Today, a lot of marketers rely on content to grow their business.
In fact, a study by CMI shows that 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did the previous year.
More than ever, you need a content marketing strategy template – which works for you, and your audience.
Otherwise, your content will suffer. Your target audience will never know that you exist and you know what that means for your business – you’ll be getting ready to quit.
One of the areas that 43% of B2B companies face challenge is producing VALUABLE content that engages their target audience. Some marketers are not consistent. They’re unstable as water.
If you or your company is struggling to create sticky content that causes the right people to pull their credit cards for your products, this article will help you.
According to Techvalidate, creating engaging content takes too much time, especially when customers are not talking or giving their feedback.
This content marketing strategy template will provide you with the checklists; the important things that are necessarily for attracting qualified leads to your business – using content as your #1 tool.
What is "content marketing strategy?"
A lot of people throw this phrase around, but I discovered through careful study that majority of them don’t even know what it means. So I decided to come up with a definition that would help.
My definition is centered around “strategy” + “content marketing”
So here we go:
Content marketing strategy is a plan of action, designed to help marketers understand their audience, and create relevant, useful, engaging and interesting content that will not only build interest in the customers, but also nurture them as brand advocates.
Feel free to use the definition in your post (** with reference).
The major keywords are:
- Plan of action
- understand the audience
- relevance, useful, engaging, interesting content
- build interest
- brand advocates
When creating an effective content strategy and you fail to include some of these key points, then you don’t really understand what you’re doing. Because “strategy” itself is a plan of action.
That said, let’s move on with the template.
1. Develop an objective
The first strategy template is to “develop an objective” or goal. Often times, I can come up with several ideas not knowing which one to act on first. Your goal template should be simple – just like the one below…
Just fill in the blank spaces and you should have a goal that will work for you.
This is a big challenge – but you can beat it by setting a definite goal. What is your aim of creating content?
If you ever create a Facebook page or join Twitter, what is your main goal?
If you start off with an objective to gain more brand visibility, then you really don’t have a clear objective. Because brand marketing doesn’t require a short term approach, but a long one.
It’s better to set a realistic and measurable objective when you start creating content.
- Generate first 50 user sign ups to our software
- Add 300 new subscribers to our email list
- Increase organic traffic by 200%
All these are realistic and can be measured. But there is no way to measure brand visibility, especially when you’re just starting out online. It’s equally important to develop an objective that will be of interest to the users.
If you want 500 email subscribers in 30 days, the question that you’ve to answer is: “what lead magnet or valuable offer will I give in exchange for people’s email address.”
So it’s a two-way traffic. You make people happy, and you get the rewards. Don’t know how to set a specific goal? You can download this goal planning template.
2. Map your target audience: persona
There is no second rule in marketing, until the first rule has soaked into your being. So what’s the #1 rule – know your audience.
The Science Education Resource Center Carleton College conducted an Audience Analysis and found that relating communication messages to a targeted audience's values, needs, and interests will help you avoid making mistakes decision making in and planning.
Whatever strategy you’re going to develop, a deeper knowledge of your audience will be critical to your success.
Covered California Health Insurance Exchange was recently criticized for missing 30% of their audience – the latino population that made up the state.
The company later deployed a multi-million dollar outreach campaign to identify the audience they missed, send messages of interest to the segment and win their hearts.
By definition, your target audience is a select group of customers that you aim your marketing efforts and ultimately your products.
Knowing your ideal customer and their preference gives you the information needed to focus on the buyers that are interested in what you have to offer, and help you create the right content.
So how do you know your audience when they’re scattered all over the world?
Focus on buyer persona.
Buyer persona is the way you represent your customers.
Based on market research, you represent your ideal customers with behaviors, demographics, goals and motivations. The more detailed you’re, the better your message will be delivered to the right people.
Everyone is not your customer. Take it or leave it.
Here’s a typical buyer persona. See if it exactly the ideal customer that you’re reaching out for – or tweak the “market” and “internal drivers” accordingly:
If Jane’s persona is not clear to you, here’s Sally’s. It’s well designed with Backgrounds, Demographics and Identifiers:
Aside from designing a buyer persona, you can also use social media tools to analyze and gain insights about your audience.
For example, prior to using SumAll, a social media and audience analytics, La Foodie wasn’t able to reliably quantify their Instagram audience.
But with SumAll reports, La Foodie can now show a more rounded view of their site’s total audience, and social media engagement.
3. Get into the conversation
When customers are happy, they’ll do more fulfilling business with you. The White House Office Of Consumer Affairs found that it costs 6-7 times more to attract a new customer than it costs to retain an existing customer.”
If you already know your target audience, and what interests them, it’s time to get into the conversation.
What are they talking about right now?
Most B2B and B2C companies are missing out because they don’t know the language of their audience.
How can you satisfy your customers, when they can see the handwriting on the wall – you don’t use the same words or terms they use in your content. The cause of poor customer service is not listening to your audience – though you know them.
According to the Customer Experience Impact Report, 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.
In a bid to get into the conversation, most marketers forget that the quality of a person is in his words.
So there is no need asking your ideal customers what language they speak – instead find the keywords they’re searching for.
For example, if you’re a LinkedIn marketing consultant, and you want to pinpoint the words that your ideal customers are using to find you, here’s exactly how to find out:
Go to Google Keywords Planner. Plug the term “LinkedIn marketing” into the search box. Hit the “Get ideas” button.
