It’s been proven that content is king, and it is a powerful tool that bears qualitative and quantitative benefits. Marketers do not go where the wind blows, and content does not tolerate a chaotic approach. Content marketing strategy is not a fun bonus or perk, but a must-have and a requirement. Choosing a content marketing strategy defines the way the target audience sees the brand and ultimately reacts to it — engages with it or passes by.

When we say something, we prefer to support our thoughts with facts and figures. Content Market Institute issued comprehensive research on the habits of the prominent content marketers, specifically, how they evaluate the importance of content marketing strategy. About 80% of marketers are focused on building audiences, creating one or more subscriber bases. 74% of organizations value creativity and craft in content creation and production. Over 65% of content marketing programs are more successful than a year ago. Top marketers are those who have a documented content marketing strategy, have a high-level commitment to it, and are realistic on what content marketing can bring.

Content marketing strategy: the meaning

Given content is 'what', content marketing strategy is 'how and why'. The concept pertains to the management process of any chosen content form whether it is written, downloadable, visual, etc. A strategy is an integral part of a marketing plan, defining the brand and its expertise within the industry. It goes without saying that content marketing is important for building trust and ultimately growing business. Now it is time to clarify the role of content marketing strategy in detail.

When devising a content marketing strategy a marketer answers a number of key questions. First and foremost — who are the content consumers: the target audience, the number of audiences. Naturally, business can have several types of customers, thus, content might have several types of consumers. Juggling different content types and channels helps cover a wide area.

Suppose the business is operating in the e-commerce industry. Nowadays, this environment is very saturated and highly competitive. Speaking of competitors, they might have a similar product or service, thus, the business in question must convince the audience it is better than others, and that the product or service stands out from the crowd. This is the moment where content comes in. First, a brand proves it is worth listening to, which in its turn proves a brand is worth buying from.

Content marketing strategy shows the direction. Aside from the form of content and channels, it defines how exactly the business manages creation and publication of content. Well, it is a daunting task, no doubts about that. A marketer can make things easier simply by knowing who is creating what. Managing content from a topic standpoint is the common practice these days that helps prevent clutter and visualization of the brand's message.

Why create a marketing strategy?

The development of a content marketing strategy is the solid ground for planning credible and cost-effective sources of leads and traffic. If the company creates, for instance, a blog post providing stable amounts of organic traffic, an embedded link to a free tool guarantees steady leads generation in the future. In this case, a brand should consider learning about blog strategy.

When the evergreen content is the source of steady traffic and leads, a brand is provided with a certain extent of flexibility to work with the other marketing tactics for boosting revenues. Apart from attracting leads, content serves for education in terms of target prospects as well as brand awareness creation. Content marketing strategy bears tangible and intangible benefits for the business, and a top marketer realizes its opportunities and importance of being committed to it. Also, a top marketer knows how things should be done.

How to create a marketing strategy?

Content varies depending on the kind of business, and so does the strategy. Of course, there is no single template or standard approach — each brand transmits its own identity, own message, and fulfills own goals. However, the mechanism of content marketing strategy creation has several key stages that are true and compulsory in all cases. Let's dwell on them.

  • The definition of the goal.

One has to start by asking the following questions: what is our aim for creating a content marketing plan? When a marketer comes up with the answer to this question it is much easier to define what is best for the strategy.

  • Analysis of a buyer persona.

Content is useless when a business has only a generalized and vague idea of its audience. Knowing a buyer persona is vital. Basically, business draws a precise and clear portrait of its client in terms of everything: age, status, position, wants, needs, fears, and expectations. Knowing that, business defines which content is relevant and valuable.

Note: buyer persona requires systematic analysis, and growing audience demands to conduct marketing research once a year to check the parameters. You can use a marketing calendar template to organize the collected data.

For instance, if there is a Facebook page dedicated to business, one can use Facebook Insights and Google Analytics Audience Reports; giving comprehensive and robust data on demographics and psychographics.

  • Brainstorm.

Now it is time for brainstorming content ideas. There are different tools that help devise the ideas in the contexts which are appealing to your audience. BlogAbout service is a unique content idea generator, it displays common headline formats to be used. Feedly analyzes the most popular topics within the industry in question and helps find content ideas simultaneously.

  • Choose the type of content.

There are plenty of those: podcasts, case studies, blogs, social media, videos, ebooks, infographics, etc. Each of these types implies a number of laws, specifics, characteristics, and each of them requires diving into theory. Being updated on current trends is also very important.

  • Publishing and management.

A marketing plan goes far beyond the types of content one creates, it is also about how one manages and organizes it. This aspect implies using an editorial calendar. Some topics are evergreen, that is, they will be relevant six months later just as they are today. Nevertheless, it is essential to consider time-sensitive content. An editorial calendar helps keep track of everything and must be diverse. Sprout, for instance, incorporates monitoring and publishing. Service features give a chance to trace when content is distributed and republishing the content is required.

Yes, we know this is a lot of information for the newbies. But this is just the beginning. Content marketing strategy is all about organization, flawless management, commitment, and patience. This piece of work is challenging, but as you might have noticed, the results are worth the efforts.