Your content marketing strategy must connect your audience and your brand. This means continual planning, creating, publishing, and sharing of content.
The operative word here is “continual.”
A content marketing strategy must not be stagnant. It needs to evolve. A flexible content marketing strategy helps to improve audience engagement.
The result? Increased brand awareness and a boost in sales.
It’s true that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all marketing content strategy. But the most successful plans rely on general steps and advice.
This article provides those steps. It also offers insight to help you with your content marketing strategy checklist.
Changes in content: Then and now
“Content marketing” is a 2000s term that dates back more than 100 years.
During the late 1890s, John Deere produced “The Furrow.” This was a lifestyle magazine directed to farmers. The publication circulated and increased brand loyalty which, in turn, increased sales.
The role of content marketing these days isn’t much different than that of the late 19th century.
Any content marketing strategy worth its salt focuses on three things:
- Identifying your audience’s pain points or problems.
- Developing and disseminating information that provides solutions.
- Encouragement for the audience to take positive action.
At one time (the 2010s), a successful content marketing strategy focused on keywords. This strategy then changed to the use of short- and long-tail keywords.
Fast forwarding to today, keywords are still important.
But more critical is solutions-based content that answers questions or solves problems. Content must continually drive audience engagement. So solving audience needs ALWAYS comes first in a successful content marketing plan.
Why update your content marketing plan?
To answer the question of “why update?” let’s review the above.
The audience’s needs come first. However, the audience needs continually change. So your strategy should, as well.
Let’s also return to 2010. At that time, smartphones were still — well, phones. They had minimal internet access and even less content. Social influencers hadn’t yet come on the scene. And while blogging was commonplace, it wasn’t in wide use.
Things are different now.
Much of the population own smartphones. People consume a lot of content from those smartphones. If that content is yours, you’ve succeeded in engaging your audience. You’ve also succeeded in connecting that audience to your brand.
So an effective content marketing strategy should include the following:
- Understanding/defining your audience
- Researching your competition
- Researching topics and keywords
- Planning your production schedule
- Creating and promoting the content
- Measuring and analyzing the content’s effectiveness
To update your current content strategy, analyze it first. Determine what worked well. Figure out what wasn’t so effective and why. Then examine current technologies and the competition.
Once you’ve completed this process, take the following steps:
- Set your marketing goals and budget
- Examine your audience’s needs
- Determine your content formats
- Select the right marketing channels
- Put measurements in place
- Perform SEO audits on your website
These are the basic steps for business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategies. But there are other strategic steps you should take based on your end user.
The B2C content marketing strategy checklist
The goal of a business-to-consumer content strategy is transactional.
In other words, you want the end user to eventually buy your product or service. To get the end user to that point, you must learn your audience’s pain points. Then develop content to offer solutions and encourage action.
You also want to make that content—and its solutions—as easy to find as possible.
So, your 2024 B2C content strategy checklist might include the following:
- Refreshing your website design to make it more content-rich and user-friendly.
- Checking your online reviews and local listings to ensure positive word of mouth.
- Boosting your social media efforts. Go beyond Facebook or Twitter posts. Consider visuals for Instagram or videos on TikTok.
- Reviewing your search engine optimization strategies/SERP ranking. This ensures your solutions-oriented content is getting noticed.
The B2B content marketing strategy checklist
Unlike the B2C scenario, your business-to-business strategy is less about transactions and more about relationships.
Your end user isn’t an individual. Rather, that potential buyer is a business. The decision-makers need solutions to benefit their companies instead of themselves.
Another thing to keep in mind?
The B2B audience has a long chain of command, as well as a longer buying cycle than that of a B2C audience.
So, your content should still provide solutions. But those solutions might involve more product detail and descriptions. It also might focus on financial benefits to your audience. This could include an ROI increase or other incentives. The content should also generate long-term relationships with your audience and referrals to other businesses.
With this in mind, your 2024 B2B content strategy checklist might include the following:
- Implementing marketing automation to keep current clients happy while nurturing new leads.
- Creating business pages on social media networks.
- Brushing up your referral strategies.
- Ensuring your website contains landing pages and strong CTAs.
Keeping your content strategy current
A successful content marketing strategy is solutions-based. This is the case whether you’re reaching out to individuals or businesses.
That strategy should also be flexible.
Examine ongoing channel strategies. Also, research changing audience needs and content formats. Be sure that your brand is front and center with prospects and customers.
Additionally, consider collaborating with content marketing experts. Outsourcing content strategies and content creation can boost your messaging efforts. This, in turn, can help increase your brand awareness.
ClearVoice can help you work on your content strategy. Our expert creators are also on hand to develop solutions-oriented content.
For more guidance on content strategy, schedule some time with us.