The Simple 3-Step Process for Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

The Simple 3-Step Process for Creating a Winning Content Marketing Strategy

Reader Comments (30)

  1. We’re diving heavy into strategy right now for several businesses so this couldn’t be more timely for me.

    For anyone following along, I can’t begin to describe how writing the strategy down, including the description of your ideal customer, will literally change what you know (or thought you knew).

    You have to get this stuff out of your head or you won’t nail it.

    I’ve found developing the avatar of the ideal customer is particularly challenging with clients. There is a lot of resistance to over come. Bias we all cary.

    Brian, I hope we’ll diving deeper into that particular aspect at some point.

    • Scott, I’m curious, what are the kinds of objections you get from clients about developing an avatar? “We don’t want to turn anyone away,” or something different?

      • Sonia,

        I’m curious about your question on why clients reject avatars, and I have one answer, but it’s just my own perspective – perhaps because I have the “luxury” of some past clients, so I don’t have to make them up.

        I suppose I’ve always been mildly annoyed by being asked to identify a single avatar model for my potential clients, because I’ve felt that few avatars refer to real people, rather than stereotyped demographics (that woman between 25 and 40, with a specific income ).

        Isn’t it also important to note the difference between demographics and psychographics? I’ve had delightful clients from their early 20s to their late 50s, although most were 25-40, males and females, although most were women. (Wouldn’t that leave me in choosing that woman between 25 and 40?)

        Isn’t the flesh of the avatar in the psychographics? In how they live, and what they spend their time thinking about (or worrying about, as so many marketers advocate)?

        I don’t quite get how I could choose just one representative, or how it would help me. Should I even be worried about this as I re-design my website, because I have a few actual perfect clients to keep in mind?

        I’m eager to see more of these thoughtful posts – and the wonderfully useful discussion following.

        • When I think about creating an avatar and speaking to one person in my communications, this is how I see it…

          To best describe, I will relate a story I just had with my wife about talking to her class. I was saying that if you speak to everybody it will sound like you are not speaking to anybody. But if you speak to one person, it will sound like you are speaking to everybody.

          Note: Of course I do not mean use one persons name; but rather saying something like “to you” rather than “to all of you.”

          And even though you will not hit the nail right on the head for every single person, they will feel included more so than if you speak to a general audience.

          Example if you are looking for directions how to do Adwords and you see an ad for “local plumbers learn Adwords” and you own an electrical business you’d likely still see the ad as relevant and speaking to you.

          What do you think?

          • Hi all,

            Great discussion. I posit this – let’s nuance the difference between “company aim” and elevate it to “company purpose”. A company’s purpose: This is what we’re doing for someone else – it is a company’s philosophical heartbeat, to semi quote a recent CEO. So the purpose of a brand is not about a company’s culture or how it wants to be in the future or that it wants to make a profit – it is how an organization shows a more personal and emotional face to its customers.
            I get all the above and have landed on this POV: speak to and from your brand purpose – it creates authenticity and that is what resonates. Yes, we can create customer armatures from which to understand our ideal client yet I think they fail us at some point as they are built without a soul. Purpose-driven marketing is now one of the hot topics businesses might align around to get them to that aim of more profitability.Check it out for some interesting stats:

  2. When I hear people say their number one challenge is content production, I’m pretty sure that means they are doing content but not content marketing. With a strategy in place they could at least be more realistic about what they are trying to do and stop wasting time on one-off pieces that might be good by themselves but do nothing to move customers along the journey.

  3. I really enjoyed this and would recommend interested readers pair it with reading:

    My sole quarrel is with your use of the terms: (1) fictional and (2) general when describing the representation of your ideal customer.

    I don’t believe it must be fictional, nor general, when picturing this person. Especially as you begin strategizing. If you have an ideal customer, one that you light up when talking to, then starting with them as the focus of your content’s message is better than beginning too general.

    Great to have Brian committing to consistent posting. Loving this first series.

    • Sometimes we get the wonderful luxury of having a real person we can visualize. I love when that happens. But for those who don’t, it works to make one up.

      I like Brian’s use of “fictional” here. For me it suggests a more well-rounded, nuanced portrait than the usual stale “avatar” that’s often not much more than a collection of demographics with a cutesy name.

      Then again, I have the benefit of knowing that he’s going to get into that in much more detail next week. 😀

    • Sonia is correct. Also, that’s not my definition — it’s a pretty well accepted definition of a buyer persona. Like Sonia said, if we’re trying to create a personification of a segment of your audience (or the entire audience), treating your persona as a fictional character results in a much more well-rounded and nuanced result.

