Content marketing is a familiar concept for marketers, but its effectiveness across the customer journey might surprise you.

While many marketers create landing pages, blogs, or social media copy, successful content marketing demands a strategic, multi-faceted approach. Most importantly, it relies on understanding your audience.

In this blog, we’ll explore what content marketing is and outline ten steps to help you craft a successful plan.

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is a strategic approach involving the creation and distribution of valuable content for your audience.

According to Mischa McInerney, Chief Marketing Officer at the Digital Marketing Institute, “Content marketing needs to be relevant and consistent. It’s about attracting and engaging a target audience by providing information, entertainment, or utility. It’s not a sales message.”

Set Objectives

Begin by setting objectives that address all stages of the funnel. This helps you understand motivation at each stage and determine the content needed to drive progress.

For each stage, establish relevant KPIs. For example:

  • Grow brand reach and engagement
  • Increase consideration
  • Boost conversion
  • Enhance advocacy

Understand Your Audience

Before creating content, understand your audience and their needs by building target buyer personas. Use tools like Google Analytics to gather demographic and behavioral insights.

Be Relevant

Relevance is key to effective content. Align your content with what your audience wants and needs, rather than focusing solely on what you want to convey.

Use methods like keyword research, social listening, and SEO to ensure relevance.

Use the Content Marketing Funnel

Tailor your content to each stage of the customer journey to drive sales effectively.

Establish Content Pillars

Identify key business pillars that blend brand and commercial drivers. All content should fall under these pillars.

Develop a Push-and-Pull Approach

Balance push and pull tactics to engage consumers effectively. Push tactics promote your brand or product, while pull tactics attract consumers to your content.

Use a Hub-and-Spoke Model

Focus content creation around broad topics using the hub-and-spoke model. This builds authority on specific topics and improves metrics like keyword rankings and conversions.

Create Data-Capture Content

Offer valuable content to prompt users to provide their personal information. Types of data-capture content include ebooks, webinars, and in-depth guides.

Amplify Your Brand Using Advocates

Leverage influencers, loyal customers, and referrals to amplify your brand’s reach and credibility.

Set KPIs and Measure Success

Establish KPIs to track the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy. Monitor metrics like website traffic, engagement, conversions, and shares.

By following these steps, you can develop a comprehensive content marketing plan that drives results across the customer journey.

Examples of content KPIs are:

  • Website traffic
  • New vs returning visitors
  • Dwell time
  • Engagement
  • Downloads or sign-ups (data capture)
  • Bounce rate
  • Conversions
  • Backlinks
  • Shares

Track your KPIs with our Tracker Template

To implement a comprehensive strategy, you need to measure your success on an ongoing basis. Use this Content Marketing dashboard tool to keep track of your KPIs based on the four categories of awareness, consideration, conversion, and advocacy. Download it now.

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Source: Digital Marketing Institute