Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Content is still king, but the problem is, there are just so many forms of content now! So, where do you start? Content marketing for your business can be a full-time job, and if you’re not in a position to hire a full-time marketer or you’re looking to do it yourself, then you will 100% need a content marketing strategy.
First of all, 82% of marketers actively invest in content marketing, which means the odds are, your competitors are investing. So, if you’re not, you’re going to be left behind. But content marketing can be quite overwhelming, so it’s essential that you create a content marketing strategy before you delve in.
So, what exactly is a content marketing strategy? A content marketing strategy is a detailed document that plans out exactly what content you will publish, via which channels, when and to whom. It is designed to help you think of a clear path to talk to your target audience, educating and entertaining them, while bringing awareness to your brand. It should list your goals on each platform and a timeline for achieving them.
Related: How to Craft a Content-Marketing Strategy That Works
Why is a content marketing strategy beneficial?
Eighty-one percent of marketers actually consider creating a content marketing strategy a vital business strategy, and I do too. Without one, you’re just publishing content without direction and won’t truly be able to deliver a powerful message.
A content marketing strategy is useful, because it allows you to set clear goals and be able to measure the results. What actually worked? Why did this work? What didn’t work? How can we improve this next time? By answering these questions, you’re continually improving your marketing. You can also align these marketing goals with your overarching business goals.
By following a content marketing strategy, you are able to consistently publish good quality content without worrying that you may have a blindspot or writer’s block. This also motivates the marketers, as they can be proud of their work and can work towards achieving goals.
Related: 6 Key Tips to Level Up Your Content Marketing Strategy
How to create a content marketing strategy
Essentially, creating a content marketing strategy involves 6 main steps:
1. Set your goals:
What do you actually want to achieve? Brand awareness and growing your customer base? Are you launching new products that you want to sell? Are you expanding into a new area, or are you just trying to improve your online reputation? Whatever your goals are, your content needs to match them.
2. Who is your target audience, and what do they need?
It’s always so tempting to say that your audience is everyone, because you want to reach as many people as possible. But then you end up making your content too broad, and you end up not really talking to anyone at all.
So, think about exactly who you want as customers, what they do, where they shop, how old they are, etc. — and speak to them directly and solve their needs.
It’s always good to know what your competitors are up to. What content are they putting on and where? What’s working for them and what’s not? Why is it not working, and how can you make it work for you?
4. Content marketing plan
This is where you get specific as to exactly what content to put out and when. More in the next section!
5. Create content and promote
This step is the bit that most people jump to without doing all the previous work. It’s the most “fun” part, but without the previous four steps, how will you know what to actually create?
6. Analyze results
The absolute best bit about digital marketing is the fact you have data to back up what you’re working with. You’re missing a huge trick if you don’t check your analytics to get valuable insights into what content is working and with whom. Learn how to interpret this data well, and build a content strategy around it.
Related: Why Content Marketing Is Crucial to Your Business
What goes in a content marketing plan in 2022?
Digital marketing is such a fast-paced environment, and trends are always changing — but here’s what I think you should be including in your content marketing plan to get noticed in 2022:
1. Video content
TikTok is growing rapidly each day, and Instagram already announced how much it’s favoring video content. Then, of course, YouTube continues to be popular. So, it’s clear that video is not going anywhere. It’s the most engaging and impactful.
2. Audio content
If you can’t commit to video, then audio is also a great option. Nowadays, people listen to podcasts regularly, and we saw social platforms like Clubhouse launched purely for audio interaction, which in turn got Twitter to launch “Spaces” and LinkedIn to launch their audio rooms. So, there’s definitely something happening with audio in the future.
3. Long-form content
Gone are the short answers to questions — people are now looking for more value from the blog posts they read. They want educational and informative posts. So, invest in fewer, but longer and more quality articles.
4. Email marketing
Despite all the advances in tech, email marketing is still one of the most powerful forms of content marketing you can use. Since GDPR, your subscribers have actively opted in to receive your content, so they’re confirmed as your target audience, unlike social media. This is why many consider email marketing more powerful than social media.
5. Paid ads and landing pages
With a well-designed landing page as well as brilliant ad creative and copy, you can craft a fantastic targeted paid ad campaign with stunning ROI. However, I’ve seen so many companies bleed money with a poorly crafted campaign. You need to realize that a poor website will still yield bad results even with a great campaign and vice versa. So, both parts need to be right.
A content marketing strategy is always going to be a useful document to create, so it’s well worth the time investment it takes to do it. My advice, though, is to get some professional help with the strategy document, even if you’re going to create all the content yourself. With a pro doing all the foundation, you know you have a strong guide helping you reach your marketing goals.