Initiating a content marketing strategy requires extensive research and planning, all based on the position of your current content. If a CMO intends to initiate a content marketing plan from scratch, the planning might resemble a mission statement or a business case study.
For businesses that already have a growing content base for their marketing initiative, it serves as a check point from which the content will evolve in compliance with the planning and the framework of the strategy. Furthermore, it should guide content development towards achieving broader business goals as more resources are invested.
It is important to note that a content marketing strategy is considered to be a constant work in progress, growing, evolving, maturing, innovating, but always in line with the preplanned framework within which the strategy operates. Thus, this post is meant to address the planning and creation of a framework on which a solid content marketing plan is to operate.
Before developing a content marketing strategy, it is imperative to understand your reasons for creating content. The objectives or intended impact of the plan must be understood and outlined.
The best way to start the planning process is by creating a mission statement for your content marketing initiative, which is critical in setting a benchmark. Before the marketing professional can focus on the medium for the deployment of the plan, understanding the core strategy improves the odds of the success of the initiative’s impact on the targeted consumers. A best practice associated with content marketing is to efficiently relay the core business ideals – what it stands for, instead of what the business sells.
The most difficult thing a marketing professional experiences in a middle to large sized organization is getting executive buy-in for the project.
Hence, a persuasive business case must be developed, which outlines all the reasons for the needed change. The case should be presented in the form of a real world situation for the organization, showing the positive effects of the intended changes for the organization.
The case should clearly convey the marketers’ intended plan to executive management, emphasizing the benefits of the proposed changes. It should use evidence to persuade the organization members, making them ready, willing, and able to accept the new project. It should explain every aspect in concrete terms – from risk mitigation and certainty of return to benefit realization and return on investment. The business case will only be as strong as its ability to educate the rest of the organization’s members.
Extensive research is crucial to the plan. It helps in understanding the different trends for both B2B and B2C marketing, creating a realistic budget for the plan, understanding industry benchmarks and best practices, etc.
The research should be able to provide answers to a few questions:
- What distinguishes an effective content marketing strategy? Research effective and non effective marketing plans employed by other businesses in the industry.
- How will this benefit us? Understand all the different tactics of content marketing and their relevance to the organization’s marketing objectives.
- How will we promote our content? Research the various different social media marketing platforms, and choose the ones with the highest change of achieving the desired outcome.
- How much will this cost? Efficient allocation of the marketing budget based on the importance of the online marketing tactics, such as how much of the apportioned budget should be allocated to content marketing.
- What could go wrong? Understand the common challenges and issues faced by marketers and come up with solutions to mitigate those problems.
Examples of Best Practices
For a marketer to grow in his abilities, he needs to understand the best practices employed by other organizations and use them to innovate for his own organization. Though it is important to be wary of the rampant replication of online marketing practices, especially in content marketing, here are a few inspiring online marketing examples which should be noted:
- Intel’s press project, the perfect example of innovative brand journalism, creating interesting and in depth corporate content.
- Hubspot’s highly successful blogging initiative has been an inspiration for many marketers. It goes to show how much room for improvement exists no matter how perfect a strategy may be.
Here at Zen Media, creating and then implementing customized online marketing strategies is our forte. If you’d like help in determining what exactly you need to do in order to boost the results of your content marketing initiatives, fill out our online contact form today. We’d be happy to discuss your company’s needs with you, and work together as a partner to move your business to the next level.