The anatomy of a great content marketing strategy

by ACN Editor
At its best and most effective, content marketing strategy allows you to connect with your audience. You can educate, inspire, motivate, and ultimately sell to them. Your words are the best way for you to build trust with your readers, but your content marketing strategies also build a community. It’s a cost-effective and efficient way to promote your business. (It costs up to 62% less than other forms of marketing.) 

Content strategy is the management of any type of media. That includes text, visual assets, and anything you can download. Here's what makes up a comprehensive content marketing strategy: who, what, where, and how. 

Whom is the plan for? What is the Target Audience? 

Your strategy must take into account your target audience. It's an ongoing relationship. Think about the people to whom you're speaking. You’re offering educational resources, the information they need to make a buying decision. But who are they? There may be more than one type of person in your target audience, but it is important to know who it is you're speaking to with your strategy and what it is they want. By taking into account that personae, you can focus your language reader-centric instead of writer centric. It should feel natural. You don't want to force the pitch, because your communications are how you forge a very human connection. By carefully analyzing your audience, though, you're able to move in the right direction, inspiring your audience to make a buying decision. Value, relevancy and consistency all work to give you more credibility with your target audience. That's what you're looking to achieve. That's what your strategy looks like. 

What is the Problem? How are you going to solve it? 

Once you know to whom you're speaking, the nest part of developing a strategic plan is knowing why you are speaking to them. What is the purpose of your communication or promotion? What problem are you solving for your audience? What do they need, and how are you fulfilling that need? You offer something of value, but you must know what that something really is, and why your audience needs it. Why would they come to you to fix the problem? What is it you're really selling?  It’s not fool-proof, but content marketing strategy is the most powerful tool you have in our arsenal. That’s why the spending continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

What makes you stand out? 

So, by now, you know who your audience is and what they want, but do you really have a good handle on what it is that makes you stand out against all the other options out there. You must reinforce and remind your audience why you offer the best solution, and why they should trust you to offer it to them. 

How and where will you reach your audience?

Since you already know who you are speaking to in your promotions, it should be a relatively easy task to determine where and how to reach your audience. Initially, at least, it may be a bit of trial and error, but also building your base and level of consistency. You channels might be Youtube, your blog, Twitter, Facebook, emails, and beyond. The format for posts on each of those platforms will be uniquely suited to achieve the best results. 

How will you plan your distribution?

Your plan of attack should change as you see how your audience responds, but you must develop a strategic and comprehensive roll-out schedule and planned out posts for distribution across your channels. That plan can be drawn out long-hand on paper in the initial stages if that method works best for you. You'll find, though, that there are a number of helpful planning and scheduling tools available to support your initial planning (and they also allow you to easily roll with future iteration on your strategic plan. 

Content marketing strategy is complicated and can be confusing if you've never done it before, but it is easy to understand what you're trying to accomplish, if you take it step-by-step, piece-by-piece. Don't be afraid to change your plan if it's not working, and always realize that you're still learning. Your audience will tell you what they need. You just need to listen, and respond.