Here are a few questions to ask to conceive the perfect strategy for your content marketing.
Who Is This Content Campaign For?
You can’t devise a content strategy if you don’t understand your audience. Do some market research. Who are your customers? What are their demographics? Where do they consume content? What do they need help with? Knowing these basics help you choose between different types of content, different platforms, and the underlying promise of the information (or entertainment or advice) your content marketing campaign ultimately delivers.
Bottom line: if your content strategy doesn’t address a compelling customer need, it’s not going to be successful.
How Will You Use Your Content to Build and Shape Your Brand?
How do your customers feel about your brand? Is that something you want to change? Your content should reflect the best version of your company. Not necessarily who you are today, but who you want to be. Consider your objectives for your brand as a whole and for your brand properties. Unifying your content with the look and feel of your brand’s image is important – this is one way viewers will link the content with your company and it’s also a way to reinforce (or change) your image. Remember, the best social content marketing is branded subtly, without being too overtly advertorial. This is one way it builds trust. Unifying colors and fonts is one way to do this. You can also include an unobtrusive logo or tagline or simply post the content on your business website, interactive website, Facebook page, Youtube account, or other clearly branded property.
What Topics are You Going to Cover?
Content marketing is all about solving problems. Sometimes these problems are obvious and specific. For example, you’re a hardware store chain and your customers need how-to guidance for home improvement projects. In this case, a series of how-to videos or infographics would work nicely. They give customers the information they need to solve their problem, and chances are they’re going to need some hardware, so you’re going to be one of the first businesses they consider.
But sometimes the problems are less concrete. For example, if you’re a restaurant and your customers aren’t engaging with you. Ultimately, you satisfy their hunger, but you can’t do a content campaign on how to eat. In this case, you’ll want to look for a way to engage people that ties to the essence of your brand–like embracing Italy if you’re an Italian restaurant, playing up wine education or events if you have a strong wine offering, or offering guidance about other things to do in your neighborhood to attract people there in the first place.
Brainstorming Topics: How Will You Position Your Company as an Authority?
What will your content be about? The content should relate in an obvious way to your industry and it should inspire viewers to seek out more information. For example, in LinkedIn’s series of infographics about the state of social business in 2014, they both provided interesting insights into popular careers today and piqued interest about what else visitors might find on their site.
How Do You Define Success?
Defining your goals will help you keep your project on target, and it will help you measure whether or not you feel the project has been worth the effort. Just be wary of weighing one measure of success too heavily. Content marketing campaigns may not translate to a specific number of conversions. These campaigns are about building positive sentiment, growing brand awareness, and establishing your company as an authority. All of which can be difficult to quantify. It’s likely your success will translate to gains in the “influence, visibility, credibility, and desirability of your business.” So you probably won’t have a single number to hang your hat on. Look at the big picture, taking into account things like website traffic, sales, leads, mentions on Facebook and Twitter, mentions on blogs, reviews, sharing of social media content and links back to your content.