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6 Critical Elements of A Successful Content Marketing Strategy

A well-thought-out content marketing strategy is one of the most important aspects of an organization's success in the modern age. It is not enough to simply rush into it. With this article, you will learn the three most essential components of a successful content marketing strategy:

  • goal setting

  • brand identity

  • audience research

  • customer journey map

  • market research

  • content calendar


Setting the right goals

When you set goals for yourself, you should include every step you need to succeed. To help, you can use a framework called SMART goals. What does that mean? Well, for your goal to fit these criteria, it should meet the following:

  • Your goal should be Specific

o To be more effective in planning, it is essential to have a specific goal with a narrow focus.

  • Your goal should be Measurable

o Define what evidence will prove you are making progress and reevaluate when necessary

  • Your goal should be Achievable

o Make sure you can reasonably achieve your goal within a specific timeframe.

  • Your goal should be Relevant

o Your goals should line up with your values ​​and long-term goals.

  • Your goal should be Time-based

o Set realistic, ambitious end-date for task prioritization and motivation.


Each component of the SMART framework functions together to make a well-planned, clear, and trackable goal. Having a SMART goal will help you achieve success much faster. You basically eliminate the fluff and focus on what can help you achieve your goals.


To achieve your content marketing goals, you need to align them with your audience's needs. You will need to do some trial and error to find out what works best for your business, but you will still be closer to your goals than if you simply picked the 'wing.'



Brand identity guidelines

Your brand identity is the cornerstone of your content marketing. It is the most valuable tool in your content marketing arsenal. It defines who you are, what you stand for, and why people should care. It shapes what you do and how you do it; it dictates your audience and impacts what channels to use. Strong brand identity also provides a baseline of trustworthiness that allows people to take risks with you - whether they're potential customers or partners on a project. Therefore, it's the starting point of your content marketing strategy. The features of your brand identity include:


Visual brand features – In today's digital world, it is essential to take advantage of the available digital tools to create an environment that reflects your brand's colors, logo, typography, and style.


Brand story features – Describe the primary purpose behind your brand with a mission statement, vision statement, and storytelling.


Brand Value features – A compelling value proposition that only you can offer is a key differentiator in attracting customers.


By keeping your brand's voice and identity as a constant, you can present a solid and recognizable image as an online marketing company. Below is a set of four actionable steps that can be taken to create a brand identity guideline:

  • Create a brand board showing how brand visuals should be used.

  • Collect a library of examples about how you work.

  • Create a list of highlights that describe your social profile vision in a few sentences.

  • Create how-to guidelines for branding in content and advertising.

Spend time coming up with ways to communicate your identity. You can use these tips and ideas to help you develop content in the future.


Building an audience persona

Quality always trumps quantity. Not knowing who to create content for causes many content marketing strategies to fail. One of the top ways to ensure quality is understanding your audience. Equipped with this information, you can create the content that will most appeal to them.

Document profiles (persona) of people and personalities you want to reach and influence, backed up by the research and data you collect, and create cheat sheet summaries for campaign use or distribution to client-facing team members. These can include demographic elements such as:

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Household income

  • Location

  • Education

  • Family status

  • Job role/title

Additionally, consider cultural and behavioral characteristics like:

  • Personal values and goals

  • Consumer needs

  • Cultural influences

  • Media preferences

  • Fears

  • Purchasing frictions

It's easier to present yourself as an authority because you know your audience's needs and their pain points very well. However, if you can't create audience personas, you may be wasting all your hard work.



Crafting a customer journey map

When your goals define what you want, and your personality and research work define who your customer is, a journey map explains your customers' specific needs - and how you can meet them. By envisioning the customer's journey from their perspective, an effective map can be drawn that is carefully crafted to include elements of the potential customer's world. This helps better illustrate the customer's experience with your brand and can often lead to a more dynamic and engaging representation of your product or service.


Customers might not always follow a linear marketing funnel expressed as traditional stages such as awareness, consideration, and purchase. The more you dig into it, it can get more complex, so linear modeling isn't an accurate representation of customer journeys.


Based on the stages you outlined, map your customer's story, focusing specifically on their:


Activities - What is your customer's typical day history that leads them to interact with your brand? What does your client do, stage by stage? What are they doing to move on to the next stage?


Context (settings) - what else do we know about customers? If your customer experience is highly or fully digital, what equipment do they use at a particular stage?


Questions (Thinking) - What unanswered questions or uncertainties do your customers have that prevent them from going to the next stage of their journey?


Motivation (feeling) - What does your customer care about? What emotions do they feel? Why are customers motivated to move on to the next stage?


Brand Relationships (Touchpoints) - What are the touchpoints and opportunities between you and your customers? What are the barriers preventing them from moving to the next stage?


Conduct market research

Market research requires you to study your competitors and target market to stay ahead of the curve and learn from their successes and mistakes. Consulting both their behavior and opinions will provide you with a better understanding of what they like or dislike, which will help to optimize your technique.

You can use your knowledge of what your target audience likes or which other brands they are interested in to create better original content that stands out among the competition. An example is if you know that your target market is interested in fashion, make sure to develop trending articles on fashion trends for this season.


Create consistency with a content calendar

Planning your digital presence is essential. With a content calendar, you can plan an overarching strategy that covers content format, posting time, and scheduling. Define your goals and identify what content will be needed to support them. Create a monthly plan for creating that content. To increase visibility on social media, make sure you include the post format (photo vs. video), distribution channel (Instagram, Facebook), and time it was posted in the description. For example: "Smiley face video" posted on Facebook at 6pm EST.


Conclusion

A well-thought-out content marketing strategy is one of the most critical aspects of an organization's success in the modern age. With this article, you learned the six most essential components of successful content marketing. The SMART goals are defined by criteria such as Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-based. To achieve your content marketing goals, you need to align them with your audience's needs. To be more effective in planning, it is essential to have a specific goal with a narrow focus. Brand identity is the most valuable tool in the content marketing arsenal.


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