The hardest part of any task is knowing where to start.

Building a consistent, long-term content strategy is the first step to producing regular content that resonates with your target audience and ultimately helps you reach your marketing goals.

Follow these 8 simple steps to develop and implement a solid content marketing strategy that will serve your company’s needs well into the future:

1. Create an Editorial Team

First things first: decide who will be responsible for the ideation and creation of your content. Hiring an entirely new staff of editorial gurus may not be necessary; depending on your current content team’s size, budget, and goals, you may opt to hire freelance writers or look to current team members to fill in the gaps.

Whichever route you decide to take, you’ll need at minimum a writer, an editor, and someone to strategize and coordinate your efforts to ensure timely execution and publication. To make the most of your new content team, we recommend scheduling weekly meetings and implementing editorial tools to streamline your processes.

2. Define Your Goals

Producing content is vital to digital marketing success, but avoid writing for the sake of writing. Before mapping out your content, make a list of the concrete goals you wish to accomplish as a brand.

What you write about and through which channels you distribute your content will largely depend on what you are trying achieve — whether that’s building awareness, extending your reach, or increasing conversion rates.

3. Develop a Target Persona

Now that you know why you’re producing content, it’s important to establish who you’re writing it for. Developing one or several specific marketing personas can help you achieve your objectives by framing your content in a way that resonates with your target audience.

4. Map Out Content

Each step in your strategy is designed to make the next step a little easier. With a content team in place, a list of clearly defined goals, and a deep understanding of who you’re writing for, it’s now time to map out the specific pieces of content that you’ll be publishing.

During this stage, it’s important to keep the consumer journey in mind. Tailor your content according to what the consumer is trying to accomplish during each stage. What information will be most useful to consumers as they make their way down the sales funnel from initial interest, to serious consideration, to final purchase?

5. Assign and Produce Content

Now comes the fun part — writing! Remember that building an effective content strategy takes time and patience. Keep an open line of communication with all members of your editorial team as they begin to produce content. When you’re just starting out, it helps to review each piece as it’s written, offering suggestions for improvement and making sure everyone is on the same page.

6. Publish on Relevant Channels

Choosing relevant channels for publication is just as important as choosing relevant topics to write about. You’ve already established who your target audience is, so think about where they hang out in the digital space. Push your content onto various social platforms, email newsletters, and any other channels that will extend your reach to the right people.

7. Measure Your Success

Keep track of what’s working and what’s not by mapping out the most essential metrics that demonstrate progress toward your goals. While it doesn’t always contribute to a massive uptick in sales, content marketing can be a great boon to your status as an industry thought leader and influencer.

8. Tweak Your Strategy

Once you’ve gotten into a content production groove, you might be tempted to sit back and relax — but don’t! Best practices are constantly evolving, and so too should your content strategy. Keep an eye on your successes as well as your weaknesses, and use data on the performance of past content to amplify your most effective strategies and improve upon the rest.

Longneck and Thunderfoot offer content marketing services and strategies to transform your company blog into an authoritative trade publication. Click to learn more about how to produce great content and prove ROI on your marketing efforts.

Author Ami Foote

A graduate of the University of South Carolina, Ami is a staff writer at L&T. She has previously written for Ireland.com, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Britax Child Safety, and a variety of non-profits around the country. On a good day, you can find Ami obsessively consuming one or all of the following: folk music, NPR, black coffee, jeopardy, or Guinness.

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