Content marketing is more important than ever in 2023. With increasing competition and constant changes in algorithms, having a solid content marketing strategy is crucial for brands looking to cut through the noise and connect with their target audience.
In this comprehensive guide, we will go over the best ways to develop an effective and result-driven content marketing strategy step-by-step.
Why You Absolutely Need A Content Marketing Strategy
Before we dive into the how-to, let‘s first understand why having a documented content marketing strategy is critical:
Aligns with business goals: A CMS ensures your content efforts ladder up to overall marketing and business objectives instead of creating content randomly.
Understands audience needs: Taking the time to research your buyers allows you to create tailored content that solves their pain points.
Avoids guesswork: Mapping content to the sales funnel removes guessing about what content works best at each stage.
Maximizes ROI: Tracking metrics shows content performance so you can double down on what works.
Simply put, a structured CMS provides clarity, direction, and purpose to your content efforts for better results.
Step-By-Step Guide To Creating A Winning Content Marketing Strategy
Now that we‘ve covered the importance of having a content marketing strategy, let‘s get into the step-by-step process for creating one tailored to your brand:
Step 1: Define Goals And Objectives
Be crystal clear from the start about what you want to achieve from your content marketing this year. Ask yourself:
- What‘s the overarching purpose of my content marketing? Brand awareness? Lead generation? Sales?
- What specific metrics will define success for me? Website traffic? Email subscribers? Revenue generated?
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals gives you clarity on what you need to track.
Step 2: Analyze Your Target Audience
Get very intimate with who you are creating content for. Research their:
- Needs and pain points
- Desired content formats
- Preferred platforms
Tools like Alexa and Social Insider can help you uncover this data.
Creating detailed buyer personas ensures your content truly resonates with your best customers.
Step 3: Map Content To The Sales Funnel
Map content types to each stage of the sales funnel—from brand awareness content at the top to sales collateral at the bottom. This positions you to lead prospects down the funnel effortlessly.
Image source: Singlegrain
For example, at the awareness stage, focus on educating content like blogs, videos, and podcasts. At the consideration stage, share helpful reviews, comparisons, and demos.
Step 4: Audit Existing Content
Take stock of current content across your website, social channels, emails, ads etc.
Analyze what has performed well and why. Identify content gaps you need to fill, outdated or underperforming content that needs to refreshed or removed, and potential content partnerships.
This audit prepares you for the ideation process.
Step 5: Brainstorm & Ideate New Content
Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, UberSuggest, Buzzsumo, and social listening to generate data-led content ideas around topics your audience cares about.
Prioritize ideas that help you achieve your documented goals and fill identified content gaps.
Build an editorial calendar to plot topics on a timeline factoring in holidays, industry events etc.
Step 6: Select Content Types & Formats
With your ideas and calendar in place, determine the right format for each piece of content using your audience insights:
Do they prefer blogs, videos, ebooks, quizzes, or something totally different?
Align formats to match their preferred consumption patterns for maximum impact.
Step 7: Choose Content Creation And Promotion Tools
Audit marketing tools you already use and identify gaps that need to be filled to streamline ideation, creation, and distribution in 2023. Some staples include:
- Content research: Buzzsumo, Google Analytics etc.
- Content creation: Canva, Venngage, Kapwing etc.
- Distribution and promotion: Social media management, email marketing, marketing automation tools.
Step 8: Set A Realistic Budget
Determine an overarching annual budget and also get granular—set monthly budgets across teams and different content initiatives like your blog, social campaigns, influencer collaborations etc.
Benchmark against other brands in your niche to guide budget setting. Factor in both production and promotion costs.
Step 9: Create And Optimize Content
With your research, ideas, calendar, and teams in place—it‘s time to start cranking out content! But your work doesn‘t end once a piece goes live.
Consistently analyze performance and continuously tweak underperforming content to improve metrics.
Tools like Google Analytics and Sprout Social can help track content analytics.
