content, you need to leverage the derivatives of the original evergreen piece. So, you need to decide, based on the resources and people you have available, the frequency of content pieces you can create regularly.
Be it creating one piece a week or two or even creating daily, it's all fine and depends upon how aggressively you want to get with content production. The main thing is that you need to decide a frequency or create a publishing schedule and stick to it because creating quality content consistently is the ultimate key that will make you win in the long run.
This is the framework that you can use to create your own content strategy based on your business type and needs. However, suppose your business has different segments or offers multiple products/services and you've different types of clients ideal for each of those products/services. In that case, the content strategy gets more complex. The reason being, now you have to think through how you can grab the attention of all those different segments. So, have multiple funnels in place to guide the right segment to the right offers.
But if you've just one core product or service that you need to focus on, you'll be able to answer the four questions a lot quicker. Now go and start thinking about the four questions and create your winning content strategy.
Charu Mitra Dubey is a content creating and marketing expert for B2B and SaaS companies. Other than content marketing, she also helps startups and individuals to boost brand awareness and build an audience on LinkedIn. She has been featured on several websites including Entrepreneur, GoDaddy Garage, and Hackernoon. In 2019, she was awarded as one of the 50 most influential content marketing professionals in India by World Marketing Congress.