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Content Marketing Strategy: Examples and How to Make One

Marketers know that creating unique content gets the attention of customers. Presenting high-value material in an engaging and natural manner can drive organic traffic, increase sales, and improve brand image and perception.

However, doing this successfully over time requires careful and methodical planning. This is where a content marketing strategy comes into play. In this article, we’ll explore how a successful content marketing strategy is created and look at the ways you can begin to create one for your own business.

In this content marketing strategy guide, you’ll discover: 

 

What is a content marketing strategy? 

Content marketing is the process of creating and publishing content that is intended to provide value to a target customer segment. The content is typically free and aims to engage customers with the brand, with the goal of eventually selling them a product or service.

A content marketing strategy is the set of plans and initiatives a business makes in preparation for its content marketing initiatives. This includes defining the:

  • Type of content to be created
  • Way content is to be distributed 
  • Target audience for the content  

These steps can ensure your content marketing is consistent and aligns with your broader business goals and objectives.

DID YOU KNOW? 82% of marketing professionals are using content marketing, according to HubSpot.

 

Learn about digital marketing strategies 

 

The importance of a content marketing strategy.

Content marketing is a valuable tool, but it requires careful planning to get it right. Considering strategy well ahead of time can lead to several important benefits:

  • Ensure consistency in your message. Defining the core themes of the marketing content upfront ensures published material stays in line with your business intentions and avoids inconsistencies that could confuse customers.
  • Understand the target customer segment. Deciding on content themes and positioning also helps to define your customer and how you should market to them. This should lead to more effective marketing that brings customers back.
  • Produce content releases consistently. With content type and marketing channels planned in advance, your content releases can be scheduled regularly. This will help customers know when to expect new material and simplify your resource planning.
  • Track and measure success. Planning the strategy allows for defining KPIs that help measure success of the campaigns. You can understand what is working and make iterative adjustments in places that need improvement.

DID YOU KNOW? Web traffic is one of the two must-used metrics to gauge the success of content marketing strategies, according to HubSpot. 

 

5 important considerations for your strategy.

Before implementing a content marketing strategy, analyze the state of your business and take the following considerations into account:

1. What type of content should you produce? 

There are many forms of content types available to marketers — blogs, videos, infographics, long-form articles, to name just a few. Which is best suited to the material you’re planning on producing and your target customer preferences? 

2. Who is the target customer segment?

Produce content for a specific type of customer. This will ensure the customer can relate, and keeps the material focused. What stage in the sales cycle of Awareness — Consideration — Decision is your viewer/readers? Infinite product detail will only be needed by those on the cusp of purchasing. But there are many more potential customers to educate and entertain.

3. What channels will you use to publish the content?

This will affect how customers engage with your content and how it functions over time. For example, a third-party hosted video may drive more initial traffic, while a self-hosted blog may result in better long-term SEO.

4. How frequently will you publish content?

Whether you publish weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly will depend on your type of content. But having a regular cadence ensures you don’t fall behind and allows customers to regularly anticipate new releases.

5. What is your ultimate goal? 

How would you like customers to respond to your campaigns? Simply providing content that customers like is not enough — call to actions and other response-based messaging will have an important impact on what customers do after they consume the content and explore your brand.

DID YOU KNOW? 90% of the most successful content marketers prioritize educating their audience over promoting a firm’s sales message.

 

Components of a content marketing strategy.

With these considerations in mind, you can now begin to implement a content marketing strategy. The major components include: 

  • Business plan. The goals and objectives of a business will help to guide all aspects of how a content marketing strategy is developed.
  • KPIs. With the business plan defined, KPIs should be then established to help track and measure marketing success over time relative to the business goals and objectives. 
  • Buyer personas. Establishing buyer personas will guide the process of determining the target customer segment for the content. So, the narrative can be focused on those specific types of customers to increase engagement.
  • Brand story. Establish a common theme across the content that conveys a relatable story for your brand to connect with the customer.
  • Timing. Set timings upfront so that customers know when to come back to find new material.  

 

Align your content marketing strategy with sales.

You are probably familiar with the three stages of any buyer’s journey: 

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision  

Mirror the customer’s three-step journey with your content marketing strategy. 

Awareness. 

Continually publish useful content to keep your brand at the back of potential customers’ minds. For example, InstaPage talks about the low-irritation, low-visibility problem of conversion software optimization. 

So, the firm publishes a lot of free content, particularly on blog posts, showing readers they have an actual problem — their conversion rates are too low. The blog posts are then optimized to appear high in search engines, where most customers start their search for answers to their problems.

Consideration. 

At the consideration stage, customers know they have a problem, or a need, and are actively browsing the market and weighing their options. So, it seems sensible to showcase your market experience and value in more detail. 

Good options include: 

  • Comparison blogs with other products
  • eBooks/whitepapers with greater detail
  • Webinars or podcasts to engage people 

Whatever you choose, it must explain your value and nudge the customer towards reaching the final phase. Even if they don’t move to the decision phase, you can hopefully garner leads for the future with registration details for free gifts, free downloads or listening into free webinars. 

Decision. 

Customers are now ready to make the leap and spend their dollars — if your content marketing strategy is solid. You need let people experience your product or service or take a deep dive into its details. Consider things like: 

  • Time-limited sign up offers 
  • Professional consultations 
  • Free trials or demos  

If you can manage this phase well, you may have a delighted and now dedicated customer — and the hard work can begin keeping them that way for repeat purchases and long-term loyalty. 

