2018 Guide to Building A Content Marketing Strategy

Building A Content Marketing Strategy

Whether you are selling potting soil or baby cribs, consistently publishing quality content to your blog that answers the questions prospective customers are asking about your topic brings highly qualified traffic to your website to convert into customers. Building a content marketing strategy needs to be a priority for every blogger.

Building A Content Marketing Strategy

It’s clear that blogging is an effective way to promote your brand and grow your business. Blogging is how millions of people make a living – by writing and publishing the words that people want to read to attract visitors who want to click on and buy what they are selling.

This is also why competition for blog visitors and ranking content is so fierce. Many industries are over-saturated with blog content. You may have been 1 of 100 blog posts on the side effects of hot yoga on pregnant women six months ago, but today your posts could be 1 or 10,000 as everyone puts out sub-par content to reach new audiences.

Planning – Laying the Groundwork for Your Blog

Building a content marketing strategy doesn’t have to be complicated. The formula for success is simple: You need a goal and a plan to reach that goal. We make it complicated by throwing in variables and risks, but the formula is really that simple.

Today you should decide…

What are your blog goals and goal timeframes? (1000 visitors a month, 100 subscribers in 3 months, $100 income a week, etc)

What daily and weekly activities get you closer to that goal? (2 blog post a week, 1 short ebook a month, 5 social media posts a day, 3 Quora questions answered each week, blog and forum commenting Wed and Fri, etc)

What topics do your ideal customer search for? (A small-dog boutique might find their target audience is looking for information on how to calm their chihuahuas during thunderstorms. Three-ingredient meals might rank high for mommy bloggers. Keto meal plans get more and more popular with CrossFit blog readers.)

Data and research, trial and error, education and experience – they all contribute to developing more effective plans, but they aren’t the key. Building a content marketing strategy and committing to do what it takes to reach your goal is what differentiates successful bloggers from average bloggers.

RESOURCES: Free 2018 Content Marketing Calendar Template Guide with Excel Template and Tips on planning your marketing. Includes Content Marketing Calendar.

An Adaptable Content Marketing Strategy – You Need This

Have you ever wrote the best blog post in the whole world and nobody read it? Content Marketing takes blogging beyond writing great content to getting that content out in front of the right people to market your blog, your website, and your business.

You need to have a written strategy to have a blog that produces results. Random posting, lacking a focused keyword strategy, and sporadic promotion is a recipe for disaster. You’ll put in the work and get zero results. Even if you get someone to visit your blog, they are likely to bounce fast and never return.

Recent data from HubSpot shows that consistent blogging (at 16+ blog posts a month) creates more traffic:

“As expected, we found that the more blog posts companies published per month, the more traffic they saw on their website. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.”

Building a Content Marketing Strategy HubSpotImage Source: HubSpot

In their research, HubSpot noted that small companies with 1 to 10 employees that published 11 or more blog posts per month drove much higher traffic than companies of the same size that published fewer posts: 3 times more than companies that published 0 to1 posts and 2 times more than those publishing 2 to 5 monthly posts.

To consistently publish blog posts and more than your competitors, you need a content marketing strategy in place that documents your topics, keywords, headlines, SEO process, publishing schedule, and promotion activities.

RESOURCE: CoSchedule.com has an awesome Content Marketing Strategy post with 10 detailed steps to create your content marketing strategy. The post includes a free template if you opt-in. Totally worth your email address and you won’t be disappointed with the top-notch posts they send to your inbox.

If it took two hours to write a blog post, you should at least 15 minutes search engine optimizing the heck out of that post before publishing it and at least two hours promoting it after publishing it. Then you create a plan to continue to promote your highest performing content.

When creating and promoting your content keep long-term value in mind while building a content marketing strategy. Start by developing base level evergreen content that will attract the right visitors to your blog for months and even years.

With a strong foundation, your blog consistently brings traffic to your website and gives visitors other posts and web pages to click through that demonstrate your expertise while showcasing your products or services.

