How to Define a Content Marketing Strategy Part 1

Content Marketing Strategy

Getting the right message down in words can be frustrating. Especially when there are so many different priorities you have to attend to. The boss needs to get a fresh sales report on his desk, your awesome co-workers are talking about their weekends in the background, and you’ve been tasked with figuring out how many people are actually visiting your website on a consistent basis. That can be enough to make even the most centered person feel overwhelmed. Trust me, I’ve been there.

The trick from here is figuring out which of these is going to take priority. Well, a key way to both increase your sales and gain consistent website traffic is to find a way to solve your target audience’s problems via your content marketing strategy. Let me explain more.

Why You Need a Content Marketing Strategy

You see, two years ago I was working as an in-house digital marketer for a senior home care company. Here, I spent my first week on the job just learning more about the company’s target audience. It turns out they weren’t who I expected…at all!

In fact, by looking at some statistics, I was able to learn that it’s primarily the daughters of senior citizens who make the decision to call a senior home care agency. In fact, daughters accounted for an overwhelming number of senior home care leads. Second only to sons who were reporting that they were too busy with work to find the time to make the same call. Sorry guys, no offense.

“A key way to both increase your sales and gain consistent website traffic is by finding a way to solve your target audience’s problems via your content marketing strategy.”

This one fact alone helped my team do some further research. By looking at our primary target audience, the daughters of senior citizens, we could see what daughters worried about the most when it came to their parent’s care. Here is what we learned:

  • She is most worried about who will be taking care of her parent(s)
  • Then, she wants to know how well the caregiver will take care of her parent(s)
  • She also wants to know what kind of care their parent will receive and what the benefits of that care will be
  • Plus, she is worried about if their parent will be okay with the transition to senior home care

We also learned another key fact. Apparently, compared to sons of senior citizens, daughters cared the least about cost of senior home care. While sons put cost way at the top of their list of concerns. Interesting!

Just these few pieces of information helped us determine how to write content our primary audience would love. For example, if we created a new blog post, we knew that the key to success would be to write primarily for the daughters of senior of citizens. From there, we would know exactly what to write about by just reviewing a list of our target audience’s key concerns.

During my time at this company it was easy to look at my persona profiles, as we called them, to see exactly what the daughters of senior citizens would want to read.

For example, by looking at her persona I would know that creating a graphic based blog post about the cost of senior home care v. the cost of an assisted living center, wouldn’t have her necessarily dying to read the entire article (even though that would be a great blog article idea targeted toward someone else!). Yet, if I wrote about how much time caregivers spend with their clients and what exactly that care looked like, then I could probably grab her interest.

Even better, with an article that was tailored to my target audience’s interest and pain points, my team and I could lead our readers toward their next step in the customer buying cycle: intent. Here, we could help them take an actionable step toward solving their problem. Primarily by giving my agency a call or email to begin discussing senior home care.

For my company, this approach to starting a content strategy worked wonders! I mean, we were able to create a 64% increase in site traffic over a period of just 8 months! All by creating regular content via blog articles, eBooks, infographics, and drip campaigns.

“Without personas, you may only be guessing what content your audience wants, which means you are more likely to revert to creating content around what you know best (your products and company) instead of around the information your audience is actively seeking.” - Jodi Harris

To begin creating your own content strategy, I highly suggest looking into creating your own persona profiles. To help, try checking out Jodi Harriss’ article on ‘How to Create Easy, Yet Actionable Content Marketing Personas.’ As Jodi writes, “Without personas, you may only be guessing what content your audience wants, which means you are more likely to revert to creating content around what you know best (your products and company) instead of around the information your audience is actively seeking.”

Building Content Marketing Personas

This afternoon, I would try taking some time to research your key personas. You can start right away by asking yourself a few questions.

  1. Who are my current customers? (hint: try checking out Google Analytics to see who your current audience is)
  2. Who are my competitor’s customers?
  3. Which of these customers should become (or already are) my primary audience member?
  4. What does my primary audience member do all day?
  5. What are they worried about?
  6. What kind of income do they make?
  7. How much free time do they have to make buying decisions?
  8. What interests them?
  9. What kind of educational background do they have?
  10. Where do they live?
  11. What other responsibilities do they have in their lives?
  12. How old are they?
  13. Are they male, female, or both?
  14. What brings them joy?

These questions can help you craft content that is compelling for your target audience and even helps you figure out how to write that content and what form it should take.

Alright, stay tuned this weekend for more tips. In part 2 I’ll be writing about what kinds of content you can create to begin leading your target audience through the customer buying cycle. In the meantime, let me know in the comments if you have any questions about persona building!!