Regardless of where you are in business, knowing how to develop a content marketing strategy is going to give you an advantage over your competition.
And your competition is likely fierce. Hubspot’s Content Marketing in 2020 tells us that almost 70% of businesses are actively investing in content marketing.
So, you most definitely do not want to be left behind.
Knowing how to develop a content marketing strategy is important if you’re:
- About to launch something new (i.e a service or product), or
- Simply finding it difficult to plan for or picture your content marketing over the next 12 months
In this article we’re going to cover:
Let’s dive in.
What is content?
Content is essentially any written, audio, or visual media you create that represents your brand or business and, in marketing, it can take the form of:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts and profiles
- Images and graphics
- Podcasts and videos
- Paid ads and banners
As you continue to guide your leads through a sales funnel to eventually purchase from you, your content may become more comprehensive, and you may also start to charge for it. These content types can include:
- Ebooks, guides, reports, case studies
- Tools, templates, tip sheets
- Checklists, workflows, infographics
- Webinars, modules, courses, masterminds
However, regardless of the type of content you are creating, or whether it is free or paid, you are going to want to create and distribute your content consistently by way of timing, look and feel, modality, and the messages you are conveying to your audience.
This is where a holistic and considered content marketing strategy can come into play.
Why you need a content marketing strategy
When you started in business, you likely created a business strategy to guide your vision and direction and to set goals and targets specific to your growth.
In a similar way, your content marketing strategy is going to help guide your marketing efforts at a holistic level.
It is going to provide a high-level view of the types of content being distributed about your business and brand, the timing of their distribution, the channels that you will communicate through, who your target audience is, and the key messages you’re looking to convey.
What to include in your content marketing strategy
Your content marketing strategy should answer the following questions as they relate to your business:
Who is your target audience?
Get specific here. Create some ideal client avatars or audience personas to truly understand your audience profile – what they look and sound like, where they live, what their income is, do they have a family, what is their marital status, what specific benefits will your business services or products bring to their life.
Having a deep understanding of your exact target audience will help to strengthen your communication messaging, including the words and images that you use.
What is your brand’s tone of voice and image and style palette?
Having a clear understanding of your target audience will help to inform various elements of your branding so that your products and services are more appealing.
Will you have a professional or conversational tone? What colours elicit certain emotional responses from your audience? Will all your content use particular imagery to draw the attention of your audience?
What problem/s are you solving for your audience?
Having a true understanding of the problem you are solving for your audience is imperative to creating content that tells your story in a way that creates a connection and demonstrates value.
Articulate both the features and benefits of each service or product from the perspective of your audience.
What are your communication channels?
Your communication channels will be informed by where your target audience hangs out the most online. There is no point in creating and distributing content to a particular channel if your audience doesn’t spend a lot of time there.
Undertake some market research to determine where to focus your marketing efforts. When you have enough data, go one step further and identify the best times and days to market to those channels as well.
In what format will you release your content?
Consider exactly how you are going to share your key messages with your audience. Will you use words or images? Will you use audio and video or neither? Will you meet your audience face-to-face in social media groups?
The format that you use will also depend on what you already know about your target audience. For example, if you are targeting women who are renovating their home, then you may likely use Pinterest to create inviting and attention-grabbing imagery over Twitter to tweet out short snippets of copy.
How often will you release content?
At a minimum, create a 12-month calendar that outlines how often you will release your content. Including the types of content and the channels will give you a birds-eye view of when, where, and what you are communicating to your audience.
When will you launch new services or products?
If you know that you’re going to create a new service or product in the next 12 months, then ensure that you include these as important milestones within your strategy.
Knowing this information is important because falling out from your strategy will be your content marketing plans, which will help to manage the everyday content creation and distribution processes.
And having a solid content marketing plan can be particularly useful to support a new service or product launch.
How to develop a content marketing strategy that supports your launch plan
Your content marketing strategy is going to prove its worth when it comes to developing a comprehensive launch plan.
This is because you already know when you’re creating and distributing content well in advance, so you can essentially plug in complementary content to create a plan in the lead up to your launch.
Working backwards from your launch date will allow you to develop a timeline for every content marketing activity, plus those that you need to undertake to ensure a successful launch.
A typical launch plan should include the following proven content marketing activities:
Landing and sales pages
Create specific landing and sales pages to funnel leads and customers through to your new service or product from other content pieces. These pages are housed separately from your website’s main navigation menu and can be used as part of organic or paid ads campaigns. To create sales pages that convert, check out our fill-in-the-blank Sales Page Templates Bundle.
Updated older relevant blog posts with links to your new landing and sales pages or create new posts using highly targeted keywords to attract leads. If blogging isn’t your strong suit, use our Blog Post Template to take the guesswork out of the whole blogging process. You’ll get a breakdown of a perfect blog as well as a thorough template that you can follow when writing your own copy.
Email marketing campaigns
Create a specific nurture sequence as part of your email marketing to support your launch and pepper the release of each email to coincide with new/updated blog posts. Again, send readers to your new landing and sales pages. If you’re unsure of where to start in creating email marketing campaigns, you can work your way through our Email Nurture Sequence Workbook.
Social media posts
Without a doubt, your social media campaigns should support all new service or product launches. You will likely be running ongoing social media campaigns as part of your high-level content marketing strategy, so you should be able to easily slot in posts that relate to your upcoming launch to build momentum and buy-in.
Other content marketing activities
Use your content marketing strategy to guide the other activities you will undertake to support your launch plan. You may need to consider creating supporting podcasts, videos, website banners, or email opt-ins.
Recapping your content marketing strategy
- Learning how to develop a content marketing strategy is important for your overall business direction and growth.
- When it comes to implementing the content marketing plans that fall out of your strategy, you will need to spend time creating and then distributing your content consistently and purposefully.
- Content should consider your audience, key messages, communication channels, and should complement other ancillary business activities, such as the launch of a new service or product.
- Use proven content marketing activities to support your launch, such as blogging, email marketing, and social media campaigns, but also fall back on your content marketing strategy to ensure you are covering all bases.
Content marketing: DIY or DFY?
When you DIY your content marketing activities choose tried and tested tools and templates from established and experienced content marketers. This will ensure that you aren’t recreating the wheel or second-guessing what might work in terms of achieving your ideal return on investment.
Choosing to outsource your content marketing so that it is done-for-you will ensure that you have everything you need to schedule your content out in advance and that it supports all upcoming launches.
Start with our Done-For-You Search Optimised Blog Plan, which includes keyword research, and your content will more likely help you achieve your goals and support your launch plan.
Alternatively, if you’d rather a complete content marketing strategy created for you, book in a free 30min discovery call.