The demand for content marketing resources is at an all-time high. The reason is simple.
By creating and sharing valuable content assets, brands can build a loyal audience.
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Yet you’ll see many content marketing programs that failed miserably.
And, one of the key reasons is not having a content marketing strategy in the first place.
Planning a content marketing strategy isn’t just about creating and distributing content on the blog and social media.
Even before creating a single piece of content, you need to dig deeper into many insights such as:
- Your core audience– pain points, accessibility, etc
- Competitor analysis– how you can differentiate from the rest
- Content plan– what, where, and how your content will show up
So the important question is: How to get started with content marketing systematically and effectively?
And, this is what you’ll learn from this article.
Let’s get started with important elements of a content marketing strategy.
1. Audience understanding
The big problem with most of the content marketing programs is about creating only brand-centric content.
Sure, you need to tell your audience about the product or service you offer. But if you want your audience to care about your offerings, you need to pay attention to your brand; you need to serve them what they are interested in.
This is where audience research plays an important role.
Key elements of audience understanding are:
- Needs- your goal should be to understand what they care about
- Accessibility- identify content channels to communicate with the people
- Interest- study what they’re already paying attention to. It is better to get insights on what videos they watch, podcasts they listen to, and what blogs they read regularly.
To perform an audience research consider engaging with your existing customers (if any), online communities, and even atke advantage of SEO tools.
Use tools like Semrush, Ahrefs, or any other and conduct a keyword research for search terms related to your offerings or products.
With this method, you’ll get to know:
- What your audience is searching on the web
- What are their pain points, and
- What type of content resonates with them
Other traditional methods like one on one interviews with customers, running a survey, and others are also effective.
The next step will be to find the sweet spot.
The content sweet spot is the intersection between what your audience cares about and your expertise on the subject.
This is important mainly because you don’t want to waste your effort to create content that your audience doesn’t care about.
2. Selecting the content platform and format
Now that you’ve done audience research and identified their interests and pain points, your next job is to choose the content channel.
You might be thinking, why not create content for all possible channels such as YouTube, Blog, and podcasts.
But the fact is: you shouldn’t be present everywhere just because it is available.
In his Content Inc book, Joe Pulizzi mentioned the importance of choosing and sticking to only one platform, not many.
Here’s what it means:
“One content platform, one content type, and consistently delivering content over a long time (at least 12-18 months).”
For example, if your primary content channel is YouTube, you need to focus on producing and delivering video content consistently over a long period.
That’s how you build the base of your content marketing program.
3. Content mission statement
According to the CMI research, only 28% of brands have a documented content marketing strategy.
Also, it is found that brands that have a documented strategy are more likely to succeed in content marketing.
The correlation between successful content marketing programs and documented strategy is simple.
Start with a content mission statement and align every piece of content you produce.
Now, the question is, what does a mission statement look like?
A content statement has three elements in common.
- Core audience
- Delivered content
- The outcome for the audience
An example of a content mission statement?
Here it is:
So, start developing a content mission statement and align your future content production and promotion with it.
4. Building content strategy
Now, it’s time to prepare the content strategy.
An easy and effective way of developing a plan is by considering the buyers’ stages.
In general, a paying customer goes through three different stages such as:
- Awareness stage (when the prospect isn’t aware of the problem or the solution)
- Consideration stage (In this stage, the prospect is looking for the possible solutions)
- Decision stage (Now, the prospect decide the right solution or service for the problem)
As a content marketer, you need to consider creating content for each of these stages.
The below illustration shows you the possible content ideas for different buyers’ stages.
This will help you to find different content ideas and the right time to introduce the right content at the right time.
You may also consider this framework (by HubSpot) to get relevant content ideas based on the buyers’ stage.
To find the relevant questions for your offerings, you need to have an understanding of your audience.
You may also use platforms like
- Linkedin/Facebook Groups, and other communities as well.
All of these platforms will help you find the pain points and questions of your audience.
5. Collaborative content marketing
The fact is: content marketing takes time to give you significant results.
So, if you’re an early startup or just starting in a content marketing program, you have no choice but to create useful content consistently for a long time.
But that doesn’t mean there is no other way of getting early traction.
With collaborative content marketing, you get to reach a large and relevant audience without paying a single buck.
→ First, make a list of influencers in your niche- When you’re starting, it’s recommended to get micro-influencers into the list
→ Get contact details (email/ social media channels, etc.)- You can use tools like Followerwonk or do a manual search on Google.
→ Involve influencers/ experts within your content strategy- Ask for contributor quotes, invite as a guest on podcasts or YouTube channels.
→ Once you involve these micro or macro influencers within your content, they are more likely to recommend your brand or share your content with their audience.
And, this is what you should be aiming for.
With a little effort, you get introduced to a large audience.
Content marketing isn’t as hard as many think. When done strategically, it can bring a great return to your content investment.
So, if you haven’t started yet, follow these steps and start building your content empire.
Author Bio: Sk Rafiqul Islam is a content marketing strategist who has worked with small to medium-sized businesses to drive traffic and generate leads with content marketing. He also runs a weekly newsletter called content Marketing VIP.Twitter Account:https://twitter.com/12Rafiqul