How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

Before we begin, let’s take a moment to revisit the buyer’s journey, the buyer’s journey has a similar corresponding marketing funnel. And when both are used side by side, I like to call them the marketing machine. The marketing machine relates each buyer’s journey stage to a corresponding marketing funnel stage. The awareness stage relates to visit and lead. The consideration stage relates to marketing, qualified lead and sales qualified lead or skill. And the decision stage relates to opportunity and customer.

Content Marketing Strategy

These funnels are designed to help you visualize and guide a prospect through the stages of the buyer’s journey so that you can effectively measure your funnel and provide a tailor message to the prospect at their particular stage in the buyer’s journey. It’s important to understand the relationship between both funnels because they’re working toward the same goal, attracting your prospects, converting them into leads, closing them into customers and eventually delighting them, turning them into evangelists. A marketing machine is not developed overnight. It takes a lot of time and planning to build. This is where long term content planning comes in. So what’s involved in developing a long term content plan? There are three steps you must take to create a long term content plan setting marketing goals, ordinaire, assessing your organizations and initiatives and assets, and identifying the buyer’s journey for your buyer personas. The ultimate objective here is to have a unifying document you can use to keep track of your long term content marketing initiatives. First, let’s talk about setting your marketing goals.

By setting marketing goals, you can develop a long term vision and short term motivation goals, help you organize your time and resources so you can make the most of your content creation efforts. Each piece of content created for a marketing initiative should be tied to a goal that’s also directly related to the overarching goals of the organization. This will help you stay laser focused with the content creation process. Let’s take a second to think about this. If your company’s quarterly customer goal is 50 new customers and you know the number of leads you need to generate 15 customers is 50 leads. And if you know the number of website visitors needed to generate 50 leads is one thousand visits, then you need to take into consideration the content needed to hit your visit’s goal. Each goal you set should be a smart goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. A potential smart goal example could be increased quarterly website visits by 20 percent. That’s 50000 per quarter to sixty thousand per quarter by the end of the year. The second step in creating a long term content plan is auditing or assessing your organization’s initiatives and assets. Your order is going to consist of two parts first, audit of your content assets and second, order in your event based priorities. Let’s begin with the content audit. Your goal with the content audit is to identify all of the marketing assets you have at your disposal and potentially identify gaps or opportunities in your content strategy. There comes a point for every marketer who has been generating content for a while when they realize they have no idea where all their content is or how much they actually have. Content is likely been created by you, your predecessors or other marketing individuals in the marketing department, including subject matter experts from other departments, and is scattered just about everywhere.

Content Marketing Strategies

By doing your content audit, you’ll be able to identify resources that you already have, which could save you hours of content creation time in the future. No use in duplicating your efforts when it comes to document any content audit. There should be a place for you to insert all of your assets and properly categorize them based on content title, buyer’s journey, stage marketing, final stage format or type of content. Which buyer persona this is targeting in any additional notes that provide value or context. Now it’s time to do some digging for content assets such as guides, worksheets or sales collateral. I’d recommend systematically combing through the following dark corners where content typically can be hiding like that old file manager or marketing folder on your computer. Ask your sales team what type of collateral they use. Check in with more tenured employees. You’ll be surprised at the wealth of knowledge here. Pour through your customer relationship management system, also known as the CRM and your content management system, also known as the CMS. OK, I think you get the picture here. Let’s take a look at a continent from a HubSpot customer by the name of Marianne Schmidt. Marianne offers advice and resources backed by more than thirty years of experience working with young children. Notice how Marianne already has content spanning the awareness, consideration and decision. Stages of the buyer’s journey for multiple buyer personas in each piece of content corresponds to a specific lifecycle stage. Additionally, Marianne has many different types of content formats to offer her. Buyer personas like an ebook, a study guide and a webinar note how Maron uses the notes feel to explain the contents of her content offer, though she may not need this for each piece of content in her audit. Now, the mayor has documented her assets should be able to refer to this audit in the future to pinpoint what content she already has and how can help with future content creation initiatives.

The second part to complete in your audit is to conduct an audit on your event based initiatives. What I mean by this is you’ll need to take into account any upcoming projects, priorities or events that might involve content creation. Doing this exercise will help you identify content that could support each initiative. But also and more importantly, it can give you an opportunity to see how you can connect this content back to the buyer’s journey through an inbound marketing campaign. An event based audit should be organized by the following areas, upcoming priorities by month, initiative, overview, theme, perspective, blog, post topics based on buyer personas, and in an inbound marketing campaign that ties together your efforts, take a look at what Merryn did for her event. Based on it, you can see that Merryn has a few events and workshops that she might need content for. You can also see that the content is grouped into an overall theme for the next three months with associated blog topics that integrate with an inbound marketing campaign called Preparing for Your Home The Montessori Way, which is an ebook. Try and imagine for a minute, if only planned a month initiative, overview and theme without keywords and blog post topics that associate with the relevant inbound marketing campaign. Yes, she would have noted that there are a series of events coming up in the next few months, but she would have missed out on the opportunity to tie everything together with a series of blog posts that could lead to a relevant content offer that would provide value to her marketing machine. Simply adding these two columns maximizes your content potential and forces you to think bigger than just the events at hand. There’s one last important step needed to create a sustainable long term content plan, and that’s identifying the buyer’s journey for your buyer personas.

Remember, you’re creating SEO content that’s meant to attract and pull your buyer personas through every stage of the buyer’s journey from the awareness stage, where it’s more problem based through the consideration stage, where you’re discussing a solution and ending in the decision stage where you’re recommending next steps. Simply identifying this content will give you ideas to work with in the future. But before you can identify the buyer’s journey, you first need to know your buyer personas. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at one of Marantz buyer personas, Montessori Momina. Here’s an overview of Menagh as a buyer persona made as a devoted mother, a working professional and married with at least one child under the age of six, Meena wants to understand child development and do what’s best for her children, understand how to set limits for behavior and have effective communication tools to use with their children. Menas challenges are her children won’t listen, and she has to deal with tantrums, all of which overwhelm her. As a parent, Mara knows that Mina uses Google to find answers to problems she’s looking to solve. Great. Now that you know who Mina is, let’s take a look at what the buyer’s journey might look like for her in more detail to start, you know, it’s important for me to do what’s best for her children.

Content Management System

So what about an awareness stage e-book that list parenting problems you can avoid? This is something that would bring value to me in a search. Then once mine has been educated on parenting problems to avoid. What about following up with a consideration stage information like a questionnaire regarding family needs to help her understand a possible solution, in this case Montessori. The questionnaire outlines both the needs of the child as well as the parent. But maybe Mina needs a little more information that will help her to the decision stage something that educates her more on how to best prepare for Montessori. What about a free consideration stage workshop that explains how to prepare your home the Montessori way that could do the trick? And now that Mina has found a solution, her problem, she’s ready to make a decision. What about offering in a one hour strategy consultation to discuss next steps for a child and Montessori? Sounds about right. That’s an example of a complete buyer’s journey. A buyer’s journey is ever evolving.

The more you learn about your buyer personas, the more you’ll be able to refine the buyer’s journey and grow it over time. But it starts with first identifying the content needed to complete the buyer’s journey, which you can then plan over the course of a year to keep your content creation sustainable.

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