Patrick Osinski : startups advisor, all about Social Media, Marketing, Business Dev, SEO, Design, Digital content, Innovation, Apps.
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"You know you're on the right track when you become uninterested in looking back."
But this should not surprise anyone. We all seem to be awash in content marketing.
What’s surprising is that many content marketers don’t have a documented strategy.
First we need to clear up a little confusion about content marketing strategy.
Content marketing strategy defined
Some people like to make a distinction between the terms content strategy and content marketing strategy. The distinction, they suggest, is best explained with a Russian doll: a smaller strategy is inside a larger one.
In this case, content marketing strategy is the smaller strategy inside the larger one,content strategy.
There is some truth to this.
Content strategy, according to Kristina Halvorson and Melissa Rach, involves the planning, creation, governance, and maintenance of content, whereas content marketing strategy focuses on the narrow discipline of marketing content.
Fair enough, but I think this distinction is confusing and needless because we can also talk about content marketing strategy as the planning, creation, governance, and maintenance of content … and not lose any sleep.
I’d like to proceed with a clear definition of a content marketing strategy.
So, if strategy means “a plan, method, or series of maneuvers or stratagems for obtaining a specific goal or result,” the specific goal or result for content marketing would be “building an audience that builds a business.”
For our purposes, then, let’s define content marketing strategy like this:
A content marketing strategy is a plan for building an audience by publishing, maintaining, and spreading frequent and consistent content that educates, entertains, or inspires to turn strangers into fans and fans into customers.
Which brings us to the next important question.
Do you need a content marketing strategy?
If you are a small business with a few employees or a one-man or one-woman shop, you may be thinking that your content marketing is so simple that you don’t need a plan.
Won’t a list of things that need to happen written on the back of an envelope get the job done?
Yes, that’s one way to begin, especially if you are typically a perfectionist and just need to start your content marketing rather than waiting until you have the perfect plan.
But at some point you will need to develop a more comprehensive plan — and then document it.
Content marketers with a documented strategy feel more confident in their work.
Content marketing challenges don’t seem as overwhelming when you have a strategy in place.
A documented strategy makes it easier to get buy-in from stakeholders.
It’s easier to chart your success when you have a documented strategy.
Crafting a simple content marketing strategy
Let’s be honest: Unless you are a content marketer for a big company, you don’t need much. Just a plan to help focus your time, money, and energy.
In fact, you can document your content marketing strategy in the time it takes you to answer the following 13 questions:
Who are your users?
Who are your competitors?
What do you bring to the table?
What do you hear?
What content do you already have?
What is the purpose of your content?
How often should you publish content?
How will you distribute your content?
Who is in charge of your content?
Who will produce your content?
Who is going to maintain the content?
Who is responsible for the results?
What’s your destination (core strategy)?
Your content marketing strategy begins with this person
The person I’m talking about is your customer.
Your customer is the focal point of your content marketing strategy. You need a substantial, deep, and comprehensive understanding of who she is.
When you do, the strategy will write itself. You won’t have to guess or wonder. But a weak, flimsy, or flat-out wrong understanding of who your customer is will sink your strategy every time.
Check out these five resources to help you understand who your customer is:
Once you thoroughly understand who your customer is, evaluate the content you already have.
This exercise will not only help you spot the gaps in your content that you need to fill, but it will also help you see that old content can become outdated and cost you top positions in search engines, cause user-experience failure, and more.
So, here are four resources to help you review your current content: