How to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy

A PR Place guide

About the author

Richard Bailey FCIPR MPRCA is editor of PR Academy's PR Place Insights. He teaches and assesses undergraduate, postgraduate and professional students.

As author Mel Cains explains in our new guide on how to develop a content marketing strategy, ‘content strategy is about the future – what you want to achieve, and how you’ll use content to do it – so the starting point in any strategy is to look at where you want to be.’

Content can be particularly effective during the consideration phase, so there’s usually demand for ‘content that explains your products and services, or your brand history or ethos’. Explainers may achieve engagement, but she warns against only developing ‘awareness’ content or ‘you’ll struggle to get a return on investment from your content activity.’

She makes the distinction between content strategy (‘building a plan for the how and why of the content you’ll produce’) and content marketing – how you implement your strategy, the subject of a forthcoming PR Place guide.

 

In content marketing, a larger, engaged audience translates into more web traffic, more interest, and a greater number of leads.

The content strategy process should start with an audit of your existing content. ‘Your existing content – and how well it has performed – is your best source of information about what works with your current audience.’

‘With analysis, you should be able to identify the content that most appeals to your audience. Your likely also to find underperforming content that could be adapted for greater success.’

You should also audit your own content against competitors.

 

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Next, you’ll need dedicated resources to put your content strategy into action. You have industry expertise, but do you have the writing/photography/video talent to turn this into content? What equipment or facilities do you need? Are you skilled in the software for production? And do you have sufficient budget to produce the content you’re planning?

Now you’re ready to set realistic and measurable goals. Mel warns that ‘you won’t rank on the first page of Google for ‘book flights’ based on content alone.’

Then comes the fun part – coming up with content ideas. ‘While you’ll no doubt have many good ones yourself, it’s important to involve others as soon as possible’ she advises.

‘While content production is a creative process, it works most efficiently when there are clear rules, workflows and hierarchies.’

This includes guidance on the brand’s tone of voice and a style guide for consistent use of written English.

‘Managing content production across multiple team members, freelancers and channels can become challenging, so teams need support with production or project tracking tools.’ Cains cites Trello as an example and describes how the PR Academy team uses Airtable for its content calendar and task tracking.

Finally, how will you know if you’ve succeeded? You will have many traffic metrics such as page visits, dwell times and bounce rates. Then there are measures of engagement, such as inbound links and comments. Or you can compare the cost per lead or the cost to convert from your content marketing.

 

Download the guide using the form below for detailed advice on how to build a content marketing strategy for your brand.

Download: Guide to Developing a Content Strategy

The guide will help you to:

  • Get a return on your investment for your content marketing
  • Map your customer journey
  • Set up tools and systems for successful content marketing

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