A content strategy framework is essential for ensuring your content is helping to achieve your business goals. This blog post explores why a content strategy framework is important and how you can create one tailored to your contract manufacturing company.
The foundations of great content marketing
When using content to build brand awareness and generate leads for your business, you need two things to succeed: a content strategy and a content strategy framework.
What is a content strategy?
A content strategy is a plan for using content (written, visual or audio) to help meet your business goals. A successful content strategy will attract your target audience at each stage of the buyer's journey and keep them engaged once they become customers.
What is a content strategy framework?
A content strategy framework is a documented plan of how you intend to create and distribute your content. It includes your target audience, topics and keywords you aim to cover, how often and through which channels you will publish content, and who will create the content.
Why you need a content strategy framework
As the famous saying by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry goes, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." You can wish to create great content that brings leads flooding into your pipeline. But unless you plan how you're going to do it, it will remain just that, a wish.
Equally, just creating 'any' content and throwing it out on the internet isn't enough. It won't help you rank in search results or make your ideal customers take time out of their day to consume it.
A content strategy framework ensures that your content is organised and purposeful. It provides a detailed plan for how to craft and publish content tailored to your ideal customers and designed to achieve your goals. It clarifies the types of content you should create, how it should be shared, and which channels to use for promotion.
A content strategy framework also ensures that your content is consistent across all channels, allowing you to make sure the message your sending to customers is clear and unified with a unique tone of voice.
It also helps you track performance and determine whether your efforts are helping you meet your goals. This way, you can adapt your strategy based on real data on how prospects and customers interact with your content.
Think of a content strategy framework as your content marketing manual. A manual can keep everyone on the same page and focused on achieving your business goals.
How to create a content strategy framework
Creating an effective content strategy framework doesn't have to be difficult. Follow these steps and use them as a guide when developing your own plan:
1. Determine your goals
Before you begin, take some time to think about what it is you want to achieve through your content strategy. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, generate more leads, or boost engagement? Identifying your goals will help you create a more targeted and effective strategy.
2. Research your buyers
Knowing your ideal customers will help you tailor your content to their wants and needs. Buyer personas are in-depth representations of your ideal customers. They include their demographics, job role and responsibilities, goals and aspirations, challenges and pain points, and who and what influences them as they make decisions.
You will likely need to develop more than one buyer persona, as there is usually more than one person involved in deciding to partner with a contract manufacturing company. For example, you might need to develop buyer personas for a Board Member, a Procurement Director, and a Technical Director.
Comprehensive buyer personas will enable you to develop more relevant and valuable content they'll want to consume. But your research should continue once you have your buyer persona profiles. You will need to constantly research and evaluate your audience's behaviour to ensure your content delivers relevant messages.
3. Run a content audit
If you've been creating content for a while, reviewing your existing content will tell you more about your buyers and what you're already doing right. Tools like Google Analytics will help you see how your content is performing. For example, page views and bounce rates will help you see which content is most and least popular. With tools like Moz, you can also see how your content ranks on search engine results pages (SERPs).
All this data will give you insights into which topics and content channels resonate best with your audience and help inform your content going forward.
If you're new to content marketing, you may not have any content to audit. But some of your existing marketing materials could be repurposed into content. Do you have any documents, guides, or FAQs you supply to new customers when they first start their journey with you? If so, parts of these could be repurposed into a blog post or video. For example, you could create a piece of content informing prospects what to expect when working with a contract manufacturer like yours. An audit will help you to identify any quick-win content ideas.
4. Choose content types
There are several types of content (or content mediums) to choose from, including:
- Blog posts - help you to grow your audience by driving traffic to your website
- Long-form guides - in-depth topic guides that provide conversion opportunities
- Case studies - allow you to tell customer stories and build credibility
- Pillar page and topic clusters - help improve your search engine optimisation (SEO) and position you as a thought leader around a topic core to your business
- Infographics - enable you to represent data in a more compelling way than words alone
- Videos - highly engaging and can be shared on your website and social channels
- Podcasts - a great fit for audiences who don't have the time or interest to consume written content
- Webinars - offer a unique chance to share your ideas and expertise online
Ideally, you want to create a mix of content. But think about what will best serve your buyer personas. It may be tempting to launch a podcast, for example, but if your audience isn't consuming content this way, it won't reach them or capture their attention.
5. Brainstorm ideas
Your buyer persona profiles will be ripe for ideas of topics to cover in your content. Your goal is to create content that answers the key questions they have at each stage of the buyer's journey. What are their potential barriers to working with you, and how can you address that in a blog post, for example? What does success look like to them, and how could partnering with a company like yours help them to achieve it?
Your sales team will also have lots of knowledge of buyers that can be useful when brainstorming ideas. They speak to customers daily, so they know the kinds of questions they ask, the specific information they are looking for at each stage of the process, and any barriers they may have.
6. Choose distribution channels
Selecting the right distribution channels is critical to getting your content found by your ideal customers. Identify which platforms will allow you to reach your audience most effectively and focus your efforts on those.
Channels to consider could include:
- Your company website
- Email marketing
- Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising
7. Create a content calendar
A content calendar will help you to organise what content to publish, through which channels, and who is responsible for creating the content. This will give you complete visibility over all the content tasks and ensure you have an easy way of keeping track of what's happening at all times.
For each piece of content, you should record:
- The title of your piece
- The core topic it sits within
- Whether it's a blog post, guide, video, infographic etc.
- The persona it's targeting
- Target keywords
- The controlling idea (the key message you want your audience to take away)
- Publish date
- Distribution channels
- Frequency and dates for promoting your content on each channel
8. Monitor and analyse results
Regularly monitoring and analysing the performance of your content will help you determine whether it is achieving its desired results.
It can help you to answer questions like:
- Who is reading your content?
- Which content mediums produce the best results?
- Which messages resonate the best with your audience?
- What are the best days and times for publishing new content?
- What gaps are there in our content strategy?
This data can help you see if your marketing efforts are driving sales and help you discover insights that can guide you on where to go next. Use this data to adjust your strategy and ensure you meet your objectives.
A content strategy framework is essential for any company wanting to attract and engage prospects and customers through content. It takes time, organisation and creativity to build successful content marketing campaigns. A content strategy framework provides a clear manual detailing everything you need to succeed in one place.