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Content Marketing Strategy - Your Complete How-To Guide - VQ Success

Content Marketing Strategy And Best Practices

Content Marketing Strategy: a type of marketing plan focused on creating and distributing relevant, valuable information with the goal of attracting a clearly defined audience and engaging them to take a profitable action or to support a meaningful cause..

A content marketing strategy is like a business plan for your content.

It includes your content marketing goals and KPIs, buyer persona(s), content distribution plan, and your internal promotion strategy. 

Having a content marketing strategy increases your odds of long-term success. It gives you an objective way to measure your progress. It also helps you plan improvements.

Content Marketing Strategy - Definition

A content marketing strategy is like a business plan for your content.

It includes your content marketing goals and KPIs, buyer persona(s), content distribution plan, and your internal promotion strategy. 

Having a content marketing strategy increases your odds of long-term success. It gives you an objective way to measure your progress. It also helps you plan improvements.

If this sounds like a lot of work, it is. Anyone who tells you content marketing is quick or easy is trying to sell you on a shortcut. In marketing, shortcuts are nothing but dead ends in disguise. The good news is, if you plan and document your content marketing strategy the right way, everything you do will become simpler, and more manageable and successful.

That said, I’m going to share the content marketing strategy blueprint I’ve been developing and refining since 2009 when I started my freelance writing career. This strategy is based on my signature sales copywriting system, The VQ Success Selling System. I started designing this system back in the early 2000s while working as a call center manager.

Since then, I’ve used it to build complex multi-step content marketing systems (offline and online). In 2012, Copywriting Legend Dan S Kennedy reviewed and endorsed The VQ Success Selling System. I’ve included his endorsement below for those interested in reading it. I will now introduce the ten steps for using this system to plan, document, and implement a complete content marketing strategy. 

Article Continues Below Endorsement

  • 1. Your Content Marketing Goal(s).
  • 2. Your Content Marketing Audience(s).
  • 3. Your Content Distribution Channels.
  • 4. Your Content Distribution Schedule.
  • 5. Your Content Creation Plan.
  • 6. Your Content Marketing Team.
  • 7. Your Content Marketing KPIs.
  • 8. Your Internal Promotion Strategy.
Dan S Kennedy VQ Success Testimonial

Expert Endorsement

Dan S Kennedy on The VQ Success Selling System

“Seth Czerepak has accomplished a Herculean purpose with The VQ Success Selling System. He has taken some of the most sophisticated aspects of writing to influence, motivate, persuade and sell and made them accessible and pragmatically useful, nearly to the point of fill in the blank systemization. It is relatively easy to systemize the making of a sub sandwich in 1,000 Subway® shops or the installation of a car muffler in 1,000 Midas Muffler® shops. It is far, far, far from easy to systemize the crafting of persuasive copy. I know. I have been a professional direct-response copywriter for 40+ years, and raised myself to top income in the field, routinely commanding upwards from $100,000.00 per project, earning a 7-figure annual income from fees and royalties, with over 85% of all clients repeating with me. Further, I have taught copywriting to writers, direct marketers and business owners via seminars and workshops, home study and online courses, and one to one coaching. There are easier things to teach. Seth has covered essential bases and delved into advanced and groundbreaking territory as well.”

The VQ Success Content Marketing Strategy

The VQ Success Content Marketing Strategy starts with clearly defining and documenting the following eight items…

I’ll explain each of these in detail as we unpack them one at a time. Keep in mind, however, that this article is just a summary of how a content marketing strategy helps you plan, document, implement, measure, and improve your content marketing strategy. Like anything else worth doing, a successful content marketing strategy demands hard work, patience, sacrifice, and critical thinking. 

This is why companies invest five and six figures a year into hiring content marketing agencies or building their own content marketing teams and departments. The first job of a good content marketing agency is to establish a measurable goal for your content marketing strategy. Your content marketing goal gives you a standard against which to measure your progress. This is especially important when it comes time to plan, document, and measure your Content Marketing KPIs.  

