How to Transform Your Content Marketing Strategy in 30 Days
2017 Social Marketing Planning Guide
Content is a high priority for marketers as a way to build brand authority, improve SEO, and interact with their audience. Yet finding the time to plan and implement strategic content plans can be troublesome for busy marketers who are trying to compete in a content-rich digital world.
This 30-Day Transformation Plan is designed to help you reinvent your content strategy so that your content aligns with the interests of your audiences while contributing to overall business value.
By completing just one task each day for the next 30 days, you can fully transform your content marketing strategy.
Day 1: Establish Your Content Marketing Goal
Establishing a clear content marketing goal is the first step toward transforming your content strategy. Think of what exactly you want your content to achieve. Here are several examples of goals you might establish for your content.
- Drive website traffic
- Raise brand awareness
- Generate new leads
- Nurture leads
- Increase conversion rates
- Establish authority and industry expertise
The objective here is to give purpose to your content. Once you’ve established your content goals, the content you produce should continually support those goals.
There are a number of methods to help you write out specific social media goals, including the Objectives and Key Results (OKR) method. The OKR method asks you to set a broad objective statement and list out key results that describe what successfully achieving that objective looks like. Here is an example of a broad objective statement supported supported with clear standards that define meeting that objective.
Key Results (What Success Looks Like)
|Generate new leads||Increase content downloads by 10% by end of Q4
Increase click rates by 5% by end of Q4
The objective here is to generate new leads. In order to meet this objective, we must increase our content downloads by 10% and increase click rates by 5% by the end of the fourth quarter.
Day 2: Define Your Success Metrics
How are you going to define the success of your content? Decide which metrics are going to provide you with the right type of data so that you can determine whether or not your content was successful. In the 2017 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America Report by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, here are the five metrics that marketers use most to measure the results of their content marketing.
- Website traffic (page views)
- Sales lead quality
- Social media shares
- Average time on page
- Conversion rates
As you determine your success metrics, set clear standards for your content so that you know exactly when success was achieved. If you are tracking conversion rates, what exactly do you consider to be a successful conversion rate for your content?
Depending on the type of content you produce and where you share, the metrics you track will change. For instance, as you promote your content through email, you might focus more on open or click rates.
Day 3: List Out Your Challenges
The task is simple: make a list of the challenges you are facing when it comes to your content marketing. Think of any barriers that are keeping your content from making its biggest impact. As you list out your challenges, write out simple explanations of how these barriers are impacting your marketing efforts or overall business success. Here are a couple examples to help you get started.
We are unable to get our content in front of our target audience, resulting in fewer leads coming into our funnel.
Limited resources like budget and staff make it difficult to develop unique, relevant content on a consistent basis.
Day 4: Brainstorm Solutions
Round up your content team and brainstorm possible solutions to the challenges you previously listed. Be sure to provide evidence to justify how you know this will be an effective solution so that you’re prepared when the time comes to gather resources and advocate for your budget.
Solution to Challenge 1:
We can extend the reach of our content by utilizing influencers.
Justification: Influencer campaigns helped 67 percent of marketing professionals reach targeted audiences. (Bloglovin)
Solution to Challenge 2:
Create a contest to gather user-generated content and utilize strong content creators within our audience.
Justification: Brand engagement increases an average of 28% when users are exposed to a combination of user created product videos and professional content. (comScore)
Day 5: Analyze the Competition
If you are running out of ideas, turn to your competitors to develop creative content. Be careful not to mimic the content of your competitors, but use their social strategies for inspiration. Your brand and its competitors have similar ideal customer personas, so focus on the type of content that is most engaging, both within your own social efforts and those of the competition. Here are a few questions to consider as you analyze your competitor’s content marketing efforts.
- Which marketing channels are my competitors using and are they successful in those channels?
- What are my competitors talking about and are those topics leading to high audience engagement?
- Are there areas within our content strategy where we are outperforming our competitors?
Social analytics solutions are an effective way to compare your efforts against your competitors. Using Simply Measured Social Analytics, we can directly compare our efforts to one or more of our competitors. We can pinpoint days when our competitors experienced peak engagement and can dive deeper into what content was shared on those days so that we can gain insight into the type of content that resonates most with our target audiences.
Day 6: Determine Your Strengths and Weaknesses
Take a deep dive into your content strategy and determine where you are successful and where there is room for growth. It might even be a good idea to conduct a survey among your marketing team to gauge where they see areas of success or room for improvement.
