content_strategyWe all have been generating a lot of content over the course of the years, but a recap on how to develop a successful content strategy can’t hurt. Still, the easiest way is of course to hire a content strategist, if you don’t want to go to work on it yourself. But if you decide to craft your own strategy, make sure you start with taking a look at what kind and amount of content you have so far.

Start with an inventory and audit of your content to find out if it is still relevant to your audience. Most importantly, however, is to double check if you are really getting through to the right target group you are trying to reach in the first place.

What you find personally motivating or persuasive doesn’t necessarily mean that it is of interest to your customers and prospects. Therefore, we recommend to make use of tools available to figure out what keywords and phrases your potential customers are using to find information when searching. And don’t forget to embrace the huge number of social media monitoring tools offered today to get insights into your consumers’ sentiment about issues, brands, and news. Consider demographics, psychographics, technographics etc. and couple the gained information with what you can find from search trends and social sentiment. The difference between the content you have and the content your audience needs is your gap analysis.

Define the value and goals of content marketing in the overall corporate strategy

You won‘t be able to head in any direction worth your while if your goals are not crystal clear. So know well what you want to achieve, be it raising your level of recognition, introducing new products in the most effective manner, establishing thought leadership or looking to generate sales leads. Content Marketing should help win and engage new customers and deepen the loyalty of existing customers. It should also result in closer customer relationships.

If you have a good content marketing strategy - and good content - it will result in higher levels of recognition, higher brand equity and higher ROI.

Further, your content strategy will also help your company to be found more easily amongst all that‘s available on the world wide web. A number of questions can help you here, e.g. which issues and topics could be the most interesting for your target group? And do you have resources to provide for that interest? You should also define the keywords necessary (e.g. using Google alerts) to find interesting content for your target group. Can you produce summaries of this information to make it easier to consume? What kind of entertainment is preferred by your target group, and what makes them laugh? How can you touch them emotionally? Are you offering new products or services?

Entertainment is the next big content category, and needs no further explanation. An important thing to keep in mind is that you want to get the consumer emotionally hooked with what your content has to offer.

Define relevant content channels

Nowadays, no one who wants to be taken seriously can go without a company website, so that’s hardly worth mentioning, but do you have a blog? And what about your presence on social media platforms like Facebook and Google+ and activity to promote your content there? Are you actively micro-blogging on Twitter and Pinterest? Do you have a YouTube account, and are you using this channel effectively? What about networking on Xing and LinkedIn? Are you making the most of PR and available press platforms? Would paid content platforms be an option?

Well there are tons of questions to consider, to no surprise, since there are many types of content, such as white papers, case studies, research articles, short texts (e.g. tweets, Facebook posts etc.), eBooks, videos, podcasts, presentations, infographics, and photographs.

Consider content marketing tools for support

There‘s a wide range of solutions, platforms, and communities on the market, and you should take care in defining the above, to be able to choose the right ones:

  • Content Management Systems, e.g. Typo3, Joomla, WordPress and other commercial solutions;
  • Blog software, e.g. in house solution, WordPress, Movable Type etc;.
  • Social Media Tools, e.g. Hootsuite, Twittdeck, Seesmic etc.;
  • Analytics / Social Media Monitoring, e.g. Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Hootsuite, Sysomos, Radian6, BrandEye and more;
  • Newsletter solutions, e.g. MailChimp, ConstantContact, CleverReach;
  • Landing page platform, e.g. Unbounce, Premise;
  • Survey platform, e.g. SurveyMonkey., etc.

High frequency content should be published several times a day on twitter, Facebook and other social platforms. Blog posts would be of medium frequency, and should be at least weekly, while whitepapers, videos and podcasts should be published at least once each quarter. Press releases are published depending on events, campaigns and innovation.

The publishing frequency is highly individual, and depends strongly on the type of company and its goals. These recommendations are general and would be applicable to a lot of company strategies, but you should evaluate the right frequency for your company with care.

Content analysis should comprise of leads generated, costs per lead, number of blog readers, number of newsletter subscriptions, fans, followers, etc. On a daily business level, web traffic, blog traffic, re-tweets, likes, share clicks, CTR are of importance.

Armed with this information, you’re ready to build a strategy for the creation, production, maintenance, and governance for your content marketing initiative.

By  Daniela La Marca