Successful Marketing Strategy for 2020 – Follow these steps

It is a well-known fact that content marketing offers a better return on investment than traditional marketing – at a lower cost.  It can gain three times more leads to less than 60% of the cost of traditional options. The downside of this is that more and more people are doing it.  So how do you stand out in 2020? The answer is to build a strategy.

One study found marketers who proactively plan their projects or campaigns are over 350% more likely to get success.  And it doesn’t need to be overly complicated – if you follow these simple steps, you can have your own content strategy in place.

Step 1 – Start with a content audit

The first thing to do is a content audit to help see what is working and what isn’t.  You should look at:

  • Top performing content
  • Low performing content
  • How often you publish
  • What keywords you rank for

Step 2 – set content marketing goals

Armed with data, you can then think about the goals for the coming year.  Goals help you stay on track and grade efforts as to whether they are relevant or not.  There are plenty of options for goals with sales and leads being top of most lists.

You can also look at goals such as brand awareness, lead nurturing with email or any other metric that works for your business.

Step 3 – do some audience research

A key step is to ensure your audience is who you think they are – and what type of content do they respond to best?  A buyer persona can be quite in-depth, but the important part is that it helps you to choose what content to create and what format to use.  It also helps isolate where to put this content – on a blog, a video on YouTube, a Facebook Page or even on Pinterest.

Step 4 – decide on content types

You can use a combination of data from the previous year, audience research and also insight from Digital Marketing Trends to help you choose content types.  While video remains a very popular format, ensure your audience watches video before creating it.

According to HubSpot, 54% of people want to see video content from brands and 46% want email newsletters.  41% prefer social images while over one third like social videos. Only 18% prefer to read blog articles and a similar figure like content in an easy to download PDF format.  But this should always be filtered by what your own data shows about your audience – they may prefer blog posts and hate video so use that first and foremost.

Step 5 – create your content calendar

A content calendar lets you decide what you are publishing and when as well as giving an overview of what activity is taking place.  It can be quite simple, or you can go into more detail with it depending on how you work. For example, if you have a team, you might want to set things like:

  • Who is responsible for the content
  • What stage of the funnel it applies to
  • Content format (blog post, video etc)
  • First draft date
  • Publishing date
  • What channels to promote it on

There are lots of tools to help with this or you can go with something simple like a Google Sheet, again depending on how complex you need the process to be and what budget you have for it.

Step 6 – plan content promotion

There’s a saying that you should spend 20% of time creating content and 80% promoting it.  While this might not apply exactly to every company, it is worth planning how and where you are going to promote the content.  Options can include:

  • Social media such as Facebook and Instagram
  • Search engines such as Google and Pinterest
  • Email marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Guests posts
  • Forums

Choose the approaches that put you in front of your audience the best and only add more to the basic 1-2 when you have a firm system in place for these.

Step 7 – keep measuring what works

A content strategy is about monitoring and seeing what happens with what you create – then using that data to help create more content and adjust the plan.  It doesn’t need to be set in stone so don’t be afraid to make data-driven changes as the months go by.

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