Content marketing is what really counts nowadays. What with conventional marketing getting phased out in favour of digital marketing, and digital marketing with all those different aspects in there like Search Engine Optimisation and whatnot, it’s easy to understand what content marketing is and how you can go about doing it, if it has blown up so much. Subsequently, somewhere down the line, you have content marketing strategies that you can use and employ as a means to get more of an audience with your content that you are using as your main marketing tool. So, without any further ado, let’s get into the best content marketing strategies out there and the steps you need to take to ensure that the strategy not only works but also gets you the results you want.
Before starting, here’s what we mean when we say content marketing. It’s actually such a simple concept that when you get to know about content marketing, you’ll be surprised to see just how much prevalent is this type of marketing and how nearly every marketing strategy employs content marketing.
Just What is Content Marketing?
You can better understand this question with yet another question: what is content? Within the context of marketing and especially digital marketing, content is basically anything that you use to get people towards your product or service. For instance, content might include everything from blogs to videos and pictures; anything you might use in your marketing strategy to convey your message. With such an all-encompassing definition, you can now understand why content marketing is so prevalent; nearly every medium we use to convey a message to the audience is considered content, and so content is literally king.
Content marketing, subsequently, is something which is quite technical, despite it being present even in the aspects of conventional marketing. Which is why there are specific strategies, and specific and certain steps to these strategies to make sure that your content marketing doesn’t fall behind or fail to deliver on what it has the potential to do.
Some Considerations Prior to Strategizing Content Marketing
Before you get into the particulars of your content marketing strategies, there are several questions that need to be answered, or at least looked into, because these will essentially form the backbone of your strategy. And aside from the usual cacophony like which direction we need to take and others, there are several other factors that need to be decided on during the initial stages of planning out your content marketing strategy.
What audience you wish to reach:
Foremost in your mind should be the people who will interact with this content. An example which we like a lot is this: know your audience, otherwise you’ll end up pitching skateboards in a retirement home. Which is why, the primary step to take prior to planning out your strategy is to study and know the audience you wish to reach, what they are expecting, and how can your content satisfies those expectations. That’s question number one that needs to be tackled.
What question will your content answer:
A good salesman might pitch a skateboard to a retirement community as a wheeled walker that’s just a base (handle sold separately). And that’s really your job: finding an angle to your content marketing so that the content you churn out becomes a solution to the problem. Position and pitch your content in such a way that whatever product or service you’re marketing, becomes the answer to a question that a good part of your intended audience has. Old people need support to walk, and a wheeled walker is something that they could all go for: and it’s the content you make that will make them see it as a solution to their mobility problem, not something that they will advise their grandkids against.
What format and medium to use:
Within content marketing, a lot of mediums and a lot of formats have gained traction, with the most notable one being podcasts and short videos, which are really blowing up right now. Say what you will about Joe Rogan or TikTok, but you can’t argue with the numbers, and that’s a really unfortunate fact. Most of the world’s population that gets on the internet knows about TikTok or Rogan’s podcast, and so, if you want to hit that critical mass of views and interactions, some platforms, some mediums and some formats are just rigged to win nowadays. And this is exactly where you’ll need to hit if you want to achieve your goals with your content marketing strategies.
How to stand out from the rest:
The last thing to pay attention to is how you will actually stand out from the rest, and the rest is a crowd. Literally a crowd, because there’s terabytes upon terabytes of new content that is created everyday and is distributed on sites like YouTube, Blogger, Facebook and many sites across the whole expanse of the internet. And so, you’ve got to decide: what direction your content will take, what type of content you’ll use and whatever you have to do to make sure what content you put out does not drown in the avalanche of content that is posted everyday.
With these considerations taken care of, you can now start with the actual procedure of devising a content marketing strategy. Here are some steps that you need to take for the perfect content marketing strategy, one that will ensure the results you get are consistent with what your expectations were for the marketing strategy.
Here are the six steps that we’ve narrowed down that will create the perfect content marketing strategy for you to nick your goals and make sure that the content you have, the content you post and the content you churn out will hit the spot every time somebody interacts with it. Because without a strategy, your content is not going to fly that far, and without a strategy, you can’t even lift off the ground with your content.
