To successfully convey the message and goals for your business, you must create a content marketing strategy. According to Content Marketing Institute, 63% of businesses don’t have a documented marketing strategy at all, and yet, the majority are willing to spend 40% of their budget on content marketing.
Your content strategy is not simply about idealized aspirations, but rather a documented outline for who you want to reach out to, why you want to reach out to them, and what types of messaging can accomplish your end goals.
At its core, a content marketing strategy seeks to answer measurable goals like increasing revenue, lowering costs, conveying an actionable message, or bettering customers.
Rahel Bailie, (co-author of Content Strategy: Connecting the Dots Between Business, Brand, and Benefits) says it best:
“Content strategy deals with the planning aspects of managing content throughout its lifecycle, and includes aligning content to business goals, analysis, and modeling, and influences the development, production, presentation, evaluation, measurement, and sunsetting of content, including governance.”
And why should your business create a content marketing strategy?
In short, a solid plan sits at the heart of the most excellent branding initiatives and acts as the lifeblood of most gained new business. Brand reputation builds its trust through effective content management.
According to Lyfe Marketing, 78 percent of consumers prefer getting to know a company through rich articles rather than ads and 70 percent believe organizations developing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them. If the content that consumers read is valuable, educational, and engaging, they will start to believe the same about your business.
Creating content is also a great way to bring in new leads, as it costs 62 percent less than regular marketing tactics and generates three times the amount of leads. For small and large businesses alike, content marketing makes sense when seeking maximization of a budget with the desired lead generation.
Even though creating a content marketing strategy makes good business sense, knowing where to start can feel a bit overwhelming. To get you started, we developed this series to provide a step-by-step process for outlining a strategic plan in just one week’s time.
Don’t worry, we’ll start off slow by first focusing on what you want to get from your plan and then outlining your SMART goals.
Writing out your reasons for putting this plan together will be your cornerstone as you build your plan. It will also be a great sanity check when distractions come or the work seems overwhelming.
Take some time to create a statement or a list of problems you want to address within your business, such as:
Your statement or list will be a great starting (and returning) point as you build your plan. For sample purposes, we will choose “Our sales slip every 3rd and 4th quarter” as the overarching reason for launching this new content strategy.
Once you state your purpose, it’s time to identify your S.M.A.R.T. goals, which stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based.
Specific goals use action words to state exactly what you’ll do. Measurable goals include a metric pointing toward a defined target that indicates success over time. Attainable goals must be challenging, yet realistic. Relevant goals should be tied to overall company goals and make sense within your industry. Time-based goals must provide an exact target date by which you hope to see successful results.
To begin, first write out some basic, actionable goals that could help contribute to an influx of new leads for the business, such as:
Then, follow the SMART guidelines to enhance them. For example, increase search traffic on our website could be changed to: Increase weekly search traffic on our website by 15% (from 10,000 to 11,500 unique visits per month) over the next four months (by November 15).
Give your content strategy a sense of direction by taking time to outline at least 2-3 SMART goals related to your purpose. Write them out and discuss them with your internal stakeholders to ensure that everyone agrees with both the purpose and the relevancy of the goals. You might discover that what seems relevant and attainable to you might not be the case for others on your team.
After having established both the purpose and SMART goals for your new content strategy, you’re done for the day. You now have a great foundation and roadmap for where your content generates, and how success gets measured.
Stay tuned as we move on to Day 2 where we identify target audiences. And as always, lets us know if we can assist your small business in stating your purpose or establishing your goals.