Step 10: Promote And Repurpose Content For Maximum Mileage
Simpy creating amazing content is not enough. You need an aggressive promotion plan to get it in front of your audience.
Leverage both paid promotion like social ads as well as organic promotion through email marketing, influencer partnerships, and cold outreach.
Repurpose top content into new formats, highlight it in your newsletters, and keep sharing evergreen long-form content.
Step 11: Leverage Influencers To Amplify Reach
In 2023, influencer marketing should play a key role within your overarching content strategy.
Influencer partnerships allow you to tap into their reach for mass distribution. Plus you gain the credibility associated with earned media.
Use a data-backed platform like Ainfluencer to run end-to-end influencer campaigns at scale.
Step 12: Track Performance & Optimize
The most critical step that continues throughout the year: closely monitoring performance.
Analyze metrics like reach, engagement, conversions against targets set. Continuously test and refine content, formats, promotion strategies based on hard data.
This agile, optimized process helps boost content marketing ROI in 2023.
Key Content Marketing Trends To Focus On
Along with the evergreen best practices covered above, here are some of the top content marketing trends you need to keep top of mind while planning your 2023 strategy:
Videos: With YouTube poised to overtake Google as the #1 search engine, video should be a big focus. Create a variety of engaging videos—product demos, educational explainers, entertaining reels etc.
Microcontent: Short-form, bite-sized content will continue to dominate attention-starved platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Adapt your strategy to deliver value via infographics, list posts etc.
Thought leadership: Build brand credibility in 2023 by consistently sharing your unique perspectives within your niche. Help move your industry forward.
Personalization: Leverage data and analytics to deliver tailored content experiences based on interests, location, funnel stage etc.
Multimedia: Combine formats—text, images, video, audio—for the highest chance of resonance.
Influencers: Partner with relevant creators to tap into their highly engaged, loyal audiences for distribution at scale.
Examples Of Effective Content Marketing Campaigns
Let‘s take a look at some stellar examples of content marketing excellence from brands across industries:
1. Shopify‘s Ecommerce University
Shopify created an incredibly thorough free ecommerce education platform that positions them as the definitive thought leader in the space.
It helps nurture leads down the sales funnel, establishes immense credibility and trust, and flaunts expertise depth.
2. Purple‘s Egg Experiment
Purple smartly combined entertainment with education in this viral egg demonstration experiment.
It effectively communicated their key mattress differentiator—cushioning seats pressure points without collapsing. And racked up over 27 million views.
3. Slack‘s Blog
Slack shares extremely helpful tips, growth strategies, workplace culture insights, and productivity hacks on their much-loved blog.
This consistent cadence nurtures leads overtime by delivering value months before prospects are sales-ready.
The examples above check all the boxes: remarkable storytelling, innovative formats, and compelling calls-to-action that convert. These campaigns can inspire your 2023 efforts!
Frequently Asked Content Marketing Questions
Still have some lingering questions around crafting winning content marketing strategies? Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:
What are the key elements of a content marketing strategy?
The core elements are: audience research, documented goals, mapped buyer‘s journey, optimized ideation process, integrated data-driven tools, defined budgets and metrics, agile creation and distribution, and relentless performance tracking.
How much should I invest in content marketing annually?
While of course dependent on your niche, location, and business model—most B2B brands spend 30-50% of their marketing budget on content. Within that, allocate across content types based on their ROI.
What should be the focus of my 2023 strategy?
Personalized, visual, voice-activated, and microcontent focused campaigns. Also, influencer marketing to penetrate new audiences. Think multimedia and omnichannel distribution for amplifying reach.
How do I track my content performance?
Platforms like Google Analytics, Sprout Social, Simply Measured, and BuzzSumo. Analyze metrics like impressions, reach, click-through rate, dwell time, links generated, conversions, and ROI.
Hopefully the steps above provided immense clarity on how to crack content marketing in 2023! Consistently analyze performance, stay on top of emerging trends, and keep refining your strategy based on hard data and insights. This agile process is what will set you up for content success this year.