Have you been hearing more about content marketing in recent years and wondered what it means to build a content strategy? Put most simply, content marketing is a form of marketing that involves creating and publishing content for a target audience. While this can be applied to traditional marketing such as printed flyers or advertising, content marketing generally refers to digital content and distribution such as social media, websites, or blogs.
If you already use these digital channels for your business, you might be wondering why a content marketing strategy matters. While having an account for these platforms is a great start, you might not experience much growth if you’re posting content on a whim and without a clear direction of what you’re publishing and offering your audience.
As you may have guessed already, types of content and publication methods can be diverse: how-to guides, infographics, FAQs, podcasts, polls, surveys, quotes, live videos, photos, and the list goes on. The endless list of possibilities is all the more reason why it’s important to spend time on creating a content marketing strategy.
Hopefully, you are now persuaded that content really does matter! Content marketing in and of itself can be overwhelming so here are three steps to take when developing a content strategy:
Define your goal. As with any tactic in your business strategy, it’s always a good idea to begin by figuring out your end goal. In this case, what do you want to achieve with your content? Whether you are looking to book new private clients or add more people to your email list, it is helpful to begin with the end in mind.
Get to know your audience. Now that you know what you want to achieve, you’ll want to get to know your target audience. One way to do this is to develop a persona of your ideal client or student. This is a common marketing practice that helps focus your message, service, or product. Consider what your ideal client values, their interests, and other demographic information. This information can be collected in a number of ways such as surveys, polls, interviews, and online research. Want to dig even deeper? Hubspot has some great information about creating personas.
What and where will you publish. You have your goal in mind and you know who you want to reach. Now it’s time to get creative! Decide what you want to offer to your audience. Based on what you learned about your ideal client or student, you can develop an appropriate offering such as a free online class, webinar, or how-to guide. There are many ways to push out content so this is also the time to consider the best channels to reach your audience. For example, if you know your audience consists of busy corporate professionals, consider getting active on LinkedIn or record a podcast for their commute. Whatever you decide to produce for content, make sure it feels authentic to you and your professional practice.
As you might have gathered, content marketing takes time to understand so the biggest piece of advice we can give is to simply start somewhere! You might publish a piece of content that falls flat and that is fine. Learning what works is as important as finding out what doesn’t work. Making mistakes can be really helpful in refining your strategy so don’t be afraid of trying something new and outside of your comfort zone.
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