How To Create The Best Content Marketing Strategy

How To Create The Best Content Marketing Strategy

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of how to create such a strategy, I want to give you a compelling reason why you need to make Content Marketing an integral part of your marketing budget.

Consider this statistic highlighted courtesy of Lenati

67% of the typical B2B buyer’s journey is now done digitally, and 9 out of 10 B2B buyers say online content has a moderate to major effect on their purchasing decisions.

Even though this statistic is based on a B2B consumer I have no doubt that the outcome would be the same for a B2C buyer.  Why?

The consumer whether B2B or B2C is intelligent, protective of their privacy, does not want to compromise on quality, expects a personalised user experience and above all now conducts their own research before considering making an enquiry.  

Gone are the days of someone blindly engaging with a sales rep and this very point is encapsulated in this piece of research from the Demand Gen Report – Content Preferences Survey which states that:

47% of buyers viewed three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.

At the end of day, while increased website traffic, increasing impressions and lots of social shares are positive, a business will only survive if it can turn casual visitors into advocate customers.

Therefore, a business needs to employ tactics and use strategies that will motivate and increase the chances your target audience will want to do business with you, and Content Marketing, done well, is just such a strategy in my opinion.

Business Is Buying Into Content Marketing

In 2017 Content Marketing is appearing to be now seen as an integral and vital part of a company marketing strategy. This is very well evidenced by an excellent survey done by Smart Insights who asked their readers the following question.

“Select one marketing activity that you think will give your business the biggest incremental uplift in leads and sales in 2017 (or your clients if you work for an agency or as a consultant)”.

Out of 2,352 responses, Content Marketing was polled at the top as illustrated by the image below courtesy of Smart Insights

 

Top Digital Marketing Techniques

 

Content Marketing Is Becoming Universally Accepted

In 2016, 90% of businesses were implementing Content Marketing as a tactic in their business and for 2017 it is estimated that this figure will increase according to this report by the leading authority in the area of Content Marketing The Content Marketing Institute

They define Content Marketing as follows:

“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.

This is a very clear definition of what Content Marketing is and when you think about it makes perfect sense.  

Customers, buyers and prospects in 2017 are more sales savvy, knowledgeable about what it is they want and are intent on doing their own intensive research when trying to find an answer or a solution.  

Therefore, it stands to reason that if a company provides quality information that is relevant to their audience that allows them to come to a decision easier, than the company in question should see positive results.

But this not the case!

Businesses Are Struggling To Get Success With Content Marketing

Even though Content Marketing makes sense and companies understand the benefits that can be accrued from employing such a strategy, businesses are struggling to get the success they want.

In their 2016 Content Marketing Benchmark report The Content Marketing Institute in conjunction with Marketing Profs found a number of challenges (see image courtesy of Smart Insights below) that businesses reported when trying to get traction with Content Marketing.

Top Challenges for b2b marketers

If I go back to the headline of this post titled:

How To Create The Best Content Marketing Strategy

I do believe that a number of these challenges could be tackled and the results improved if companies reviewed what they had defined as their Content Marketing Strategy.

Consider these core statistics for a moment:

70% of marketers lack a consistent or integrated content strategy. (Altimeter)

80% of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy. 32% documented 48% not

Having a detailed documented strategy that is consistently applied, reviewed and iterated where and when necessary, is a crucial element that based on the above results a lot of companies are failing to do which then feeds into the issues and struggles that I alluded to earlier.

 

Strategy

How To Create The Best Content Marketing Strategy

Dart board

Step 1 Define Your Goals

This invariably is the most critical step.  If you don’t know why you are undertaking Content Marketing and what is it that you want to achieve from your Content Marketing activities you will struggle to see any real traction or benefits accrued. You may, in fact, do damage to your brand as you come across confused and inconsistent in both messaging and communications.

When defining goals when it comes to Content Marketing I believe you have to do it with your end customer in mind and based on the stage of the sales journey they could be on with you.  

Simply Measured did an excellent job to flesh this out and how you need to create content that has a purpose.  From this article, they put forward an excellent content funnel (see image below) where they mapped content against the traditional sales funnel journey a person would travel.

Social Metrics Map

I think the above map would be an excellent overlay to allow a company develop very personalised and relevant objectives for the various tactics that would be employed as a prospect moved closer to conversion.

Customer Personas

Step 2 Persona Research

Knowing and understanding what your customer and the target market pain points, needs and wants are is crucial so that you can align your message tailored to what will peak their interest.

Hubspot outlines a very detailed plan to begin creating your customer personas but a core element is you have to conduct your research on the market and use insights from customer surveys, reviews, interviews from your sales team etc.

