Creating an effective content strategy is a critical piece of marketing for businesses of all kinds. A compelling content strategy and content marketing plan can yield great benefits as you reach audiences you might not otherwise reach. This post begins a six-part series designed to guide you to success.
Part 1: Series Overview
You can create a content strategy in five steps:
- Develop a Strategy
- Create Content
- Market the Content
- Manage the Content
- Measure Your Efforts
Let’s be clear: Content strategy is not just about a single channel such as a website, social media, or thought leadership writing. An effective content strategy takes all of your channels into account and ties them to business-level goals using meaningful measurements.
As Rahel Bailie says:
“Content strategy deals with the planning aspects of managing content throughout its lifecycle, and includes aligning content to business goals, analysis, and modeling; it influences the development, production, presentation, evaluation, measurement, and sunsetting of content, including governance. What content strategy is not is the implementation side. The actual content development, management, and delivery are the tactical outcomes of the strategy that need to be carried out for the strategy to be effective.”
Every organization can benefit from a content strategy, though the complexity and sophistication of yours will depend on the marketing needs, size, and scale of your organization.
Finally, it’s not enough to simply have a strategy. Make sure that it is measurable, manageable, and realistic within your organization’s resource and/or budgetary constraints.
Use the five steps outlined throughout this guide to create an effective content strategy. From developing an overall approach to measuring its effects, all five steps work equally to develop a complete strategy.
Part 2: Creating a Content Strategy
When we say “strategy” we mean establishing goals, determining our key audiences and ultimately how to reach them. All of this needs to tie back to business-level key performance indicators (KPIs) or else the content marketing work you are doing, even if successful, will not achieve the true purpose of advancing the company’s goals.
Following the definition of your strategy comes your marketing plan. This is what bridges your marketing goals to your strategy and to the tactics you will ultimately use to achieve your stated objectives.
While this part seems obvious, we all know that all the best intentions to create a solid strategy can potentially fall by the wayside when tactical decisions and delegated tasks do not comprehensively address your marketing needs.
Finally, your plan must outline how you intend to measure its success. While the actual measurement will not take place until your efforts are in market, you need to understand how you will track the pieces of your plan as you both create the content and execute your plan.
Remember, an effective content strategy focuses on all of your marketing and communications channels and ties them to business-level goals using meaningful measurements.
A clear, measurable content strategy is vital to meeting successful business goals. Focus on actively measuring KPIs and keeping the overall marketing plan front in mind, and your first step to creating a successful content strategy is complete.
Next up: Content Creation
Once we have a strategy and marketing plan defined, we need to create the pieces that will ultimately be used in our marketing efforts.
In Part 3, we will cover individual channels, but content creation can take many forms, including articles, white papers, infographics, website content, emails, brochures, etc.
The key to being successful in your content creation efforts is to find methods that allow the items you generate to be modular, flexible, consistent, and easily repurposed across multiple media. A less-is-more approach to individual pieces can work well for smaller organizations or even for larger ones with small marketing and creative teams.
About the Series
In this series, we dive into each of the five parts needed to achieve a successful content strategy.
Also, remember that even if you are midway through a set of content marketing efforts, it never hurts to re-evaluate how you got to where you are. Sometimes it doesn’t require revisiting the starting point to find a step in the process you might have rushed through. By simply reviewing your planning and creation efforts, you might be able to make a significant improvement to an effort that is currently underway.
Until next time, may you be intentional, strategic, and ultimately successful in all your marketing efforts!
Originally published on the Carousel 30 blog.
Greg Kihlström, founder and CEO of Carousel30, is a digital strategist and creative director who has worked with top brands on many campaigns, including AOL, AARP, Ben & Jerry’s, Geico Direct, MTV, Starbucks, The Nature Conservancy, Toyota, TV One and the Washington Wizards.