There is nothing as essential as a strategy when it comes to the venture of creating a content marketing business. As Arjun Basu – a content marketing guru – once said,
“Without a strategy, the content is mere stuff, and the world has enough stuff”.
Lack of strategy can hamper the progress of the content marketing business even if you start with all other necessary resources at hand. A great strategy guides you on how to make a content marketing business. Reflect on this: Only 13 percent of content marketers have failed because they did not have a strategy in their content marketing initiatives.
For those who succeeded, 61 percent of them have been found to have had a strategy. Overall, 72 percent of content marketers cite a strategy as the motivation behind their success. This study just highlights how essential content marketing is. In short, it is important to come up with a clearly defined strategy if you are pondering over how to create a formidable content marketing business.
Luckily, the process of creating a functional content marketing strategy isn't as long and complicated as it may be imagined. Here is a simple exercise that can guide you in creating a great strategy. Start by writing down the questions and their answers then proceed to create your strategy from them.
1. Who is the audience?
Be really particular when determining your audience. It is the hardest part of the strategy-making process and the entirety of how to make a content marketing business but if you get it right, everything else will fall in its right place like a complete jigsaw.
To put it clearly, the audience is the centerpiece of your strategy. The quickest way to set off on this step is to understand your current customer base. You will have to do an extra digging if you don’t have an existing client base or lacks buyer persons.
Developing marketing personas can be an excoriating venture. However, there is an array of ways you can use to research your target audience. One sure way of hacking this is to study your competitors' case studies no matter how fierce your rivalry may be.
Case studies hold a vast wealth of useful information about the people you are targeting in a particular niche. Another way involves reading analyst reports which are produced yearly. What makes analyst reports to be reliable pieces of valuable documents is the fact that they are well researched and presented by industry experts.
Better yet, you can consider attending professional online networks and forums. Just like industry analyst reports, they are too organized by industry experts who know every cranny and nook of the world of online marketing. You can break the ceiling and conduct your own surveys, interviews and consult Google and Facebook audience insights. Here is a list of things you may seek to know:
What causes the audience to purchase services and products like yours?
What kind of results do they anticipate from the products and services similar to yours?
What impacts the buyers when evaluating the options at hand?
What aspects or features of competing services or products do the buyers consider to be more crucial? What do the buyers expect from each?
What causes other buyers not to buy services and products similar to yours?
What concerns make other buyers think that your services or products aren’t their best options?
Be careful not to be overwhelmed by it. Start small from the bottom and a talk to just a fistful of people first before proceeding to build your persona from the foundation you've laid. Henry Ford once said;
“something is better off than nothing at all”
2. What are their online hangouts?
This is part of the previous step of knowing more and identifying your audience. Find out where the audience spends long times online but don’t spread yourself way too thin to ignore the essentials. Remember, excelling in just one or two essential channels is better off than lightly being present in many channels.
Once again, talk to the clients, conduct interviews (you can hire a firm to do them for you), visit industry forums and read industry reports to get a better understanding of where your audience chills on the internet.
3. What type of content do they fancy?
The information needed in this part should come from the step above. Does your audience like passing time on LinkedIn? Then content in form of in-depth articles, slide decks and whitepapers are excellent for such audience.
Do they prefer using Instagram? The short video clips with cute kittens can do well with them. If they are mostly on Facebook then list-posts and video might likely fit their style. If they spend even longer time on the medium then long-form storytelling may do the magic.
These are the questions and answers you need to have when navigating the path of how to make a content marketing business.
The main goal of this step is to determine the types of content that are and aren’t worth the interests of the audience. It ensures that you don't burn your resources and time preparing an unwanted type of content.
What is the best way of researching this? Try interviewing the industry leaders, conducting surveys, doing cold outreach using LinkedIn and Email, talking to existing clients and so on.
4. What does the audience need to know? What results do you want the content to achieve?
Chances are that your readers won’t buy your stuff based on one piece of content. But I hope not. So try to figure out the goal you want the content to achieve. Determine the purpose of the content.
Furthermore, put into consideration the buying cycle and your sales funnel. What content would your customers view as helpful in each phase? Maybe you would like them to download a white paper from your website, sign up for your latest webinar or join the email list. Just make sure your initial offer is as attractive as possible and should be free, that’s the charm of learning how to make a content marketing business.
5. How will you do the tracking of the success of the content marketing?
A strategy is successful if it can be tracked. Figure out how you will track the success of the content marketing at every step – from engagements, traffic to conversion. What tools do you need? Facebook Analytics? Google Analytics? Would you try UTM parameters and link tracking? Also, are considering dedicating landing pages?
Thinking through this important stage and establishing the necessary tools on time can save you tones of frustrations.
In conclusion, the importance of considering strategy in the process of learning how to make a content marketing business can’t be taken for granted. Content marketing without the strategy is very much like boarding a bus to nowhere; you know you’re moving but you don’t know where you are going.
About Norberto Mercado
Online Entrepreneur, Content Marketing Expert, Freelance Writer And Developer Of Online Business. Blog Writing Service.