7 Tips to Improve and Expand your Content Marketing Strategy in 2021

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The content marketing industry is innately dynamic and competitive. Gone are the days when you could expect to drive results just by pumping out content. 

To succeed today, you need to do a lot more than that.

Your content needs to be anchored to a steady, sustainable strategy to get desired results. Following are the latest tactics that can optimize your content marketing venture in 2021. 

7 Tactics to Improve and Expand Your Content Marketing Strategy In 2021

A successful content marketing strategy should have four elements in place: 

  • A strategic plan, which highlights where you want to reach with your content
  • Positioning your brand in a way that its unique personality surfaces 
  • Value proposition which implies what value does the end user derive from your content
  • Business priorities that your content should be able to achieve at the end of the day 

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Based on this understanding, here are a few tactics that can optimize your content marketing efforts in 2021: 

  1. It all starts with goal setting

Goal-setting might sound obvious but reaps exponential results in long-term content marketing ventures. It ensures consistency in every activity you perform to drive results. 

To achieve so, map your goals in a hierarchical structure. 

Your vision and mission should be the top-of-the-tier goals. Following these are strategic goals and operational goals, respectively.  

Having a goal-setting framework handy here makes the process easier. The following CLEAR framework is flexible and realistic to measure progress. 

  • Collaboration: the more your goals are aligned to boost teamwork, the better the long term efficiency of your marketing ventures. 
  • Limited: your goals are time-sensitive and scope-sensitive. 
  • Emotion: your goals have emotional triggers for your team.
  • Appreciation: Breaking down  your  goals into smaller micro-goals. 
  • Reiterable: your goals are flexible enough to be reiterated to adapt to circumstantial needs.

The following illustration from SEMRush displays how this can be achieved easily. 

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  1. Content audit is your holy grail 

Today, the content production landscape is undergoing a content shock. With almost 1.6 billion active websites and 70 million blog posts published monthly, the competition is stiffer than ever.

If you are still pumping out content without measuring its efficacy, you are doing it wrong. 

A content audit is the missing piece of the puzzle that can streamline your content marketing strategy. This will instantly give you a precise understanding of what performs and what does not. 

Start by mapping out the content frameworks that attract your audience.

The following questions can help you understand this key metric:

  • Which content pieces attract traffic?
  • Which content pieces give higher engagement?
  • Which content pieces perform well for high-quality lead generation?
  • Which elements need improvement?

A few key metrics can help you in doing this: 

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  1. Develop a marketing technology blueprint

Your content marketing team loves tools and software that can boost their performance. But in a landscape where every day a new tool arises with almost the same end promise, it can get overwhelming which tools to invest in. Before you go on investing in any tools, map your content marketing activities and capabilities. Find out if the new tool fits your overall activities and how much benefit it can reap to your venture. 

If your content style mainly involves generating infographics and high-quality visuals, it isn’t the smartest decision to invest in a blogging tool that focuses primarily on textual content. Getting a complete idea of how your marketing technology fits into your whole content marketing landscape, you can gain a more productive, flexible, and integrated content system.

According to David and Lorry Goldsmith of the Goldsmith Organization: 

“Having the appropriate systems and structures in place is one of the most effective ways of bringing out the best talents and highest productivity of your people. Yet it’s one of the most ignored factors in organizations today.”

  1. Develop Content Marketing Maturity Model 

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Your content marketing capabilities have a lot to do with the stage of your content marketing venture. Understanding where you stand in the content marketing maturity model gives you insights to make more strategic decisions for your marketing efforts. 

  1. Editorial plan

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Having an editorial calendar for your content production system is vital for long term success. 

It helps you to plan based on your resources and monitor workflows to set realistic expectations from the ventures.

Here’s what you should do. 

  1. Prioritize your actions

Prioritization is critical for efficient content planning. By prioritizing you are actually safeguarding your strategy from major setbacks. Also you are creating new opportunities for testing  techniques to  boost results.

  1. Tracing out industry-relevant topics 

Understanding what interests your audience is the first stage of successful content marketing.  You need to keep them hooked throughout the customer journey. If you fail to map which topics can drive your audience, your content quality becomes irrelevant.

