6 steps to building a content marketing strategy for SMBs

Digital360 on 2 June 2017

Getting started with your content marketing strategy may seem like an overwhelming task. From selecting a CMS to promoting content, there is a long workflow of tasks to build up and manage. So, if you're looking to build a content marketing strategy, how do you get started?

On the one hand, there are content marketing professionals who can help. On the other, there is building your own content marketing strategy from scratch. Whatever approach your business takes, with the help of this guide, you'll break down your content marketing strategy into the essential components.

Step 1: Choosing a content management system (CMS)

Good content marketing strategy begins with choosing a suitable CMS for your business. While your business may already have a website and a CMS, this may be a good time to review your options.

The most widely-used blogging CMS on the market is WordPress. And while Wordpress is popular, it doesn’t always look as professional as other platforms. It can also run slow if loaded with bloated themes and resource-hungry plug-ins.

For the beginners, a subscription-based platform like Squarespace could be the right fit – especially if your business has very basic needs. Meanwhile, open-source software like Silverstripe, Drupal and Magento are great for businesses that need a powerful CMS platform to support their digital strategy. These more complex CMSs, however, will often require custom web development.

Step 2: Discovering your target audience

Know your business. A strong content marketing strategy is based on a firm understanding of your SMB’s target audience and desired customers. A great way to begin this research is to create a persona or personas that represent your customers or clients, then break down their needs and motivations.

You can also analyse social media and search engine data to find out who is clicking on your content, as well as who is searching for content related to your products or services. Once you have established the kind of person who fits your target market, you can then generate content you know they’ll want to read, view or watch.

Step 3: Selecting your content marketing topics

Once you have established your audience, the next step in your content marketing strategy is selecting topics to explore. By analysing clicks, social media shares, and search engine data, content marketers can move from the planning phase to the execution phase. Jump into free tools and resources like Google's Keyword Planner, Google Search Console or Google Analytics to get access to this valuable data.

Once you have identified what people are searching for, you can break down these broad topics into more specific, granular topics. For example, let's say your business sells fire suppression equipment. If users are searching 'chemicals in fire extinguishers', you could explore a number of topics in your content marketing, such as 'Are chemicals in fire extinguishers safe?', 'A complete list of chemicals in fire extinguishers' and 'How to safely use a fire extinguisher'.

Step 4: Creating a content publishing calendar

Now that you have established your content marketing topics, it's time to consider how and when you will post content to the web. The best way to do this is by drawing up a content calendar. This calendar allows you to plan how much content you'll produce each month, giving you and your team deadlines and publishing targets. Your calendar could be made up of one or multiple platforms, often depending on the size of your team.

Some businesses may opt for free and easy-to-use platforms like Google Drive, which allows team members to share and sync content, emails and calendars very easily. Other businesses may prefer more specific content management platforms with inbuilt scheduling and deadline tools like GatherContent and Trello. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s best for your business and your content strategy team.

Step 5: Publishing (and promoting) your content

Even when an article is published, your job as a content strategist isn't done yet. It's now time to consider content promotion, sometimes called content amplification. Email marketing newsletters, ad campaigns and social media are just three ways to get your new content out there, in front of your audience.

Also consider 'repurposing' your content. This doesn’t mean reposting content a few days later to the same social media channel. Instead, try something different. For example, the information in a blog post could be used to create infographics and visual how-to guides. In this way, content may be transformed in more ways than one.

Step 6: Asking for help (optional)

Of course, creating a content marketing strategy is much easier said than done. It takes hard work and an investment of time and resources for your business. That's why many SMBs simply delegate these tasks to the experts: a digital agency that plans, creates and manages a content marketing strategy. A digital agency can help identify flaws in your content strategy and implement positive changes towards growing your business through digital.

Need a content marketing strategy? Speak with a Melbourne digital agency about your business needs.