If brand awareness, thought leadership and lead generation are ideal destinations for your business, content marketing is the mode of transportation. However, success from content marketing isn’t achieved overnight. Think of it like a journey with different steps, or strategies, that need to be taken along the way.
There’s nothing that helps you on your journey more than a map. Below are our tips on how to develop a content marketing roadmap for your business.
Before you can ever begin churning out content and reaping the benefits for your business, you must first develop your strategy. While there’s no one-size-fits-all template that can account for the different capabilities and objectives of each company, there are some key components that should be considered for any successful content marketing strategy.
- Develop Your Plan – Effective content marketing varies from organization to organization. Due to the size of their company, Amazon’s content marketing strategy will differ greatly from that of a local business, even if both accomplish their goals. As you develop your plan, keep your business objectives in mind and determine how your content will address your customer needs.
- Identify Your Audience – Before you can start reaching your target audience with relevant and engaging content, you have to determine who they are, what they are looking for and what they need. Client personas can be created to represent the various ages, genders and professions represented, allowing you to tailor your content to specific members of your audience.
- Identify Your Brand – Your business isn’t the only one trying to reach members of your audience with content, but defining your brand voice allows you to differentiate yourself and communicate value to your customers and prospects. This is where you inject the personality of your organization with the language and style of your content to create a deeper connection with your audience.
- Identify Your Channels – Initially, content marketing seems like a sophisticated way to say blogging. However, from byline articles and infographics to speaking engagements and videos, there’s no shortage of options for your business to produce and share content. All of your content should live on your website, making it the centralized hub of your business.
- Identify Your Resources – When you consider the benefits of brand awareness, thought leadership and lead generation, it can be easy to get carried away with your content marketing strategy. Determine your bandwidth and make the most of your time to create a simple strategy that works for your business.
- Define and Set Goals – At the end of the day, you’re embarking on the journey of content marketing for a reason. What is it that your business wants to accomplish with your content? Outline specific, attainable goals based on the objectives of your company.
- Identify Key Metrics – After setting your goals, different metrics will allow you to determine the success of your content (or lack thereof). Maybe you want to increase traffic to your website or improve your search engine rankings. Identifying and studying the right metrics reveals whether your content reached the mark or if it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
- Know Your Audience – While client research and client personas reveal the identity of your target audience, social listening reveals what they are saying about your brand, industry and competitors. By studying the ongoing conversations, you can gain a better understanding of the needs of your target audience and how to effectively reach them.
- Create a Content Calendar – Organization and prioritization are the keys to keeping your content marketing strategy on track. A content calendar is an outline of all the content your business will be sharing over the course of a week or month. This allows your business to brainstorm, create and edit content well before you start publishing it for your target audience.
- Write, Edit, Publish, Listen – This is where the fun begins. All of the background work has laid the foundation for ensuring that your company’s content is at its best once it is received by your target audience.
- Optimize Your Content – All content should be reviewed after it’s published to determine whether or not goals were met. If you hit your goals, give yourself a round of applause and consider reusing the content at a later date if the subject is evergreen. If you missed the mark, this is where you can assess your content and make changes moving forward, but don’t get discouraged. Content marketing is a trial and error process to determine what is the most effective. It takes time, but if you’ve done your due diligence to develop a strategic roadmap then you’ll be on the right track right from the get-go.
Keep in mind that content marketing strategies must be adapted over time. This isn’t a one time exercise that lays out how you will produce and share content forever. Maybe your goals change based on a new vision for your business. Maybe you introduced a new product or service that applies to a new target audience. Whatever the case may be, the reason for publishing your content can change and you may require a new roadmap for success.