At heart the content marketing strategy is an answer to your typical 5WH questions. Who, what, where, when, why and how. It might sound easy, but it does require a certain set of skills to find the correct answer to your questions and achieve a solid content marketing strategy.
First Step: Audit
Start by understanding your performance. What are your strengths and weaknesses? how can you build on what you are doing right and where do you need to stop wasting your resources?
The auditing should also take your competitors into consideration. How are they performing? where are they ahead and what are they doing right to stay on top?
Your auditing report will also help you understand your audience, who are they and what is driving their interest and how can you build on that. Most importantly, it will help you understand the user journey, the effectiveness of your landing page, and what can you do to enhance the user experience.
Step 2: The Who
The “who” are commonly referred to as your audience. The auditing process will help you identify your current audience, but are they the audience that you are targeting? If not, then you will need to identify their interests and start catering to their needs. Start by identifying your target audience, and group them to create a persona that speaks about their pain points and what triggers their interest.
Step 3: The Where
The “where” are the locations where you are most likely to find your audience. Audience can be categorized into age groups, interests, and even geography. defining your audience age, lifestyle, profession and location will help you determine the channel to reach them, be it online or offline, social, email or even community out reach. Find the answer to the “where” question and you will know where to be for your audience to find you.
Step 4: The When
There are a number of tools that can help you find out the best time to post your content across channels. However the when in your strategy goes beyond the ideal timing or how many times your are going to post. What really matters is consistency, as consistency above all depends on your resources. Do you have the resources to post daily, biweekly or even weekly? Your strategy should take this into consideration and then you will be able to set the dates you are going to post and how often. Ideally you will want to post a minimum of 3 times per week, this can go up to 3 times per day according to your brand and industry.
Step 5: The What
In this stage you start thinking about the type of content that your audience crave. Videos have always been an audience favorite, but they might as well be looking for a long form informative article or even an industry report. Then you will have to think about engaging formats, be it inspirational videos, infographics or even memes, they can all tell your story, but figuring out the best format will need a lot of testing, before you achieve consistency. You can arrange for a number of posts, monitor their performance to find out which one is doing better.
Step 6: They Why
Whenever you are planning content and setting up your calendars, keep on mind why are you creating this content and will it help you achieve what you want. It is important for your strategy to outline the KPIs that really need to go beyond numbers of followers engagement and opening rates, or even conversions. Along with these traditional metrics, your KPIs should look into referrals, advocacy and feedback. Start by setting your weekly, monthly and annual targets and review your strategy quarterly to determine its effectiveness.
Step 7: The How
How are you going to implement your strategy. Plot out the resources you will need, from content creators to publishers and graphic designers. Point out the skills you need to push through your content. Research the best tools you will need to install. You will also have to decide on a clear workflow to streamline the process of executing your content marketing strategy.
At CMB we believe that a great marketing plan starts with an effective content marketing strategy. Knowing your 5WH will set you on the right track. Remember that you will need to have these on paper or a Powerpoint file to share it across with everyone involved in content creation and sharing.