In this guide, I lay out the steps to create your own content marketing strategy. Broken down into these clear activities, it’s a manageable process for any small business. Essentially, you start by setting a goal. Then, you create an offer and implement it with a content marketing mindset.

Want to create a perfect strategy? Follow the 7 steps below.

1. Set Your Lead Generation Goal

You probably have a general goal of generating leads through a content marketing strategy. A specific number will help you track the success of your campaign. Also, tracking can reveal opportunities to improve your content over time. Start by reviewing your current lead generation tactics to get a benchmark for the new initiative.

In general, content marketing can increase the number of leads compared to traditional marketing. However, if you choose an organic-only promotion plan, you may not see results for months or years. If you desire a fast bump in leads then, you need to integrate paid advertising as part of your plan. Discussing these expectations can help you plan accordingly. 

2. Create Your Offer

Every content marketing strategy revolves around an offer. Examples include downloads, demonstrations or webinars. Regardless of the offer you create, several considerations will guide the process.

First, identify valuable organic keywords that your target audience uses. This keyword research will influence your content as you put together the offer. Second, create an offer that is optimized for search. As you publish your content on the website, all of the elements should perform well for search queries. This includes text, graphics, design, development, and more. Third, prioritize your niche. Don’t mimic high-performing, generic content from another site. Create something unique to your business. 

Keep these considerations in mind as you build your offer. Your offer will not only please prospective customers but also build the trust necessary for conversion.

3. Generate Related Content

Now, you have an offer that encourages leads to submit their information. So, you need to create a robust content marketing plan to draw prospective customers. You should promote the same offer as a call-to-action on multiple pieces of content. This creates multiple paths for conversion. 

Ideas for content vary but can include the following types.

  • Blog or Vlog Posts
  • Case Studies
  • Checklists
  • Company or Industry News
  • Customer Quotes or Reviews
  • Data Visuals
  • Demos and Webinars
  • eBooks
  • Games
  • Guides
  • “How To” Articles
  • Infographics
  • Interviews with Thought Leaders
  • Lists
  • Polls and Surveys
  • Question and Answer (Q&A) Videos
  • Quizzes
  • Success Stories
  • Templates
  • Testimonials
  • White Papers
  • Worksheets

As you create each piece of content, the call-to-action fits at the bottom. 

4. Connect the Conversion Funnel

First, you developed an offer. Then, you created content to engage your audience. Now, you need to connect the conversion funnel to your CRM. This requires more than just checking the form inputs. 

Your sales team must know about the offer and related content. This helps them stay connected to their contacts. Also, they can participate in the feedback loop with marketing. As they talk to prospective customers, they can identify common questions. Then, you can generate more relevant content to address those pain points.

Organizations that capitalize on their funnel outperform their competitors. A recent study by Microsoft on CRMs revealed several insights, including:

  • 50% overall increase in productivity
  • 40% reduction in customer service labor cost
  • 20% overall decrease in labor cost
  • 10% reduction in consultation time
  • 5% increase in sales productivity
  • 2% increase in revenue 

Intentionally connect your conversion funnel to the sales team. You’ll get better feedback. Then, your lead generation can improve over time. 

5. Saturate Your Website with the Offer

Although you will promote your offer through a content marketing campaign, make it easy to find on your website. Link to it from relevant webpages. As a user lands on your website, you don’t know where they are at in the decision making process. 

6. Promote the Content

Let people know about your new content by promoting it on multiple mediums. Several channels work well for a content marketing strategy. This includes social media, word-of-mouth, and paid advertising.

First, organizations can use social media to reach prospective buyers. According to Pew Research Center, 77% of workers use these platforms while at work. Also, they trust information when someone shares it. 

  • 24% use social media to make professional connections
  • 20% search for information to solve professional pain points
  • 17% to build personal relationships with coworkers on social media

Second, word of mouth promotes content in the market. When a worker benefits from your content, they will likely share it with a coworker or professional connection. Your content gains authority and exposure. 

Third, paid advertising fills the gap while you wait for organic traffic. Google’s algorithm will take months, and sometimes years, to rank content. You need to create some of your own traffic quickly by paying for placement. The Google ad network allows you to target prospective customers based on demographic information, geography, and interests. Retargeting software helps you cookie website visitors and target them with your offer at a later date. Also, industry publications put your content in front of a niche audience. Each of these paid channels creates fast exposure.

7. Launch and Track

After you launch your content marketing strategy, data helps you improve the plan. Track your conversion funnel. Compare it to your lead goals. If you fall short, look for areas to improve. If you succeed, find opportunities to accelerate growth. 

Often, companies use A/B testing to check key elements of the campaign, including: 

  • Headlines
  • Visuals
  • Channel Strategy
  • Ad Units Used
  • Form Placement
  • Landing Page Layout

As you work through these areas, you can continue to improve your strategy over time.

Keep Learning

If you enjoyed this post about content marketing, check out my other article about writing an IMC plan. Inside I offer ideas and tips to put your marketing projects into a calendar format.

An IMC plan allows you to apply your marketing strategy and messaging to a timeline to make sure you are getting the most out of every medium. The plan becomes a useful tool to guide your team as you target your customers. The project folds well into the work you do for your content marketing strategy.