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6 minute read

How to build a content strategy that drives results

These 6 simple steps will help you create an actionable content marketing strategy that drives results

Blog Post Author – Andy
Andy
25th May 2021

These 6 simple steps will help you create an actionable content marketing strategy that drives results.  And how do we know it works? Because this is the strategy that ContentCal has followed over that last four years to increase business by 2000%

To provide some context around how critical content marketing is to business growth, the below graphic shows the two main channels people use to research potential purchases, confirming search and social are the primary sources for brand education;

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When those findings are translated to the marketing funnel,  it positions content marketing firmly across the top two tiers, influencing the ‘awareness’ and ‘consideration’ stages. If content marketing isn’t doing its job across your search and social campaigns, it will be very difficult to bring prospects further into your sales cycle.

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The quadrant seen here maps out the type of content that works best for awareness and consideration, with the top two segments focusing on awareness and the bottom two on consideration.  It shows how to create emotional connections and drive rational consideration amongst your target audience:

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An element to call-out here is the importance of the bottom left of the quadrant. ‘Education’ is one of the most - if not the most - important parts of your content strategy.

Education adds value, value builds trust and trust builds reputation. Unsurprisingly then, educational content forms the central part of our content marketing strategy at ContentCal.

An example.

At ContentCal, we have five key content assets.

  • Educational Webinars
  • Guides/Resources
  • Live Social Media Strategy Sessions
  • Blogs
  • Learning Academy

For each of these content assets we track the ROI, to determine what generates the most positive return and highest yield.

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You can download a copy of this ROI template here:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1fzWn5ix13r7fE5R51OsfPqucR60hVsnrhb6FPov2F4M/edit#gid=0

Hopefully you’re now armed with enough background into the  broader impact of content marketing on your overall sales and marketing fennel, so now we can get to work!

The ContentCal 6C’s

Our six step content strategy.

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Step 1. Customer

Content marketing starts with understanding your customer. At this first stage in the process, the aim is to get inside your customers' mind to understand what they need.

One of the best tools for this is www.keywordstrategytool.com. Using this tool you can view the questions and terms that your target audience is searching on Google and Youtube, the two primary channels people use to research products and services.

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From the list of keywords you find, you can filter out questions people are asking.

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You can then create content that is designed to answer the specific questions being searched. Essentially, you’ve just generated a years’ worth of content ideas.

When your ideas list is established, ContentCal is a great platform to store it in. ContentCal can actually be used to create and organise all of your ideas, strategies and content plans.

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Customer research also requires ‘social listening’, for which I recommend a tool called Mentionlytics.com

The metric that matters

Metionlytics shows the ‘share of voice’ that you have, vs. your competitors. For us, share of voice is the metric that matters the most. It determines how often your brand is being spoken about.

Historically word of mouth has always been the most powerful marketing channel and share of voice is the digital manifestation of that. Making it the most critical metric pertaining to content marketing growth.

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Metionlytics also helps you understand who is talking about your brand, so you can identify the most influential individuals mentioning you. Providing  an opportunity to strike up deeper partnerships with those individuals and maximise your reach.

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The power of channels you don’t own

Understanding the power of the channels you do not own is often overlooked as part of a content strategy. The more people you can involve in your content, the more people are likely to share your content. Going back to the marketing funnel above, the awareness element at the top of the funnel is all about maximising reach.

Step 2. Context

This second step is about creating context from the research that’s been conducted so far. A great tool to establish context is: www.best-hashtags.com

Best-hashtags.com helps to find the most relevant hashtags related to your specific niche, and shows which are the most popular and most liked hashtags for Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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My next tool suggestion is: www.daysoftheyear.com  which provides national days you can take advantage of and helps identify what hashtags are likely to trend.

It is good practice to categorise your research into content themes by giving them an associated colour code within your content plan, making sure you have a balanced mix of content types. Content categorisation also helps with analysis, which we’ll come to in the final step.

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Step 3. Creativity

Creativity will be kickstarted by the research you conduct on keywords, questions, influencers, hashtags and national days, but can be further empowered by capturing inspiration as it strikes. The ContentCal Web Clipper allows you to save ideas as and when they appear. The ideas you save show as snippets in your Content Hub on ContentCal.

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Step 4. Collaboration

Despite the marketing departments being the voice of the business, the team can be the furthest removed from customers. The best insight often comes from customer facing teams, customer service or sales. These are the teams it’s good to collaborate with.

Being able to surface customer insight from across the business really helps with your content marketing strategy, and allows the marketing team to craft ideas into an impactful narrative.

Collaborating with influential people outside of your business is equally as important - and doesn’t always mean paying for the privilege.  You might want to ask someone you respect to contribute to a blog you're writing, or maybe you’d like to interview them on your podcast or webinar. Creating content with others can take longer, but is likely to be more successful due to the varied perspectives it includes. Reach is also extended as those you created the content with can share it too.

To help find those influential individuals try using www.hypeauditor.com

Step 5. Channels

When your research is complete you can build a cross-channel content plan, to ensure maximum distribution. Either by using a spreadsheet, or ideally a content planning tool like ContentCal, you can add a line to your plan for each channel you intend to use. Incorporate channels that allow you to experiment with a wide variety of content formats such as: social media, webinars, emails, blogs, web pages, press releases and events.

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Step 6. Calculation

In the final step of strategy creation, it’s time to focus on reporting results from the last week, month or quarter, but most importantly by specific content themes and channels, so you can understand what type of content works best for you and why.

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The learnings from these results will inform your content strategy going into the next cycle.

Connecting solid research to a consistent workflow, and backing that up with accurate data, creates a process that generates predictable, reliable and scalable content marketing.

There are a number of analytics tools available to you, our favourite is of course ContetCal, but you can also use native analytics from within each social media or online platform you publish to.


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