Every customer and prospect is looking for a solution or an answer, but the core interest or element that they deem critical in order for them to make a decision is vital to know.

For example some customers maybe price focussed, others look for testimonials and proof of delivery.  Once you can identify these you can then better craft your message to resonate with them.

Content Audit

Step 3 Content Audit

A lot of companies have produced lots of content yet it gets forgotten in place of yet another campaign.  

You must review what has been done before, how did it perform, did it work, did it not, why did work, why did it fail, could it be used again, updated etc.

Looking at what the company has initially produced and reviewing how it performed the first time will provide not only potential content for the new strategy but doing this review will yield critical performance information to ensure mistakes that happened the last time don’t occur again.

Wordpress

Step 4 Content Management

You need to document and agree on a system for creating the content, publishing the content and then reviewing how it performs against your objectives and KPI’s.

For example if the company decides that a blog will be a core content tactic to be used, will this be managed via WordPress or an alternative solution, or will you decide to have one all encompassed approach that allows for content marketing, analytics and CRM to be contained in one bespoke piece of software such as Hubspot.

Brain storming

Step 5 Content Brainstorming

While this is down as a step it will not be a once off action.  

Setting up agreed idea generation meetings is a necessity to allow for new ideas or the iteration and improving original content previously shared with the market.

At these sessions, you need to agree what types of content should be produced and for blog posts using a blog post title generator like this one from Hubspot is valuable.

Ultimately though at these sessions you are looking to come up with ideas and solidify the core content you wish to create as part of your content strategy.  

Some excellent forms of content that could be created are as follows:

 

 

  • Blog
  • Ebooks
  • Whitepaper
  • Industry Report
  • Infographic
  • Video
  • Tips sheet
  • Templates
  • Podcast
  • Quotes
  • FAQ’s

 

 

Blog

I placed a blog at the top because I truly believe that it is a content marketing tactic that is mandatory for the majority of companies.  

Not only does having a blog help in the long term with SEO and page-rank, but it allows you showcase your expertise to your market and the beauty of a blog is that a post or multiple posts under the same theme could be repurposed into any of the other content forms listed above.

Calendar

6 Content Planning

Creating a plan around an editorial calendar is critical from a Content Marketing point of view.  You need to work towards having your content designated for a certain audience and then scheduled to post and be distributed at key periods ahead of time rather than try to do it live on the due date.

An editorial calendar allows you plan what content should go on what date against each of the social channels, and it can also allow you forward look at specific events or seasonal times like Easter or Christmas where if applicable, you can ahead of time create content specific to that event, and hence, become more relevant and on topic in the face of your audience.

Key unlocking

7 Unlock Influencer Relationships

A lot of companies fall into the trap that because they are “the company” they see themselves as automatically being an influencer in the market.  While that may be true of some of the large brands it is not a given.  

In many industries from tech to food to fitness, there are individuals who have built up a follower base of raving fans who live and breathe every word and piece of content that these people promote.

However, I would never advocate any company or individual that they go down the influencer route by purely paying for an influencer to endorse or promote their company or product to their audience.

I believe in creating genuine relationships with influencers where there are mutual respect and support for what each other is doing by building a trusted relationship built on transparency from which the benefits that can be created are very positive for everybody.

Megaphone

8 Promotion

One of the biggest mistakes both individuals and companies make when it comes to Content Marketing is the area of promotion.  For example, with a blog post, a lot of bloggers and companies will simply post the blog once and forget about it.  

However, promotion and multiple publishing are key to ensure that as large a segment of your audience gets to see a piece of content.

This is yet another reason to have an editorial calendar where reposting of content at set times across various mediums from email to social can be utilised.

Conclusion

Content Marketing is becoming an integral part of every company’s marketing strategy, but I do believe that a lot of the struggles that companies are facing with their own Content Marketing as identified in the research is down to the fact that either there is no documented strategy in place, or at best they are using a very loose plan.

For it to work it needs to have its own detailed plan that is linked to the overall strategy for the business.  You need to set a budget to ensure your Content Marketing can properly work towards achieving the objectives set, you will need to actively measure and monitor results of how content is performing and iterate or change as required, and above all, you need to have patience.

Strategy

Apart from having no documented strategy, I believe the number one reason why a lot of companies struggle for content success is that they don’t have patience and expect it to be an instant win.  

Unfortunately, this is not the case and I always advise a client that at a minimum you need to allow for 6 months of consistent activity before you could see any traction.

This is where Marketing and Finance can come to blows as return on investment is questioned.  

However, building awareness, reputation, expertise and trust takes time.  If you commit to it and focus on aligning your content against the requirements of the target audience at the right stage of the content funnel, I honestly believe you will seriously increase the likelihood of taking that prospect from intent to conversion.

