Roadmap or Roadblock? A Strategy for Content Marketing

I admire people who plan, make lists and get stuff done. Don’t you? They always seem to know where they’re headed, follow a detailed plan to get there, and typically succeed in meeting their goals.

I’ve found that using that same approach in planning the right strategy for content marketing provides a detailed roadmap to follow, and removes the roadblocks that typically pop up from stifled creativity, lack of motivation and sending an inconsistent message.

After years of planning editorial calendars and living by the almighty deadline, I know I work best when I have a clear outline for what I need to do, how I need to do it and when it needs to be done.

To-do List. Editorial Calendar. Content Marketing Strategy. Whatever you call it, it matters. It’s written down, it’s documented, and it must be done. Follow this roadmap for creating a roadblock-free content marketing strategy:

Know Why You Need Content

Just like using your phone’s GPS as a roadmap while traveling, you need to understand where you’re starting and where you want to end up. What is your company’s story? How do customers perceive your organization? Where are you today, and where would you like to be in one year, three years or five years?

Is your goal to increase leads? Generate brand awareness? Be a problem-solver? Through the power of storytelling, you can mold your company’s brand, style and voice. Tell it in your own words and in your own style. Authenticity rings true, even if it’s written with a little professional help.

Create a Plan for Content

Once you identify the destination, planning the trip takes a little skill and finesse to get the most bang for your buck. You need to identify the best route to take, what stops to make along the way, and a general plan of attack once you arrive.

The same approach applies to a high-quality content marketing strategy. Start with an editorial calendar with specific daily goals that help you reach a weekly goal, such as several timely and relevant social posts that inform a weekly blog post. Then expand those weekly goals to meet a larger monthly goal, such as turning those blog posts into a monthly newsletter. Before you know it, you have truly measurable content goals for the entire year.

Know Your Target Audience for Content

You wouldn’t plan a big trip without first knowing where you’re going and who you might find when you get there, right?

Before planning a content marketing strategy or writing any content, a business or organization must first understand its target audience. Who are your existing customers? Who do you want to attract to your company or business? Information about age, gender and location matter, but other details matter more.

How do customers find you? What problem are they trying to solve by searching online? Does your company offer solutions for customers’ pain points? Connect with new and existing customers by knowing how and where they communicate, and meet them there to guide them through their buying journey.

Use Content to Be Helpful

When traveling to a new place, nothing is more frustrating than a stubborn spouse who refuses to ask for directions, or that helpful GPS voice that sends you down the wrong rabbit hole.

Avoid taking any detours in your content marketing strategy by choosing to be helpful right from the start. No one likes a poorly disguised sales pitch, so make sure your company’s tone and voice comes across as truly helpful and not focused on trying to sell something. Be educational and informative, or funny and entertaining. But above all else, be consistent.

Mapping out a clear content marketing strategy helps to identify the why, the what, the who and the how, and more often than not leads down a path to success. Let Red Pen plan your itinerary for a great content marketing strategy.

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