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Creating a Content Marketing Strategy: Should you Bother?

The vast majority of businesses (91% according to the CMI) use some kind of content marketing but only 37% follow a documented content marketing strategy.

So are the other 63% the smart ones, saving themselves a whole lot of work by just releasing great content on the fly? Does content marketing really need to be pegged to a strategy?

What is Content Marketing?

Content lies at the heart of all types of marketing. The GIF that ends up going viral after a social media campaign; the headline that prompts a new prospect to open your email newsletter; the podcast that absorbs a listener on their morning commute – it’s all content, just in different forms.

Without content there is no social media marketing, no email marketing, no SEO, nothing.

Content which is used to attract more or better audience connection is, by definition, content marketing.

That last sentence hints at why a strategy is important.

The Importance of Strategy

Although barely more than a third of businesses use a documented content strategy, 62% of the best performing businesses do. What’s more, 64% of companies have put learning how to create a content strategy as a business priority.

A strategy is simply a framework – a plan – onto which your content marketing can be organised. It sets out the goals you are trying to achieve with your content, the plan you will follow to meet those goals and, crucially, how you are going to measure whether those goals are being met or not.

Without a content strategy, your marketing team are likely to be pulling in different directions, content will probably be released in an ad-hoc manner and nobody will have a clue as to whether the business is benefiting from it.

What Should go Into your Strategy?

A content marketing strategy is much more than a content schedule although it will help you to create and stick to a schedule.

A good strategy will answer the who, what, why, when and where questions of content marketing:

  • Who are you targeting your content at?
  • What form will your content take and why?
  • When will you release it?
  • Where (i.e. on what platform) will you publish it?

An example content marketing campaign might include the following sections:

  • A Mission Statement which summarises your target audience, content types and the goals you want to help them with (e.g. we release videos and GIFs for young entrepreneurs to help inform them about the latest small business technology).
  • Your business goals (e.g. increase in revenue, more traffic, better SEO position, etc.)
  • KPIs tied to those goals.
  • Audience demographics and any data from surveys and feedback forms.
  • Current content audit to help decide what to keep, what to change and what to throw out.
  • Media channels you intend to use.
  • Types of content you will create.
  • Resource planning (who will be in charge of key areas and what tools will they need).
  • Content calendar.
  • Research and content creation workflow.
  • Distribution and marketing plan (how will you spread the word).
  • Report and review schedule (for analysing KPIs and adjusting the strategy where needed).

Your content marketing strategy may contain all or some of the above sections but the important thing is you have something in place to guide your marketing efforts.

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