Content Marketing Strategy Guide 2021

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Recently, more businesses need a content marketing strategy. This new addition to their marketing campaign may enhance its performance. If you have a business, your competitors probably are using this to their advantage. Your brand must adapt as well, but how should you proceed?

Fortunately, we could help by elaborating on marketing strategies. Then, we’ll discuss what a content marketing strategy is and why it’s important. Next, we’ll define its numerous components and explain how you could continuously improve them. Lastly, we’ll show how you could create a content marketing strategy.

Nowadays, having a content marketing strategy is becoming more critical. Businesses experience positive results, so they’re a mainstay in more marketing campaigns. Consequently, you should consider content marketing for your brand too. It might just help your business grow further.

Table of contents

  • What is a marketing strategy?
  • What is content marketing?
  • Why do I need to create a content marketing strategy?
  • What should my content strategy include?
  • Update your strategy constantly.
  • Marketing isn’t possible without content
  • How to set up your content marketing strategy
  • Start with your goals and intentions
  • Then identify your target demographic
  • Describe the end goal of your content marketing story
  • Why does your marketing campaign need sponsored content?
  • How sponsored content provides mutual benefits
  • How to post sponsored content on other sites
  • Final thoughts

What is a marketing strategy?

What is a marketing strategy?

If you open any brand’s homepage, you’ll find its business goals and objectives. They usually aim for a vision and explain how they want to achieve it as their mission.

Of course, all companies plan their actions carefully to accomplish these. They create a marketing strategy that combines them into a cohesive plan.

According to Market Business News, a marketing strategy is designed to promote products and services for profit. It could also help a company identify and understand its customers.

It determines the overall long-term direction of your marketing efforts. What’s more, it identifies your marketing tactics, such as content marketing strategy.

A marketing strategy also defines your brand’s position in the market relative to your competitors. It also lets you evaluate its effectiveness.

As a result, it allows you to detect areas of improvement for your marketing campaign. Then, you could adopt new methods like a content marketing strategy to remain competitive.

You may have heard of a marketing plan. This is not the same as a marketing strategy. Knowing the difference will allow you to make full use of your strategy.

A marketing plan focuses on short-term goals. These are the smaller actions that run your marketing strategy. In other words, your strategy is made up of various marketing plans.

We’re trying to emphasize the importance of details in your marketing strategy. Make sure you’re deliberate in every step you take while following it.

What is content marketing?

What is content marketing?

According to the Content Marketing Institute, this is the definition of content marketing:

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.

A content marketing strategy uses pieces of content like blog posts, articles, and ebooks. Together, they provide authoritative and credible resources that potential customers want.

Your target audience is likely to discover your relevant content that answers their inquiries. In turn, you provide something they can’t find anywhere else.

Overall, it’s about an effective content promotion that earns their trust and loyalty. Eventually, this enhances relationships with customers and builds an active subscriber base.

Do it right, and your content marketing strategy may help you earn more. However, it requires lots of hard work, time, patience, and perseverance.

Why do I need to create a content marketing strategy?

Why do I need to create a content marketing strategy?

Nowadays, most marketers use content marketing for their campaigns. Businesses specified their top 3 reasons why:

  • More sales
  • Fewer costs
  • Better clients with more brand loyalty

Content Marketing Institute research stated that 94% of brands pivoted to content marketing due to the pandemic. Also, the top performers use it for reasons beyond brand awareness:

  • 73% use it to nurture audiences, leads, or subscribers
  • 64% generate sales/revenue with their content marketing strategy
  • 60% grow their subscriber base
  • Nearly every (94%) top performer measure their content performance
  • 4 out of 5 top performers use a content calendar

A successful content marketing strategy lets your brand be found by your target demographic easier. Also, it increases the number of audiences engaging with your brand.

Furthermore, it helps your brand gather new customers. On the other hand, it could increase earnings from existing buyers. What’s more, it may help reduce or reallocate marketing costs.

