5 Steps to Creating an Extraordinary Content Marketing Strategy

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Content marketing is hot--93% of all marketers say their organizations are investing heavily in it. Unfortunately, it's getting harder and harder to stand out from the pack.

While the amount of available web-based content is doubling every 9 to 24 months, our customer's ability to consume that content is not.

We have a tiny window to reach our overwhelmed, time-strapped audience. To make an impact, our content can't just be good--it needs to be extraordinary. And you can't have extraordinary content without an extraordinary strategy.

Here are five steps to creating one:

Step 1: Know Your Audience

Too many companies base their customer personas on internal assumptions or isolated, outdated discovery calls. Take the time to really get to know your customers. Conduct interviews once a quarter and ask a lot of questions, like:

  • What your their day-to-day like?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What does your boss expect of you this quarter?
  • What are your goals this year?
  • What do you read online? When?

Build your personas from the real-world anecdotes you discover. These stories will make your audience come to life not only for your content creators, but also for your entire team.

Step 3: Prioritize & Plan Your Content

More isn't always better. Don't try to tackle too much at once. Push your content board to prioritize which themes are most critical, and focus on those. A great way to create a lot of valuable content to feed your marketing channels is to implement a "content pillar" approach.

A content pillar is one meaty piece of content focused on one key theme you and your stakeholders identify in the content board meeting. This pillar can then be repurposed, or broken up, into many different types of content, from blog posts, to infographics to videos.

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Step 4: Assign Roles & Responsibilities

Creating a streamlined content workflow is one of the biggest challenges facing enterprise marketing organizations. At my company, the people critical to creating, approving, designing, and publishing our content are scattered around the globe--some as far away as Sydney. That's why it's critical for us to identify who is doing what and when.

For each piece of content you plan, make a list of the people responsible for:

  • Content creation
  • Approving content
  • Designing content
  • Publishing content
  • Managing PR and AR
  • Demand generation
  • Paid digital efforts
  • Social media
  • SEO
  • Performance analytics

Step 5: Set Goals & Track Performance

If you want to get any value out of the assets you're creating, be intentional about tracking performance against a set of key goals. Creating content in a vacuum is a dangerous--and easy--trap to fall into. These goals might include:

  • Specific targets around traffic, leads, MQLs, and pipeline
  • Accelerating conversion rates
  • Expanding your social media presence and conversion
  • Expanding brand awareness to a very specific target audience
  • Keep these goals top of mind as you launch, and hold a meeting with your content team 30 to 90 days after launch to review them. Outline what worked, what didn't and why. Then, change course for your next launch.
Don't let the time and money invested in your content marketing efforts go to waste. Take the time to build a strategy that delivers useful, usable content. Your audience will reward you for it.