For over a decade I’ve been creating content and building content strategies for brands of all sizes and across industries, either in-house or as a freelancer. No matter how different, they all struggled with similar issues:
- Ineffective lead generation
- Underperforming content
- Overreliance on paid advertising
- Feeling overwhelmed by trends and channels
- Difficulty in clearly explaining what they do
- Challenges in reaching the right audience
- Trouble with justifying marketing budgets.
Many of these issues stem from missing one core asset that leaves your content and team in disarray: a content marketing strategy.
If this is you, you might find some comfort in knowing this a common issue in the marketing world and beyond. The Content Marketing Institute points out that only 37% of B2B marketers and 40% of B2C marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.
However, being part of the “no-strategy” fellowship provides zero comfort. Meanwhile, your hard-earned cash continues to scatter across uncoordinated channels and assets.
I don’t have the time to put into writing it down.
I don’t have enough experience to know what it takes to build it.
I don’t have enough know-how in my team to get it done.
I don’t have someone who can own this project and deliver it.
These are common challenges you can overcome by getting a specialist on board, as you may have done with other aspects of your business. Maybe someone like me. 🙂
Not everyone can afford to hire an experienced content marketer, so it’s no wonder that 62% of companies outsource all or some of their content marketing.
With so many reliable and hard-working freelancers out there, you don’t have to postpone defining a strategy that can save you time and money while driving better results.
Let me show you how to do it.
1. Building accountability with clear goals and metrics
Most companies already produce content but need guidance on how to generate measurable results. That’s where I come in.
I help you set clear expectations and create a masterplan to reach them.
What is it for?
This is one of the key questions I use to set the goals for a content marketing strategy. They guide your choice of tactics and resource allocation.
Clear objectives help you navigate through (un)expected challenges and make better decisions around your budget. Keeping your eye on them is how you know you’re going the right way.
Results show that building goal-focused content creates better results through focus and consistency.
Examples of goals for your content marketing strategy:
2. Reaching the people who need what you make
I’ve seen many companies waste resources on creating content without defining a target audience. You simply cannot build an effective content marketing strategy before figuring out:
Who is it for?
To answer this question I use these tools: the customer persona and the customer journey map.
User personas are semi-fictional representations of ideal customers. They use customer research to distinguish key traits, motivations, and needs. These representations provide deep insight that guides your content creation.
Mapping the customer journey helps you understand the customer’s context. It tells you when your clients need more information from you (during research, comparison, post-purchase, etc.).
When your strategy is done, you’ll know who your content is for and you’ll be able to give them the content they need when they need it.
Instead of shooting arrows in the dark, you’ll focus your content to attract valuable customers:
Working on your strategy also gives you a chance to clarify your positioning and develop a consistent tone of voice that echoes across channels.
3. Focusing on what makes the biggest impact
Striking a balance between diversity (of channels, formats, etc.) and focus (what your customers need, what your business needs) is a difficult challenge.
I can audit your current assets and recommend the best types of content that can produce results. Alternatively, I can build a strategy from scratch.
My role is to help you focus on creating content that fits your industry, your customers’ habits, and your brand. Articles, podcasts, case studies, videos, courses – the possibilities are endless but your time and money aren’t.
Channel selection is also part of the content marketing strategy. You don’t have to use any new platform simply because it’s popular. If your customers aren’t there, neither should you.
4. Balancing creation, promotion, and optimization
A common pitfall in content marketing is spending too much time on content creation and not nearly enough on promoting it.
Here’s what you’re missing out on: content promotion helps you get more traffic while writing less. So does content repurposing.
Having a strategy in place that includes content promotion and repurposing ensures you will make time to amplify what you create.
Creating content for a specific goal and for the right user is a strong foundation. What boosts its effectiveness is keeping it fresh through content updates and optimizing it for conversions (if that’s your objective).
Need help with your strategy?
Let’s talk about it.
5. Reaping short-term results while building long-term ones
Many companies are using content marketing to create long-term growth. Some of them want to stop relying on paid ads as a main source of traffic. Others want to reduce their dependency on social media algorithms.
Growth tactics are not created equal. Cold calling, going to events and paying for advertising generate short-lived effects.
Complement them with a strong content marketing strategy to foster trust, loyalty and raise brand awareness. This is how you create more opportunities for organic leads to find you.
One of the best things about content marketing is the compound effect it has. Results pile up over time as you get better at polishing your strategy, creating a virtuous cycle!
6. Aligning your team and improving productivity
Getting everyone on board is what content strategies are (also) for!
Having built two content teams, I know first-hand how challenging it is to set the context for people to do their best work.
A strategy helps clarify expectations and offers a guiding structure for your in-house team or other collaborators.
It also works as a motivator for content creators, showing where content marketing fits in the company and how it works with other teams (product, sales, support, etc.).
Having a strategy with explicit goals makes it easier to manage and evaluate your team, freelancers, agencies or partners who may be involved.
With your objectives in mind, you can optimize your content marketing process to cover gaps and spot necessary improvements.
As part of the strategy, I also include recommendations for tools to save you time and effort, plus ways to optimize your workflow.
7. Making better use of your limited resources
No one has the money and time to do it all.
By setting a strong content marketing strategy in place, I help you:
- Choose the right tools
- Hire or contract the right people
- Select the right partners.
8. Scaling your content marketing on solid foundations
With your strategy ready, you have a solid business case for getting budget and management buy-in.
Your content marketing strategy provides a clear overview of your channels and priorities. You use it to create alignment throughout the company.
Now that people are committed you know why and who you’re doing it for, you’re ready to scale your content marketing efforts.
If you want to reach this stage and need help, I’m happy to talk about it. I can manage the entire process, from building to optimizing your setup and then handing over the entire thing to your team. Should you need help executing it, I can contribute to that as well.
- Stakeholder interviews outline
- Content inventory outline
- Content audit
- Gap analysis
- Core strategy development
- Themes & messages development
- Style and voice guideline
- On-page SEO strategy
- Social media strategy
- Content workflow optimization
- Tools selection
- Measurement strategy
- Resource planning
- Setup and handover
Good to see you here!
I’m a hands-on, experienced content marketer with a soft spot for cyber security and startups.
My specialty is combining tech knowledge and writing experience to create better relationships between users and companies through useful, relevant and impactful content.
I spend my days writing, reading, learning, and being ignored by my cat.
Each Saturday I send a personal newsletter on how to get better at making decisions. You can subscribe below.