When first looking to start a content marketing program at your company, there are four steps you need to complete before writing a single piece of content.
- Define goals/mission statement
- Define audience
- Define roles within your company
- Define content
Step 1: Define your goals and mission statement
This is the first and most important step of the entire content marketing process. For this, you will want to consult the decision makers in your company to ensure everyone is on the same page. While your content marketing goals may revolve more around your business goals, your mission statement should reflect what your audience will get from your content!
Goals for your content marketing can be as broad as brand awareness or as specific as increase email signups by 10%. No matter which goals you choose, you must decide on the metrics you will use to measure and track performance toward the goal(s). Some examples include:
- Goal: Increase brand reach. Metric to watch: Growth in follower count - indicates whether your content is reaching and resonating with your audience.
- Goal: Increase web traffic. Metric to watch: Increased traffic to your website from social platforms.
Your mission statement should include three main points:
- Who is your core target audience?
- What will you deliver?
- What is the outcome for the audience?
Answering these three questions helps you spell out the whole purpose behind your content marketing in one simple sentence.
Step 2: Define your audience
Now that you’ve set your goals, the next step is to define that perfect audience that will help you reach those goals. If your company has already created personas these should be your base. If you have yet to venture down the path of creating buyer personas, this is a crucial step that decision makers, marketing and sales will all want to be a part of.
Step 3: Define roles within your company
We often see companies just jumping into a content strategy and hoping they will figure out content owners along the way. This is rarely the case. You will want to answer the following questions before starting your content strategy.
- Who is responsible for creating/updating the content calendar?
- Who is responsible for creating the content?
- Who is responsible for proofing the content before it is published?
- Is there someone to create graphics to accompany the content?
Step 4: Define your content
So, we have goals, we have a defined audience and we know who’s doing what within the company. Now for the fun part!
To start thinking about the questions and pain points of your target audience, you need to go where your audience hangs out online. Whether this is Twitter, a specific forum, or a blog, this is where you will find the most uncensored version of your audience. This is where you can uncover what they are really thinking.
One of my favorite tools for discovering top queries is AnswerThePublic.com. This genius website allows you to type in any keyword and gives you a wide array of the questions and statements people are talking about on the web around this keyword. It’s an easy way to discover both what your audience cares about and where they’re sounding off on the subject.
After your initial research, you should be able to pinpoint your target audience’s main pain points and the questions they are looking for answers on.
For a more in-depth look at how to define your content and differentiate it from your competitors, read our guide here.