How to Set Content Marketing Goals

To keep things simple, your content marketing goals should be…

  • Specific Enough to Be Measurable.
  • Given a Definite Deadline for Review.

A good way to see if your content marketing goals match this formula is to try to break your goals down into smaller milestones. For example, let’s assume you set this goal…

“Our goal is to increase our total number of qualified inbound leads.”

Content Marketing Goals

Can you break this goal down into smaller milestones? No, you can’t. It doesn’t define a specific number of leads and it doesn’t give you a definite deadline for reviewing your progress. However, let’s assume you set a goal like this…

“Our goal is to increase our number of qualified inbound leads from 20 a month to 200 a month by January 1rst next year.”

Can you break this goal down into smaller milestones? Yes, you can. Simply take your end goal of increasing your inbound leads from twenty a month to two-hundred a month and cut it into two milestones. So, if you start your goal on January 1rst and give yourself a year to achieve it, you would now have two six-month milestones which you would document like this…

  • Increase our inbound leads from 20 a month to 100 a month by July 1rst.
  • Increase our inbound leads from 100 a month to 200 a month by (next) January 1rst.

From there, you could break your six month milestones into quarterly milestones and document them like this…

  • Increase our inbound leads from 20 a month to 50 a month by April 1rst.
  • Increase our inbound leads from 50 a month to 100 a month by July 1rst.
  • Increase our inbound leads from 100 a month to 150 a month by October 1rst.
  • Increase our inbound leads from 150 a month to 200 a month by (next) January 1rst.

Now we have a long-term goal that breaks down into short-term milestones. You’ll see why this is important as we move through the rest of the steps in this content marketing strategy. Before we continue to step two, let me make two more points about this simple goal-setting formula…

  • Make it Specific Enough to Be Measurable.
  • Give Yourself a Definite Deadline for Review.
  • Break Your Goal Down into Smaller Milestones.

Notice that the purpose of the final deadline is to review your content marketing goal. In my coaching experience, I’ve learned that hard “do or die” deadlines work well for some types of goals, and not so well for others. For example, if your goal depends only (or primarily) on your personal efforts, a hard deadline is fine. The same is true if you’re setting a goal for a small team of people whose capabilities and limits you understand well. 

However, most marketing goals depend on multiple unknown variables, including the buying behaviors of your prospects and customers, economic trends, or changes within your company. This is why, when it comes to your content marketing goals, I suggest using deadlines to review your progress, adjust your strategy, and move forward with a better plan.

Sometimes, you’ll overshoot your goal. Other times, you’ll miss it. What matters, however, is that you review your progress and analyze the role your plan played in creating the outcome. This approach has a psychological advantage and a tactical advantage. 

Content Marketing Goal Setting

The psychological advantage is based on what psychologists call “Incentive Salience.” Incentive Salience determines a person’s motivation to move either towards or away from a particular outcome. Contrary to the myths of most motivational “experts,” neuroscientists tell us that setting and achieving small goals increases how intensely the reward center in a person’s brain responds to achieved goals. 

In other words, people who set smaller, achievable goals and overshoot them will receive a bigger boost of chemical stimulation (via the reward neurotransmitter dopamine) in their brain than people who set big goals and achieve them. Moreover, the failure to achieve a big goal (even by a small margin) dramatically increases the likelihood of discouragement or even depression. This is why, in my business coaching and personal development writing, I encourage people to set modest goals and to focus most of their efforts on mastering processes and developing habits. 

The tactical advantage to this approach is that lasting success is more often the result of developing habits than it is the result of setting and achieving goals. Teams, organizations, and individuals who focus on turning processes into habits will achieve results more naturally and consistently because their positive habits will inevitably produce positive results. Treating goals as pure “hit or miss” target does not promote this kind of growth-focused and process-based mindset.

This is why I suggest setting and documenting a modest, measurable content marketing goal with a definite deadline for review. This is the first step toward developing and implementing a winning content marketing strategy. 

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