Is Your 2021 Content Marketing Strategy Up to Scratch?

If you’re like most marketing teams, you’ve probably spent the last few weeks planning for the coming year. December is one of the most popular times for marketing teams to create their marketing strategies, identify channels and resource needs and get budget approval.

With 70% of marketers actively investing in content marketing, most marketing plans for 2021 also include creating a content marketing strategy.

Research shows the importance of defining your content marketing strategy. According to CMI, B2B companies with a documented marketing strategy experience fewer challenges with almost every aspect of content marketing compared to those that don’t have a strategy. So taking the time to create a 2021 content marketing strategy will set the foundations for the year ahead and make sure you can achieve the best results.

What is a Content Strategy?

A content strategy is a well thought out plan for reaching your target audience and driving business objectives like increased leads, shorter conversions, or brand awareness. It’s essentially a road map for your marketing efforts that answers who, what, where and when. 

Creating a content marketing strategy requires extensive research into market trends, competitor activity, SEO search volumes and keywords, and much more. Alongside external research, you also need to understand internal insights like overarching business objectives, sales targets, etc. You then bring both external and internal insights together to create an SEO content strategy.

Your content strategy should include everything you need to know to create a piece of content. That way, if you need to hand off to someone else on your team or an external provider, you can.

Our SEO content strategies typically include a proposed title/h1, short synopsis, SEO keywords, target audience/market, awareness level, word counts and deadlines. But you can adapt your content marketing strategy to align with your business and ways of working.

How to Create a Digital Content Strategy

Hopefully, you’ve already started the process of creating a content marketing strategy or have created one in the past. Rather than walk you through it step-by-step, we’re going to look at some of the key points you want to include to help you sense check your strategy and get the best results from your 2021 SEO content marketing strategy.

1) Identify Your Target Audience

Personalised content is quickly growing in importance. The rise of account-based marketing is only one example of the importance of understanding your audience. 

Imagine you’re in a crowded room with thousands of people and you’re trying to get the crowd’s attention. Simply saying ‘anyone interested in X service?’ is going to fall on deaf ears. Now, if you tailored your messaging to target a specific audience, it becomes much more pertinent and starts to capture your audiences’ attention.

Developing a hyper-specific understanding of your audience and tailoring your content strategy accordingly increases the effectiveness of your content. Rather than bland vanilla messaging, you start to get messaging that makes people sit up and pay attention.

When you understand the underlying motivations, concerns keeping them awake at night and dream solutions, you can then position your content to resonate with your audience and ultimately prove why prospects can’t put off buying your product/service till tomorrow.

Despite the clear benefits of understanding your audience, only 8 out of 10 brands, we speak to, actually have customer avatars. If you’re one of these brands, don’t let the new year roll round without defining your target audience and developing a very clear picture of who you’re speaking to. 

2) Align Sales & Marketing

One of the worst mistakes a marketing department can make is forgetting to include the sales team in their planning. 

Your marketing strategy should be aligned with the entire organisation, but especially the sales team. Most B2B companies have a long sales process with technology prospects typically taking 9-12 months to convert. Nurturing a relationship over such a long period is extremely difficult.

Content marketing is all about creating and maintaining conversations with prospects, which makes it easier to scale your sales efforts, nurture prospects through the sales funnel and effectively achieve more with less.

So, before you hit publish, make sure to consult with your sales team. Ask them about prospects’ common questions or hesitations, where leads come from, popular and unpopular services and of course their goals for 2021.

Once you have these insights, you can then identify the best ways to align your content marketing strategy with your organisation’s sales goals and ultimately drive more conversions.

3) Don’t Forget SEO

Rather than thinking of SEO as voodoo magic, think of SEO as a tool for helping you increase the reach and achieve the best results from your content. After all, you can write the best article in the world, but if it isn’t optimised for SEO, no one is going to find it.

SEO research helps you understand the type of questions potential prospects are asking about your product/service, competitors’ strategies for attracting organic traffic, and recognise ways to get in front of an audience that doesn’t know your brand name.

With so many benefits, SEO should play an integral part in any content marketing strategy as these data points provide essential insights into the type of content that’ll perform the best and allow you to truly thrive in 2021.

4) Get Expert Advice

Sometimes you’re too close to the woods to see the trees.

When you’ve been working on a content strategy for weeks, it’s difficult to see the flaws or consider your plan from other perspectives. Having your strategy reviewed by a content marketing expert ensures you’ve left no stone unturned and can achieve success in the new year.

Our 2-hour content marketing consultation sessions help you review your 2021 plan, flesh out any missing elements and add SEO into the conversation. We’re helping brands identify their target audience and how to reach them, consider SEO data and best practices and discover fresh content ideas so you can make sure your 2021 content marketing strategy is up to scratch.

Send us a message to book your 2021 strategy review.