What's in this article?
If you already have a calendar, whether on a white board or Google, to plan out your content, that’s great! Laying out a plan is the first step.
But do you have a strategic content marketing plan?
To really elevate your plan to meet your goals, it will take some strategizing. But what does that even mean in the realm of digital marketing?
In this article, we take a closer look at how to create a strategic content marketing plan that generates results.
What is strategic content marketing?
Even though every brand has a unique content strategy, the best and most successful plans share the following approach:
- Planning: This is the act of planning all future stages of your content marketing strategy. Define what you want to do. Without a defined plan upfront, there’s a greater chance of straying and missing the mark during future steps.
- Production: Once you’re complete with the planning stage, it’s time to produce high-quality, relevant content that engages your audience. Decide who will produce the content and when.
- Distribution: You can create the best content in your space, but it does you no good if it’s not distributed properly. Your goal is to get your content in front of your audience. That’s why it’s best to outline who you’re trying to reach with your content.
If you’re going to spend time, money, and other resources on content marketing, you owe it to yourself to put an equal amount of time into each stage. This improves the positive impact of your content.
Common content categories
Content fits into three general categories:
- Thought leadership: Content created to establish a person and/or brand as an industry authority.
- Sales: Content created to sell a product or service.
- Guidance and advice: Content that provides guidance or advice related to a specific topic. These are often “how to” and “listicle-style” blog posts.
While these three categories are most common, there may be times when your content sits outside of these.
For example, if you’re creating a blog post about a new product or welcoming a new employee, it fits into the “news” category, not one of the above.
You can rely heavily on these three common content categories — especially as you get started — but don’t limit your creativity.
And most importantly, remember your goals. To generate more leads, you may decide to answer your customer’s common questions in your content. In that case, you’ll choose to focus on content that features guidance and advice.
What are the different types of content?
Now that you know the most common categories, let’s turn our attention to the types of content you can create.
- Blog posts: A popular choice among brands of all sizes in various industries. You have full control over the content you create and share.
- Emails: Email marketing remains one of the best ways to directly connect with your target audience. Success with email marketing starts with your copy.
- Infographics: Infographics allow you to display information such as statistics, in a visual manner. When created the right way, these have a good chance of being shared.
- Podcasts: A growing segment of content marketing, a podcast is an outlet for connecting personally with your audience.
- Videos: Online videos are responsible for a large portion of consumer internet traffic, and that’s why video marketing is a powerful method for connecting with your audience.
- Sales letters: Even in today’s day and age of advanced technology, there’s still a time and place for sales letters. Delivered via snail mail, a sales letter is an opportunity to reach your audience in a manner that your competitors are likely overlooking.
Start with two or three types of content and then build out from there. Reach into your audience data and find out where your audience is most likely to be. This will allow you to experiment, make changes, and decide where to put the majority of your resources in the future.
If you sell your product to a younger audience, graphics on social pages such as Instagram or Tik Tok might be the best content to reach potential clients. When you’re trying to reach other businesses, you might focus on LinkedIn posts or producing instructive videos for Youtube.
Understanding your audience’s habits is one of the biggest factors into your strategy.
How to distribute your content
Content planning and content production are the first two phases of any content marketing strategy.
From there, your attention will turn to distribution. This is all about getting your content in front of the right audience.
The way that you distribute your content depends largely on the type. Let look at some examples:
- Blog posts are published directly to your company’s website
- Emails are sent to existing customers or prospects who’ve signed up for your list
- Infographics are published on your company’s blog, whether in an article or on its own
- There are various tools and services for creating a professional-level podcast and distributing it to your audience, such as Anchor.fm or Podbean
- Videos are shared on your website, blog, and/or hosted on video-sharing services such as YouTube.
- Sales letters are distributed to your list via snail mail through a direct mail company
There are exceptions to the above.
For instance, some blog posts are meant for your company’s blog while others are distributed to others, perhaps a popular publication of your industry, in the form of a guest post.
The benefits of a strategic content marketing plan
To a certain degree, every content marketer takes a “learn as you go” approach. But by that, we mean you should be implementing one strategy, learning from results, and adjusting as need be.
There are many benefits of a defined content marketing strategy, including but not limited to:
- A path forward: A defined strategy lays out your path forward, so that you can keep planning, creating, and distributing content without having to go back to the drawing board each time.
- Measurable results: Measuring your successes, failures, and return on investment is important. It’s easier to measure what’s going right and wrong when you have a strategy.
- It’s shareable: Do you need to share your content marketing plan with co-workers? How about your boss? What about an outside marketing agency or contractor? You can share a well-defined content marketing strategy. Conversely, it’s much more difficult to share a loose framework.
- It makes changes easier: Don’t expect your first content marketing strategy to be your last. When you know what you’re doing — down to every last detail — it’s easier to pinpoint the changes necessary for better future performance.
As excited as you may be to get started, don’t get ahead of yourself.
Slow down and create a defined content marketing strategy that allows you to take advantage of the benefits above.
Final thoughts of content marketing strategy
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to content marketing.
Build your plan according to your brand, industry, target audience, and goals.
And of course, don’t hesitate to contact Kaleidico if you need help at any stage of the journey.
Our proven content marketing framework will help you feel confident about your ability to roll out a successful strategy.
And if you find it all just too much to handle on your own, we also offer white label content marketing services to help you better serve your clients.
Contact us online or via phone at (313) 488-5625 for a free consultation.
Photo by Jenny Ueberberg on Unsplash