Strategy in a Nutshell
Welcome to the second lesson. Now that you’re clear on what content marketing is and when it’s useful, today, we’re going to explore what should be considered as part of a content marketing strategy and how to apply it to your business.
First, let me say that your content marketing strategy doesn’t need to be complex—in fact, the simpler, the better. To get it right, there are really only five questions you need to answer.
1. Why are we doing this?
This question is first because it’s the most critical. Like any business activity, a strong content marketing strategy needs to have clear, measurable goals and work backward from there. You should know what each piece of content you create is aiming to achieve, whether that’s driving traffic to your website, growing your email list, or increasing inbound leads. Make your goals specific, quantifiable, and time bound so you can measure success and spot where you need to change things up.
2. Who is my audience?
You’ll want to get as clear and specific as possible about who your target audience is to make your content as effective as possible. At this point, also consider who their influencers are. For example, if you sell swimming pools, your customer is someone buying a pool, but their influencer is the person in the pool shop who’s informing them about the different options available. You’ll start to answer this question in a future lesson, when we’ll develop personas for your target customers and their influencers.
3. What do they want or need?
Your audience doesn’t know yet that they need your product or service; otherwise, they would’ve bought from you already. However, there will be challenges or questions that lead up to them finding you. High-quality content solves a problem for your customer, so if you can define these problems, you can develop the solution.
You can find this out a number of ways, but here are a few to get you started:
• Ask existing customers what their main challenges are.
• Ask a business who also works with your audience but isn’t a competitor.
4. Where and when do they hang out?
This is figuratively, of course. Once you know who your audience is and what they want or need, you need to know where in the online world they hang out so you can come to them. If they like videos, focus on YouTube, but if they prefer Twitter, focus your efforts there.
Similarly, by knowing your audience, you can work out when they like to consume content. You might be in London, but if your audience is mostly in the US, factor this in when you schedule content. Even if your audience is local, they might be more inclined to search for solutions on the weekend rather than during work hours or vice versa.
5. What do you want them to do?
Know what you’re trying to achieve by solving your audience’s problems, and focus on this when creating and promoting your content. Incorporate keywords that will trigger an emotional response, encourage sharing, and always include a call-to-action (often called a CTA) to tell your audience what you want them to do after consuming the content. This could be anything from visiting your website to downloading a guide or retweeting a blog post. Make sure the ask isn’t too much of a major leap from where they’re at now, is clear, and is aligned with your goals from Question 1.
Keep this strategy framework in mind as we explore each element in further detail over the next week. Tomorrow, we’re going to tackle Question 1 and get ultra-clear goals to work toward.
See you then,
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