With so much focus on developing content marketing strategies, it seems that many ideas have gotten lost in the list-building generation. You know the type - 6 Steps to Developing the Best Content Marketing Strategy or Your Five Step Guide for Better Content Marketing Planning. The truth is, there is no single content marketing strategy that can be universally applied in such simple and easy to follow steps! If that's what you were expecting from this post, you can look away right now.
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Building Your Own Content Marketing Strategy
The problem with most of these "listicles" is that they cannot focus on the individual needs of each content marketing plan. This is because, every business will have to approach their audience differently for two major reasons:
- Target audiences aren't all the same: You wouldn't market adult diapers to teenagers, just like you wouldn't market tattoos to a senior citizen's group (well you could try). Each market is different which means defining and understanding your target audience is extremely important.
- If your competition has the same strategy as you, you lose: Although there's much to be said for employing a proven strategy, it's far more important to stand out. Did you notice the headline for this article standing out from all the list-type posts? That's strategy.
The bottom line here is that a unique, individual twist on a winning content marketing strategy is going to be your best bet here. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, but you do have to make sure that your customers want to ride it. So, how do you do that?
Your Individual Keys to Developing a Content Marketing Strategy
The first thing that you'll have to do is identify your market. While this may sound like it's something you've already done, chances are, you haven't fully identified it. To do this, you're going to have to look at your audience and then break it down into subcategories. It's not enough to simply target your market, you have to target targets within your market.
For example, some businesses like to break their audience down into simple categories such as gender, income, age, and location, while others prefer to break it down into categories such as "fan of competition on Facebook" or "follows X on LinkedIn." As you can see, each strategy draws a clear line in the sand in determining its approach to content. Generally, the more specific you can be during your planning stages, the better idea you can get at the best ways to approach your audience as a whole and as subcategories. Even if you don't use a category, it will help you to think about your audience in this manner to better develop your content going forward.
Developing Your Message
Once you identify and begin to understand your audience, it's time to develop your message. If you've done your homework in the previous stage, the message should start to take shape on its own. Look for major similarities and differences within your target audience. Is there a common thread that binds them? If so, that's a great avenue to develop your content around. For example, a winter sporting good company might notice that all of their athletes prefer a particular style of music or enjoy a common summer sport-this would be an avenue to explore when developing content.
As for differences within your audience, this will help you specify which angles need to be explored more thoroughly. Differentiating your content marketing strategy is an excellent way to draw in the audiences that are forgotten by your competition. Sure, they probably noticed the trends that bind your audience together, but are they capitalizing on the trends that separate them into sub-groups? Even if they are, chances are they haven't covered them all.
Delivering Your Message
Finally, you'll have to figure out which is the best medium for delivering your message. It's pretty easy to say "social media" and have that be a "step" in the content marketing list, but what platform of social media? LinkedIn is where the business-orientated crowd hangs out. The younger generation can be found on Twitter. Middle-aged people are on Facebook. Where are you?
Do your research into where your audience spends its time on the internet. Find out what their mobile habits are and reach right into their phone apps so you're never unplugged from them. The key is to know where your market is and then place the proper content right there.
Tell us, what does your content marketing strategy entail?