Set out goals, objectives
The first part of your strategy will be to set out a goal for what your content marketing strategy is out to achieve. Remember, without a goal, without an objective at hand, there’s little that you can do that will hit the bullseye. When you have a goal, you know many things: what to do, what not to do, when to do it, when not to do it. All these can help you slowly inch towards your goal. Similarly, when you define an objective, you essentially get to know the limits of your content and what limits will your content marketing strategy toe; when you have a goal and know your objective, you will know what type of content you will need to create. If your goal is just awareness, you probably will not have to do a lot of explanatory stuff; things that are better left for a full content marketing plan and strategy.
When you set out an objective, a goal, you essentially define a border for your content marketing strategy. Be sure to aim for the moon so you land among the stars.
Thorough market, audience research is key
As we made it very clear in the pre-planning stages of your content marketing strategy, knowing your market and your audience is key. If its good enough for Sun Tzu to say you can win battles if you know your enemy, it should be good enough for your content marketing strategy. Knowing the opponent, knowing who you’re creating all this content for is imperative. Because without knowledge of the market or the audience you have to cater to, you don’t know what to create that will resonate with said market.
For instance, if you have a product or service that is geared towards a younger demography, you are going to adjust the content in such a way that it resonates with said audience. We know younger people are more likely to watch a video than to read a fine print of a document; use that in your content strategy. We know they respond better when you use hip, trendy language; again, use that to your advantage. You do that, and you have a winner at your hands in the form of a content marketing strategy.
Audit what existing content you have
There’s a good chance that when you start with the drafting process of your content marketing strategy, you will have something to start with. Some content, ideas, raw material, essentially rough edges that need to be polished off. And so, you don’t start by chucking them out of the window; you start by taking a look at them, and taking what you need from that. Audit that content; see what needs to be done to make it better or what needs to be added to make it work in a changed usability.
Auditing the content will allow you have a sense of what needs to be done with the way forward with the content; if it’s more videos that you need and less blog posts, a content audit can tell you that. If it’s the other way around, content audit will let you know what’s holding you back and what didn’t resonate with the audience the last time a content marketing strategy was out doing the rounds.
Invest in a content management system
Once you’ve got the details down, don’t rush about it and wing it. Winging it will only result in a content marketing strategy that is disoriented, has no objective and is essentially a free-falling entity that isn’t defined by anything. And so, what you will need to do is get a content management system on your case: something that sorts everything out for you, and tells you what needs to be done at what time.
Content management systems aren’t something that you will need an IT degree for to operate; they are simple systems that are easy to work on, and really make your life easier and your content much more streamlined as they allow you to dabble into the little details of the content you will posting as part of your content marketing strategy. Popular content management systems include WordPress. A more technical example would be HubSpot CMS, which allows you more customisation than WordPress.
Plan out your content types
This goes hand-in-hand with the second point we made; that market and audience research is imperative. You see, when you know your market, your audience, you know what kind of content they respond best to. And with an ever-increasing rostrum of content being added day by day, you’ll never have a free moment. Think about it: now is the time when each demograph has its own platform, has its own application which you can target for the maximum reach for your content marketing strategy.
Want to approach a younger demograph: go with posts on Instagram or videos on TikTok. A more mature, older audience? Try posts on Twitter. Audience that consists of nerds and readers? Blogger’s the way. All of these content types can make a whole lot of difference in your strategy if done right.
Publish your content, learn from feedback
The final step is of course, publishing all that content that you have so painstakingly planned out over time. A step so seemingly simple as publishing has its own set of challenges when you get down to it. For instance, we know that trends today are rapidly changing; we go from one hashtag on Twitter to another in a matter of days, and so, your posting schedule should make the maximum out of it. Schedule your posts so that they get to the audience at the right moment, at the right time. If there’s a hashtag out there that relates to your product or service, your content should be on ‘ready to deploy’. Because it is only in that very small window of time that you will see the maximum returns on your posted content. And that will be a lot.
Finally, the last part is feedback, and gaining valuable results and insights from it. You can learn from how the audience reacted to your content, and then apply those results and findings to the next cycle. This will ensure that the next cycle churns out even better content at an even better time.