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5 Tips for Creating an Effective Content Marketing Strategy

Posted on Oct 15th, 2009
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    It’s difficult to find much value in content with no strategy behind it. Without a content strategy plan, your intended audience is unlikely to find your copy, let alone read it.

    During the MIMA Summit last week, the importance of a content marketing strategy was the topic of a session presented by Rachel Lovinger of Razorfish.

    For this week’s 5 Tips post, I’ve translated some of Rachel’s valuable points into actionable steps for creating an effective content marketing strategy.

    Content Strategy: Discover1. Discover
    In a nutshell, do your homework:

    • Research competitors’ content. Whether you’re launching a blog, website or email campaign, determine what information is already out there and how it’s presented. How can you distinguish yourself?
    • Concept your voice based on audience and type of content. If you’re providing quick tips and human interest pieces for consumers, your content voice will likely be more conversational. Are you offering in-depth, research-driven articles for a B2B audience? Your voice should be reflect that.
    • Define the clear goals and message of your content. By failing to do so, you’ll have a difficult time building a solid readership. You also risk confusing the readers you do attract.

    Content Strategy: Design2. Design
    Step 2 is all about planning—making sure all the “i’s” have been dotted and the “t’s” have been crossed:

    • Determine responsibilities. Before deploying a content marketing plan, ensure that you’ve outlined who will be the keeper of the content. If you aren’t able to hire a dedicated resource, it’s essential to appoint someone to incorporate content maintenance into his or her current responsibilities. Content maintenance could also entail tasking each employee to contribute one piece of content per month.
    • Organize content. Is your content logically located on your site in a central place? Is it easy to search for a particular topic? If your readers have a difficult time navigating through your site to find useful content, they’re not likely to stick around for very long.

    Content Strategy: Build3. Build
    With Steps 1 and 2 complete, you’re ready to start putting the wheels in motion:

    • Plan a style guide. Include as much information as possible regarding everything from tone and voice to target word count. Provide best practices for optimizing content and writing checklists.
    • Create a copy deck. A copy deck is essentially a roadmap for your content pages, including text, graphics, advertising and links. It can be developed in stages, starting with writing a few paragraphs to describe the content.

    Content Strategy: Deploy4. Deploy
    With the first 3 steps in place, a content marketing strategy is finally ready for deployment:

    • Maintain. It’s crucial to have a plan in place to continuously update content. Outdated content will quickly turn readers away. Plus, a stagnant site won’t do you any favors when it comes to search engines.
    • Monitor. Leverage analytics tools to gauge what worked best and what failed. Look for patterns in the most popular types of content—i.e., checklists, charts, case studies. You can analyze virtually any variable, from optimal article length to most popular type of headline.

    Content Strategy: Adjust5. Adjust
    The final step to creating an effective content marketing strategy is ongoing:

    • Respond. No content marketing strategy is perfect. Based on analytics reports, continuously tweak your content efforts to maximize results.

    What steps would you add to create an effective content marketing strategy?