It sounds obvious that companies should have a content marketing plan in place but you’d be surprised at how many business websites just start cranking out the content without planning sufficiently for it. Well, flying blind with no content strategy in place is the easiest way to crash and burn.
So what exactly is a content strategy? What’s it good for, and how can you create your own and stick to it well enough to ensure nothing but blue skies ahead?
What Is Content Strategy?
Content strategy refers to the process of planning, developing and managing any type of content on any type of media. These days, you mostly hear the term in relation to websites, but TV producers and newspaper publishers also use content strategies before publishing any content. At least, they should.
You’ve probably heard this one: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Smart, huh? Yet no matter how great your content, publishing stuff all willy-nilly is a recipe for disaster. Okay, maybe not a serious disaster, but what’s the point of spending all that time and money developing content if you’re not maximizing every blog and social media post?
A good content strategy should look at the following questions:
- What? What do you need? Ad copy? Blog posts? Infographics? All of these things, or maybe a couple extra elements to boot?
- Why? Why do you need this content? Do you have quantifiable objectives (more leads, greater awareness, increase conversion rates) that the content will help achieve?
- Who? Hey, who’s creating all this content anyway? And after that, who’s in charge of doling it out and deciding when and where it gets published?
- For Whom? Come to think of it, who’s going to be reading this stuff? How well do you know your target audience? Is this content really what they need?
- How? How should you plan, create and manage all this content? Should you work in-house or outsource? How much is all this going to cost? And how will you know it’s working?
- Where? Where does the content go once it’s ready for publication? Which channels will work best to leverage this content and reach your target market?
A good content marketing plan should answer all these questions.
Creating Your Content Marketing Plan
Developing a content marketing plan is no good if you don’t know where you’re headed or what success looks like. Once you’ve answered the questions above, you’ll have a more objective goal in mind for your content.
Keep in mind that any content marketing plan lives in constant evolution; you’ll always be tweaking and fine-tuning it depending on what your analytics show, how your business changes over time and a ton of other factors. Keep building on the tactics that are working, and don’t hesitate to retire the ones that aren’t moving the needle.
Finally, remember that content strategy is a long-term investment, so don’t get discouraged by the lack of immediate results. As long as you dig in and hold steady with what you know already works, you’ll slowly start to see the results of your labor make a serious difference in your business success.