For each criteria regarding your content marketing strategy, determine whether it is a strength or a weakness.
Day 7: Conduct a Content Audit
You can take a holistic look at all of your content, or analyze a specific piece to better understand that piece of content’s impact. Identify your best-performing content and most popular channels so that you can align your content with audience interest and share your content in the most effective way.
You might use engagement as a way to gauge the success of your content with the idea that higher engagement meant higher quality, relevant content. Using Simply Measured Social Analytics, you can identify your top-performing content based on engagement level. Here are the top five content pieces for Barneys New York.
These top-performing content pieces for Barneys New York were all shared through their Instagram page and consistently drove high engagement. We can then analyze the actual content to see if there are any similarities between pieces that contribute to increased engagement.
Day 8: Determine Your Brand Voice
Creating a brand voice will enable you to keep a consistent voice among all of your content. This voice should align with the interests of your audience and match their communication style. Start by choosing three words that are characteristic of your brand. If your brand was a person, how would you describe them? After you choose these words, describe what that means for your brand and create do’s and dont’s for your content creation.
Day 9: Develop Your Buyer Persona
Transforming your content marketing strategy may require you to either revisit your current buyer persona or to create a new one from scratch. It’s important to develop your buyer persona so that you know exactly who you are marketing to and can create content and offerings that align with the persona you’ve identified. Start by writing down everything you know about your target customer and perform research to fill in any gaps. For a robust buyer persona, try to capture the following information.
- Purchase Behaviors
- Goals, Challenges, Pain Points
Day 10: Listen to Your Audience
Listening to your audience can help you gain a great amount of insight into the minds of your followers, which will enable you to be more strategic in your content marketing efforts.
Using Simply Measured Listening, you can learn a lot about your audience to inform a more effective strategy. Here’s what you should listen for when monitoring your audience on social media:
- What your audience is talking about and what they are sharing most often
- What your audience is saying about your brand, industry, products, services, and competitors
- What your audience is sharing (including on dark social)
- What your audience’s engagement level is with influencers, trending topics, and relevant events
Day 11: Research Industry Trends and Topics
In order to produce timely and relevant content, you must stay up-to-date with what’s happening in your industry. To establish your organization as an authority in your industry, join conversations surrounding high-interest topics. Perform ongoing research to make sure that you are producing content that aligns with the current interests of your community. Here are a few resources that may help guide your research.
- Email Lists
- Industry Reports
Day 12: Connect with Other Departments
As you continue researching industry trends and topics as inspiration for your content creation, connect with other departments within your organization. Remember that marketing is just one aspect of the business and other teams can provide insight about your organization that can help you brainstorm content ideas.
For example, try speaking with members of your sales team. Our sales teams are our first points of contacts with consumers, and they can provide insight into the needs, challenges, and successes of our customers. This insight can help us generate content that addresses these needs or highlights successes.
Day 13: Choose Your Content Types
Start thinking about the types of content that will benefit your brand the most, while keeping your audience engaged. Refer back to the buyer persona you created on Day 9 to help determine if a blog post with links to resources would perform better than a white paper or e-book sent to their email. Consider the resources available to you to determine if you can create a high-quality how-to video or if you need to scale down your efforts and create an infographic.
For best results, diversify your content to keep your audience interested. If you share the same type of content day after day or week after week, your audience will inevitably disengage. Here’s a list of possible content types you can start incorporating into your content marketing strategies.
Day 14: Develop a Content Cadence
Strong content marketing strategies include an element of consistency, meaning that your audience expects high-quality content on a regular basis. Dependent upon the resources available to you, develop a content cadence to structure how often you will be delivering content to your different audiences. Once you develop a calendar that makes sense for your business objectives, keep with that cadence and only adjust as needed.
- Daily social media post
- Weekly blog posts
- Quarterly long form content
- Webcast once in six months
Day 15: Create a List of Relevant Keywords
Finding and using relevant keywords is vital to the success of your content marketing strategy. Content really is the fuel for effective SEO and keywords make your website more visible to people who are looking for keywords associated with your brand, product, or service through search engines.
Using Simply Measured Listening, you can identify the keywords most-often associated with your brand and can utilize those keywords in your content.
Your content is a gold mine for more information related to your brand, establishes brand authority, and helps you establish a strong brand personality. For the complete 30-Day Content Marketing Transformation Plan, download the guide below.
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Bryan is the Content Marketing Manager at Simply Measured. He spoils his dog, is a fitness fanatic, and loves research and writing.