You’re making a start in Content Marketing, or have decided to renew your approach; begin by establishing a real strategy. You’ll avoid going in all directions at execution time, and missing the target. Here are the essential elements to develop in any strategy in this area.

Brand guidelines

Your content strategy will be executed by various internal players but also possibly external stakeholders. It is essential to articulate your Brand Guidelines in a meticulous manner, if you haven’t done so already.

 

Your brand guidelines can include your editorial line, your brand voice, the use of your logo and the colours to use for your communication. (Photo credit : Autri Taheri, Unsplash)

The posted content represents your brand voice. It is therefore necessary to define some precise points to be certain that this voice will remain consistent, in particular:

  • Personality (audacious, serious, comic, etc.)

  • Tone (formal, informal, relaxed, etc.)

  • Language (modern, familiar, formal, professional jargon, etc.)

If in doubt, it’s possible to look at what your direct competitors do, as is often the case in marketing. You can also brainstorm internally to agree on what best defines your brand voice. Note that the most important thing for a brand is generally to evoke empathy or trust. Have a look at our checklist for the definition of your editorial line .

In any case, make sure that your brand voice is clearly defined in a summary document. You will save time later.

Objectives and related performance indicators

This is probably the most essential point, and it is surprising to see the number of Content Marketing operations performed without a clear goal. How will the achievement of these objectives be measured?

 

It is vital to rigorously determine Key Performance Indicators. (Photo credit: Lukas, Pexels)

Here are the most common objectives, and their associated indicators:

  • Lead Generation: Get email addresses from your prospects to send them the latest newsletters and special offers. This goal can naturally be measured by the number of emails addresses obtained.

  • Brand awareness: build the recognition or even the legitimacy of your brand, so that it is “ top of mind »   the day a target customer wants to make a purchase. The campaign can then simply be measured by the number of impressions, or even the engagement received (likes, comments, shares)

  • Revenue: The main goal for content produced by e-commerce sites. The articles redirect to product pages using link tracking. The objective can so be measured by the number of sales generated by this specific audience.

Personas

This aspect should be covered already in your general marketing strategy. It is possible, however, that your Content Marketing is aimed at a specific subset of your audience.

In any case, don’t forget the obvious: you talk to humans. Which ones? It’s up to you to determine that precisely. Base your search on internal data (your consumers or your fans on social networks for example) and external data (market research, feature articles).

Don’t try to cover all profiles. Determine your target of choice and adapt your content to satisfy them fully. (Photo credit : Rawpixel, Pexels)

Here are the descriptive elements of your Personas:

  • Demographic elements: age group, gender, location, marital status.

  • Social elements: education level, income, profession.

  • Cultural elements: personal values, life goals, cultural influences, media viewed, interests.

This list is not exhaustive. Specifically, finding an original aspect related to your audience, which your competitors are not aware of, can be decisive in creating content that reaches and resonates with your target audience.

The Sales Funnel

The content is above all the bait; it’s the first interaction with your potential customer. What happens next? A click on a link redirects them to a dedicated landing page, where they can leave their email address. They then receive an automated chain of emails to educate them about the brand. Finally the last email redirects them to the purchase. This is a simple example of a sales funnel, among others.

 

Is your customer able to easily perform the action you expect from them? Signpost the way through your funnel. (Photo credit : Isaque Pereira, Pexels)

In any case, make sure that your sales funnel ready and functional when you post your content. There is no point in beginning a content campaign if it doesn’t call for any action on the part of the reader.

The media

Where will your content be shown? The most common answer is: your blog. But there are also external platforms, like Medium or Steemit. Moreover, it may be wise to post the same content on multiple platforms: the impact on the SEO is not negative as long as the duplicated content (for example on Medium) redirects to the original content (on your blog).

In those specific cases, you distribute the content in your ecosystem. This may not be enough however to make your brand known to new prospects. Therefore it is necessary to go beyond your own channels. This can take the form of a guest article, through which you publish your content on a third-party site. Another solution for appearing on influential media pages is the use of sponsored articles . You must decide whether you will contact the influential media figure directly or whether you will save time by using a networking platform such as getfluence.com.

The resources

Whether content creation takes place internally or is outsourced, it’s critical to determine your resources. We are talking here about human resources (internal or freelance writer?), as well as about the budget in general. The distribution and promotion of your content will have a cost, potentially higher than that of its creation.

 

A balanced content strategy relies on organic and paid distribution. Give your content every chance to get noticed. (Photo credit : John Schnobrich, Unsplash)

The nature of the content

Perhaps the most obvious thing is: what topics will you cover? The answer stems mainly from your objectives and your Personas. What kind of content will allow you to reach your audience and attain your goals?

Here is the checklist to be completed for each selected topic:

  • Does the content help to achieve the objectives?

  • Is the content of real interest to the chosen target?

  • Does the content differ from the one already covered by the competition? If not, is it possible to propose something better than what already exists?

An article is the most common type of content because it provides rich and useful information. Depending on the topics to cover, however, it may be wise to diversify your publications with other formats: podcast, video, graphics…

The content calendar

Without question, the most important element of your strategy. So important that we have even dedicated a full article to it: why and how to create a content calendar .

Ready, steady, go! You are now armed to make Content Marketing an effective channel for your campaign.