Blog Quote - Build a Content Marketing Strategy

Search Engine Optimization – SEO

More than relying on the A.D.D., short attention span of social media algorithms and users, successful bloggers bank on long-term promotion from organic search engine results.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and learning how to consistently rank high in Google or Yahoo search is a more sustainable approach to content promotion.

RESOURCE: HubSpot’s 10 Blog SEO Tips to Search Engine Optimize Your Blog Content

  1. Focus on 1–2 long-tail keywords that match the intent of your ideal reader.
  2. Include these 1–2 keywords in specific parts of your post. (Title Tag, Headers, Body, URL, Meta Description)
  3. Make sure your blog is mobile-friendly.
  4. Optimize the meta description, and use all the space.
  5. Optimize your image alt texts.
  6. Don’t use too many similar topic tags.
  7. Use URL structures that help your visitors.
  8. Link internally when possible.
  9. Use Google’s Search Console.
  10. Use topic clusters.

You won’t see immediate traffic gains like you would with an engaged social media post but those one-day spikes in visitors from social media aren’t as consistent and long-term as having your blog post show at the top of millions of search engine results over months and years.

RESOURCE: Moz.com publishes extensively researched and data-heavy posts on what does and does not work for SEO. Here are the bullet points for a Successful SEO Writing Process from Rand Fishkin, my most trusted source for all things SEO.

Step 1: Assemble all the keywords that a page is targeting

Step 2: You list what the searchers are actually trying to accomplish when they search those queries

Step 3: Create a visual layout

Step 4: Write first and then add the keywords and the crucial, related terms, phrases, top concepts, topics that you want into the page

Step 5: Craft the hook, the hook that will make influential people and publications in this space likely to amplify, likely to link

Blog Promotion – Content Marketing Checklist

Writing great content isn’t enough. Blog promotion is a crucial part of building a content marketing strategy. Aggressive promotion of each blog post for at least three months after publishing ensures your content gets in front of the people who are looking for it. With quality content and a promotion plan, the right kind of traffic will consistently reach your website.

Set time on your calendar each work day for blog promotion activities such as these:

  • Subscribe to RSS feeds of blogs on your topic and look for posts to comment on with valuable feedback
  • Post on social media using hashtags and keywords that are frequently searched
  • Reach out to influencers you quoted or referenced in your blog posts to see if they are interested in sharing your posts with their followers
  • Repurpose your blog post into an infographic, slide presentation, or podcast and post on top sharing sites such as Pinterest and SlideShare.

RESOURCE: Unfunnel.com has a great content marketing checklist to use after you publish your blog posts: 30 Little-Known Ways to Promote A Blog Post in 2018

Building a Content Marketing Strategy in 2018

It all starts with a plan. Once you identify your goals and the search intent of your ideal audience, you’ll be on track to consistently deliver the content future buyers, and subscribers need to engage with your website.

In 2018 your blog needs structure and strategy to outperform competitors and get your piece of the pie. A clearly defined content marketing plan includes a content strategy that details the creation and publishing of useful content and a promotion plan that gets that content ranking on search engines, visible in the right online communities, and popular on the social media networks where your ideal customers hang out.

Need help with your content? Check out our services or just email us at SayMore@SayMoreServices.com and ask a question. We love to hear from our readers!

FREE 2018 Marketing Calendar Template DOWNLOAD H-SHADOWDownload your FREE 2018 Marketing Calendar in excel for your small business planning.

Creating a Marketing Calendar for Your Small Business in 2018

Creating Small Business Marketing Calendar

Creating a Marketing Calendar for Your Small Business

Successful small businesses, freelancers, authors, brands and entrepreneurs plan out marketing activities months if not a year in advance.  Creating a marketing calendar as a visual and scheduled part of your marketing plan lets appropriately allocate your most valuable resources: time, budget, and manpower.

Why is Creating a Marketing Calendar Important?

Creating a marketing calendar gives you a clear advantage in effectively marketing your business.  While your competitors are scrambling to play catch up with holiday marketing and special event marketing you are ahead of the game and reaching customers first by deploying unique marketing planned months in advance.