I hope you enjoy this post and please share with your community.

Phillip

If you are looking to understand how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy you can get my ebook by filling in the form below and you will be asked to confirm your subscription to my blog.

But don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.

 

Originally published on Marketing Maven

Posted by Phillip Twyford in Content Marketing, 0 comments

Creating a digital marketing strategy part 6: Measurement & Budget

When creating your digital marketing strategy you have to be mindful, and take note of, Measurement & Budget.

Measuring the impact what you are doing is key because if you are not getting any reactions with your current activity, there is no point continuing to do it.  When you first start off in social media you will look initially at likes, shares, comments etc.

As you progress with your content and start more interactions with your audience you want to see your followers increase and more retweet and engagement on your content.  This is where measurement is key and you should be using all of the inbuilt social media tools at your disposal.

Another key area to focus on is your budget.  There is no point in having very high goals if you are not willing to invest in the tools, personnel and social media advertisement options.  You have to invest in social media so setting a proper budget at the start will be important.

In the video below I go through these topics in more detail and if you want to see the first 5 videos in this series you can see them here under my more recent posts section.

I hope you enjoy this post and please share with your community.

If you are looking to understand how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy you can get my ebook by filling in the form below and you will be asked to confirm your subscription to my blog.

But don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.

Best Wishes

Phillip, The Curly Marketer

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Creating a digital marketing strategy part 5: Action Plan

Creating a digital marketing strategy part 5: Action Plan

In part 5 of how to create a digital marketing strategy, I discuss on the video below about now creating your action plan.  Having talked about conducting a situational analysis, setting objectives, reviewing personas and deciding on the channels we want to use now it is time to start some activity by creating a content marketing strategy.

In this video I will discuss why you need to understand why you are doing content marketing in the first place, what content will resonate with your personas, have you created content already and is it fit for purpose, what content types are you going to create such as blogs, ebooks and videos and the importance of having an editorial calendar and a content management system.

If you are looking for more resources on content marketing check out this video I did as well as this detailed blog post.

I hope you enjoy this post and please share with your community.

If you are looking to understand how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy you can get my ebook by filling in the form below and you will be asked to confirm your subscription to my blog.

But don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.

Best Wishes

Phillip, The Curly Marketer

Posted by Phillip Twyford in Digital Marketing, Strategy, 0 comments
Creating a digital marketing strategy part 4: Channels

Creating a digital marketing strategy part 4: Channels

In this 4th video in how to create a digital marketing strategy, I talk about the importance of selecting the correct channels for your business when it comes to your target audience.

Selecting the right channels for your digital marketing strategy is critical as you want to ensure you are using the channels where your audience is present and communicating.

If you missed the first 3 videos you can see video 1 on the situational analysis here, video 2 on customer personas here and the 3rd video on setting objectives here

I hope you enjoy this post and please share with your community.

If you are looking to understand how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy you can get my ebook by filling in the form below and you will be asked to confirm your subscription to my blog.

But don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.

Best Wishes

Phillip, The Curly Marketer

Posted by Phillip Twyford in Digital Marketing, Strategy, 0 comments
12 social media questions  and insights with the curly marketer

12 social media questions and insights with the curly marketer

Back in March 2018, I was thrilled to be asked to be part of the We are Social Media podcast.  The title of the piece would be 12 social media questions and insights with the curly marketer.

WEARSM is one of the world’s leading independent sources of digital marketing news and insight, covering social media marketing, the connected lifestyle, and a lot in between.

The segment I was involved in was their 12 questions regarding social media with a guest (MOI).

Really enjoyed the experience speaking with Linleigh Master who is an absolute pro, and a big thank you to Andrew Pickering and Peter Gartland from Atomic for recommending me to be on the show.

Anyway, to hear my words of wisdom and views on just click here. Let me know what you think in the comments below and if you want to know more about me click here

If you are looking to understand how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy you can get my ebook by filling in the form below and you will be asked to confirm your subscription to my blog.

But don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.

Best Wishes

Phillip, The Curly Marketer

Posted by Phillip Twyford in Social Media, 0 comments
Creating a digital marketing strategy part 3: setting objectives

Creating a digital marketing strategy part 3: setting objectives

In this video titled creating a digital marketing strategy part 3: setting objectives, I discuss the importance of setting objectives for your business.

Setting objectives both short, medium and long-term, is very important because without a clear idea of what you want to achieve from your social media you will not be able to properly focus your efforts.

As I mention in the video below one way to set your objectives is using the SMART method which provides a simple clear framework for your to set down clear and attainable objectives for your business.

If you want to know about me just click here.

I hope you enjoy this post and please share with your community.

