Yep, it seems like a far way off, but summer is the time to have a content strategy in place for the new year – especially if you’ve never had a content marketing strategy to speak of. Here we review why summer is the time to plan your content marketing strategy to help improve the success of your marketing efforts.
You Have Time to Consider Your Mission and Goals
Your mission and goals play an important role in determining the type of content you need to post. What are some typical goals? Improving revenue, higher quality leads that tie in with your revenue goals, generating more website traffic, becoming more influential and authoritative, etc. When you can nail down your mission and goals you become more effective at creating SEO content that improves traffic. However, instead of just random traffic, the traffic is more purposeful so you’re more likely to achieve your goals. This offers two major benefits:
- Improved SEO success to expand your online presence
- Reduced marketing costs because your content starts working for you
Your goals can also evolve. You might start off developing your brand story to separate yourself from the competition but then change to improve the quality of leads your content generates as your needs evolve. By working ahead of the game, you buy yourself time and become more strategic in content development.
You Can Establish Measurable Goals Using KPIs
Goals that are specific and measurable help you understand your ROI and how well your content is working. Setting key performance indicators (KPIs) provides milestones you can check off as you achieve your goals such as:
- Revenue: Revenue targets that are monthly, quarterly, or annually
- Sales: Getting more sign-ups for emails, or higher quality leads from email sign-ups
- Traffic: Seeing an increase in site traffic and in engagement with your onsite content
- SEO: Improving the search ranking of some of your key pages to help boost traffic
- Digital marketing methods: Specific metrics based on your channels and methods such as improving the search ranking of some of your key pages to help boost traffic, or maybe getting a certain number of mentions, shares, and comments for your pillar content
- Authority/Influence: Getting invited to participate in certain key industry events
Don’t forget cost in your KPIs. What kind of ROI are you seeing and how well are campaigns contributing to your sales and leads?
You Can Consider Your Ideal Audience
Working further out gives you more time to consider your audience. A successful content marketing strategy needs a clearly defined audience, so your content resonates with them. To find the right audience, demographic data and customer feedback are key.
They allow you to zero in on buyer personas, instead of trying to share the same content with too broad an audience. Buyer personas, or customer profiles, focus on more specific qualities that help define the various groups of people that make up your ideal customer such as:
- Customer pain points
- Challenges they face (or you face in overcoming common objections)
- Behavioral motivation
- Their preferred sources of information such as texts vs emails or social media vs video
- The things that make them care more about what you offer
When you learn to understand your ideal audience, your content evolves into a higher level of information that resolves issues for your readers. As a result, you help them and show them you are the solution to their problems.
More Time to Choose Effective Content Channels
Instead of just trying to add content to every channel, the discovery of your audience leads to the discovery of the most effective content channels. You’ll speak to them where they tend to hang out using the type of content they find most engaging. You have time to understand habits and customize your content based on web analytics which shows you where your content is shared most often. Those are the networks to target to get more traction from your content.
Take Time to Explore Content Types
You’ve got an audience; you’ve got channels so now you can effectively explore content types. We look at it in a few content chunks:
- Your Blog: This is your central core of content published on your own site. This is high value because you can repurpose it on other channels. This content is actionable, valuable, and shareable covering a suitable, but varied range of article types.
- Video Marketing: Video improves visitor engagement keeping them on your site longer, reducing abandonment and improving lead generation.
- Infographics: These are easy to scan for visitors and easy to create for you using tools like Canva.
- Memes: A must if you have a younger audience and ideal for fun social sharing.
- Educational: Webinars, eBooks, checklists, worksheets, and more are excellent lead magnets.
You can also consider podcasting as over 40% of Americans listen to podcasts today.
Better Resource Allocation
Planning further ahead provides more time to figure out who is available to do the work. Resource allocation ensures there is always someone (or some tool) assigned to:
- Identify and create effective content
- Produce and maintain content
- Schedule content
- Publish content
When you consider these tasks and the required roles to get the work done, you can look into your options. Whether it is using tools, new hires, training existing team members or outsourcing, you have a plan to make sure you stick to your plan.
You Can Map Out a Content Calendar
Over a few months, you get everything you need in place. Now it’s easier to tackle the nitty-gritty of your content strategy. Your content calendar can be ready when the new year arrives with all the essential content lined up based on your goals, audience, channels and content types. You’ll also be able to assign people to take on the tasks and know who or what methods are required to get the work done. The more complicated your content channels, and the larger your content team, the more efficient and detailed your scheduling/project management tools should be.
Knowing all the prep work required to get a solid content strategy in place shows you why you should work months in advance. When it comes time for the rubber to hit the road, you have the right people and tools in place to manage, write and post your content for success.
If you’re on the fence about all of this and need a little guidance, let us at StructureM set up a time with you to guide you through the process of developing a content plan based on your own custom growth goals. Click here to have one of our marketing experts speak with you!