The 5 Building Blocks of a Content Marketing Campaign
Content marketing campaigns can drive leads, increase brand awareness, and give your marketing team content to share on internal and external channels. The potential of incorporating content as an element of your marketing strategy is invaluable, but deciding where to start can seem overwhelming.
We’ve broken down content marketing campaign strategy into 5 clear steps to gear you up for success. We’re so confident in this breakdown that we’ve also created a campaign template that you can use to begin outlining your own strategy. Check it out below!
Step #1: Outline Measurable Goals
Deciding what you want to achieve with a content marketing campaign is always step one. With content marketing, goals can be broad or specific, or a mix of both. These goals may be associated with your brand’s mission statement or annual goals, or specific to the channels that content is disseminated through, but they should always be measurable.
Here’s what we recommend as KPIs for broader content campaign goals:
- Increase brand awareness
This can be measured by changes in reach for social media posts, increased impressions for web pages as reported by Google Search Console, and/or changes in followership across all content channels.
- Generate leads
Measurable changes in leads shouldn’t be too difficult if your team uses UTM tracking for internal link shares or tracks goals in Google Analytics. Additional metrics include click-through rates from email campaign platforms to conversion pages, and changes in followership (if a new follower is considered a lead for your brand). Our advice for this goal is to list out all actions that can be considered leads and the ways they can be tracked.
- Elevate brand perception
This goal can be harder to measure compared to the others, but is still trackable – it just may require some creative digging. If one of your goals is to be viewed by customers more positively, you can measure social media sentiment by monitoring comments on posts and reporting on changes in support requests.
Step #2: Perform Market Research
When it comes to content marketing, knowing what you want to say should be decided based on who you are speaking to, which is decided by measurable research results.
Market research should include the following aspects:
- Audit current content
What content is your brand currently sharing? Content comes in all shapes and sizes, and can include blog posts, videos, infographics, newsletters, and social media posts. Create “buckets” for the content that’s been shared by your brand to organize each piece. Buckets may be topics within your industry, frequently used hashtags or trends (i.e. #MotivationalMonday), internal links, etc. These are completely customizable to your brand. Now, measure how content performs within each bucket. This will help you decide later which buckets should be prioritized when creating new content.
- Create customer personas
Customer personas help you understand the content strategy that will address each type of customer. These are fictional characters that you will develop based on certain demographics such as their age, gender, roles, stress points, goals, and solution requirements. We’ll want to keep these personas in mind when mapping out content types in step 3.
- Competitor research
Make a list of brands that includes both your close competitors and aspirational competitors (a brand that may be much bigger than yours, but you like what they’re doing). What channels are these brands disseminating content through? What types of content are they sharing? How much engagement do they receive? Answering these questions can help guide your brand’s internal goals and may inspire some content ideas.
Step #3: Plan Content
Now that you have some context on what other brands are doing with their content marketing strategies, it’s time to begin planning for yours. Combine what you’ve learned from your internal content audit, customer personas, and competitor research to develop a plan that will address your customers’ needs with content that converts.
Depending on how many customer personas you created, you may want to create a content plan individualized to each one. These plans should include the types of content that will be shared, the channels on which they will be distributed, and the metrics you will use to measure their effectiveness.
Here’s an example of what that might look like:
Brand: Digital Project Management Tool
Customer Persona 1: Jack
Jack is a 22-year-old recent college graduate who is just starting out in the corporate workforce. He needs tools to help him stay organized during the job hunt. He spends a lot of time on social media apps and makes purchasing decisions based on recommendations from influencers he trusts.
Content: TikTok influencer partnerships (i.e. “Here’s the app I recommend to keep your life in order”), educational videos shared in short, graphically designed videos on Instagram Reels (i.e. “Does the job hunt have you feeling frazzled? Here are 3 ways to keep track of all those cover letters”).
Customer Persona 2: Eliza
Eliza is a 45-year-old entrepreneur, wife, and mother. Eliza is overwhelmed with organizing her business’s tasks among team members, keeping track of her personal schedule, and children’s after-school activities. Eliza zeroes out her email inbox daily and prefers slowly scrolling through her LinkedIn feed over other social media channels.
Content: Email newsletters with inbound links to informative project management blogs and external links to YouTube content, infographics shared on LinkedIn.
Step #4: Create a Calendar
It’s time to start filling out dates on a calendar to get your content in front of the people who need to see it! Your content calendar should include all forms of content in the plan and the channels they will be spread through.
Remember the content topic buckets you sorted your content into during the internal audit? They will help guide your content calendar creation. We like to use a two-tab system in a spreadsheet to visualize our content calendars–one for the calendar view and one for a detailed list.
Here’s an example of the list view:
Step #5: Ongoing Reporting
The final step is to track results, analyze, and adjust. The key to successful content marketing strategies is frequently assessing what’s working, and what’s not, and making adjustments based on the measurable KPIs you outlined in Step 1.
Some things to consider adjusting based on tracked results:
- Target personas. Are you reaching the right people? Maybe the customer you identified before launching your campaign hasn’t quite fit the content you created. Use demographic reporting in Google Analytics and social media applications to better understand who your content is actually reaching.
- Content buckets. Is one topic performing way better than another? Is there something you realized you’re missing or maybe something new that’s launching at your brand? Content buckets should always be re-evaluated for effectiveness.
- Channels. Are you spending too much time writing blog posts that receive 0 impressions? It’s okay to cut out a channel that isn’t leading to expected results, especially if creating content for that channel is taking up time that you could be spending on content that is converting.
Content marketing is our jam, and we’re always happy to chat with you about ways to improve your strategy. Drop us a line to see how we can help optimize your content marketing campaigns.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a content marketing funnel?
A content marketing funnel visualizes the cutsomer journey from the awareness phase to evaluation, and ultimately towards a conversion. There are different purposes for content creation to suit specific stages of the funnel.
How do companies use content marketing?
Companies use content marketing across a variety of different channels. This includes video creation, email campaigns, blogging, and social media posting to name a few.
What are the benefits of content marketing?
Content marketing carries a number of key benefits. It helps brands cultivate trust with their audience and generate higher quality leads. There's also the SEO benefit of helping the business rank organically.