Content marketing is essential for any brand in our digital age. A content marketing strategy is the act of planning, creating, and distributing digital content to increase awareness, generate engagement and traffic for your brands, and achieve your brand goals & objectives.
Ultimately, content marketing helps your brand achieve their overall marketing goals with social campaigns, on-site content, and influencer relationships.
It can be daunting to prepare the first steps of a content marketing strategy, and while there are some essential steps and best practices every brand should take note of, this doesn’t mean there’s a one size fits all approach to creating a content marketing strategy.
So, which steps are non-negotiable for brands when developing their content strategy?
Before you dive into competitive research, do you know who you’re trying to reach and attract with your content marketing strategy? You might aim to reach a new, untapped demographic, or you might want to strengthen and retain your current audience or customer-base. Determining your target market will inform your strategy, so this is a great place to start.
Brands should conduct a competitive analysis to learn more about their competitors’ content mix and strategy — a competitive analysis will give you insight to gaps that exist in their content, what succeeds in their content, and what you should consider — or avoid including in your own content strategy.
How will you know if your efforts are successful? With a comprehensive reporting and measurement plan. Set SMART goals — these are goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. For example, most brands want to increase revenue — but by how much, within what timeframe, and to get even more granular, which content marketing KPIs will indicate success?
Since there are different phases of awareness for users during their online journey, a brand with revenue increase as their main goal might decide to center its goals around KPIs like website traffic, product clicks, cart abandonment rates, or sign-ups. This gives a more comprehensive picture of how a digital content marketing strategy can contribute to overall brand objectives.
It can be tempting to jump to step number 5, however, it’s helpful to discuss your team’s ideal workflow before you start planning and creating content. Brands should consider all members of their team who might have a role in creating content (design teams, for example), any stakeholders who might have valuable feedback, input, or need to approve content, how far advance they’d like to plan content, and any other details relevant to how your team will implement content marketing strategies.
Creating a content calendar is the best way to plan, track, and have an at-a-glance look of all of your content marketing efforts across a specific campaign timeframe, month, or week. This is a great way to plan and visualize when content will go live for all of your brands’ respective campaigns, and allows anyone from your team to have a look at deadlines, publishing dates, and more.
Like we mentioned earlier, what works for one brand might not work for another — and what works for one brand on one social channel might not work on another. Here are some examples of successful brands’ content marketing strategies.
BEIS recent social media posts are a great example of how to capitalize on a trending topic while staying true to your brand voice, content strategy, and target demographic. They have a sharp, snappy, and fun brand voice, and often feature their celebrity founder Shay Mitchell to attract users and reinforce their brand identity.
They also do a great job of utilizing trending news in a humorous way, when it’s relevant to their target social demographic, and appropriately fits their brand identity and content strategy. For example, although memes aren’t the bulk of their feed content, they wisely capitalized on this image of a reality star who’s been recently heavily featured in the news, carrying their product.
Conde Nast’s Traveler series does a great job of speaking to a range of activities that their target demographic is likely interested in. Most of their travel marketing content strategy is focused on travel guides and emphasizing all the incredible places to travel to and things to do while you’re there, they do a great job of defining different content segments within this broader theme.
For example, their ‘Going Places’ series on YouTube uses celebrities — from singers, to actors, to pro athletes — to discuss their ‘guide’ to various travel destinations. Pro surfer Kelly Slater has shared his surfer’s guide to Hawaii, K-Pop group Seventeen shared their guide to Seoul, and actress and Outer Banks star Madelyn Cline shared her guide to her hometown of Charleston, South Carolina. Their content strategy is a great example of creating different, unique content themes that help achieve a singular goal.
Wella does a great job of highlighting their products and producing B2B and B2C content in their content strategy. They share a great balance of more technical content, like color formulas for stylists, but also finished, styled hair color for clients who might be seeking this style out — and therefore looking for salons that use Wella color.
This is a great example of a brand who knows their consumer — the person who purchases the product — and their customer, end users who are looking for new hairstyles and colors.
There are many different types of content marketing, and the type you choose will align with your brand goals & objectives, and ultimately, your strategy. Here are some examples of different types of content marketing common in digital marketing.
Social media posts cover many different types of content — this could range from short form video, images (branded & stylized or organic), and infographics, to paid posts.
Blog content is a popular form of content produced for digital marketing — while this content will primarily live on-site, it can also be repurposed and shared to websites like Medium, or parsed through for quotes that you can share on Twitter, use as captions, or repurpose as visual content.
Video is another popular form of digital marketing content that can be used and repurposed in a variety of ways. In 2023, short form content that leads with entertainment is popular among users — brands can use YouTube Shorts to create short, organic, content, and share their full length copy to YouTube. Brands can also find interesting, engaging clips from their full length video content to shorten and repurpose creatively for platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Facebook Reels.
Although Podcasts are often considered off-page content, they do provide an opportunity to embed the audio file into your on-site content, and — you guessed it — repurpose for social media. Many brands and podcasts film their interviews or discussions and share the footage to YouTube. They also shorten funny, interesting, or engaging clips to share on TikTok, Instagram Reels, and Facebook Shorts. Sharing high-quality, consistent content, is an important ranking factor for the Instagram Reels algorithm.
Dash Hudson provided end-to-end support for your entire content marketing strategy. From the multi-channel Scheduler tool that lets you schedule your content ahead of time to a variety of platforms, an Influencer Relationship Measurement Tool that lets you see the impact (and opportunity) for your influencer and brand ambassador partners, and Reporting, Insights, and Trends that let you measure the impact of your content marketing strategy across platforms. Another great tool for content marketing is the Campaign Reporting feature, that lets brands see the impact of their social content on their overall campaign goals.
Even the most exclusive brands have some sort of social media presence — whether you’re on social media or simply have a website, a digital marketing strategy can help inform and reinforce your brand
SEO and social media go hand-in-hand — SEO is a piece of the content marketing puzzle, and when done in conjunction with your social profiles and on-site content helps ensure you’re easy to find online, your content will get shown in search results, and ultimately, that it fits what your users are looking for.
While there’s not a drastic difference between content strategy and content marketing, technically, they have separate definitions and actions. Content marketing is a broad term that can describe the act of content marketing — all of the people, activities, and content created. Content strategy, more specifically, describes the actual strategy created and implemented to reach a certain goal — your brand will likely have different content strategies for different goals, social channels, and more; but these are all ‘content marketing’.