Setting goals helps trigger new behaviors, helps guide your focus and helps you sustain momentum in life. Goals help align your focus and promote a sense of self-mastery. In the end, it helps you develop consistency, discipline and also helps you focus without any distractions. We set goals for everything we place priority on in our lives. 2021 is almost wrapping up and we will start to hear the new year new me or I need to set goals for 2022 stories from people who just want to get a direction.
The great thing about setting goals is that it allows us to aim for a certain destination and helps us think about the bigger picture but somehow this step is usually skipped when it comes to content marketing. In content marketing, just like everything else people do, we need goals to tell us whether we are moving forward or just going in circles.
Content is only effective when it aligns with your company’s overall business strategy and goals, but it won’t work if you have no aim for your content.
Let’s delve into what content strategy and content planning entails;
“What is Content Planning?”
Content planning is the structure by which your company determines which content initiatives to execute and when. A content plan determines the content you hope to create and sets expectations for how it should be created. Your content plan will outline who’s responsible for making the content, what the content’s purpose is, and how the content will impact your overall content strategy. It’s all about processes and workflows.
A content plan can help you overcome the challenges you face daily with content marketing, including:
Ensuring content is unique and relevant, account for resources at hand, optimized engagement for every piece of content, keeping on schedule with a content calendar; you’ll be able to mitigate the common issues that content teams have with staying on top of timelines, tasks, and projects.
“What is Content Strategy?”
A content strategy helps you define your marketing goals and set priorities. It allows you to plan your work and ensure that all marketing effort is goal-driven. Content strategy is the blueprint that usually answers questions like Why are we creating this content? What audiences do we want to address? What kind of actions and reactions do we want to achieve? How will we promote the content once it’s published? How will our audience find our content? What types of content do we plan to create? Where and when will we be publishing the content? Who is in charge of creating the content? How will you maintain your brand style across various platforms?
Here are 6 reasons you should develop a content strategy
- A Content Strategy Helps You Set and Reach Goals
A content strategy helps you define your marketing goals and set priorities. It allows you to plan your work and ensure that all marketing effort is goal-driven. With a documented content strategy, you can ensure that every bit of effort put in by your team translates into tangible results.
- A Content Strategy Helps You Track Progress
Your short-term and long-term goals serve as a yardstick for measuring the effectiveness of content marketing initiatives. A strong content strategy should outline the metrics you should track and analyze to constantly determine whether or not your content marketing efforts are yielding results.
- A Content Strategy Helps You Identify New Opportunities
Successful content marketers constantly look for new content creation opportunities. They create content around hot news topics which help in the effort to reach more of their target audience.
To help with that, a good content strategy should outline all the avenues that a marketer can use to follow news and trends and find story ideas. Without a content strategy, the effort put into discovering new opportunities will be uncoordinated, and that disorganization will be reflected in the brand’s publications and tone.
- A Content Strategy Cuts Costs
Creating and distributing content can get costly. When marketers work without a content strategy they can often lose sight of the bigger picture. Content strategies help define how much money should be spent per project, how it should be spent and how marketers can find ways to cut costs if needed.
- A Content Strategy Optimizes Your Marketing Team
Accountability is crucial for making any tangible progress, no matter the context. Without a documented content strategy, your marketing team won’t know how much content needs to be produced, where it needs to be posted, how it can be repurposed, or anything else that can govern their day-to-day tasks. When you have a strategy, all of this becomes much easier, resulting in a more productive marketing team.
- A Content Strategy Help You Produce Content That Converts
The fact that a content strategy is essential to producing content that converts on a consistent basis. If your content strategy contains the highlighted guidelines, then your marketing team will have the foundations they need whenever they approach a new project. All they have to do is build on the foundations set out in the content strategy.
Keeping your goals in sight, tracking progress, discovering new opportunities, minimizing cost, increasing productivity, and producing content that converts are all essential reasons for having a content plan and a content strategy.
The process to Developing A Content Strategy
Now that you know the definition and why, let’s talk about the specific process and workflows you should take when creating a content strategy for your brand.
1. Define your goal:
Be very clear about what you want to achieve with the content. Write it down. When your goal is clear, you can easily figure out how to achieve it. Write out your goal in clear words that can be easily understood by members of your team. After all, without goals, you can’t develop a strategy or measure success.
Goals compel action and drive your content strategy, so build your goals around the outcomes you want to achieve. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals which mean specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-constrained (having a clear deadline). Consider SMART when setting your goals.
Example: To create awareness for our new product. To engage our audience and get them to try our new product.
- Conduct Persona Research
To develop a successful plan, you need to clearly define your content’s target audience. If you’re new to the industry, you need to know who are you setting these goals for. When you know your target audience, you can produce more relevant and valuable content that will convert.
Do you want to target a new group of people or expand your current target market? Do you want to keep the same target audience? Revisiting your audience parameters by conducting market research each year is crucial to effective content marketing.
- Run a content audit.
If you want to venture out into different channels and content forms, you can run a content audit to assess your top-performing and lowest-performing content. When you have done this, you can use that information to inform your decision on which direction you are to take next.
If you’ve been in business for a while, you should review your content marketing efforts and the results from it in the last year. Figure out what you can do differently in the upcoming year and set new goals. This is a great time to align your content team’s goals with the rest of your organization’s goals.
Whatever stage you’re on, a content audit will help you determine what resonates best with your audience, identify gaps in your topic clusters, and brainstorm fresh content ideas.
- Choose a content management system.
A few vital parts of content management include content creation, content publication, and content analytics. You have to invest in a content management system you can use to create, manage, and track your content in an efficient and effective way. An example of a content management system is WordPress.
- Brainstorm content ideas.
Now that you know your goals, your audience, and your gaps, it’s time to start coming up with ideas for your next content project. You and your team have to come up with the best content ideas for your work, using what you have learned from the previous steps to reach your target audience. You can use resources like AnswerThePublic, Buzzsemo, Feedly, Reddit, etc to help you come up with creative ideas, but this will not work unless you go through the previous steps.
- Determine which kind of content you want to create.
There are a variety of options out there for content you can create, from written content like ebooks and blog posts to audio content like podcasts. You must identify whether you want a blog post, Instagram post, podcast, or a YouTube channel to pass your message across, and then create content accordingly.
- Publish and manage your content.
Your marketing plan should go beyond the types of content you’ll create. It should also cover how you’ll organize your content. With the help of an editorial calendar, you’ll be on the right track for publishing a well-balanced and diverse content library on your website or social media. Then, create a social media content calendar to promote and manage your content on other sites. Do not neglect insights; track your content and check progress regularly to know what improvements to make to your strategy.
Content marketing is easy if you know what to do, and this article has outlined what you should do. With these tips, you can create great content, reach your audience, and make great sales.