What should my content strategy include?

What should my content strategy include?

Every company has its specific content marketing strategy, so there are no templates for creating one. However, it should have these 5 components:

  1. Business case – Explain your reasons for creating your content, the potential risks, and your vision for success. This allows you to get executive support for your content marketing strategy.
  2. Business plan – This details your goals behind your content marketing efforts. It outlines your business model, the value of your content creation, and the possible pitfalls.
  3. Content maps and buyer personas – You’ll describe your target demographic, such as their preferred type of content. Also, you’ll map out creating your content with a content marketing plan.
  4. Your brand’s story – At this part of the content marketing strategy, you must explain the ideas you want to convey. You should also distinguish your messages from your competitors and describe the changes they could cause.
  5. Your channel plan – You should list the platforms you’ll include in your marketing efforts. Describe your criteria, objectives, and process for each, and explain how they’ll generate brand conversion.

Update your strategy constantly.

Update your strategy constantly

As we’ve mentioned, companies have adjusted in response to the coronavirus pandemic. It caused lockdowns that changed customer behaviors.

The market changes drastically and frequently, so your content marketing strategy must adapt accordingly. You should perform content audits and analyze your competitors.

One-fourth of brands with a content marketing strategy modified theirs significantly. Meanwhile, 69% applied slight or moderate alterations. Here are the specific changes they implemented:

  • 70% adjusted targeting/messaging strategy
  • 64% modified their content calendars
  • 53% changed their promotion strategy and content distribution

As time passes, customers will act differently. That’s your cue to enhance your demographic research so that you can detect their new pain points and priorities.

Keep in mind that your resources could be limited based on these factors. Nevertheless, it would help if you did the research or adapt your content to these changes.

Marketing isn’t possible without content.

Marketing isn't possible without content

No matter what marketing tactics you employ, you need content marketing. You should be integrated into your campaign. It’s part of every type of marketing:

  • Social media marketing – This should follow your content marketing strategy. Prioritize this before promoting to potential customers on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Consistent content helps your brand top search result rankings. You must perform keyword research using tools like Google Analytics. Then, you should include those keywords in your content.
  • Public Relations (PR) – Successful PR strategies use good content to address prospects’ needs, not their company.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) – It’s one of the metrics that need great content to succeed.
  • Inbound marketing – Publishing content is key to driving lead generation and organic traffic.
  • Content strategy – This is an integral part of nearly all content marketing strategies.

How to set up your content marketing strategy

How to set up your content marketing strategy

After understanding the importance of content marketing, you may begin creating your brand’s strategy. You must determine your goals and intentions, target demographics, and mission.

Successful content marketers adopt this practice, but a majority refuse to do it. Typically, it’s because strategy creation may seem too difficult.

It would help if you had researched, thought, and time to determine all the details. You can’t use the same strategy another business is operating and apply it to your brand!

Start with your goals and intentions.

All companies are distinct from one another, including yours. To create a successful content marketing strategy, you need to outline your business objective.

This will make sure that it would cater to your company’s needs. However, you should consider the possible pros and cons of content marketing.

Moreover, you need to work around limitations such as budget constraints and time limits. You need stakeholders to approve of your strategy as well.

You should push on despite these obstacles, though. Plan carefully, and you could create the best content marketing strategy from these roadblocks!

Then, compare your brand with competitors.

Then, compare your brand with competitors.

We don’t have to tell you that running a business is like a race. You have other brands aiming for the same market share and potential sales. That’s why strategies are focused on winning!

First, you should start by understanding the competition. Using 4Ps Analysis can help. It’s often used for internal marketing strategies. Yet, it can outline four features of your competitors:

  • Product – See how your competitors’ products work. Check how customers use them too. You won’t learn much by observing their products on shelves.
  • Price – You should look beyond the tags, though. Similar to the product portion, you have to see how consumers react to it. For example, customers might only buy a competitor’s products when it has a discount.
  • Placement – Find out where consumers buy from your competitors. We can assume that they all have an online store. If so, is it on their homepage, or is it available on other platforms? You might find a customer base that you haven’t tapped into yet!
  • Promos – This was our shorthand for “promotional tactics.” It refers to the advertising and marketing methods of your competitors.

