Hundreds of articles are devoted to the fact that strategy is the most important part of successful content marketing. Without a strategy, only one-off successes are possible, and more often failures. Building a strategy is a complex, analytical process. You need to immerse yourself in the product, the audience, the goals. But many are deterred by not even this, but the lack of a model for creating a strategy.
In different studies show about 30% of companies that have a documented strategy carry out successful content marketing. The others occasionally happen for joy (for example, the fifteenth publication brought a lot of traffic for two days).
In this article, we'll talk about a simple way to create a content strategy using the question and answer method. By asking the right questions, we get answers that will form the basis of the content marketing strategy. This method is not ideal, but will allow you to start right. "Questions and Answers" is the practice of agencies and individual specialists and, despite its simplicity, gives an initial system for the future strategy.
Good content strategy implies trust
On the Internet, you can find articles that content marketing is useful for recognition, loyalty, lidogeneration, etc. But the main thing for which you need content marketing is trust.
Trust is an open, positive relationship between people, containing confidence in the decency and benevolence of another person with whom the trustee is in some way or another. It is a willingness to interact and exchange confidential information.
Is it possible to measure trust?
Trust seems to be something ephemeral that cannot be measured. However, marketers know that trust always affects two outcomes: speed and costs. When confidence falls, speed decreases and expenses rise.
When trust grows, speed also increases, and costs go down.
Content marketing has a positive effect on everything else. However, first and foremost, it's a story about trust, reputation, level of expertise.
You should determine the purpose of Content Marketing
There is a well-known marketing funnel from the stages that the audience goes through awareness, comparison, choice, purchase. There can be more stages.
With content marketing, it is not necessary to work on all stages of the funnel. You can have everything excellent with awareness because the commercials have been on TV for a month now. Or you have an ideal loyalty program. Or an additional support after the purchase.
In any strategy, it is better to focus. The tension in one area creates a pressure in the whole line. Moreover, a great success in a small part affects others.
How to set goals correctly at this stage?
If you have data about the target audience and its segments, then for each segment it is worth making several tables. For example, segment 1: "Young mothers from Toronto." Let call the first tab "Objectives". Horizontally, you will display all the cycles of the marketing funnel with which you want to work with content marketing. Vertical questions: Our customers, our future customers, our business, etc.
Separately, you need to tell the audience. A detailed description of the segment is significant in content marketing. The audience segment needs to be personalized. There are a lot of techniques for this. The essence of them is reduced to bringing an average character (or person) with whom you will communicate with the content. Write how he spends the day, his habits, surroundings, personality characteristics. This is a creative work, which, however, should, if possible, rely on the results of research.
We search and convey the meaning
Good content is born from a bundle: benefit + inspiration.
Where can you get this inspiration that can attract the audience, motivate them to follow you?
You know your product and business. In each of the businesses, there is something special. Business is a combination of processes, but a successful business has an "idea" or "meaning". Some call it "soul". Often CEO formulates it in the form of values, mission, history. We need to give the audience some legend, why you start your business. Something internal and share this with people.
From such information, a great format of the content is born: storytelling, infographics, inspirational and motivating videos.
Find such a story at home and let your content show up in formats, colors, style, pitch, tonality, and content.
We make the second tab and write other questions. "The consumer is useful for our content, because; our content will inspire, because" (continue by using your reflections).
Measure everything you can
Content marketing is a qualitative method, it is difficult to measure quantitatively. How to measure inspiration and benefits that give rise to trust? And still, something is measured.
In the fourth tab write: "Our content works because" (and continue). And for each stage, each segment of the target audience, we enter the corresponding metrics. We carry out the preparatory work for their adjustment.
Prevent pain or find needs
Let's move on to the next very important tab. It's no accident that we wrote down our characters to the target audience in such detail.
Now for the stages of the marketing funnel, we need to write about their pain, the needs that our content can cure or satisfy.
Here it is best not to invent anything, but to rely on real data.
You can collect data in different ways:
marketing research (own, custom or from open sources);
web analytics (search data, top-publications, time on site pages, etc.);
search analytics, trends;
customer survey, call center.
Thanks to this tab, we can use one of the formulas for calculating the amount of content per month: The number of characters of the target audience is multiplied by the number of stages of the marketing funnel and by the number of pains/needs.
Thus, you will solve every pain that every person has at the right stage.
In the future, your healing publications in different versions and formats are spread on the Internet.
Find right types of content and permanent testing
What is better: videos, articles, blogs, newsletters, social networks, infographics, podcasts?
One can confidently say that there is no exact answer. There are a lot of articles on the Internet in which the advantages of one type over another will be described, but you will have everything different. Therefore, you need to test everything.
You can precisely duplicate the successful content-marketing campaign of your competitor, but this does not guarantee a successful outcome.
Another mistake is when you implement all possible formats and types of content at once.
Testing - and there is that, a long part of the introduction of content marketing in a company that many ignore, and then give up. Therefore, there are no ready-made models.
For the test and for future work you need a planned content plan
We suggest that you do it in the form of a table. Column names: Date, Channel, Author, Description, Character, Pain, Funnel Stage, STA (call), Metric (you can also add a forecast for the metric, where possible).
A month or two you test different formats, and then by using reports, you can focus on the most effective types of content. In the end, this, at least, will save your budget and include in the serious content game, which will not master each of your competitors.
Don't forget about promotion
In the next tab, we write: "we will promote the content by using" (continue with your reflections).
Here, too, consider the characteristics of your target audience. For example, many people are still very actively communicate on specialized forums.
As a result, you have the necessary tables that you need to fill out. All this is in a document where the test period and subsequent steps are.
After all, there are other techniques for building a strategy, but they all follow a single goal: to build a system that will be based on understanding the audience and its needs and methods for achieving marketing results with the help of content and its distribution.