How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy

Online content marketing is a valuable tool for marketers looking to connect and engage with consumers. Building a content marketing strategy helps increase your brand’s identity, increase traffic and build links. Discover how to build a content marketing strategy.

According to a Content Marketing Institute (CMI) 2013 survey, 86 percent of B2C (business to consumer) companies are planning to keep or increase their current content marketing spending this year. Fifty-four percent of B2B (business to business) companies are planning to increase their content marketing spending in 2013. With a demand for content marketing increasing, it’s worth considering building a content marketing strategy and learning more about the opportunities content marketing can bring to your website.

“Content creation and distribution is booming. We’ve never seen brands more active in developing content to attract and retain customers. Our latest research tells us that more than one in every four marketing dollars is spent on a content marketing initiative. Yet, almost no one has a concrete strategy for the deployment of those content assets,” wrote Joe Pulizzi in Chief Content Officer Magazine.

So what exactly is content marketing? According to the Content Marketing Institute, to engage in content marketing is to create and distribute “relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience, with the objective of driving profitable customer action.” In simpler terms it’s when business and brands communicate with a target audience through informative and valuable content that doesn’t sell to the consumer.

To build a content marketing strategy means including blogs, social media strategies, e-books, press releases, whitepapers, case studies, newsletters, reports, custom publications, podcasts, videos, webinars and infographics on your website. The most successful content marketing campaigns involve several of these platforms, all working together to communicate a consistent message. Keep in mind that the audience will each engage differently with your brand, so incorporating several different platforms and techniques ensures that your content marketing strategy reaches the widest possible audience.

When building a content marketing strategy, you want to make sure that you’re publishing quality content that is easy to read, engages the viewer and provides real value – this will, in turn, allow the user to interact with your brand and bring about a call to action, which is the ultimate goal. You may find that you need to skew content for each platform to appeal to a broad audience. For example, your fitness blog may appeal to the more serious athlete while your social media outlets may appeal to an audience who is committed to working out three to five times a week or as time permits.

Content marketing is an invaluable tool when it comes to influencing the way that your target audience perceives your brand and in the way that they choose to interact with your products and services. Before you start putting content out there, you must develop a well-executed content marketing strategy. Pulizzi offers these steps before creating content:

  • Start with “why?” With content marketing, there are a number of possible business goals you can have. A few to consider are lead conversion/nurturing, customer loyalty/retention, customer up-sell and passionate subscribers.
  • Build your audience persona. Before you start any content program, you need to have a clear understanding of who the audience is and, ultimately, what you want them to do. What do you need to know about your audience to build the right persona? The easiest way to find out is by asking the following questions: who are they? what are their needs? why do they care about us? Your audience persona doesn’t have to be perfect, but it needs to be detailed enough so that your content creators have a clear understanding of who they are engaging.
  • Define the mission. This has nothing to do with the products and services you sell — it’s all about the informational needs of your persona, and should include the core audience target, what will be delivered to the audience and the outcome for the audience.