Your 2015 Content Marketing Strategy: 6 Magic QuestionsYes, it’s true that we only have two weeks and some change left in 2014, but — hey, where are you going? Come back — it’ll be OK, I promise!

Believe it or not, you still have time to put together a powerful content marketing strategy that will rock the house in 2015!

Now, a lot of so-called gurus like to complicate the strategy process, but it really boils down to answering 6 key questions:

1. Why?

“WHY are we producing content?”

What is the mission behind every piece of content we create — from the briefest tweet to the most in-depth white paper? Is it to provide practical hands-on advice, or is your goal to give a more high-level perspective? Is your goal to inform and educate, or to entertain and inspire? What do you want your audience to start doing, stop doing, or do differently as a result of consuming your content?

Whatever you do, make sure you complete this step before moving on. If you don’t have a solid mission in place, it’s far too easy to get distracted. Your WHY is the bedrock of your content brand, and now’s the time to set it firmly in place.

2. Who?

“WHO is our target audience?

Go beyond simple demographics (age, gender, income bracket, etc.) and really get into your audience’s values, interests, and challenges. This is a great opportunity to do some brainstorming with the folks on your team who know your audience best, especially your sales and customer service reps.

3. What?

“WHAT topics are we going to cover in our content?”

Once you have the WHY and the WHO in place, the WHAT will usually emerge with very little effort. Brainstorm with your team to come up with as many topics as possible, then keep them handy as you create your editorial calendar (see “When” below).

4. Where?

“WHERE is this content going to live?”

On our blog? In emails? In social media posts? Make sure to do some research and find out where your audiences prefers to consume their content. The very best content does no one any good if it’s in the wrong place!

5. When?

“WHEN will we publish this content?”

This is the editorial calendar portion of your strategy. Consider all levels of timing, from the season of the year down to the time of day. Take a look at your analytics and see if any trends emerge to give you some clues about what timing strategies work best.

6. How?

“HOW will we manage the entire content marketing program?”

Here’s where you roll up your sleeves and designate your internal processes for

  • Content Creation: How will the content be written, produced, edited, and prepared for publication?
  • Content Delivery: How will it be published?
  • Content Interaction: How will you monitor feedback, comments, shares, and social media activity?
  • Content Analytics: How will you access and analyze your numbers … and how will you let them inform further decision making?
  • Content Marketing Strategy: How will you ensure that your strategy continues to guide your day-to-day and month-to-month content-related activities?

Simple? Yes. Easy? Well, I wouldn’t call it difficult, but it does take time, effort, and coordination. Just take it one step at a time and you’ll be just fine.