Content marketing strategy is like the Middle child in an India household. Often ignored and overshadowed but the most stable of all the strategies involved.
“Content Marketing is all the Marketing that’s left.Seth Godin
When it comes to Marketing a lot of people are sceptical about organic marketing. The strategy is slow and takes some time to drive results. However, the fact is in the 21st century where more and more brands are emerging everyday, the costs for paid marketing will keep on increasing.
This makes organic marketing the most sustainable and long term strategy for the marketing game.
So what exactly is Organic marketing?
It is providing information to your potential customer over time to generate trust and bring them a step closer to conversion. This is achieved by providing them value for free A.K A. Content Marketing.
Also Read- What is Content Marketing?
That is why, creating a strong Content marketing strategy is imperative to a brand. So how to create a content marketing strategy for the brand?
I personally use my 6 step Content marketing Framework.
This framework covers all the important aspects of content marketing strategy and while diving deep into how to execute them. It also provides the outline for the whole strategy , while setting milestones. We will also discuss the types of content you can create and how you can create 64 pieces of content with one single content.
In the end we also discuss making improvement to your strategy to stay up to date and fill gaps.
Let’s dive in and get into each aspect of the framework.
1. Brand Analysis and customer Analysis
Is it even possible to design a strategy for a brand if you don’t understand the brand and the customers it caters to?
A lot of rookie Marketers including me in the past are guilty of this sin.
We get on the funnel design or worse… the content creation part without actually finding out about the brand.
This all boils down to- RESEARCH…and when I say research I don’t mean just research on the brand on the surface level but also the root level.
Simon Sinek introduced this idea of the Golden Circle.
This golden circle is a theory of Value Proposition that is soo elementary that many marketers overlook it. Even when we talk about branding, we talk about the business and What the Business does, or how they do it.
While these two things are important.. There is something that is more important.. WHY!
What is the motivation, and what change will the business bring about?
Once the perspective changes from What and How to WHY.. your content marketing strategy will become more Customer-centric. When we talk about the Why, we shift the attention to the customers; which generates trust as it shows that we actually care about them.
What is the Brand Vision and Mission?
It is also important to find out the vision and mission statement of a brand. This will not only help in understanding the brand but also in creating Branded content (This can be done by picking up keywords from the mission and vision statement and subtly including them in content).
This is where the Customer analysis comes in. After you have understood the brand at all levels, it is time to identify the customers and their needs.
Find out what customers actually want and most importantly need.
Then Find out any possible gap between the existing strategy of the brand and customer need.
Now your job is to fill the gap with help of your Content Marketing strategy.
To do this visit the existing content of the brand and see how customers have reacted. Also, find out direct competitors and analyze their content for the opportunities.
2. Goal setting and Funnel Design
Analyzing the brand and customers has already given you ideas of what is missing from the strategy.
You now know what you need to add to the strategy or how to create a new strategy from scratch. So this will give your clear ideas of what you have to do.
Also find out any possible business goals.
For Example, One of my clients wanted to grow their community with the help of content marketing and build trust within the existing community.
So the goal here was to create content in a way that provides the necessary information but also get people into that specific group.
This will help you to find Call to Actions for your content.
If the Brand wants to grow the email list, then the content will be made in a way that we can provide a Call to action for Joining the email list.
Having clear ideas of Business goals will help you to structure content.
Once the goal is set, it is time to design the Content Marketing Funnel.
So now you have to find out the appropriate platforms for the brand and design a funnel for the entire strategy.
You can have Blogs, Youtube, Social Media, Guest post, Newsletters, podcasts and what not. The possibilities are endless.
You can also create a sub funnel for each part of the funnel. ( but let’s not go crazy right now)
Having the funnel in place with set clear milestones for the strategy and you everything in line.
It will help you visualize how content will flow and interact with the customer and the audience.
Do make sure that the Content Marketing funnel stays in sync with the overall marketing funnel of the brand.
3. Content Creation
The most glamorous and exciting part of the whole framework. The actual creation of content.
By this point you know what the brand stands for and what are the goals. It’s time to create a Content Plan.
First thing you want to do here is find a list of Content Pillars.
Content Pillars are broad topics that the brand always talks about and will create content about. Do not try to be specific here but try to find relevant broad topics.
These pillars will guide you in future for content ideas.
Once that is done you can brainstorm for Content ideas and get into actual creation.
If we are talking about a Beauty and Lifestyle brand. The Content pillars for the brand can be- Skincare, Makeup, fashion and fitness. (there can be many more but we will stick to these)
Then within the topic clusters we find topic ideas (also called Content clusters).
