9 Steps for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy That Works

Content marketing has always been a powerful tool for businesses to connect with their audience, build brand awareness, and drive sales. However, without a clear strategy, even the most creative content can fall flat. This guide will walk you through the essential steps to develop a content marketing strategy that not only reaches your audience but also engages and converts them.

Step 1: Define Your Goals

Before you can even create content, it’s crucial to know what you want to achieve with that content and set goals accordingly. Not only will those goals help you determine what types of content to create but they also will allow you to identify the topics to address. Whether you hope to increase brand awareness, generate leads, establish thought leadership, or something else, knowing what you’d like to accomplish will allow you to be intentional with your strategy.

Remember that goals can change over time, and some mediums are best for specific goals over others.

Step 2: Know Your Audience

Understanding your audience is the cornerstone of a successful content marketing strategy. Refer to your buyer personas for this process, which focus on the following for your ideal clients or customers:

  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Pain points
  • Online behavior

This knowledge allows you to tailor your content to meet their needs and wants, making it more relevant and engaging. Content is bound to fall flat when it doesn’t resonate with the audience you’re speaking to, so be mindful of the topics you cover to ensure your content is always providing value.

Step 3: Conduct a Content Audit

Analyze your existing content to understand what’s working and what’s not. This is helpful for knowing what types of content to adjust and what to repurpose based on how it performs. A content audit involves reviewing all the content you’ve published (on your website, blog, social media, etc.) and assessing its performance against your goals. This process helps identify gaps in your content library and opportunities for repurposing successful content.

Depending on which medium you’re viewing, your content audit may count:

  • Pageviews
  • Link clicks
  • Reactions
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • Follows

As you continue to monitor your content over time, you will likely notice a pattern with the types of content that generate the most traction.

Step 4: Choose Your Content Channels

Just because a channel exists, that doesn’t mean you need to use it. Always focus on the platforms where your ideal clients or customers are spending their time. That means that if your audience doesn’t use TikTok, don’t spend hours building a TikTok account for your company.

There are several content channels that exist, including:

  • Social media
  • Blog content
  • Email marketing
  • Podcasting
  • Webinars

The most important thing to remember is to avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket. Incorporate a minimum of three content channels to ensure you’re diversifying your efforts and maximizing your impact.

Step 5: Decide on Content Types

Once you understand your goals, audience preferences, and chosen channels, you can determine content types or formats that align with that information. Here are examples of what a few content types can do:

  1. White papers establish thought leadership.
  2. Videos increase engagement.
  3. Webinars generate leads.
  4. Blogs drive website traffic.
  5. Social media posts build brand awareness.

Experiment with different formats to see what resonates best with your audience. Don’t be afraid to try something new, either, as it’s often the unexpected content that can really perform well.

Step 6: Create a Content Calendar

Planning is key to maintaining a consistent and cohesive content marketing effort. A content calendar helps you organize when and where you’ll publish your content. It should include topic ideas, content formats, responsible team members, and publication dates. This tool ensures that your content strategy is executed smoothly and aligns with important dates or events relevant to your audience. It can be created in a project management system like Asana or with an old school spreadsheet.

Although it’s helpful for understanding what’s in the pipeline, it’s also not set in stone — it should be fairly easy to move items around to accommodate for more timely pieces.

Step 7: Develop Your Content

With a clear plan in place, it’s time to start creating. Focus on producing high-quality, valuable content that addresses your audience’s needs and interests. Remember, the goal is to add value, whether by solving a problem, providing insights, or entertaining. If possible, plan and create this content in advance to ensure consistency and save time in the long run. Whether you choose to spend a few hours each week writing and developing your content or one day each month, having a process that works for you can make a huge difference in the overall results.

Step 8: Promote Your Content

The work doesn’t end once the content is created — promoting it is next! Leverage your chosen channels to share your content with your audience. This might include:

  • Promoting your new blog post via social media
  • Sharing a podcast episode you recorded via your email list
  • Highlighting your white paper via paid ads

If the content is evergreen, it can be shared several times. Don’t make the mistake of only promoting it once and losing out on potential engagement!

Step 9: Measure and Adjust

Finally, measure the performance of your content against your initial goals. Use analytics tools to track metrics such as website traffic, engagement rates, lead generation, and conversion rates. Analyzing these metrics will help you understand what’s working and what needs to be adjusted to ensure that you’re making the most out of your time and resources. Use these insights to refine your strategy and content offerings moving forward.

Creating a content marketing strategy may seem daunting, but by breaking it down into manageable steps, you can develop a plan that effectively reaches and resonates with your target audience. Remember, the most successful content marketing strategies are flexible and evolve based on performance data and changing audience needs. By following this step-by-step guide, your company can leverage content marketing to achieve your growth objectives and build lasting relationships with your customers.

Getting Started with Your Content Marketing Strategy

Partnering with a Marketing Agency for Support

Are you looking for support with developing and executing a content marketing strategy that aligns with your company’s overall mission and goals? We’re here to help. At Dash of Social, we support our clients with creating well-rounded marketing strategies that attract and retain their ideal audience.

Reach out to us for a free consultation if you’d like to explore what it’s like to work with our agency and how we can support you.

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