How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
12th January 2022
Tackling your content marketing plan can be a huge challenge - it’s like facing your end-of-campaign big bad in your Dungeons and Dragons campaign, right? It’s intimidating, it’s important, it’s going to bring you renown and - hopefully - sacks full of gold for you and your team. But what’s the best way to go about it? In this article, we’re going to talk through some of the key elements of your content marketing plan so that you can make sure the dragon stays down, for a year at least!
Determine your aims and objectives: Save the Kingdom
You’re probably not doing anything like rescuing the prince in distress or slaying the Arch-Fiend, but you still need to know what your aims and objectives are before you start setting out your content plan. Below are a few things that might be included when you’re planning your content marketing plan.
Driving traffic to your website
Improving customer experience
Content can do a lot of things - it can support your sales, it can increase the likelihood of a customer staying with you for longer, and it can also be key in getting your name out there in the first place.
Knowing what your aims are, first of all, will mean you’re set up to decide what course of action you’re going to take.
Do Your Research: Consult the Grimoires
Every adventurer knows that you’ll need to know your enemy and the lay of the land before you inevitably go into the dungeon and kick down the doors. Just ask Geralt. But just like all of your other marketing planning you should consider a host of things.
Who is your audience?
You might not be marketing to elves but it’s likely your product or service has a specific target audience in mind: millennials, men, teens, or any other demographic. It’s important that you know your audience and how to reach and engage with them.
If you’re targeting teens, then platforms like Facebook are becoming more irrelevant, however, 3-minute platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat continue to grow. Also, it’s one of the demographics that are likely to swerve when something new and innovative comes along - be prepared to change your plan along the line.
Likewise, if you’re marketing to an older audience you might be quick to assume that they’re not digital natives so perhaps you want to try an offline approach to marketing. However, as you can see from research from the Pew Research Center below, the numbers of Gen X’ers and Boomers owning smartphones and using social media continues to grow!
Don’t miss out on an opportunity to get ahead of your competition and understand the types of content and delivery that you can use to optimise your efforts.
Limitations in Formats
Know the limits of what you’ll be doing and where you’ll be marketing. You wouldn’t try to squeeze that ogre through the halfling sized tunnels, so you definitely shouldn’t be trying to put your 30-minute videos into platforms like Tik Tok that have a 3-minute limit.
If you know, for example, that your audience is primarily teens and you’ve made the decision to market exclusively via Tik Tok and Instagram, then when planning your video content make sure it’s optimised for those. 60-second clips will allow you to post in-feed on Instagram, as well as TikTok, so you can double your reach with the same piece of content. Don’t get caught out making huge videos that you struggle to post anywhere of value because of the size.
Other things to consider might be:
Browsers your users are using - some won’t allow certain content, or will mean it displays poorly
Image dimensions limitations - this handy guide from Hootsuite will help
Your CMS - some won’t allow certain content types to be uploaded to your website or will have limitations on file sizes
What content do you want to produce: Prepare Your Party!
Ok, here comes the fun bit - preparing to tackle the dungeon! You know that you need to go and rescue the prince, but what are you going to use to do it? While your party mage is hitting the spellbooks preparing her favourite fireball, what are you looking to take on your adventure?
Sometimes you just want to update your bank of imagery to better showcase your product or to help you tell your company story better. Refreshing your imagery can be important to make sure you’ve got the assets you need when you’re marketing.
Think about where your imagery may be used. If you’re updating your website banners then make sure the images will be able to be cropped to the right dimensions. If you’re looking to increase your social media presence then ensuring that the images will work across the platforms you’re using is important.
Work with your photographer - whether they’re a hired professional or just yourself with your phone - and check before that everything is going to work for what you need.
Blogs are still a fantastic way to communicate with your customers. Blogs also help your website SEO, meaning that you’ll be better served in Google and other search engines.
Blog posts are great for engaging with your customers in various ways - they don’t have to just be salesy. They’re fantastic for getting across your brand voice and ethics, they can be used to talk about decisions you’ve made when creating new products and can put you ahead of the competition as thought leaders and innovators in your field.
