There are 3.03 billion active users on social media with 81% of all small and medium businesses using some kind of social media platform. On WordPress alone, 91.8 million blog posts are published every month, while people watch one billion hours of videos on YouTube each day.

How do you determine what content you should generate—and to which platforms you should publish? Commence the development of a content marketing strategy.

Used by prominent organizations, small businesses, and one-person shops alike, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action (Content Marketing Institute).

So, what does it take to develop a content marketing strategy?

  1. Goal Definition
    It seems obvious, but clear articulation of what you want to accomplish through content is a critical first step. At IDdigital, we emphasize the conversion, and it’s woven through all of our message management clients’ content marketing strategies. A goal might be an increase in patient appointments or new customer leads, or an increase in organic traffic and unique page views.
  2. Audience Analysis
    You undoubtedly have some idea of who your audience is but you need to be specific. If you have the ability to create buyer personas—a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on research and data—the better positioned you will be to craft content that converts. (We create these as part of our brand acceleration process.) You can also analyze Google Analytics and social media analytics to learn about your audience’s interests and needs.
  3. Content Audit
    Determine the types of content in which your audience is, and is not, interested. One audience might prefer in-depth articles or ebooks, while a different audience might prefer video, infographics, and short-style prose. Analyze analytics, if possible, to determine what kind of content your audience has best engaged with to date, but also consider talking with customers and conducting surveys (also part of our brand acceleration).
  4. Calendar Management
    It’s time to put all of the pieces together. Create a content calendar that—at the very least—defines the audience (if possible, using a specific buyer persona), content type (blog, infographic, social media share, etc.), topic, and publishing schedule (both when the content will be published and to which platform). Incorporate a combination of ideas that are evergreen—those with a long shelf life—and timely topics.

With a strategy in place, be prepared to track its success—Google Analytics is a great place to start—and re-evaluate and tweak as needed, but be sure to give it time. A content marketing strategy does not need to be complicated to be effective.

Use the steps above to give it a shot or give us a shout if you’d like to know what it would take for our team to partner with yours to develop a successful content marketing strategy.

> Read more from Melissa.