Generating fresh and relevant content can be time consuming, frustrating, and sometimes just plain boring. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some sort of plan behind content generation?
Content marketing has taken the Internet marketing industry by storm, but it’s no easy task. Having a content marketing strategy is a must to stay on track and generate the fresh and relevant content that will boost your website’s search rankings.
Hubspot’s EMEA Marketing Director Kieran Flanagan recently published a blog “The Essential Guide to Creating a Successful Content Marketing Strategy“. In this article Flanagan breaks down your content marketing strategy into 4 stages and outlines specific steps for each stage to make your content strategy successful.
Developing & Implementing a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
Stage 1: Getting Buy-In
In order to have a successful content marketing plan, you must get people within your company to buy into it and be excited about what it could do for the company. People must be in the know and like what you have planned because they will be supplying you with resources and/or the budget to put this into action.
To do this you will most likely need to pitch your content strategy to these people or your boss. Flanagan outlined 3 things that your pitch should include:
1) Solving key challenges
Your pitch should include an overview of the key challenges that your business is facing and how the content marketing plan will solve them. Keep it clean and simple:
Marketers often make the mistake of complicating this part with too many data points. Try to summarize your key challenges in just a couple of charts so it’s more persuasive and easy-to-digest. – Flanagan, Hubspot
For example, the chart below outlines how implementing a successful content marketing strategy could decrease the cost per lead (CPL).
2) Relation to business metrics
Be sure to keep your audience in mind when giving your pitch. Your boss probably cares more about cost and revenue, so explain how solving these key challenges will lead to a strong return-on-investment.
In the chart above it is pretty clear that by reducing the cost-per-lead, you would also decrease the amount of paid CPL which would lead to less marketing expense and more revenue.
3) Explain in detail how your plan will help
Discuss how your content strategy is going to solve these key challenges and effect these business metrics. Make it clear that you’ve thought this plan through and know what resources you need to make this successful.
Stage 2: Developing a Content Strategy
Have a plan. Without it you will fail. A plan will help to keep you motivated and stay on track. It should include your key challenges, goals, and methods to measure results. These goals and measurements will help to hold you accountable.
Your content plan should include the following:
1) Create a persona for your target audience
Blindly creating content is hard and pointless. have an audience in mind when you’re writing.
Flanagan included one of HubSpot’s buyer personas in his blog post that includes the target reader’s goals, challenges, and why she would love HubSpot’s content. They then use this information to create content that is relevant to the persona.
2) Find any content gaps in your conversion cycle
Make sure you understand where the gaps are in your buying cycle for these different audience personas. It’s important to create specific content for these gaps to keep your audience interested and educated through all steps in the conversion process. This will help turn more visitors into quality leads.
3) Generate content ideas and stick to a publishing calendar
Once you determine who your audience is and understand where your content gaps are, it’s time to generate content ideas for your website, blog, and social media sites.
Brainstorming content ideas can be a tough process, but will be easier once you understand what your readers are looking for. It’s also important because it will help to avoid that evil thing we call writer’s block.
What can be even harder is creating and following a publishing plan. All successful content strategies have an editorial calendar that you and your team can see what content is being published and when it will go live. Google calendar is a great tool for this.
Stage 3: Creating a Publishing Plan
Creating a publishing plan is important for staying on track and meeting your marketing goals. To be successful at publishing content you should:
1) Scale content when possible by redistributing it in different formats
Coming up with different content ideas is hard, so when you get a good idea re-use it. Say you write a great blog post that gets a lot of traffic and good feedback, you should repackage that blog into different formats. You know it was successful as a blog, so it will probably be successful elsewhere too. Turn it into a info graphic and share it on your social media or create a powerpoint slideshow about it, or even create a video about it.
Use your different content channels to your advantage. Just because you used a content idea on your blog doesn’t mean everyone saw it. Some people might not go to your blog, maybe they only follow you on Twitter so you should republish that content on there.
Take content that you’ve already written and use that to generate related topics of discussion.
2) Maintain a high quality of content
Content for content’s sake is not a good strategy. Make sure your content is not only fresh and relevant, but also high quality. Check your spelling, make it interesting, and use images to enhance it.
Stage 4: Promote content early and often
Writing a quality blog post is not enough. You must share your content on other channels to get traffic (i.e. blogs, email, social networks, etc.) This will help grow the number of people that see your new content.
HubSpot recommends that in order to become a promotional pro you should:
1) Make promotion a part of the plan
When we were planning our new content strategy last fall, we put a lot of thought into how we were going to share our new content. We wanted to be sure that our new content was getting out to as many people as possible, so we created a plan to use our social media and email campaigns to drive traffic to our blog, which in turn would drive traffic to our site.
2) Team must have promotion skills
Promoting content isn’t as easy as clicking a button. You must have a team that has promotional skills, because marketing requires a team commitment. You might have one person in charge of generating and initially sharing content. However, the rest of the team and company need to get involved too. Just think if everyone in your company shared your new content via their social networks, think about how many more people your content would be reaching.
If you need help getting started on a content marketing strategy please feel free to reach out to us. We are here to lend a helping hand. Also checkout HubSpot’s “The Essential Guide to Creating a Successful Content Marketing Strategy” to download a content marketing blueprint.