Then, compare your brand to the others. A SWOT Analysis can help you with this one. It stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Let’s take a closer look:

  • Strengths – See what your company excels at right now. Perhaps it’s your high-quality products or your on-time delivery service.
  • Weaknesses – Be honest about what your brand is struggling with at the moment. Let’s take the strength of punctual delivery service. If people can’t place orders online, that might be a potential downside. It limits your customer reach and puts you behind other competitors.
  • Opportunities – You may call these “points for improvement.” See how you can cover the weaknesses or turn them into strengths. Using the delivery service example, you could enter the platforms your competitors are using. On the other hand, drop shipping could be a low-cost method of delivering to more customers.
  • Threats – These are environmental factors that you and your competitors have to face. The COVID-19 pandemic is a recent example. It stalled supply chains for nearly every industry. In response, you and the other brands will have to adjust to it.

Determine a goal for long-term growth

Determine a goal for long-term growth

Just trying to beat the competition is short-sighted, though. For your company to succeed, it must grow and develop. However, it must head in a certain direction.

You may follow the Ansoff Matrix or the STP Marketing Model as guides. The former outlines four types of marketing strategy.

See which one suits your brand:

  • Market Penetration – This involves expanding your goods and services to other markets. It may include appealing to a larger customer base or improving your promo techniques.
  • Product Development – This means offering a new product or service to an existing market. Prepare to spend a lot of money, though. You’ll have to pay more for research & development (R&D) or new technology.
  • Market Development – This is the opposite of product development. You’ll bring existing products or services to a new market. This could mean a change in location or demographic.
  • Diversification – It means introducing a novel product to a new market. For example, Apple was focused on producing computers when it suddenly introduced the iPhone. This is a high-risk, high-reward approach. Both sides are new, so you can’t be sure of the potential results.

On the other hand, the STP Marketing Model focuses on market messaging. In other words, it deals with how you communicate with potential customers.

Here’s how it works:

  • Segmentation – Divide your audiences into different segments. Let’s take computer operating systems, for example. Microsoft focuses more on business solutions, so it appeals to office workers. On the other hand, Apple goes for the general public, focusing on taking photos and videos.
  • Targeting – After categorizing your audience, it’s time to pick one. Make sure it’s more likely to show interest in your products or services.
  • Positioning – Determine how you’ll approach your customer segment and use the appropriate marketing methods.

Plan how you’ll achieve growth

Plan how you’ll achieve growth

Let’s say you have a clear grasp of yourself, your competitors, and your growth objectives. You’re now ready to plan how you’ll get your desired growth.

You have two options: Growth Method Acquisition or Organic Growth. Let’s start with the former. As the name suggests, it involves a business taking over another.

You could get new products and services at a much lower cost. After all, you won’t have to spend on R & D. You won’t take on the risk of testing them either.

We may look at Facebook as an example. It used GMA by taking over MSQRD and Snapchat. As a result, Facebook was able to integrate its features into its platform.

This isn’t foolproof, though. For one, you’ll have to find a business that may help your brand. If you can’t find one, then this method probably wouldn’t work.

Organic Growth Plays a Part

On the other hand, you could try Organic Growth. It doesn’t involve any acquisitions. Instead, your company will have to grow using its resources and efforts.

If done right, you could create products or services that no other company provides. Also, this time-consuming process could help you cultivate a massive loyal customer base.

However, you’ll have to be willing to put in much time and effort. Using only the resources you have could limit what you can do. As you can see, both have upsides and downsides.

There’s no perfect method for your business. Yet, you should use the ones that fit your brand. More importantly, make adjustments to suit the ever-changing market conditions.

