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How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy: (In Depth Guide for 2023)

Developing a content marketing strategy is crucial for any business looking to succeed in the digital world. Without a clear plan, your content may not reach its intended audience or fail to generate any leads or conversions.

This article will guide you through developing a content marketing strategy to help you achieve your business goals.

How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

To develop a content plan, you need to start by outlining your goals, target audience, content types, and processes for content creation. Here are some tips on creating a content marketing strategy.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

Defining your goals is the first step in developing a content marketing strategy. What do you want to achieve with your content? Do you want to increase brand awareness, generate leads, or drive conversions?

Using the S.M.A.R.T framework is a great way to help plan your goals:

  1. Specific: Be clear about what you want to achieve. Instead of saying “I want more visitors,” say “I want 100 more website visitors weekly.”
  2. Measurable: Make sure you can track your progress. If you want more visitors, use tools like Google Analytics or Google Search Console to count how many people visit your site.
  3. Achievable: Set goals that you can reach with the resources you have. It’s good to aim high, but make sure it’s something you can realistically do, particularly regarding budget.
  4. Realistic: Your goal should make sense for your business. Getting a million visitors monthly is unrealistic if you just started a blog. Aim for a number that matches where you are now.
  5. Timely: Set a deadline for your goal. This helps you stay focused and work towards it. For example, “I want to gain 500 new followers on social media in the next two months.”

Using the S.M.A.R.T strategy in content marketing gives you a clear direction and a better chance of reaching your goals. It’s a smart way to make sure your marketing efforts lead to real results.

Once you clearly understand your goals, you can identify your target audience and research to understand their needs and interests. Most businesses already know their target audience, but if you are unclear, follow the steps in the next section to help determine your ideal customer.

This will help you create content that resonates with your audience and drives engagement.

Step 2: Get Clear on Your Audience

Understanding your audience is foundational to content marketing. After all, they’re the ones consuming your content.

Most businesses usually have basic information about their customer avatar, including:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Education
  • Income, or estimated disposable income

While this demographic data is invaluable for businesses, it is helpful to delve deeper when developing an online content strategy. The key is to focus on understanding the online behaviours of your target audience.

Here’s how to effectively connect with your audience:

  1. Discover their online hubs: Determine where your audience seeks information or asks questions. Do they post on Facebook? Or do they prefer forums like Reddit or Quora?
  2. Identify their favourite social channels: Knowing whether your audience leans more towards Facebook or TikTok helps fine-tune your content strategy.
  3. Get to know their challenges: During your research, you’ll identify common issues or concerns your audience faces related to your sector. Address these in your content, showing awareness and how your offerings can resolve them.
  4. Determine their content preference: Observe the content they engage with most – is it video, podcasts or written text? If most of your audience prefers video, prioritise this over written text.
  5. Learn who they trust: Every industry has its thought leaders. Recognise the influencers your audience looks up to. Collaborating with these influencers can significantly amplify your content’s reach and credibility.

Once you understand your audience, you can develop a content strategy that connects with them. They’ll be raving fans of your business before you know it.

Step 3: Audit Your Existing Content

The next step is to conduct a content audit to identify what content you already have and what you need to create.

By looking at past content, you can determine what has worked and what didn’t. More specifically, you can look at a user’s time reading your blog or how many seconds (or minutes) of a video they watched. You can see if they went anywhere else on your website or bounced off.

You might be tempted to skip auditing your content, but it is not recommended. You can gain valuable insights into how effective your previous marketing efforts were. This helps to decide whether to repeat some campaigns or avoid doing something again.

Knowing your existing content also helps you avoid duplications. It could help streamline getting started by repurposing older content or creating related pieces that could interlink.

With a clear plan in place, you can then develop a process for content creation and measure the success of your content.

Step 3: Plan Your Future Content

Choosing the right content type is key to crafting a powerful content strategy. This decision directly affects engagement levels, as audiences have diverse preferences in consuming information.

Tailoring content to your audience boosts engagement, strengthens brand loyalty, and maximises return on investment. By understanding and catering to these preferences, businesses can ensure their content resonates, drives action, and solidifies their position in the market.

Step 4: Measure Your Success

Checking how well a piece of content works is necessary for marketing. By looking at website visits, how people interact on social media, and new potential customers, marketers can see if their content is doing its job and helping the business.

Recognise that not all content pieces will yield the same results. Different content pieces will produce different results because of varying audience interests, content types, and distribution methods, so assessing and adjusting your approach is sometimes necessary.

Are Content Marketing and Content Strategy the Same Thing?

While content strategy and content marketing are related, they serve different purposes. Content strategy is the foundation of content marketing, providing the framework for creating and distributing content that will engage and inform your target audience.

Content marketing is using content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. It involves creating and distributing valuable, relevant, consistent content to attract and retain a specific audience and drive profitable customer action.

Without a solid content strategy, your content marketing efforts may be ineffective or not align with your business goals and objectives.

