For your content marketing efforts to bear fruit, you need to have a content marketing strategy in place. It needs to be precise and point to the direction that your content marketing efforts will follow. Moreover, it needs to be on paper, or on screen, rather than in your head. According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, only 39% of small businesses have documented their content strategy. These businesses are also more effective in various aspects of content marketing. So what are the vital questions that you need to ask yourself when drafting a content strategy?
When the content strategy is not documented, the truth is that it is no strategy at all. A well-defined content strategy helps you to remain focused, avoid excuses, distractions, and will keep you accountable. It defines how an organization will use content to achieve its objectives as well as meet user needs. Here are some more statistics from the study by the Content Marketing Institute:
- 60% of the companies with a documented strategy are more effective when it comes to content marketing. This is in comparison with 33% of companies with a 'verbal' strategy.
- 62% of companies with a content strategy use it to guide their content marketing efforts. This can be compared with 29% of companies with a 'verbal strategy'.
- Companies with a documented content strategy are able to measure the return on investment on their content marketing efforts.
Vital questions to ask when drafting a content marketing strategy
1. Who are my users?It becomes very tricky to target more than one audience in your content. The research further showed that 54% of small businesses target at least 2 audiences. Only 7% target one audience. However, you can still tailor make your content to fit the different audience(s). You need to identify and specify your audience. If you have different audiences, you need to define each of the categories.
2. Who are my competitors?Competitors include anything that can take prospects away from you. For example, if you are a web designer, your competitors include the tools that will help anyone to design, even if they do not have basic knowledge in designing.
3. What do I have to offer?Your audience and competitors help you determine what you will offer. They also give you an idea of the market and how you can package your content to fit in it. The mission and content strategy of your brand will keep changing over time depending on changing audience and competitor dynamics. You will use this information to package your content in a unique way.
4. What are my customers’ needs?You need to focus on your customer needs in terms of challenges, recurring themes, and even dreams. How do you get to know what your customer needs are? You need to find where your customers are active, for instance on social networking sites, or forums, for instance, Quora, or even membership sites like Authority.
5. Where am I?You need to assess how much you have achieved in your content marketing strategy in terms of the content that you have already published on your blog, website and social media. You then need to determine how far you need to go to achieve your goals, and what you need to change.
6. What is the purpose of my content?You need to ask yourself what the purpose of your content is. Is it for lead generation, building authority, or increasing organic search traffic? Each piece of content accomplishes a different task. It could also achieve all of the aforementioned goals, overall. You can for example write a blog post on another site with an intent of driving traffic to your site. However, the traffic should be directed to a landing page on the website, not just any page.
7. What is the frequency with which I will publish content?The frequency with which we publish content will be highly determined by the resources that we have, the time that you have to create it, and who is going to create the content.
8. How will I distribute the content?You need to determine the social media platforms on which you will focus. This means that you need to know the social platforms where your audience is. You also need decide whether you are going to use scheduling tools.
9. Who is in charge of my content?It may be necessary to hire someone to generate new content for your website or brand. If you are managing content and still trying to grow the business, it might be overwhelming. It may curtail growth in one area, either the content or the business.
10. Who will produce my content?You need to determine who will produce your content, all the way from the research level, creation, and design. What is the availability of these people?
11. Who will maintain this content?You will need to maintain your content. Look out for broken links, irrelevant topics and outdated facts. Create a schedule for maintenance of content.
12. Who is responsible for whichever result?If you are the one creating, doing research, and designing your content, then you are responsible for whichever result – good or bad. If you have a team that deals with content creation, make each individual team member responsible for a particular area in your content marketing strategy. As the business owner, you also need to be responsible for a specific area. This way, you will set the bar. Measuring performance keeps your team motivated and accountable.
Performance can only be measured against SMART goals. Most importantly, you need to leave room for mistakes and correction, as this is what ultimately leads to growth.
13. What is the destination?This point entails stating what you need to accomplish, and the type of content that will help you to get there. A core strategy needs to be aspirational, flexible and meaningful. This means that:
- It should allow for stretching, failing, and growth
- It should allow for adjustments resulting from a change in the environment as well as market dynamics
- It should align with your values, and it needs to be sustainable and endure challenges over a long period of time.