      You’ll see next week.

  4. I like to adopt an already established fictional character.

    For example, I chose Liz Lemon of “30 Rock” for my customer when I taught courses about working in entertainment.

    And lo – my first buyer was a female comedian, who starred in a sitcom on NBC, but moved on to producing, and wanted to figure out how this crazy “web” stuff works for her personal brand.

    It was uncanny how much she had in common with Liz Lemon!

  5. The more I learn about marketing a business online, the more I am realizing how important engaging content is becoming. I recently set up a blog on my website, but have been experiencing writer’s block ever since! I really found this post helpful, as you’ve given me a clear outline to get my creative juices flowing. I already have you saved in my bookmarks!

  6. Hi Brian,

    I think one of the biggest challenges in addition to your list is that many business don’t know what business they are “really” in and therefore don’t have a clear, concise, relevant message.

    In my experience working with hundreds of companies, if you know your message it’s much easier to come up with a written plan that focuses with clarity on achieving the goals of delivering the message.

    It’s so easy to follow a variety of rabbit trails in content marketing that lead us down a path to nowhere except frustration and disappointment.

    One other brief point… sales is an emotional decision. Yet, 99% of content marketing is an intellectual and logic based exercise. Our message has to have an emotional element to it.

    I often say that all buying decisions are emotional… so to are all “click” decisions. The content and message must back up the title. That’s where I think we fall short. Too much logic based strategy and not enough emotion to compliment it.

    Thanks for your insight Brian! Happy New Year!!!!

    ~ Don

    • I agree. And, the emotional part is actually the easiest to write (if you have a well written out avatar at least), and it’s the part that generates the most action.
      The most challenging part of content marketing for me is getting people to see the content in the first place, without wasting money on Facebook Ads, etc.
      Asking “powerful sneezers” to share it is pretty tough too. But, I guess when the article has an emotional pull, and the avatar is well conceived…it makes it easier to know who to ask & for them to agree to share.

  7. Great Article, we are about to create new content for this year, and Content marketing strategy became our priority before content creation

  8. “The major or overall aim for commercial entities is sales.”

    I’m putting that on a sticky for my monitor. So easy to get distracted with all the available placement options for good content, and the joy of finding just the right story to tell. There is a bottom line!

  9. Thanks Brian and copyblogger for helping get 2017 off to an inspiring start. I sooooo need help with the strategy of content marketing and am sharpening my pencil as we speak ready to note all the great information you are so kindly sharing with a newbie like myself.

  10. Excellent tips. Thanks for sharing these useful content marketing strategy tips. I was in need of such tips. Now I believe I would be able to market my content better than what I have been doing till date.

  11. Hi Brian, I am planning to launch some online courses on my website. I am preparing the first free one for gaining email addresses in order to get sales with paid courses. I am doing a lot of hard work these days, spending money on video tools and learning video editing. Do you have any suggestions for promoting an online course?

  12. I am very new to this blogging and selling via internet marketing. Hope to learn much more from reading your blogs and articles. Enjoyed this blog about strategy. Thank you.

  13. Copyblogger is going to be one of the most helpful educational “go-to” sources I while I am planning and launching a successful online presence. For now, I will take full advantage of the free education and challenges, but I’ll become a customer soon. I learned more about “personas” in one paragraph than I have from template after template and all the blogs about it that I’ve read. It makes sense to me, and I’ve gotten it through my thick skull now. I get to pick who I want to attract instead of searching the vast and expensive wasteland of who might be attracted. By the way, it was a bit early on my journey for me to land on the Rainmaker Platform page. 🙂 Color me covetous. I like the idea of a one-stop shop.
    The content on this blog is very engaging, and Sonia’s weekly email was delightful. Fun is a good value to pursue. My boss used to tell me I was having too much fun on the job while he laughed with me. I loved my job, and I want to love my business.

  14. Wow this is great, I look forward to the next 3 weeks! And, it comes at the perfect time for me because it will help me articulate some content marketing strategy proposals I’m about to make.

  15. Hi Brian, you have some solid points. Content writing and marketing is very time consuming process, thus we decided in 2017 to hire full-time, in-house an individual responsible for content writing and who will be dedicated for the distribution and marketing.. This is our new priority to integrate it into our content creation strategy.

  16. Wow this is a great post. I am a newbie in content marketing and all my fears fade away as I am being enlightened after reading this. Can’t wait on your upcoming Brian.

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