Whatever it is you’re doing, having a strategy or plan in place is going to make your life easier. Content marketing isn’t any different.

Having a documented content marketing strategy has many benefits. Although developing a strategy takes time, it’s an investment worth making if you hope to have any success with content marketing.  Having a strategy in place will help you stay focused on the big picture, and give you a roadmap to get there.

The benefits don’t stop there. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s annual survey, businesses who start with a content marketing strategy:

  • “Are far more likely to consider themselves effective at content marketing
  • Feel significantly less challenged with every aspect of content marketing
  • Generally are more likely to consider themselves more effective in their use of all content marketing tactics and social media channels
  • Were able to justify spending a higher percentage of their marketing budget on content marketing”

Playing the Short Game, Planning for the Long Game

So if having a documented strategy is the key to success, the more we can plan the better, right? Not necessarily.

You could plan 12 months into the future, mapping out every little blog post, tweet, and ad along the way. Though this would delay seeing the first signs of traffic by quite some time, and your strategy is inevitably going to need to shift directions at least once throughout the year anyway.

So instead of planning way into the future, we prefer to take a leaner, more scientific approach.

Content Marketing Strategy in a Nutshell

As an agency, before we can put together a custom-tailored content marketing strategy, it’s important that we get an intimate understanding of our client’s target audience and the intricacies of their market.

We’ve come to rely on our process, which allows us to take what we’ve previously learned about your business in the discovery phase, use it to map a short term marketing strategy, and hit the ground running.

We meticulously analyse the data from the first couple months of content, traffic, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to inform and adapt a long term content marketing strategy. A long term strategy based on hard data that empowers us to market more intelligently as we move forward, fleshing out different components of the strategy.

Before you can craft an effective content marketing strategy, you’ll need to confront a few big questions. Some will be easy to answer, while others will require you to dig deep into your business.

The 10 Big Questions Your Content Marketing Strategy Must Answer

  • What are your goals? Why are you doing all this and what are your motivations?
  • Who is your target audience and why?
  • What segment of your target audience is going to consume and share your content?
  • Which team members will be contributing to the project? In what ways, and what resources are they able to commit?
  • How can you engage your customers at each state of the sales funnel?
  • How and where do your customers consume content online? Mobile, Facebook, email, instagram, webinars?
  • What differentiates you from your competition? Both in terms of your product and your brand.
  • By what do you measure success? Define a few KPIs to track progress towards your pre-defined goals. Traffic, shares, leads, sales, SEO reach etc.
  • When and where will content be published? Now that you have defined, measureable goals, you can begin developing editorial calendars and a multi-channel distribution plan around them.
  • How and when will you react to results? How often will you sit down and review the data from your campaign? What’s your reaction plan, and how will it impact the outlook of your strategy moving forward?

You should be able to answer a lot of these question off the top of your head, but others may require you to collaborate with and gather information from other team members. Wasting time over-planning is bad, but acting on bad information is even worse. So make sure you have a complete picture before moving forward with your strategy.

Developing a Content Marketing Strategy: Start to Finish

Want to learn our process for creating a killer content marketing strategy? Our new guide, The 12-Hour Lean Content Marketing Strategy, helps you find answers to all the above questions, and will equip you with everything you need to plan for success in content marketing.