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You know what’s awesome? Delicious food.

And you know what makes delicious food happen?

A good cook and a sound recipe.

Content marketing is no different.

To get the most out of your content marketing efforts, you need to know what it is you are making in the first place. And the best way to do that?

A solid strategy.

The 3 questions your content marketing strategy depends on

Because content marketing is such an amazing way to leverage your marketing efforts and since there’s no shortage of content marketing ideas, the trap of content marketing is simply over-enthusiasm. In short, jumping in without a plan.

Content marketing, like all marketing, is best when guided by a strategy.

Yes, content marketing works (and works well) so it’s tempting to get stuck straight in and start writing blogs, making infographics and shooting videos.

Resist the urge!

At least until you answer these 3 questions:

  1. Who are you talking to?
  2. What are you talking about?
  3. How are you talking?

By answering these 3 questions up-front, you can build a basic strategy for all your content marketing. Why bother, you ask?

Simple.

A strategy saves you from wasting time, money and effort.

Oh, and it also makes your content better.

Question 1: Who are you talking to?

In general, your content marketing should be aimed at your target market.

That seems like a no-brainer, but it’s something that gets missed a lot with content. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea and forget to ask yourself if that idea would even appeal to your primary target market.

Developing personas that represent your target market make it easier to get a clear picture of who, exactly, it is you are talking to. In a pinch, ask yourself ‘who is my ideal client?’ and talk to them.

Question 2: What are you talking about?

At the most basic level, you should always be able to answer ‘yes’ to the question ‘is there a good business reason for me to offer this piece of content?’ about every content marketing element you do.

But that’s not really enough.

Defining what your content areas are and where they rank against each other in terms of priority will help you decide the relative value of different ideas, helping focus your energy on the areas with the best potential for return to your business.

A great way to start defining your content areas is to make a mind map of all the areas of your business, ensuring you include all of your business’s services and products. This will allow you to see and define the basic ‘areas’ of your business, which in turn form the major categories all of your content marketing should fit within. You may then need to refine down the categories further to help prioritise, depending on the complexity of your business.

Once you have your categories set, stick to them!

Make sure that each piece of content is directly linked to one of your categories.

Also be sure that what you are offering has unique value to your consumer. An easy way to check this is by making sure every piece has a laser focus.

That might sound like a lot (and, to be fair, it is a bit) which is why I highly recommend using a schedule to plan out your content marketing in advance.

Question 3: How are you talking?

The content you create is an extension of your brand. That’s why it’s important to define what your brand ‘sounds’ like and then consistently sound that way.

Developing a written style guide is the best way to codify this, enabling anyone to consistently develop content in line with your brand.

Just as a style guide for your visual brand and logo helps ensure that the company’s ‘look’ is maintained in all instances, a written style guide will formalise the basics you want to be sure are always followed.

You don’t have to decide on everything straight away, but make sure you cover the basics, including:

  • grammar basics, as well as tense and point-of-view
  • how you refer to the business as well as its services and products, and
  • formatting requirements for repeated mediums (such as blogs) and for writing online.

Remember, static webpages and anything written on behalf of the business without an author bio should have a consistent tone and voice. Even if you have some content attributed to an identified individual author, if it is affiliated with the business they should still be writing in line with your written style guide.

So that’s the recipe. Now who’s the cook?

Just like a great recipe in the hands of a terrible cook is better than a terrible cook working with no recipe, no matter what, your content marketing will be better with a strategy than without one.

But if you want to make sure you’ve got that ‘recipe’ right, consider working with someone outside your business to develop the strategy. The benefits of a bit of distance can help tremendously in double-checking your assumptions, helping make sure your strategy is a recipe for success.

Interested in developing your content marketing strategy? Contact the team at Baker Marketing for more information on how we can help!

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