5 Steps to Creating a Content Marketing Strategy
Content is, without a doubt, the biggest buzzword of 2016. And for those of us in the industry, we know it’s much more than a buzzword — it’s a pain in the butt. It is predictably the part of every project – from total brand overhaul to corporate brochure re-writes – that halts a job dead in its tracks. What’s more, the definition of content has expanded far beyond traditional terms to it’s own category of marketing. That’s right, in case you’ve been living under a rock, content marketing is where it’s at, and from our standpoint, not going away anytime soon. In fact, 86% of B2B marketers and 77% of B2C marketers use content marketing (Content Marketing Institute, 2015).
If you don’t have a content marketing strategy, don’t panic. You’re down, but you’re not out. We’ve summarized the five most important steps to creating a content marketing strategy now.
Establish a Style
Before you can even dream of having a complete content strategy, you need to establish your stance, and make it a point to only develop content that can support it. A stance isn’t necessarily a mission or value statement, though these are good to have as well; a stance goes beyond company objectives and lives within the way you speak to your audience – your tone, delivery and confidence. Some people refer to it as a point of view, a content tilt, your style – whatever you call it, you need to have it. And it needs to be evident in every piece of content you produce.
To truly put a stake in the ground, you need to document your strategy. Not surprising, 35% of B2B marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy, while 48% say they have a content marketing strategy, but it is not documented1. While having a strategy of any kind is a great first step, be sure to write it out, and have it live in a place that your team can access it if needed. Seeing milestones and deadlines will help create accountability for those whose responsibility it is to execute. And don’t be afraid to encourage people to review and add tactics as the year goes on. Your strategy should have a good foundation to work from, but be flexible and open for updates as time goes on.
Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
The key to producing engaging, thought-provoking content isn’t to be the first to come up with the idea – it’s to be the first to say it from your point of view. But beyond that, you must tell your story with conviction and confidence (see step one above). When outlining your content calendar, don’t forget to build in days for sharing older, evergreen content, or commentary on industry articles and happenings. Just be sure to stay true to your point of view.
One Size Does Not Fit All
You shouldn’t be trying to produce content that’s one size fits all. In a perfect world, your peers and colleagues would wildly accept everything you say, and you would be a world-renowned author and thought leader. But in the real world, your content really ought to be relevant to a niche audience, and you should focus all your effort on creating purposeful, focused content for this audience. Don’t get caught up in trying to please everyone. Really good content will appeal to the audience you are targeting.
Don’t Be a Jack of All Trades
The number of channels available for content distribution is incredible. The good news is, you can take the same message and share it differently in different channels. The bad news is, you can waste a lot of time and effort crafting content for too many channels. Don’t be overwhelmed by the options; think quality over quantity, and consistently deliver valuable content via 2 or 3 channels. Even one channel with quality content is preferable over mediocre content distributed widely. Don’t get caught up in hitting every social platform. Stick to the ones that are appropriate to your strategy and allow you to clearly represent your company and vision.
Don’t let the fear and intimidation of creating content stop you from putting together the strategy that you need. Start with these small steps and you’ll be a content marketing expert in no time.