Content creation can be a challenging task for marketers who have to ensure that the brand's message reaches its target audience and motivates them to take action. However, the process can become more manageable if marketers can create a system that focuses on the creation of engaging and strategic content. In this article, we will provide guidance and tips on creating successful content that aligns with the brand's goals and resonates with its audience. The article is organized to answer the following questions: Who will create/contribute to the content? How will our content creations align with our strategic goals? How do we craft compelling stories that our audience will love?
This how-to guide will help marketers to create content that engages their target audience, aligns with their brand's goals, and delivers measurable results.
Define your initial content creation model
Businesses have several options to consider when creating a content creation model. They can hire writers for an in-house team, leverage internal subject matter experts (SMEs), outsource to freelancers or other specialists, solicit external contributors, or explore AI writing tools. Each option has its pros, cons, and practical considerations, so businesses need to weigh factors such as the nature of their business, content competition, expertise required, and team and budget resources.
For businesses that prioritize original content creation, produce high volumes, or need content to fill multiple channels and platforms at once, hiring full-time writing talent makes it easier to control the process. Alternatively, for businesses whose conversations require specialized expertise or technical know-how, involving colleagues from other organizational functions is a viable option. Training the content team to be subject matter experts may be more effective than trying to teach SMEs to excel at writing. Smaller businesses, startups, nonprofits, and other companies that aren't ready to invest in full-scale editorial capabilities may prefer to work with freelance writers or partner with a content agency or another creative service provider. For B2B businesses with a strong, subscribed community, inviting industry thought leaders to write guest blog articles on the brand's owned media platform is a viable option. B2C businesses can enable their ardent fans and followers, or relevant influencers, to submit user-generated content on the brand's behalf.
Recent advances in AI technology have made artificial intelligence content creation more robust and affordable. AI can be a huge time-saver when used to create outlines and first drafts that staff writers or freelancers can fine-tune. However, skilled human creators are still needed to ensure the content's quality and relevance (and to maintain compliance with Google's webmaster guidelines).
Align content creation with strategic goals
When it comes to content creation, it's important to have a clear understanding of your strategic goals and how your content can help you achieve them. Your strategic goals may include things like increasing brand awareness, generating leads, building customer loyalty, or establishing thought leadership in your industry.
To align your content creation with your strategic goals, you should start by defining your target audience and understanding their needs and pain points. Your content should be tailored to address these needs and provide valuable solutions to your audience.
Next, you should ensure that your content is consistent with your brand message and tone of voice. Your content should be in line with your brand values and positioning, and it should reinforce the unique value proposition of your business.
You should also consider the format and distribution channels for your content. Different types of content work better on different platforms and channels. For example, long-form blog posts may be better suited for your website, while short-form videos may work better on social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok.
Finally, it's important to measure the effectiveness of your content and adjust your strategy accordingly. By tracking metrics like engagement, website traffic, and conversion rates, you can gain valuable insights into what is working and what is not. This information can help you refine your content strategy and ensure that your content is effectively aligned with your strategic goals.
Building a content calendar
A content calendar is a must-have tool for successful content creation. It visually represents the brand’s content schedule and helps ensure consistency in tone, message, and timing across all channels. In the same way, that your strategic marketing goals must dictate content creation, your content calendar must align with those goals.
When you create a content calendar, plan around critical milestones in your marketing plan, such as product launches, major events, and holidays. Ensure that each content piece works within your marketing funnel, from awareness to consideration to decision-making.
Plan for different stages in the customer journey
With your content creation and distribution plan mapped out, it’s time to consider what types of content will work best at different stages of the customer journey.
For instance, when potential customers are in the awareness stage, they are still learning about your brand, products, or services. In this stage, it’s best to create educational and informative content, such as blog articles or explainer videos, that establish your brand as a knowledgeable and trustworthy authority in your industry.
When customers move to the consideration stage, they are actively researching their options. Here, more in-depth content, such as white papers or case studies, that provide additional information or insights may be more effective.
In the decision-making stage, customers are ready to make a purchase or sign up for your service. This is where more sales-focused content, such as product demos or testimonials, may be the most effective.
Content distribution and promotion
Creating great content is only part of the content marketing equation. To ensure that your content reaches your target audience, you need to have a robust distribution and promotion plan in place.
Your distribution plan will depend on your brand’s target audience and the channels they are most likely to engage with. For example, if your audience primarily engages on LinkedIn, you should prioritize that channel over other social media platforms.
Your promotion plan should include both organic and paid promotion strategies. Organic promotion includes tactics like social media sharing, email newsletters, and cross-promotion with partners and influencers. Paid promotion includes strategies like social media ads, search engine marketing, and display advertising.
Regardless of which tactics you choose, be sure to measure and analyze the performance of your content distribution and promotion efforts. This will help you make data-driven decisions to optimize your content marketing strategy over time.
Creating great content that engages your audience and drives business results is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. By following the tips, tricks, and guidance in this article, you can set your team up for success and create a content creation process that works for your brand.
Remember to establish a content creation model that fits your brand’s needs, align your content creation with your strategic goals, and craft compelling stories that resonate with your audience. With a solid foundation in place, you can create a content calendar that plans for different stages of the customer journey and distributes and promotes your content effectively.
Creating great content is an ongoing process that requires continuous improvement and iteration. By measuring and analyzing the performance of your content marketing efforts, you can identify areas for improvement and optimize your strategy over time.