The humble blog continues to be a workhorse of digital marketing and offers a lot of opportunities, so consider them when putting together your plan.
Video continues to be a growing focus for many marketers, with recent research from Wyzowl showing that 86% of marketers say video has increased their website traffic, 43% say they’ve reduced the number of support calls they’ve received and 85% say they’ve helped them to generate more leads.
You might want to look at:
Product videos - showcase your products in more than just images
User guides - show people how to use and get the most from your product
Q&As - these can be with key people in your business to help put across your brand image, the people within your business and more
Production processes - customers like to know what goes into their products, so if you can make a story from the processes that you’ve gone through, it can add value to your service.
Video is here to stay! With the ubiquity of them across platforms like TikTok, Snapchat, Youtube and more, it’s never been easier to make and engage with videos, so if these will suit what you’re aiming to do then don’t overlook them in your content marketing.
Improving your customer’s experience through things like how-to guides might sound like it’s not the most interesting thing you can be doing with your content, but it can have an important place in your business goals.
If your customers are taking less time calling in for support for minor things, then your teams can have more time to work on other areas or help those who really need it. If you’re able to tell customers how to get the most from your service in a how-to guide then it might mean they purchase again, or maybe upgrade their current subscription.
A well put together how-to guide could save your colleagues lots of time, and even help to drive retention.
What resources do you have at your disposal: What’s in your adventuring kit?
Ok, you’ve got all the basics: 30ft of rope, a bedroll, your sword and your armour, but what else are you going to need before you can go off on your adventure?
Audit existing content
You might not need to create everything from scratch, or you may be able to repurpose and update some of your existing content so it can be reused across the year.
Old blog posts can be updated with new information (Google loves refreshed content, by the way) and it’s a great way to discuss within those updates why and how things have changed. This is especially useful if you’re talking about things like digital marketing for example, where things change…a lot!
Your old how-to guides might be found, and maybe just need updating with new branding or new functionality. It’ll be much easier to add some things to your existing content than to start from scratch, especially if the product or service hasn’t changed dramatically.
Do your old brand videos still tell the same story, but you’ve not marketed them for a while because they fell off your radar? Don’t be afraid to add them to your plan for this year if they’re still relevant.
Auditing your existing content will mean you know how much work you have to do, and will give you an idea of how much time and money you’ll need to allocate going forward.
Do you have a dedicated team of designers in house who can revamp your web banners? Do you have in-house photographers who can take great photos for you to use? Do you have experts with time who can write blog posts about your products and services?
Knowing what resources you have internally is important so that you can plan accordingly - it’s no use expecting your internal marketing team to be able to produce beautifully designed web pages if you have no designers or developers in house, so make sure you know what tools you have to hand.
Outsourcing to experts is common, and there are many individuals and agencies (...like SilverDisc) who have a team of experts in their fields who can support your content marketing efforts.
It’s common to outsource video and photography to external businesses, so factor in the budget for hiring these if you want new videos and images to support your content marketing plan. Be prepared to provide detailed briefs and factor these into your timelines and make sure that everyone involved knows delivery times.
If you’re outsourcing things like blog writing, or social media imagery creation then make sure that the team you’re using know what they’re doing. Give them plenty of information about what you want to achieve and who your audience is, and work with them to give them the best brief you can so that you can rest easy knowing your content is going to be what you expect. Working with a team of SEO experts will also ensure that your content is working as hard as it can to get results.
Time to go adventuring!
Well, you’re ready to head out into the dungeon of a content marketing plan. Your party is prepared, you’ve memorised your spells, you’ve got your essential 30ft of rope, your marketing calendar and most importantly, you’re prepared with a plan to tackle the challenge ahead.
However, you don’t need to go it alone, brave adventurer. We’re here to help you every step of the way, whether it’s planning, sourcing imagery or writing blogs. If you want some help, contact us here or call us on 01536 316100 and we’d love to support you in slaying your dragon!