DID YOU KNOW? Video was the most-used content format used in content strategies in 2021 followed by blogs and infographics, according to HubSpot. 

 

Content marketing definition and strategies

 

Types of content marketing.

Now you’ll need to decide what distribution channels you publish the material through. Some options include: 

  • Blogs. More informal blog posts can be valuable for search engine optimization (SEO), as search engines start to drive organic traffic to the brand’s own website based on the success of its blog posts.
  • Articles. You can submit articles to third-party media channels. This allows your business to be seen by the followers of the media companies and utilize their existing distribution.
  • Videos. Vlogs, tutorials, demonstrations, and other video content allow for a more engaging multimedia experience that can be shared and posted on various other channels. 
  • Social media. For shorter-form content, social channels are valuable because they allow direct embedding of content in customers’ social media feeds.
  • Newsletters. Newsletters are often distributed through email, a scalable and low-cost medium. The likelihood of people seeing the content in their inbox is higher than other channels.
  • eBooks. In B2B industries in particular, customers will often want to download material to share with colleagues. You can also use eBooks to collect data by gating the download in exchange for an email address or other customer contact information.
  • Podcasts. A common way for people to consume content on the go. The podcast industry has grown hugely in recent years, with 41% of people in the US having listened to a podcast in the past month, according to Statista.  

Paid, owned, and earned media. 

Not all media is equal. Marketers often divide it into categories you can remember with the acronym POEM — paid, owned, and earned media.  

  • Paid media. When you buy space on a platform someone else owns. A billboard or a full-page ad is paid media, and so are ads or advertorials on digital platforms: think social media marketing, display ads, and pay-per-click advertising on search engines such as Google.
  • Owned media. Everything you own and is unique to your brand can generate owned media content. Not just your company website but also its social media channels and blog sites, which you can consider an extension of your brand even though you don’t own Twitter or LinkedIn. 
  • Earned media. When a third-party publishes content about you or your business or shares content you have created. The word ‘earned’ comes from the fact you’ve earned the publicity rather than paid for it. It’s often achieved by creating a campaign or writing a press release and outreaching it to the media. 

Decide which strand of POEM you should allocate most resources to and use evidence to see which path is most likely to lead to success. What platforms do your potential customers use most? Do they watch television commercials or are they more likely to see your content on Facebook? Strategizing for these differences will ensure your content is where it will be seen and shared most profitably. 

 

Tips for creating your content marketing strategy.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when working out how to develop your content marketing strategy. Here are some tips and tricks to make the process smoother: 

1. Set business goals and expectations.

Working with a business plan has been shown to afford a 30% greater chance of growth in an organization. Building a content marketing strategy is no different. The plans need to provide clear objectives for how the content marketing will impact business requirements. 

For example, if a business objective is to drive more traffic to a website, an SEO-optimized blog with well-researched keywords related to the industry may be more relevant than other forms of content strategies. On the other hand, a business trying to improve their brand image with existing customers may find social media a better platform to drive engagement and conversation. 

2. Determine resource needs and make allocations ahead of time.

Content creation requires real resources. Writing blogs, producing infographics, and editing video all require time, talent, and money. In fact, content marketing is a roughly $300 billion market, and businesses on average spend about a quarter of their entire marketing budgets on it. 

Since the costs add up, it’s essential to plan ahead, define realistic budgets, and make sure stakeholders understand these allocations so staffing and procurement can be secured. This will minimize confusion, and unexpected budget or staff cuts due to overspending.

3. Create a content calendar. 

Simply saying content will be released is insufficient and will likely lead to project delays and backlogs. 

A shared content calendar can help keep all parties aligned. So people know when different parts of the projects need to be completed and keep each other updated on the status of these jobs. This should be done early in the planning process so everyone knows their responsibilities. 

4. Constantly track results and iterate.

KPIs are only effective if the results are tracked and monitored over time. Any changes should be closely monitored and iterations tested to refine this process.

For example, say a KPI is lead generation produced from some set of content. Marketers should track how both individual pieces are contributing to this and how the project as a whole is changing over time. A lot of content — blogs in particular — can actually increase in value over time, so keep an eye on how the KPIs are evolving long-term. 

 

Frequently asked questions about content marketing strategies. 

What is the most common content marketing strategy mistake? 

Not having a strategy in the first place. It’s not enough to just create content in the vague hope of ‘generating interest’. Ask yourself what stage of the buying cycle is your customer at and ensure your content is correctly pitched and delivered on the right platform.

How can I make sure my content marketing strategy is working? 

When you invest in a content marketing strategy, it’s essential to track the results and determine your return on investment (ROI). As a rule, your goals determine the metrics you’ll track as you assess results. Track web traffic or social media shares, for example. If it’s conversions to sales, use that metric.

When will I see the results of content marketing?

Content marketing isn’t a quick fix and your ultimate goals should stretch into the future — but you should hopefully see some positive impact after six to nine months. Each part of your campaign adds to the store of content you have and can give your company value for years, building loyalty, creating interest for new prospects, and generating new business. 

 

Delivering content to customers through marketing automation.

Creating a solid content marketing strategy is key to delivering regular, high-value content to customers. However, providing the necessary level of quality at scale requires marketing automation to help track content across channels, schedule and deliver content to customers, and monitor KPIs to understand how campaigns are performing and how they could be improved. 

Marketo Engage provides all the tools necessary to implement and scale these systems. See a personalized demo of Marketo Engage to see how your business can create an effective content marketing strategy and provide valuable content to your customers to keep them coming back.

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