Develop A Successful Content Marketing Strategy With These 6 Questions

Producing content isn’t hard. With all the free blogging platforms, social media channels and visual marketing tools out there, anyone can create videos, infographics, blogs or ebooks in a few hours. But what’s hard for many marketers today is getting their content seen by their target audience.

With 76% of marketers planning to produce more content this year, according to the latest B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, it’s becoming harder than ever to reach your target audience with so many other brands competing for the same eyeballs.

And creating more content isn’t always the answer. In fact, more isn’t necessarily better. While more brands are producing more content, the same report found that only 30% of marketers rated their organizations as effective at content marketing, down from 38% last year.

So how do you go about creating more effective content that will actually reach, engage and convert your target audience? It doesn’t need to be as complicated as you think it needs to be. Here are six questions to guide and help you develop an effective content marketing strategy, from Nick Westergaard, Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital:

Question #1: Why?

Simon Sinek says what differentiates the “Apples” from other companies in the world is that they start with “why.” The same rule applies to your content marketing strategy. Why is your business doing this?

Are you trying to drive more brand awareness? Generate more quality leads? Improve customer retention and loyalty? Whichever your business objectives might be, answering the “why” question will help you identify the goals you’re trying to accomplish with your content marketing efforts, which is key to the rest of your planning process.

Question #2: Who?

Who is the audience you’re serving with your content? Be as specific as you can about who you want to reach with your content.

You can’t effectively reach your target audience if you don’t understand who they are and what content they want or need. That’s where demographics and psychographics come in. You’ll want to go beyond traditional demographics such as age, geography and income level, and learn about your target audience’s motivators, triggers, aspirations, goals, pain points and challenges they’re trying to solve. Find out what’s important to them and keeping them up at night.

Question #3: What?

Now that you’ve identified your target audience’s content needs and the business objectives you want to achieve with your content marketing efforts, how can you create content that will serve both the needs of your customers and your brand?

You’ll want to brainstorm all the different types of content that will work best here, which could include blogs, videos, whitepapers, eBooks, webinars, presentations and infographics, just to name a few.

Question #4: When?

Once you’ve figured out your content types, when and how often will you create content? It’s important to develop an editorial calendar and commit to your publishing schedule. Consistency is key to building and engaging your audience.

Here’s an example of what an editorial calendar looks like. Keep in mind that there’s no one “right” editorial calendar format. Every company or team works differently, so it’s important to customize and test out what works best for you, whichever template you decide to start with.

Question #5: Where?

I’ve always advised marketers and brands to first build out their own content marketing destination, then leverage social to help distribute your content and attract new customers to their brand-owned platform.

So how do you know which social channels you should target? Based on the insights from Question #2 (Who), where is your target audience already spending time? Where do they go for research and find information about your specific product/service or industry? Those are the channels you want to target.

Question #6: How?

There are two parts to the question “How” – how will you get this done and how do you measure success?

Who will be involved in executing your content marketing strategy and driving your content creation efforts? This may include both your internal teams, such as sales and customer success, and also external resources, such as freelancers and creative agencies.

Measuring your content effectiveness is key to evaluating how well your content marketing strategy is working (or not working), and whether your efforts are actually delivering value to your business or not. And these are the metrics your leadership will be looking for, so you’ll want to spend some time to define the metrics you’ll track and agree on how success will be measured with all your stakeholders. Here are four types of metrics you should consider measuring.

With so much new content being created every day, you need to be more strategic about what you publish to stand out from the noise. And these six questions will help you create a successful content marketing strategy, with effective content that your target audience wants and actually converts.

What other tips and best practices do you have on building a successful content marketing strategy? Please share your ideas below!

Are you interested in engaging and converting new customers for your business? Contact me here and let’s talk about how we can help. Or follow me on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and if you like what you see, Subscribe here for regular updates.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.