For example- Skin care products for oily skin, Everyday fashion hacks every woman should know etc.
Now it’s time to create different types of content for different platforms.
What all types of content can you create?
- Guest posts
- Visual content
- White papers
- Lead magnets
- Social media post ( Instagram, Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter)
And many many more.
But how to create so much content in limited time?
The trick here is to repurpose the content in every way, shape of form possible.
Gary Vee has a comprehensive strategy in which he creates 62+ pieces of content from 1 content, all by repurposing.
For example- You can create a full video and then edit it for 5-6 small micro clips for Instagram. You can also transcribe the video and edit it to write a blog.
However, you can not just simply create and repurpose content and be done with it.
Here comes the next step.
4. Content Optimization
Content Creation is not one size fits all strategy. Every piece of content that is created has to be optimized for the platform you are creating it for.
For example you can not expect a piece of content that was originally made for a blog to perform well on instagram.
Your content needs to be Contextual.
It has to be optimized according to each platform it is made for.
For example – You have made a Video for youtube and optimized the content for Youtube. Now if you transcribe it, first you have to edit it for a readable format and then optimize it for the Search engine. That’s where SEO comes in.
When you go forward and repurpose it for Instagram, you have to make it more visual as Instagram is a visual platform and then add hashtags for searchability.
If you repurpose it for Linkedin In, you have to structure it to look more professional and for a more engaging text-only experience.
5. Content Distribution
What good is amazing amazing content if it doesn’t reach the right people?
Now that the content has been created and optimized for each of the platforms, it’s time to distribute it across the channels and even the existing network.
You already know the channels ( thanks to goal setting and funnel design )
Now it’s time that you put the content there and see it interact with the customers.
When we talk of the organic distribution channels they can be divided into
Owned media – The content on channels owned by brand and funnely controlled by brand (website/ Email marketing/ Content on Brand’s social media profile)
Earned media – When the brand gets a platform courtesy to others creating content for you and giving your free publicity.
Shared media- This is the content created for the brand on social media by others which the brand can comment and collaborate on. It is a mixture of Owned and Earned Media.
The idea is to cross promote the content among the various platforms.
But But But…. Wait!
Is that really enough?
Post content and Done?
One of my mentor said that-
What you do after posting the content is more important than the content itself.
Do you just let your content sit?
You have to engage with the audience and other community members. You have to distribute it within your community.
You should also engage with content made by other people and leave meaningful engagement.
6. Analyzing Statistics and filling Gaps (Content Audit)
Content is posted and you have even engaged. But somehow you see that some of your content did really well while others just fell flat. This kind of thing always happens for content creators. A simple piece of content can do wonders while your most beautiful and aesthetically pleasing content can fail.
That is why you need to conduct an Audit for the content .
One rule to remember as a content marketer-
You never make amazing content, you make content that provides value. It’s your audience that makes content amazing by reacting to it.
It is impossible to predict which content will perform well because the customer’s reaction is a variable but the value you provide to them should always be a Constant.
So this is the step where you open up the statistics of the content you distributed and figure out where you fell short.
Find out any possible gap between the Goals you had set and what actually ended up happening.
Once you have done that it’s time to improve the strategy for the next time.
You see you can’t just create one single strategy and call it a day. You have to keep improving and adapting regularly.
In a blog by Content Marketing Institute, they mention that,
“Some parts of your strategy should stay consistent even as your content marketing program grows and evolves — namely, your mission and goals.
However, other aspects of your content marketing strategy will likely benefit from being reviewed and updated periodically. To ensure that your content marketing program remains on target, consider revisiting your channel strategy, core topics, and team processes on an annual basis — or more often if you are just getting started.“
As you can see that while this 6 step content marketing framework provides an outline, there are a lot of variables involved ( the customers, the way they will interact and even the competitors) So how do you create a strategy with so many variables?
Something like this comes with experience. You have to constantly try, execute and sometimes even fail to learn.
The key is to keep improvising.
If you are a constant learner and want to improve every day, you can join my FREE Exclusive Newsletter where I provide my Community members with Exclusive content, Updates and even Paid Opportunities.
You can also get on a FREE strategy/consultation call with me and we can talk about Content Marketing, SEO, Branding and more for your brand.
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is providing information to your potential customer over time to generate trust and bring them a step closer to conversion. This is achieved by providing them value for free A.K A. Organic Marketing.
What are the different types of content?
Social media content
and many more…
What are content marketing tools?
Content marketing tools help you to create, organize and execute your content marketing strategy. Some of tools are- Hubspot, hoot suite, wordpress, Google, Trello etc.