How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy

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Content marketing is the creation and distribution of information that builds relationships with customers and prospects, without having an obvious sales message. Examples include articles, checklists, research reports, videos, webinars, and white papers. To receive your content, prospects must give you some kind of contact information (generally an email address or a phone number) that allows you to continue marketing to them and ultimately turn them into paying customers.

Here’s a personal example of content marketing that leads to sales. For the two years I have been struggling with Morton’s Neuroma, which is a benign tumor on the nerve branch on the bottom of my foot. The easy treatments did not work (including cortisone shots) and my doctor recommended surgery, which I did not want to get. My search for a non-surgical solution led me to Google relevant content online – including YouTube videos with suggested treatments that included ice, toe separators, metatarsal pads, massage cream, braces, and new footwear. As a result of this content, I have spent hundreds of dollars on items to help reduce pain. Content marketing works when someone is highly motivated to find a solution!

7 Steps to Creating a Content Marketing Strategy

Here are seven steps to creating a content marketing strategy for your business.

  1. Decide on your goals. Figure out the purpose of your content marketing? Your goal might be to build trust with your audience, illustrate the benefits of your products, and get people to sign up for your email newsletter.
  2. Define your target audience. Think about the problems and pain points of your potential customers. Sometimes the pain is obvious and literal (such as the pain in my foot).  In other cases the problem might be more subtle, such as a growing dissatisfaction with your spouse or employment situation. Your content marketing should help your customer solve their problem.
  3. Map out the customer journey. Figure out the steps in your prospect’s purchase decision. My son just purchased a home and his process is a great example of the customer journey of a future homeowner. It began with dissatisfaction with his apartment (he never liked coexisting with rodents) and required getting bank approval on a mortgage. Next he searched for a location within his budget, hired a real estate agent, and spend his weekends looking at houses. Since the real estate market is highly competitive, the next step was to submit an immediate offer and wait for it to be approved or rejected. When he finally had an offer accepted, the journey continued with a home inspection, finding suitable homeowners’ insurance, and many additional steps. Once you’ve identified the stages of the buying journey, create content for every stage in the buying journey.
  4. Decide the type of content you want to create. You may enjoy creating videos and hate writing. Or love to write but be a terrible photographer. It’s challenging enough to create content when you enjoy the process! If you hate how you look on video and don’t want to learn the basics, don’t plan a content strategy that relies on YouTube.
  5. Identify how you will publish and deliver your content. Choose channels that are (relatively) easy for you to use. I know people who had no issue writing a weekly newsletter but missed deadlines because they couldn’t figure out how to use MailChimp. Learn the basics of how to use your website, social media, and email service provider so that your content can go out regularly. Also make sure that the channels make sense for your potential clients. For instance, 47 percent of TikTok users are under the age of 30 and only 11 percent of TikTok users are over 50-years-old. (Source) Even if you create awesome content, TikTok might not be the best channel to sell products directed to retirees.
  6. Find a way to keep track of your content. Start by deciding what content you can create regularly. It might be a weekly Facebook post and a monthly newsletter. It’s better to be consistent than to create a seven blog posts in a week and nothing for the next year. To keep it simple, I recommend using a paper calendar or spreadsheet to keep track of your posts.
  7. Figure out if you’re successful. Determine how to measure success. This might be the length of time a customer spends on your website, the number of blog comments, or the number of social media shares. Make regular adjustments to your goals and plans.

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About Sue Allen Clayton

Sue Allen Clayton founded the Solopreneur Academy in 2018 to help female business owners start, grow, and thrive in their one-person business. The Solopreneur Academy helps women conquer overwhelm, isolation and self-doubt. It also provides strategies to increase productivity, run their business more efficiently, and create a work-life balance. Members of the Solopreneur Academy enjoy daily interaction in our private Facebook group, as well as monthly events via Zoom including Master Classes, Book Club, Get It Done Day, Accountability Hour, and Group Coach & Chat.

Sue is the author of Solopreneur Success: How to Plan, Create and Run a One-Person Business. You can learn more about Sue Allen Clayton at SueAllenClayton.com. You can also check out our YouTube channel for videos about starting, growing and thriving in your solo business.

How to Create a Content Marketing Strategy
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