Content marketing planning is a major trend in the marketing world right now, and it is only gaining traction. While many companies are beginning to understand that they need to create a content marketing strategy, many aren’t sure where to begin. For insight into this quandary, we turned to two experienced members of the AKHIA Content Development team for their thoughts on getting started.

Patsie Dionise, Director of Content Development
At AKHIA, we feel that determining a content marketing value proposition and achieving ultimate success go hand-in-hand because you cannot measure success without first documenting the why behind your initiatives.

We treat the content marketing discussion with our clients like any other initiative by first asking: What do you want to accomplish?

Some are very clear on what they hope to get out of a content marketing strategy. More often than not, the reason is to either attract new business or sustain current business. Others want to elevate or sustain their brand identity —“We are (insert mega company name here). We are expected to be thought leaders.”

But, we’re also seeing another trend. While the reasons above might be the ultimate goals, we are finding they are just one part of the why for some companies. We see clients using content marketing to better align their internal teams and create message consistency across all of their channels, including social media, PR, marketing communications, digital marketing and sales. When these teams are not working together, the external message could get muddled and confusing.

By implementing a holistic content marketing strategy led by a single point of contact, such as a chief marketing officer, these companies are encouraging collaboration. They are collectively agreeing on topics, messaging to different audiences, timing and more. They are all communicating the right messages at the right times to make the most impact. Simply put, they are using content marketing, in part, to get organized.

Lukas Treu, Content Architect
I wholeheartedly agree with Patsie’s assessment. Content marketing plans need not look the same or even seek the same objectives every time; a company could need internal alignment, message consistency/control or a more developed and sustainable marketing strategy in general. In some cases, they may need all of these things.

This is the reason you often hear content marketing experts advising companies to create a content marketing mission statement—as is the case with everything in marketing, you should know what you’re looking to get out of a project before you start executing anything. A mission statement should include who your target audience is, how content will be delivered to them, and what outcome they will receive. And the asking of “Why?” doesn’t stop with “Why do content marketing?”, either.

Ask yourself:

  • “Why are we targeting the audiences we’re targeting?” You should have defined personas for every potential audience member, and you should have a good understanding of why they’re a target.
  • “Why are we using the communications channels we’re using?” Don’t just use a channel because it is trendy or because it is “there”; know where your target audience members spend their time and target them with the media they’ll consume.
  • “Why should our target audience care what our content says?” If you don’t deliver what audience members need, when they need it in a manner that is unique to you and consistent, your success will be limited.
  • There is a lot that goes into every content marketing strategy—far more than we could ever cover with one blog post. And while the idea of content marketing may seem confusing, starting out shouldn’t be: Get your internal stakeholders on the same page by asking “Why?” where appropriate, and move forward from there!

Do you have questions about starting a content marketing strategy? Let us know below!