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Guide to creating a content marketing strategy in 5 steps

If you are producing content for your business, it’s a good idea to have a content marketing strategy in place to make sure you’re making the most out of every piece of content you produce.

Let’s say you write a blog and post it on your website. If you don’t have any other marketing channels working to promote that blog, that is as far as that piece of content will go.

A content marketing strategy makes sure that every piece of content you produce is supported by all your marketing channels, making it easier to hit your goals, reach a wider audience and generate real change for your business.

The benefits of content marketing for small businesses

By producing a content marketing strategy, you can make sure all the parts of the puzzle fit together so your marketing channels are directing customers to your final goal, whether that’s getting in touch, purchasing a product or signing up.

If you are spending the time and the money to produce content for your business, you should be trying to get the best possible returns on it. A content marketing strategy helps you do just that.

Creating a content marketing strategy

Writing a content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be a stressful process. In fact, you can do it in 5 easy steps. Here’s how!

1 - Who, what, why

First things first, you need to define the basics of your content marketing plan: who, what, why.

  • Who - Who is your target audience?

  • What - What are your key messages and USPs?

  • Why - Why do you want to produce this content? What are your content goals?

This is your chance to consider carefully why you are writing content, who you are trying to target and what messages you hope to get across to your audience. This will form the foundation for your entire content marketing strategy.

2 - Start with top level plans

Once you have defined your audience, key messages and goals, you can start with a broad, top level plan. Generally we recommend starting with a 12 month period for your content strategy.

Get yourself a spreadsheet - you don’t need any fancy marketing software to write your strategy - and break the 12 months down into broad themes. At this point you should also select which marketing channels you will use to deliver your content.

Some channels you could choose include:

  • Blog

  • Social Media

  • Email

  • Referral sites

  • PR

  • Awards and events

  • Videos

  • Podcasts

It’s a good idea to have at least 2 content marketing channels. For small businesses, we generally recommend a blog, social media and email with additional content channels added depending on their relevance to your business.

3 - Then break it down into chunks

Within your 12 month span, you can start to go into more detail. Break that 12 months into 3 month chunks and fill in the months with specific topics that you want your content to cover.

It’s a really good idea to think seasonally, especially if you have an ecommerce business. Think about what kind of content you need to be producing throughout the year in order to drive your audience to purchase certain products or services from you.

4 - Consider multiple audiences

For many businesses, you will likely have different audiences who require slightly different messaging. Within your content plan, you can divide each topic or theme for each audience.

With multiple audiences into the same content strategy, you can see where your content overlaps. There will probably be many topics that are relevant for multiple audiences so you can save yourself time and money by identifying opportunities for collaboration.

5 - Bring it all together

Now you have your topics mapped out, you can dive deeper into the specific marketing channels you are going to use to deliver your content to each audience.

For instance, if you are planning to write a blog for each month, you can plan how you are going to make that blog post travel further. You might choose to use social media and email marketing to promote the blog. Or you might like to rewrite and tweak it to send out as a press release or to your referral sites.

We recommend writing at least 2 blogs per month as part of your content marketing strategy. Ideally, you would be writing a fortnightly or weekly blog to keep adding new content and providing your audience with added value.

A content strategy case study

To give you a clearer idea of how a content marketing strategy can work for you, consider this case study:

An e-commerce business is hoping to boost sales of Easter decorations and Easter-themed gifts. They produce a downloadable Easter weekend checklist, including different tasks to be completed by someone hosting an Easter lunch. To support this content, they also produce a social media campaign driving followers to download the checklist.

At the same time, they also set up an automatic email marketing campaign. Whenever a potential customer downloads the checklist, they automatically get an Easter gift buying guide in their inbox with direct links to relevant products in their online shop.

This gift buying guide can also be rewritten and sent to their referral site to be used as a separate blog post, which further drives more traffic to their e-commerce site.

Making your content work for you

The purpose of a content marketing strategy is to facilitate joint up thinking when it comes to your content. Many small and medium businesses tend to produce content on an ad hoc basis, whenever inspiration hits. While this might be convenient, this strategy means that the reach for your content is always going to be limited.

By producing a content marketing strategy, you make your life that much easier. You know exactly what content you need to produce in order to have the maximum impact for your business. And on top of that, you know that every marketing channel is working to deliver on your goals.

For more help and advice on producing a content marketing strategy for your business, book a Power Hour with Emilie or check out our digital strategy package here.

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