As inbound marketing continues to be a dominant force, you’ve likely heard the phrase “content is king” more times than you can count. But getting the right message to the right person is not an easy task in a society that’s tangled in a web of digital content, and it requires a top-notch content strategy.
A solid content strategy can help create meaningful, cohesive, engaging and sustainable content that attracts new customers and retains existing ones. Despite the importance that great content can have on your business, two of the biggest challenges for content marketers are knowing how to prioritize marketing efforts for one audience over another and communicating a content strategy effectively across teams so that everyone is on the same page.
Content marketing is different than your typical product marketing efforts as it includes digital materials that answer specific questions and provides customers with valuable tools and information they aren’t getting anywhere else. These include:
- Educational articles
- Social media
Planning a content calendar that includes every item on this list may seem daunting, but there are simple ways to get started.
The idea behind smart content planning is simple. You want to plan content in a way that is:
- Tied to an overarching business objective
- Linked directly to audience needs and desires
- Can be shared in a simple and consistent format
The result is a content calendar that is more relevant to what people are searching for and is also differentiated from the competition. Today, smart content planning tools that use artificial intelligence are becoming more readily available and are making adopting this process a no-brainer.
While a Google search will yield a laundry list of best practices, the following three pillars – or fundamental building blocks – will help you create a successful content strategy that drives results.
Plan content to meet business needs
To be truly effective, all content needs to be anchored to a clear business objective. Why? Because if it doesn’t, there’s no way for you to measurably show that it impacts the company’s growth. You may be nodding your head that yes, of course, it makes sense to plan content with the business objective in mind. But, how do we do that in a way that is meaningful and simple?
You can start by picking an upcoming marketing initiative and stating the quantitative business goal, the intended audience and the competitive context for that initiative. Treating a business objective statement as a template that must be completed for each marketing initiative helps you to face the ambiguity and misalignment that may be bouncing around your organization. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be perfect – the power comes from thinking about what matters most and then pressing forward with your best judgment.