5 steps to create a simple content marketing strategy for your business

You’ve read extensively about content marketing and its benefits, and you’re so ready to start using this approach to create a funnel of engaged individuals who are ripe for conversion. Now what?

This is where most marketers get stuck. The idea of content marketing sounds great but fleshing out the actual strategy can seem complicated and layered. And that’s before we’ve even started on creating the actual content!

While content marketing efforts can indeed become crazy, huge productions, let me assure you that it can also be scaled down and done on a modest budget. That’s what this article will help you to do.

I’ve had clients with $15,000 production budgets, and those with $300 budgets. Of course, the scales of the content produced were different but you know what was the same? The process of creating the strategy.

Strategy doesn’t require a dime if you take the time to create it yourself. With that in mind, I'd like to share with you my5-step plan to creating a simple content marketing strategy. I use this simplified method when advising smaller businesses that have limited resources, where there's only one or two people working on marketing.

Small teams would do better zooming in on one area of content and developing it rather than fleshing out a complex strategy that you would likely not execute in its entirety.

{Trying to get your head around what content marketing is about? Get clued in right here}

With most of my guides, I like choosing one particular business as a case study that we will apply concepts to and create concrete examples for. For this guide, we’ll use an interior design company as the study.

HERE ARE THE 5 STEPS TO CREATING A SIMPLE CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY

Step 1:
Decide on a content pillar

This could be the toughest step but sort this out and everything else falls into place. This step involves asking two things; 

Main content format and channel: This will be the primary format of all your content production efforts, from which you can create snack able, bite-size pieces of content for your other channels. The most popular choices remain blogposts and videos like IGTV and Facebook Live, only because these formats can be easily by yourself. Other great choices include e-books and e-guides, white papers, podcasts, webinars and Youtube videos. For this lesson, let’s use the blog post on your company website as your choice of content format for our case study, the interior design firm.

Core topics that’ll guide all your content production: This is easy enough. Most businesses will pick a core content topic that is aligned with their goods or services. For eg, a fitness gym would likely pick “fitness” as a core topic; a financial institution would choose “financial literacy”; a supermarket would make “fresh food” a core content topic.

I’d like to challenge you here to think harder.There is nothing wrong with picking a core topic that is obvious but that also means your competitors might be churning out content that’s along the same lines. How do you stand out?

Here’s a tip: Think about your company values and its unique proposition, and then try to incorporate them into your core topic to make it even more targeted.

For eg, Is your gym located in the heart of the business district? How about making your content topic about fitness for time-strapped working professionals, instead of just fitness?

Let’s look at our case study, the interior design company. Most design companies would make “design” their core content topic.I’d try to push that idea harder. The stay-at-home order during this health crisis has changed the way people feel about their homes. More than ever, people now consider their homes hideouts, safe zones and places you can retreat to for extended periods of time. I would consider making “interior design & mental wellness” a core topic for my content marketing efforts. It might come across as being limiting at first, but you’ll see that it can yield a surprising number of suitable, targeted sub-topics. Go to Step 3 to see what I mean!

Step 2:
Identify your primary content marketing goal

Content marketing goals have to do with what you want to achieve when you put your content in front of people. Start by answering this: What part of a customer’s journey would you like your content to be a part of?

If you're not sure, that's OK. Let me help you figure it out. Here are four parts of a typical customer journey and an idea of what your content should do at each stage:

AWARENESS
At this stage, your content will be reaching out to people who might not even know that the goods or service that you’re offering exists. Content marketing here should attract readers and make them aware of your kind of business.

Key content goal: Creating awareness about your type of goods or service. Make people go, “Oh, I think I might need this!”

CONSIDERATION
This is where your content will reach people who are already considering engaging with a business like yours. Your content at this stage should be to help potential customers decide WHY they need your service, as opposed to not even using it.

Key content goal: Educating people and convincing them that they do need your kind of goods or service. Make people go, “Man, I think I really do need this.”

CONVERSION
Here, your content will reach people who are ready to make a purchase and they’re just deciding between players. Your content at this stage aims to convince people that you’re such an authority that you’re the right choice.

Key content goal: Building credibility and trust so that potential customers feel that you’re the first and natural choice. Make people go, “I definitely need this from Company X.”

ADVOCACY
This is where your content will reach clients who have already engaged with your business and you want to build loyalty and ensure they continue to return.Your content here should be a premium offer. Something you give as a reward.

Key content goal: Making people feel special and building loyalty. Make people go, “Company Y? No, thanks. I prefer Company X.”

Now, typically, the content marketing strategies that I create would hit out at the full customer journey (all four stage) but since this is a simple content marketing strategy, I’d advise you to pick one primary goal, and also a secondary one to work on in the event that you do have the extra time.

Using our interior design company as an example,I’d pick Consideration as my primary goal and Loyalty as a secondary goal. Now, let’s apply it in Step 3.


Step 3:
Develop your content topics

This is where the magic happens!

Combine Step 1 (your content pillar) and Step 2 (your content marketing goal) to flesh out your content topics.

Let’s work it out using our case study of the interior design company. Here’s a recap:

Our core content topic: Interior design & mental wellness Our main content channel: Blog post on website Our primary content marketing goal: To educate people about interior design services and convince them that it’s a service they do indeed need

Remember, I chose the Consideration stage for this simple content marketing strategy. At this stage, people are thinking, “Yes, I would love to redesign my home,” and they’re now doing research on what they need to know about the process.

Here’s a list of topics I’ve created:

All these topics answer the burning questions potential customers might have, and together they establish the sense that you’re a company that believes in creating stress-free experiences and spaces for clients.

Step 4:
Produce the content

As a content producer for over 20 years, I’ve learnt some ways to ensure the effort is sustainable over a period of time:

Step 5:
Distribute it and take no prisoners

The easiest and cheapest platforms to share your content on are the ones that you own. By that, I mean your website and all your social media channels. In the case of our interior design company (that we’ve used as a case study for this article), we chose the blog post as a content type. The primary channel is, therefore, the company website.

But don’t just publish your article and hope people would read it. In today’s world of information overload, we all have to work abit harder to get our content in front of people, so here’s a list of to-dos once you’ve published a new blog entry:

The above ways are some of the most cost-effective ways to share your blog content. If you have some advertising budget, one of the best ways to further amplify your content is to explore paid platforms. Since you’ve shared Facebook and Instagram posts, an easy way to explore paid advertising to be make your posts sponsored ones. That means, the same post you’ve created would reach people outside of your followers. You can capFacebook and Instagram advertising budgets (to say, $200 a month) which is one of the most compelling reasons for using these platforms.

There you have it: a simple content marketing strategy that is easy to create and execute. If you have any questions, my team and I would be happy to help. Just drop us a note in Contact Us.

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