Types of Content Marketing Strategies

There are various ways you can distribute the content you create. Here are the most popular types:

Blog Posts

Blogging is one of the most popular types of content marketing strategies. It involves regularly creating and publishing blog posts to attract and engage your target audience.

When done correctly, blogging can help you establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry and drive traffic to your website.

Social Media

Social media involves creating and sharing content on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to engage your target audience.

These might be social media posts, short videos (reels or YouTube shorts), images, quotes, links to industry articles, etc.

Social media can help you build brand awareness, increase engagement, and drive traffic to your website.

Video Marketing

Video marketing is a content marketing strategy that involves creating and sharing videos to engage your target audience. Video marketing can help you showcase your products or services, tell your brand story, and build trust with your audience.

Many social media platforms encourage short videos including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube.

Infographics

Infographics are a type of visual content marketing strategy that involves creating and sharing visually appealing graphics that communicate complex information in a simple and easy-to-understand way. Infographics can help you attract and engage your target audience.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a content marketing strategy that involves creating and sending emails to your target audience to promote your products or services. Email marketing can help you build relationships with your audience, promote your brand, and drive sales.

Podcasts

Podcasts allow brands to tap into a vast audience. Businesses can diversify their content through podcasts, establish authority, and boost SEO. For instance, Shopify Masters, by hosting interviews with e-commerce entrepreneurs, provides actionable advice to its listeners.

Podcasts present a unique opportunity to connect more personally with an audience, enriching the content marketing landscape and fueling brand growth.

The key to developing a successful content marketing strategy is choosing the content types that resonate with your target audience and align with your business goals. Creating valuable, engaging, and relevant content can build trust with your audience and drive business results.

Content Marketing Strategy Examples

To help you better understand what a content marketing strategy is, let’s explore some real-life examples of businesses that have developed successful content strategies based on their goals.

Example 1: Evernote

Evernote, a note-taking app, developed an SEO-driven content strategy to attract new prospects to their website. They created a blog focused on productivity and organisation, which are topics their target audience would be interested in. They also used social media to promote their blog and engage with their audience.

Evernote’s content strategy was successful because it provided valuable and relevant content that resonated with its target audience. By doing this, they were able to attract more prospects to their website, which ultimately led to more sign-ups and conversions.

Example 2: HubSpot

HubSpot, a marketing automation software company, developed a content strategy to educate its audience about inbound marketing. They created a blog that provided tips and insights on improving your marketing efforts and offered free resources such as e-books and webinars.

HubSpot’s content strategy was successful because they positioned themselves as thought leaders in the marketing industry. They built trust and credibility by providing valuable content that helped their audience, leading to more leads and sales.

Example 3: Red Bull

Red Bull, an energy drink company, developed a content strategy focused on extreme sports and adventure. They created a YouTube channel featuring videos of extreme sports athletes performing stunts and tricks and sponsored events such as the Red Bull Air Race.

Red Bull’s content strategy was successful because they aligned their brand with extreme sports and adventure, which resonated with their target audience. By creating exciting and engaging content, they built a loyal following of fans who associated Red Bull with adrenaline and excitement.

Tips for Creating a Content Strategy Based on Industry

Content Marketing Strategy for Small Business

Small businesses need to focus on creating relevant, informative, and engaging content. Your content should be tailored to your target audience and address their pain points and challenges. You should also consider the following when developing your content marketing strategy:

  • Conduct a content audit to determine what content you already have and what you need to create.
  • Choose the right content types for your audience, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, and social media posts.
  • Set realistic goals for your content marketing efforts, such as increasing website traffic, generating leads, or improving brand awareness.
  • Measure the success of your content using metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, and lead generation.

Content Marketing Strategy for E-Commerce

E-commerce businesses need to focus on creating content that drives sales and conversions. Your content should be optimised for search engines and designed to attract and engage potential customers. You should also consider the following when developing your content marketing strategy:

  • Conduct keyword research to determine what keywords your target audience is searching for.
  • Create product descriptions that are informative and persuasive.
  • Use customer reviews and testimonials to build trust and credibility.
  • Offer promotions and discounts to encourage customers to make a purchase.

Social Media Content Marketing Strategies

Social media is an essential part of any content marketing strategy. Your social media content should be engaging and shareable. Consider the following points when developing your content marketing strategy :

  • Choose the right social media platforms for your business and target audience.
  • Create a content calendar to ensure that you are posting regularly and consistently.
  • Use hashtags to increase the visibility of your content.
  • Encourage user-generated content to increase engagement and build brand loyalty.

B2B Content Marketing Strategies

B2B companies must focus on creating informative, educational, and authoritative content. Your content should address your target audience’s pain points and challenges and position your business as a thought leader in your industry.

Consider the following when developing your B2B content marketing strategy:

  • Research to determine what topics and issues your target audience is interested in.
  • Create whitepapers, case studies, and other long-form content that provides in-depth analysis and insights.
  • Use industry data and statistics to support your arguments and claims.
  • Email marketing and other tactics nurture leads and build relationships with potential customers.
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