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Defining Your Content Strategy

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Where are you spending your marketing dollars? If it's not in content marketing, then you should reconsider. Content marketing remains a top priority for marketers in 2012. This, according to a popular study published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and MarketingProfs titled "B2B Content Marketing: 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets & Trends." The study reports that nine out of 10 organizations market with content marketing. However, content marketing strategy should not be developed in a vacuum. It must become a company-wide initiative—aligning content with corporate goals and key messaging and supporting your go-to-market strategic plans with key stakeholders.

Below are some key recommendations to get started.

Define Your Content Strategy Goal

What are your corporate goals for the next two to three years? How do you want to define and position your company in the market? The answers will serve as the compass to your content strategy and your brand story. In addition, you should also understand who your audience is, where they are in their buying journey, their pain points and key addressable markets.

Understand Your Target Audience

Who are your buyers, and what are their personas, roles, etc.? Where do they go to find information about products and services before making a purchasing decision? What are the most popular media they visit? How active are they in social media, blogs, discussion forums, etc.? What types of pain points are they faced with? Without understanding the fundamentals of your target audience—types of content they're looking for in the various stages of the purchasing cycle—your content strategy will fall flat. For example, if your target audience is IT buyers but the decision makers are CIOs, then you must map your messaging and content strategy to meet the needs of your audience. Tailor your content with your audience in mind.  

Prioritize Your Marketing Tactics

Marketers are resource-constrained, and it's easy to focus on a bunch of tactics rather than smart marketing. By polling your target audience and understanding who they are and where they are in the various stages of the buying cycle, you can minimize the time spent and cycles focusing on the wrong tactics, wrong messaging and the wrong audience. Get laser-focused.

Find out what are the top five events your target audience attends every year, the top five publications they read, the top five blogs they subscribe to, the top five influencers they follow, top analyst firms they go to for referrals, etc. Information is the new currency, and by knowing where your audience turns to for information, you can prioritize your marketing tactics and align your content strategy accordingly.

Implement a Powerful Content Architecture

Now that you have all this information at your fingertips, you can create a powerful content strategy that aligns with your goals, tailor it for the right audience and execute across the right marketing channels using the tactics that will have the most impact. Build a brand story that has multiple levels of content to support your story and messaging. Then mobilize your marketing team to execute using the right content to educate, inform and build engagement with your audience. Brand storytelling through great content is the key ingredient and should be the focus for any marketer today.

Plan with the Right Execution in Mind

With the wealth of data at your fingertips, you can establish content that can meet the needs of your audience. Then look at the different methods of disseminating content across different marketing channels to tell your story and engage with your audience.

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