So the news buzz within the Internet marketing world is content marketing. Content marketing is extremely valuable and successful because it is creating valuable information for your audience as a way to sell your brand without people realizing you’re marketing to them. When you create great content, people view you as an industry expert and return for more. An effective content marketing strategy focuses your efforts and helps generate the best results.
Content Marketing Strategy – Many Flavors
Just as there are many types of content, there are a number of ways to relay a message. Content strategy encompasses a number of very diverse disciplines, including:
- Editorial Strategy: sets the standards for all types of content distributed by an organization.
- Web Writing: creates content specifically for use on the web ─ a technique very different from standard copywriting.
- Metadata Strategy: categorizes what metadata is used and its structure to help organize content in a way that makes sense to readers.
- Search Engine Optimization: the act of writing content in a way that helps move it higher on search engine rankings.
- Content Management Strategy: the technology needed to properly maintain a company’s content that includes the life cycle of content, how work flows and the infrastructure of its publishing.
- Content Channel Distribution Strategy: the plan outlining ways readers can access the content.
While most content strategists are familiar with these different aspects, it can be difficult ─ or even impossible ─ for one person to be an expert in all areas. Organizations may employ a team of professionals to create and maintain a content strategy.
The Basics of a Content Strategy
The content strategy umbrella covers text, graphics, video and audio material distributed through mediums that include blogs, social media posts, email marketing, infographics, website copy, podcasts and more.
A primary element of a successful content strategy is to identify your target audience so you can structure content that fits the audience needs. This includes what you’re saying, how it’s said and what platforms you use to disperse your message. The best content in the world is of little use if not directed at the proper audience.
Identifying your target audience enables you to create content with them in mind such as information that solves a common problem for your audience. Think about and anticipate questions your customers might have. They could even be problems you’ve encountered and solved but others will face. Do your best to address your audience’s questions. This builds trust and positions your company as a subject matter expert people look to for answers.
Planning is Everything to A Successful Content Marketing Strategy
Maintaining a content calendar helps diversify your material, publish time-sensitive topics and identify gaps so you’re never left without something to say. A well-organized plan makes it easy to send content out at appropriate times to have the most impact and largest audience.
Your content strategy should also include looking for content assets that continue making an impact long after you post them. Evergreen content assets ─ blog posts, white papers, webinars, case studies and infographics that have no time element or outdated information ─ can drive traffic for weeks, months and even years without additional effort from you.
When developing content, think about adapting it for other formats or ways to repackage it. This opens the potential to reach a larger or different audience segment without creating new content. A podcast could be transcribed into a blog post or lines from a case study could become social media posts.
These planning steps help ensure your content is high quality. Also, the importance of diligent proofreading cannot be emphasized enough. Someone will catch even the smallest errors that diminish your credibility and make your audience wonder if you’re really a professional, so be sure to only post pieces you’re proud to stand behind.
One way to create credibility is using sound data to add substance to your content and data visualization to present the information in an interesting way.