How to Develop a Winning Content Marketing Strategy in 2022

An often-used quote in business that is attributed to Lewis Carroll goes something like, “If you do not know where you want to go, it doesn’t matter which path you take.” It is a simplified paraphrasing of the exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland when the former finds herself stuck at a crossroad and is clueless about where she should go next.

So if you’re not too keen on making things up as you go along when it comes to planning your content marketing strategy, here’s an essential crib sheet to get your business started on its merry way to developing an intelligent and systematic roadmap to improve your chances of success. 

 

1. Determine Your Mission, Goals & Objectives

 

The logical starting point of any content marketing plan is to define a mission statement that enables you to focus on what is essential versus what is not in creating your content so that the direction of your marketing campaign doesn’t veer off-road. A good content marketing mission statement should identify your target audience, the content you will make to convey your message, and the benefit these recipients stand to gain. You can define your mission statement as simple as 

“We provide small to medium enterprises (SMEs) with informative ‘How To Guides’ to help them progress further along their buyer’s journey.”

While the Mission Statment will take care of what your intended audience will get out of your campaign, the Goals & objectives declare what your business wants to get in return for its efforts. Specific goals can include increasing revenue, getting more organic traffic to your website, or increasing social media engagement to build brand awareness.

 

2. Establish Your KPIs

 

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) need to be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. They serve as benchmarks that indicate when you have achieved your goals, e.g., increased revenue, a higher volume of organic or paid traffic landing on owned web assets, achieving higher domain authority and ranking on Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), or some other aspect of digital marketing like gaining higher click-through rates on Email Direct Marketing (EDM) campaigns, or higher social media engagement metrics such as likes or shares.

 

3. Craft Your Buyer Persona

 

HubSpot defines a buyer persona as a “semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” 

To create a buyer persona as detailed as possible, consider including customer demographics, e.g., age, gender, educational attainment, income bracket, geographic location; psychographics, e.g., cognitive personalities, lifestyles, interests, values, opinions, or beliefs; and other possible motivating factors.

 

4. Build Your Content Marketing Strategy 

 

Creating impactful content that resonates with your target audience and is also search engine optimized should be of the highest importance when creating your content marketing strategy. The Topic Cluster Model is an ideal methodology for planning content to build your body of valuable knowledge for your target audience and ranks highly on search engine results pages. Also otherwise known as the Pillar and Cluster Technique, this method focuses on topics rather than keywords. 

The Topic Cluster Model is an intent-based approach that simplifies blog archives by featuring content around a central topic known as the pillar page or post. Then several supporting blog posts (or clusters) are planned and written, which expound on sub-topics of the central pillar topic and generate internal links to the pillar page. This methodology will make your content perform better against Google’s semantic-indexing algorithm, which lends ‘link juice’ to each topic in the cluster to ascend the search engine ranks.

 

5. Conduct a Competitor Analysis 

 

Examining your competitor’s content plan enables you to gain insight. Empirical observation of their publication frequency, content types, preferred distribution channels, targeted keywords and phrases, and overall perception of the content’s unique value proposition can give you some ideas. Having gathered this data, you can then reflect on what you can do better to serve your audience’s needs in a manner as yet unaddressed by your competitors.

 

6. Decide On Content-Type 

Content types can take the form of written content like blogs, email campaigns, case studies, white papers and even infographics. If engaging video content is your preference, you can use videos or webinars. A content strategy can and should use a combination of these depending on what your brand wants to accomplish. What is important here is that you combine content types with matching specific channels to maximize the impact of your message. Be careful not to give off the impression that your brand uses a one-size-fits-all approach to content, where just one type of content is syndicated across all web and social media assets. Speaking of distribution channels…

 

7. Select Your Distribution Channels

 

Not all digital channels are created equal. Each social media platform, for example, targets a specific demographic. Facebook and Instagram are great for Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) or Business 2 Consumer (B2C) brands that can benefit from influencer marketing, whereas Business 2 Business providers might prefer LinkedIn. Depending on your demographic, your brand will want to focus on digital platforms that enable you to serve your audience best. 

 

8. Define Roles & Create Workflows

 

Defining roles within a content marketing team is about deciding who will create what. Make sure that editorial briefs are ready for your group of writers, graphic artists, video creators, or even SEO specialists. Everyone is on the same page regarding who is responsible for accomplishing what and within the proper timeframes. Clarifying team expectations upfront ensures that work deadlines and deliverables function like a well-oiled machine.

 

9. Use a Media Calendar to Schedule and Distribute Content

When it comes to distributing your content in the most efficient way possible, having the right tools comes into play. If you’re heavily invested in social media campaigns, having a content calendar scheduling tool like HootSuite, HubSpot, Sendible, or Later to name a few, will help you disseminate your content across multiple media assets from one place. Apart from saving your team a lot of time, getting a bird’s eye view of the various content types getting syndicated across multiple channels will give you an idea, even at a mere glance, of which channels are yielding the most traction.

 

10. Measure Content Performance

 

What gets measured gets managed. Using the analytics tools available on each social media platform helps your business hone in on what marketing initiatives are working (or not) and may lend insight as to why. This is why regular measurement and reporting enable you to stay focused. Data and insights gleaned from them can help you make decisions to yield improved outcomes in return for all your efforts. Circling back to your stipulated KPIs and benchmarking against them will keep you on track. For example, if your main goal is to improve simple brand awareness, you might want to measure vanity metrics like the number of likes and shares across social assets. Monitoring your progress through data analytics will enable you to promptly adjust your content marketing strategy.

 

Conclusion

Ensuring the successful outcome of your content marketing plan can be straightforward. This easy-to-follow 10-step process should have you well on your way to successfully launching and maintaining your content marketing strategy from start to finish methodically.