If you are looking to understand how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy you can get my ebook by filling in the form below and you will be asked to confirm your subscription to my blog.

But don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.

Best Wishes

Phillip, The Curly Marketer

Posted by Phillip Twyford in Digital Marketing, Strategy, 0 comments
Creating a digital marketing strategy part 2: Customer Personas

Creating a digital marketing strategy part 2: Customer Personas

In creating a digital marketing strategy part 2: Customer Personas, I talk about the importance of creating customer personas to ensure you can align your message, content and channels against your target audience.

When you review you customer base you will be very surprised as to the different customer types you have that do business with you.  Each person, job role have different needs and wants and reasons for working with you.

Therefore, by creating detailed customer personas you can ensure you create communications that resonate and answer the pain points of each of your customer types.

If you are looking for a very good resource to create a customer personas check out this piece by Hubspot and if you missed part 1 on the Situational Analysis you can read it here


I hope you enjoy this post and please share with your community.

If you are looking to understand how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy you can get my ebook by filling in the form below and you will be asked to confirm your subscription to my blog.

But don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.

Posted by Phillip Twyford in Strategy, 0 comments
Creating a digital marketing strategy: Part 1.  The situational analysis

Creating a digital marketing strategy: Part 1. The situational analysis

In creating a digital marketing strategy: Part 1. The situational analysis, I talk in the video below about what a situational analysis is and why it is a fundamental first step every business should undertake when starting to develop a strategic plan.

Think of it as a business review.  You look at where the business is and the state of the market.  You conduct a competitive audit to see what your competition is doing and if it is working.

You should also during this stage employ a content audit to see what marketing you have done, what content have you created and what has worked and not worked.

I also advise businesses to employ an old-school tactic called the swot analysis. This method will get you to focus on your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats so that you begin to work out the best strategies tactics to move your business forward.

 

I hope you enjoy this post and please share with your community.

If you are looking to understand how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy you can get my ebook by filling in the form below and you will be asked to confirm your subscription to my blog.

But don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.

Posted by Phillip Twyford in Strategy, 0 comments
Where is social media heading in 2018?

Where is social media heading in 2018?

Where is social media heading in 2018?  That is the question I answer and give my views on in this video.  If we look at all the social channels you will notice that many things have happened.

Facebook has gone through the data crisis that I believe has led to a huge amount of trust being eroded in the brand.  Twitter changed their policies for sharing the same tweet across multiple profiles and for sharing the same tweet multiple times on the same profile.

This came about because of the increases in spam and also how elections were using social media to inflate profiles and mass communicate the same message.

In my view, one key thing that people need to embrace when it comes to social media is you have to be personal, natural, human and engage.  For too long people have set content up to be automated with little or no engagement with their communities.  But times are changing and the brands that make the effort to reach out and personally interact with their audiences will be the ones that reap the rewards.

If you want to know more about me click here

I hope you enjoy this post and please share with your community.

If you are looking to understand how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy you can get my ebook by filling in the form below and you will be asked to confirm your subscription to my blog.

But don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.

Posted by Phillip Twyford in Social Media, 0 comments
Do you want a process to help you blog?

Do you want a process to help you blog?

Do you blog? In this #curlymarketertip video I share a blogging process I follow which I believe will give you real clarity and a structure to create your own posts but as always do give me your feedback and tell me in the comments below any other steps you would take.

Also in this post here  I give you 3 tools which I think are invaluable when crafting your next blog post.

I hope you enjoy this post and please share with your community.

If you are looking to understand how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy you can get my ebook by filling in the form below and you will be asked to confirm your subscription to my blog.

But don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.

Posted by Phillip Twyford in Blogging, 0 comments
Do you struggle with content marketing? 

Do you struggle with content marketing? 

If you struggle with content marketing then this #curlymarketertip video is for you as I give you 6 tips to get your content marketing back on track.

Content marketing has exploded in popularity with many businesses and rightly so.  When done right content marketing can be a very potent form of communication.

More and more customers are now conducting their own research on products and services before they ever go to a physical store.  Hence, if your website is providing content by way of blogs, video, ebook downloads that answer a customer’s queries etc chances are you will be seen in a positive light by your audience.

However, it is critical that when you begin your content marketing efforts that you create a strategy to ensure your content efforts are focussed on achieving your objectives.

If you want more information here is a detailed post I wrote on how to create a full Content Marketing strategy.

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I hope you enjoy this post and please share with your community.

If you are looking to understand how to create a Digital Marketing Strategy you can get my ebook by filling in the form below and you will be asked to confirm your subscription to my blog.

But don’t worry you can unsubscribe at any time.

Posted by Phillip Twyford in Content Marketing, 0 comments