Creating a comprehensive content marketing strategy requires more than brainstorming a few blog post titles and writing social media updates. It should include taking a close look at 10 different questions about your audience, your goals, your competition and the market environment.
Visualistan provides a snapshot of those questions and insights in this infographic, and I’ll offer links to more detailed information for several of them below.
1. Who are your best customers and prospects? In addition to what Visualistan calls target intenders — we would call those who have interacted with your brand, if you have contact information for them, leads — think about your overall customer personas. Define who you are creating content for: demographics, job titles (for B2B brands), pain points, and how they gather information and make decisions. Use the guidelines here to define your customer or buyer personas.
2. What are your audience’s interests? Quality content should match the things your audience wants to know more about. It should be useful, shareable, solve a problem or entertain. Rate your content quality with this scorecard.
3. What search terms are used by your target audience? Remember to think beyond single word terms to include longtail keywords, as well as the question format favored by the growing number of people performing online searches through voice assistants.
5. Where else do your leads and prospects look for information? Understanding that while some are willing to rely on content from brands and vendors, many want to also find reliable information from outside sources. Check out these statistics on where business buyers look for information before making a decision — or before even talking to a vendor:
6. What are your competitors doing? Just as you should audit your own content library, you should also research what your competitors are saying, what the media is saying, and what analysts are saying, about your own company and others. Competitive audits provide valuable information for your content marketing strategy development.
7. When will your leads want certain information? Part of creating a lead nurturing workflow, along with content that reaches every level of the sales funnel, is understanding that prospects and leads don’t all want the same information. The information they need depends on where they are in the buyers’ journey. Early on, in the awareness stage, a lead may simply want broad information, such as learning about how a business blog works to increase website traffic. As they move through the sales funnel, however, their interest may become more specific, wanting detailed information on how to create an editorial calendar or how to track ROI in order to prove the effectiveness of the tool.
8. How will you organize your editorial calendar? We’ve created templates to help you with this! Our Campaign Planning Calendar Template is a month-by-month look at organizing entire campaigns, based on the sales funnel, to include awareness, early engagement, consideration, and sales enablement materials that work together. Our Blog Calendar Template is more detailed and specific to a business blog, outlining topics, assigning writers and deadlines, and specifying which inbound marketing offers and CTAs to use with each post. Both are available for you to download today.
9. What formats will you use for your content? These blog posts offer a wide range of ideas for your content, depending on your target audience and the level of the sales funnel you are trying to reach:
10. What devices should you design content for? While many B2B decision makers may still access the majority of their purchase decision information on a desktop device, increasingly consumers access content on mobile devices, including phones and tablets. Be sure you keep these changes in your audience’s behavior in mind. (Check out some of these user statistics, specific to video, here: Using Video For B2B Marketing.)
There is definitely a lot to consider as you plan out a comprehensive content marketing strategy. Sometimes, it just makes sense to have an outside perspective and expertise to help you sort it all out and develop a detailed approach. Click here to download an example of one of our complete campaigns, or schedule a no-obligation consultation to learn more about how you can maximize your content marketing impact.