Topic research tools can benefit you immensely in this task. It can empower you with ideas for almost everything. Starting from topic clusters, subtopics, to related questions, and headers. Once you are through with topic selection,  you can finalize the most appropriate content format for and embed them in a content calendar.  To make it easier to track upcoming and missed deadlines and content activity an editorial calendar can be immensely beneficial. 

  1. Editorial calendar for management 

Your editorial calendar is almost a content marketing manager. 

It enables you to track progress and  improve communications with team members for the complete content production cycle:   development, distribution and measuring content  success.

What’s more? You can  manage a complete project where you can create a small  subset of tasks distributing it to  particular team members while setting up a deadline for each subset of task. This can be done with unlimited team members. 

A word of caution here is that when you hire freelancers to achieve your content marketing goals, make sure to sign a contract between both the parties. For example, if you plan to hire a freelance commercial photographer, have a proper commercial photography contract template detailing all the clauses in place before hiring him. 

6) Map your content production 

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Mapping your content based on the content funnel is key to successful content production. Customer journey is key to developing a lasting brand-consumer relationship. If your content fails to give your customer a smooth user experience, you are vulnerable to a leaking pipeline. Your content is mapped according to the following stages: 

  •  Awareness – Content pieces are catered around  topics that educates your target audience.  This means these content pieces are more informational. It can range anywhere from  a brand story,  educational pieces  like checklists,  pointers and more. 
  • Consideration – The content pieces here are more catered to providing actionable information about solving a problem. It tries to persuade how they can solve their problem with their product. 
  •  Decision – These content pieces are sales-centric. Designed to persuade potential leads to convince that you are  the best possible solution to their problems. Case studies and client testimonials are classic examples of content at this stage. 
  •  Retention – These content pieces are designed to streamline your product’s user experience. Guides, illustrations, and knowledge base are a few kinds of content that can keep your customers from getting frustrated. 
  • Advocacy – These content pieces highlight the brand attributes that can convert your customers into brand evangelists. Customer featuring, corporate values, corporate social responsibility, or recognising the performance of team members are classic examples of this stage.
  1. Diversify your content

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Having a mix of your content formats is essential to hook every kind of audience. But this can be a challenge if your resources are scanty. Here’s what you can do.  

  1. Develop SEO-friendly content

Organic search powers almost 35% of all website traffic.  This means if you are creating content in the virtual space, it needs to be SEO optimized. 

  1. Repurpose content

A hit content piece can be optimized by utilizing the content in different formats. Here are a few things you can consider: 

  • Reformat an article into different other visual formats like infographics, slideshows, or videos.
  • Reformatting a hit podcast into a blog. You can convert mp3 to text easily. 
  • Make extensive use of microblogging  where your original long-form content or video can be divided into shorter pieces of content series. 
  • Concatenate short content pieces to develop a white paper or  1  long- form content. 
  • Make extensible use  of snippets for social media optimisation.
  1. The power of user-generated content

User-generated content is a huge booster both in terms of content and brand equity. Customer testimonials,  forum comments, candid photos, and videos help add authenticity to your brand. 

7. Map content distribution

While you are creating content, don’t neglect its distribution. High-quality content can end up appearing irrelevant if the distribution channels aren’t mapped right. Having an integrated marketing approach can solve this problem to a great extent. Here’s what you can do right now. 

  1. The future of content is an integrated experience 

It almost takes 7 times for your buyer to interact with your brand before considering purchasing from you. Providing an omnichannel communication experience to your audience is the best way to stay on their minds. 

  • Identify the most relevant online platforms where your audience hangs out. Your product offerings, target demographics can help you determine this. For instance, Pinterest is an excellent channel for distributing visual content. You  can optimize on anything starting from infographics, storyboards, and illustrations.
  • Start by aligning the brand message and goals across each channel to ensure your audience gets a clear picture of your brand and offerings.
  1. Automate social media content 

Automating your content on social media for the most optimal outreach can free up valuable time, ensuring accuracy simultaneously.  

Closing Notes

While the above strategies can streamline your content marketing to a whole new level, the core of content remains unchanged. 

So, while you need to focus on the latest trends and tactics, do not forget to polish your content marketing basics. Great storytelling and value-adding still lie at the heart of content marketing. 

Adam Hansen