Identify your target demographic.

Then identify your target demographic

After detailing your goals and intentions, you should proceed with describing your ideal customers. After all, your goods and services are supposed to cater to their needs.

You should identify the type of people who may benefit most from your offerings. For example, a toy company might find it challenging. It is even to sell to full-grown adults!

Buyer personas could help you understand prospective clients deeper. It consists of the characteristics of your target audience, including behaviors and gender.

The answers to these questions could shed more light on your target demographics:

  • What sets my customers apart from other people?
  • Some of the parts of their daily routine
  • What do they want in life?
  • Are they aware of your brand? If they already know your goods and services, why don’t they choose yours?
  • How can you improve customer experience, so they’ll purchase your brand instead?

Describe the end goal of your content marketing story

Every brand starts with an end in mind. That’s why they have a mission and vision statement on their homepages.

Similarly, there’s a reason why you founded your business. Also, you have strategies and tactics in mind to fulfill that purpose.

The answers to the following queries should guide your content marketing strategy:

  • What are your brand’s guiding principles?
  • How can your company help potential customers?
  • How can you impact your clients’ lives?

Why does your marketing campaign need sponsored content?

Why does your marketing campaign need sponsored content?

You probably had a marketing campaign before reading this article. Perhaps you’ve already had a content marketing strategy, but it’s using branded content.

In other words, you may have been publishing materials named under your brand. Unfortunately, these are ineffective nowadays since people tend to avoid branded content.

Instead, most companies use sponsored content for marketing. They commission publishers to create and distribute high-quality content on their behalf.

Customers trust sponsored content more than traditional advertisements. Specifically, 2 out of 3 Gen-Z and Millenial consumers think it’s more sincere than traditional ads.

Fewer online advertisers use native content nowadays. Around 11% of them still use the native format. Also, brands only run native ads on 10% of the total number of their advert sites.

As of 2019, 53% of online marketers prioritize blog creation. Soon, more businesses will aim for sponsored content success, so you should start adapting too!

How sponsored content provides mutual benefits

If you post guest blogs on other publications, it helps them too. Sponsored content from other companies gives them additional engagement beyond their news articles.

Even better if you could post on mainstream news media like CNN, The Washington Post, and HuffPost. Your brand would truly gain popularity by being featured on those sites!

In turn, you get more leads that you may convert into profitable customer actions. You should consider adding guest posts as one of the tactics under your content marketing strategy.

How to post sponsored content on other sites

How to post sponsored content on other sites

Publishing guest posts insignificant news publications will depend on negotiations. You’ll have to contact them directly to discuss your content marketing strategy.

This means the costs will depend mostly on your agreement with the news outlet. Here are some estimates for sponsored content costs of the top publishers:

Buzzfeed – 4-5 listicles may cost around $100,000
Gawker – $300,000 – $500,000 for each sponsored content
Huffington Post – $40,000 for one article
Forbes – $50,000 – $75,000 monthly (a minimum of three months)
Business Insider – $5,000/sponsored post, $15,000 for every sponsored video or slideshow

Again, these prices may differ from their current costs depending on several factors. Please coordinate with your preferred publication for more details.

Final Thoughts

You should start your content marketing strategy today for your business.

Don’t join the 63% of marketers without a documented content marketing strategy! It will allow your company to gain more leads and potential customers.

There are several types of content marketing like infographics, webpages, videos, and podcasts. However, sponsored content is one of the most promising ones.

Moreover, you should adopt new software and services. Check the latest marketing tech like content management systems and WordPress.

As we’ve discussed, a marketing campaign has several moving parts that take time to yield results. You’ll need expertise, time, and effort to get your campaign rolling.

Alternatively, you could simply outsource to the best digital marketing agencies like LeadAdvisors.

LeadAdvisors has assisted other companies with their marketing campaigns. They could take care of planning and executing your campaign so that you could concentrate on your business.

Updated on September 8, 2021.

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