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This blog post is a follow-up from part 1 in this series, Content Marketing 101. Read that blog post first to get a thorough understanding of what content marketing is and how it can benefit your organisation. Once you understand the what, you’re ready to move on to the how: creating an effective content marketing strategy.

Preparation

If you’re not the decision-maker (and budget allocator), chances are you’ll have to convince someone very busy that your content strategy is a good idea. Presenting answers to these three questions will go a long way towards getting you that all-important stakeholder buy-in. If you are the decision-maker and budget-allocator, asking yourself these questions before you get started will help keep you on track.

“What key challenges are we trying to solve?”

This is a crucial question to avoid creating content for the void. What are you REALLY trying to achieve? Are you trying to get more leads coming in? Reduce the cost per lead of your paid programs? Something else? Clarify that and write it down.

“How will this strategy relate to our key business metrics?”

You might think the flow-on effect is obvious, but take the time to spell it out. If the content solves the challenges from the previous questions, how will that translate to your organisation’s bottom line?

Strategising

Coming up with the actual strategy part of a content marketing strategy can seem overwhelming because there are a lot of moving parts, but as long as you match up the right things, you’ll get through it!

Step 1: Your marketing personas.

When it comes to marketing personas, many people immediately jump into talking about their demographics, ages, and marital status. While those bits of information aren’t TOTALLY irrelevant, it’s the more useful psychological and practical things that will help you. What factors are important for their decision making? How do they prefer to be communicated with? What are their goals and challenges? If their marital status doesn’t impact their decision making around what you’re offering, it doesn’t need to be included.

Your marketing personas will be most effective if they’re based on actual clients you’ve had. If you’re starting from scratch or can’t access past clients to interview, start out with one or two based on what you think. You can refine, add, and subtract over time as you go.

Step 2: Your funnel stages

There are a few sales funnel models floating around out there, but the most basic, essential one includes three phases: Awareness, Consideration, and Decision making.

  • Awareness refers to when a person has realised there is an issue or opportunity.
  • Consideration refers to when that person has defined the issue or opportunity and is actively looking for a solution.
  • Decision refers to when that person has gathered enough information and is ready to commit to a plan of action.

Write down what information a person would be looking for at each stage, then brainstorm highly relevant content that covers those topics.

Download our FREE marketing persona & content mapping template to build out easy, relevant donor personas and map out content for each stage of the funnel!

Step 3: Find the gaps with a content audit

Once you’ve figured out what information your content needs to be providing, you can look at what you currently have and find the gaps. Remember, your content will only help your business if it gives your prospective clients and donors the information they need in a way that resonates with them.

Step 4: Topic ideation

Now that you know what information you need to put out there, it’s time to refine those broad topics into more specific content ideas. Get a group together and brainstorm as many ideas as possible. Once you’ve got a long list, use the process of elimination to refine it.

When you’re trying to decide which ideas to use, ask yourself:

Is it engaging? Is it easy to read or use, is it eye-catching, will it stop people mid-scroll?

Is it created with intent? Double-check that it’s fulfilling the information requirements somewhere in your content map!

This blog post is part 2 of a 3 part series. Check out Part 1: Content Marketing 101 here and keep an eye out for Part 3: Optimisation and Promotion.