As you can see, these are the words and language that your target audience are typing into Google search engine. What are they looking for?
You… not really.
They’re looking for your content.
Any piece of information that will help them learn, deploy and profit from LinkedIn social networking site.
In the next template, I’ll show you what to do with these words. How to fully join the conversation and create content that will convert visitors into customers.
4. Design a content plan
Before you can see tremendous success with your content marketing strategy and wow your audience, you’ve to map out a plan.
With your plan, you start by defining specific topics you want to cover. Then you look for influencers to engage with your content, then collaborate with influencers. Learn how to engage with key influencers here.
A content plan also shows a list of steps that’s time bound for creating your content.
A plan like this will give birth to an editorial calendar. Don’t make the mistake of designing an editorial calendar that has no recognition on timing.
For example if you plan to write articles, when are you going to do it. Is it in the morning, afternoon or night? What about the specific time to do your research?
A good content plan would look similar to this:
Sundays 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm: Research your blog topics, outline
Mondays 8.15 am – 10.15 am: Write a 1000 – 2000 words article
Tuesdays 12.00 noon – 1.00 pm: Post on Twitter, Facebook and other networks. Reply comments and answer questions.
You could have a daily, weekly content plan, or whatever suits you. The folks at Content Marketing Institute uses this template to plan their content. Take a look:
Before determining the content type to produce, create a content plan to ensure that your content both meets your brand’s core goal and engages your ideal customers.
5. Determine the content format to adopt
Whether you’re just starting out with content marketing or you’re experienced, you’ve got to produce variety of content. Unfortunately, 45% of brands struggle with it.
Because each of your ideal customers have their own content preference. Some prefer articles and blog posts, while others prefer infographics, videos and slide presentations.
Quite a good number of your audience would love to learn while driving or just having a nice time – they can listen to your podcast.
You’ve to meet the needs of these people. Don’t be a partial marketer!
But it’s easier said than done. Since most B2B companies have nightmares when it comes to creating variety of content – you’ve to be determined, or join the lazy ones. It’s not as difficult as you think.
If you’re stuck in the rut and would rather have someone create variety of content for you, you should consider hiring a content marketing agency.
An agency or expert freelance writer should be able to understand your business goals, conduct exclusive research and create the right content that will attract, nurture and turn site visitors into customers.
Some of the content types your target audience needs are:
6. Craft a content editorial calendar
It’s action time.
As you begin to scale your content marketing into a full-blown system that will keep generating leads and customers to your business nonstop – you should develop a content editorial calendar – prioritized based on what topics convert best for you.
It should support your specific publishing, and discipline you to stick to your schedule. “It can set your creativity free,” says Guy Kawasaki.
No matter the pressure. After all, there is no sentiment in business. You either take action steps to grow, or quit.
But what’s it all about?
This is how Blueglass defined it:
A content editorial calendar is a centralised document that displays the next 3-12 months worth of planned content, taking into account big events in both the business and social calendars.
93% of the biggest digital marketing companies have a content editorial calendar. Shopify, ConversionXL, QuickSprout, Duct Tape Marketing, etc. Here’s a sample of HubSpot’s editorial calendar for Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays:
Here’s another one that Coschedule uses:
To increase your knowledge in the subject matter, watch the video below from Natalie Sisson:
To start with what you already have, Neil Patel says you should come up with 50 ideas in 30 minutes. Don’t be a perfectionist – just write them down. The goal is to get the ideas off your head onto a paper or your device.
Before your ideas go into a calendar, you can plan your article flow with Trello. Just create a new board, add lists for different items such as:
- Blog topic ideas – whatever raw idea you’ve add it to the list
- Researching – add expert quotes, authority site links, data, visuals
- On hold – this is where you keep your ideas so they don’t get lost.
- Writing – topics/headline ideas you’re currently working on
- Editing and graphics – the content you’re editing, as well as the accompanying graphics
- Ready to publish – after editing, move the card to this list
- Publish – Bam… it’s live.
The lists above should appear like this on trello:
Try and develop a content editorial calendar that will give you flexibility.
If you’re engaged with other activities and you know that you can’t produce new content 3 – 5 times per week, then your calendar can accommodate only the days that you’re ready to work.
You can start with a minimum of two days a week, and up it from there.
Flexibility is the key. Because you want to stick to your schedule, and not give flimsy excuses, take time to plan your CEC (content editorial calendar).
To make it highly effective, use this content planning template to know how often you should post.
Remember that your content marketing editorial calendar is more than a centralized list, it’s actually a tool. Because you can use it to make smarter content writing decisions that will yield the most results for you.
When you’re more organized, it’d be easier to creatively come up with ideas that will wow your customers.
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been driving qualified leads to your business or not, if you can leverage these content marketing strategy template, you’ll see a dramatic improvement.
If you’re a B2B or B2C marketer working with a team, together, you can find answers to the content challenges that others are praying to deal with.
For example, you could delegate content research to one person, blog post creation to the next person, and have someone who can schedule social media posting.
When you’re strategic with your content marketing, there is no way you can be worried, no matter the competition in your industry. That’s the truth.
Do you’ve a content marketing strategy template that already works for you, or you would need help developing a custom for your business?