Crafting a Winning Content Marketing Strategy for Your Business

Strategy is crucial for any marketing campaign, including your content marketing endeavors. Without a well-thought-out strategy, you might as well be throwing your content blindly and hoping something sticks. What kind of return on investment can you expect from that approach?

Winning Content Marketing Strategy


Nevertheless, according to a 2018 study by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI), 63% of companies then said they're using content marketing without having an articulated strategy. 63%! So, if you're looking for a quick and simple way to keep ahead of your competitors, developing a solid content strategy is a great option.

A well-crafted strategy serves as a reflection of your deep understanding of both your audience and your content. By dedicating the time and effort to develop a robust, measurable, and cohesive content marketing strategy, you demonstrate to your audience that you respect their time and energy by delivering valuable and relevant content. Building trust through this acknowledgment of your audience's needs and preferences is key to successful engagement.

Content Marketing Strategy Creation

We've condensed the creation process into seven steps to provide an easy-to-follow outline. Details will, of course, vary, and you are, of course, encouraged to expand on this outline to make it fit your specific needs.

  1. Establish goals: This includes not only the goals for this specific campaign but also how your team's goals will assist the larger business goals set by the company.

  2. Create Metrics: Once you set goals, it's time to figure out how to measure them. Creating metrics at this stage gives you the target to work toward with everything that follows.

  3. Develop target personas: These can be buyer personas or other targets, depending on your specific situation. Either way, establishing who you are aiming your content at is crucial to know what content to create in the first place.

  4. Build your style guide: If the company marketing dept. doesn't already have one, this is the time to put your style guide into writing. Solidifying brand voice, style items like what font and colors to use, and grammar baselines are critical before any content goes online.

  5. Determine channels: Deciding early on what channels you will use to get the word out to your target audience will save time and energy later in the process; you'll already know if you need to schedule Tweets and create videos for Facebook.

  6. Fill out an editorial calendar: As a recommendation, we would say to shoot for a quarter at a time here. That way, you can work around things like vacations and have a content buffer built up if someone calls in sick. It's here that you will also need to determine your publishing schedule. The key is consistency, not frequency, so if your team consists of you, maybe go easy on yourself and stick with every other week until you get into a flow. If you have a team backing you up, you can be more ambitious and start posting twice a week and take it from there.

  7. Measure, then iterate: Remember those metrics you set up in step 2? This is when you start analyzing them. Once you have a couple of weeks or months under your content belt, it's time to see what's what. Are you publishing at the best time for reads? How is the Twitter feed adding value? Make necessary adjustments, then repeat.

Now that the content ball is rolling, what's next?

OK, cool. You've laid out your content strategy and are regularly pumping out interesting, engaging, and relevant content. Great work! Now it's time to take stock of that strategy, figure out what's working well and what's not, and start planning the next phase. We want to ensure you have firmly nailed down some crucial strategy pieces before moving on. So, at the risk of sounding redundant, here they are:

  • Detailed target audience personas: These are essential. These fictionalized characters represent the members of the public that you want to read your content. Great content is written for individuals, not demographics, so knowing your personas inside and out is imperative.

  • Well-structured and detailed editorial calendar: Know what content is being published, on what channel, and when it's going out. We cannot possibly stress enough how important this is. Without it, your audience will have no idea when to expect new content and can, and will, get impatient and leave you for your competitors. Have you considered  Episodic Content Marketing when defining your content strategy? Episodic content marketing is content broken into bite-size pieces. The content is a story with a plot that reveals more to the viewer with each episode. With the right levels of suspense, your visitors will keep coming back to find out what happens at the end of the ..... Stay tuned until next week's newsletter to discover what'll happen when  .....

  • Style guide: Like the first two items, having a firmly established style guide is fundamental before moving forward. As you grow your content team and start additional campaigns that may be targeting completely different audiences, you want your brand voice to be consistent. This builds trust in your audiences, as they will likely be sharing your content with their friends, and if one of them is part of another target group and they're seeing something completely different—well, that doesn't look good for you.

  • Social media: This one comes with a big asterisk—" as appropriate." We don't want to give you the impression that you need a presence on every platform for every campaign. Do your audience research and focus on the channels you know your audience is using. That way, you guarantee that many of them will see your stuff.

And one bonus item: a statement of purpose and goals. This is the best way to ensure your entire team and stakeholders in whatever departments you work with are on the same page regarding your content. Is the purpose audience engagement? Click-throughs to a particular landing page? Lead generation? Each of these is a valid goal for a content marketing campaign; however, they have very different means of achievement. If not everyone knows the goal, time and energy will be wasted while people work at cross-purposes.

Strategy opinions: a dime a dozen

You will find conflicting advice about the "best" ways to do content marketing. There is also one thing that nearly everyone writing on this subject is bound to agree on—the need for a strong strategy. By following the steps we've laid out, you can be sure you'll be off to a better start than the 63% found by CMI.

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Jesse hails from Seattle, WA. When he's not creating great content or staring at his laptop screen waiting for inspiration, he's probably walking in the trees somewhere in the foothills of the nearby Cascade Mountains.

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