For many organizations, content marketing has become an integral part of their social media strategy. And when you share high quality, relevant content through your social channels, it helps your brand develop a strong relationship with your audience. It demonstrates that you have authority within your industry niche and contributes powerfully to your overall business objectives. It increases your brand reputation and improves search engine optimization (SEO).
For content marketing to be successful, you have to have a game plan – a solid strategy with goals and objectives that aligns with the material you create. Here’s what you need:
- A targeted audience and direction. It’s impossible to write content for everyone, so you need to find yourself a niche – your target. To do this, you need to do your research in order to discover who your target audience is. And yes, you can have more than one target audience. You also need to do a competitive analysis. This means you’ll be looking at what your competitors are doing and aren’t doing, so you can know how to differentiate yourself from them. This gives you direction.
- Accurate measurement and analysis. How will you know that you’re efforts are producing the results you want? Simple. By building a foundation with goals and a way to measure your success.
- Consistency. Content marketing isn’t just an on again, off again thing. You need to be consistent with it. Remember, you’re building a brand and a community. And when you’re working with a team of people, you need to spell out who’s responsible for what, and have clear directives in place for everyone involved.
Who is your target market?
Begin with identifying who your target audience is. If you haven’t identified your target market yet, do some market research and identify it first. If you already know who your targeted audience is, conduct surveys and look at what’s going on with your social media to find the answers to the following:
- Where is your customer in the buying cycle when they read your blog?
- What is it that they want or need?
- What is your customer looking for?
- What problem are they looking to solve?
Conduct a competitive analysis.
It’s important to know how your competitors fit into the picture.
- What are they doing with their marketing?
- Are they targeting your same audience aggressively?
- Is there something you can identify as lacking in their content strategy?
Look for things that you can exploit because your competitor is missing the mark somewhere, and also look at what they’re good at. It’s important that you have a good understanding of what you’re up against.
Set your goals and a budget.
Once you have a set target audience in sight and you’ve completed your competitive analysis, you can now start setting goals. Remember that the basics of solid goal-setting are far more than saying you “want to be successful”. Decide:
- Are you looking to increase traffic?
- Are you looking to increase conversions?
- Are you looking to attract new customers?
- Are you looking to keep the customers you already have?
Your goals are what ever you want them to be. There are no rules, other than to make sure that they’re SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. And once you have your goals established, spell out the exact actions you’ll take to reach your goals. For instance, how many posts will you produce each week and what topics will they cover? Which social media channels will you use to distribute your content?
Once you have a plan of action in place, how much will it cost you? Having a budget is essential. How much will it cost you to create your content? How much will it cost you to promote your content on social media? True, you can still do a lot on social media without spending a lot of money. But you’re going to want to make the most of your efforts, and having an ad budget for your social platforms gives you the opportunity to expand your exposure.
Prioritize your goals according to the resources available
So now… which of your goals is your highest priority? Is it more important to build your audience first? Do you want to focus on building your website’s content library so you have a decent archive to display? If so, who’s going to be writing your content? How much time will be allocated to that task per day, per week, per month? Remember, time is money, too! Just make sure you’re tackling your highest priority first, whatever that may be.
You need to proactively clarify roles and responsibilities in detail. It keeps things in order and very clear as you develop, move forward, and your team and aspirations grow. Will your content be written in-house or will you be using outside agencies, freelancers or subcontractors to get things done?Make sure you're tackling your highest priority first, whatever that may be! #ContentStrategy #MarketingStrategy Click To Tweet
Provide for accountability
You need to add accountability to your content strategy to ensure that it runs as smoothly as possible. Also, you need to be able to identify when and where it breaks down. You’re going to want answers to questions like:
- How are you going to measure progress?
- When are you going to measure progress?
- Who is responsible for when something isn’t executed or for when it’s been executed poorly?
- If you strategy veers off course, who’s responsible for correcting it?
- What if you need to revisit your entire strategy?
Answers to these questions must addressed at the beginning before something happens. It makes it a lot easier to handle and correct a situation if something goes off course.
Something About Content…
Keep in mind that content comes in many forms – blog posts, videos, infographics, photos. It can be created by your in-house team, sourced from within your social media community, or selected from reputable sources. You can also repurpose your content from one channel to another. An example of repurposed content would be a photo essay that you put together for a blog post. You can divide that photo essay up into several parts and distribute it to your audience in multiple posts, either on Instagram or Facebook or both, let’s say. Effective repurposing is an excellent way to maximize your resources. Plus… it keeps your messaging consistent and on point.
Keeping it all organized
A content calendar is a great tool to put into place to keep your entire game plan well-organized and right in front of you at a moment’s glance. It gives you a visual representation of what you want to accomplish, who you will accomplish it with, and when it will be accomplished. This makes it easier for you to implement your strategy, stay on track, and identify where you need to be in your next steps ahead.
Did I miss something that you’d like to add? Have any suggestions or ideas that work for you? Go ahead and leave comment below. Thanks!
Here’s to your success…