For your marketing to be effective, you must prioritize activities and combine many marketing strategies. And juggle all of that while…

♦ planning content

♦ managing ads

♦ coordinating staff

♦ monitoring outsourced support

♦ tracking marketing supplies and deliverables

♦ meeting deadlines

This can be especially difficult for small business owners and solopreneurs who have to wear multiple hats and manage all business operations.

2018 Marketing Calendar Template Download Now Banner Blue

How are you keeping track of all of that without creating a Marketing Calendar?


You just cannot keep track of all the moving parts of your marketing plan when it is in a folder on a flash drive or in a file cabinet.  Your marketing plan is the key to growing your business! Creating a marketing calendar puts a clear visual of scheduled, actionable steps in front of you every day.  You’ll know what needs to be done to reach your goals and be prepared to meet your customer’s needs.

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Creating a Marketing CalendarWhat if I don’t have a marketing plan for my small business yet?

If you don’t have a marketing plan in place, then creating a marketing calendar is an EXCELLENT exercise to get you started. You just need a goal and a strategy to give your marketing plan focus.  From there you look at each month and fill in the marketing activities that will help you reach that goal.
Example of how you can build a marketing plan from filling in your marketing calendar…

COMPANY: Flora’s Florals

GOAL: Increase sales by 10% each month

STRATEGY: Get more customers in the store


Jan 2 – Give new logo to printers for Valentine postcard

Jan 6 – Schedule Facebook and Twitter post for next week

Jan 8 – Proof Sunday paper ad for Valentine section

Jan 9 – BLOG POST “How to get Cheaper Valentine Flowers”

Jan 13 – Schedule Facebook and Twitter post for next week

Jan 14 – Put up POS Flyer with Valentine PRE-ORDER specials

Jan 17 – Prepare coupons for Chamber of Commerce luncheon

Jan 18 – Pick up new sidewalk sign

Jan 19 – Review Facebook Ad retargeting for local performance

Jan 20 – Schedule Facebook and Twitter post for next week

Jan 23 – Launch revised Facebook campaign

Jan 27 – Schedule Facebook and Twitter post for next week

Jan 29 – AD IN SUNDAY PAPER for Valentine’s Day

Jan 30 – Put up POS Flyer with Valentine’s specials

WRITE YOUR MARKETING PLAN: Using your planned tasked from above you can start to categorize your marketing activities and build out your marketing plan.

With Flora’s Florals January scheduled activities as an example she can start to build out her marketing plan knowing she will need sections for:

♦ Budget (for everything)

♦ Marketing Collateral (logo design, postcards, flyers, sidewalk sign)

♦ Social Media Planning and Advertising (post schedule, advertising)

♦ Traditional Marketing (direct mail, ad in paper, sidewalk sign, flyers)

♦ Content (blog, social media posts, graphics)

♦ Digital Marketing (Facebook Ads, Ads for blog)

You can build a marketing plan for yourself by creating a marketing calendar by filling in a few months first.  With your marketing calendar in front of you write a simple marketing plan that includes your marketing goals, your strategies to reach those goals, and what is already being done.

Refine and edit the document and your activities by asking yourself these questions:

♦ Do my activities support my strategy?

♦ Where is my highest ROI?

♦ What activities can I add to my marketing plan to get me closer to my goal?

♦ Where is my lowest ROI?

♦ Will a redistribution of resources make a positive change?

Answering these questions will help you generate ideas on how you can improve your marketing.  They will also spotlight activities you should consider getting rid of to allocate those resources to new or better performing activities.

In the end, you’ll have documented what your marketing goals are, your strategies for reaching those goals, and the steps that will get you there.

Having a Marketing Plan + Creating a Marketing Calendar = SUCCESS

Your marketing calendar is not a replacement for having a marketing plan. And a marketing plan that is created and not looked at for a year isn’t going to do much to grow your business.  With strategic planning and a commitment to executing the marketing activities that support your goals, effectively utilizing your marketing plan and your marketing calendar is the fastest path to success.

Download the FREE 2018 Marketing Calendar Template in Excel Here