A woman illustrating a content strategy on a whiteboard in an office

The definitive guide to crafting and executing a content marketing strategy in 2024

In 2024, the importance of not just formulating a content marketing strategy but also converting it into a tangible plan cannot be overstated. Your content marketing plan serves as the foundation of your online presence, enabling connections with target audiences, cultivating brand awareness, and catalysing conversions. This comprehensive guide will talk you through the crucial stages of crafting an effective content marketing strategy – and then turning that strategy into a successful content marketing plan.


What is a content marketing strategy?

A content marketing strategy is a high-level approach that outlines the overarching goals, target audiences, and key messages a business aims to convey through its content. It involves understanding the business’s overall objectives and how content will support those objectives. Essentially, it sets the direction for content creation and guides the overall content marketing initiatives.


What is a content marketing plan?

By contrast, a content marketing plan is more detailed and operational. It involves the specific tactics, channels, and timelines for implementing the strategy. The plan includes details such as the types of content to be created, the platforms where it will be published, the frequency of publication, and metrics for measuring success. In essence, the plan is a more granular and executable breakdown of the strategy.

In summary, a content marketing strategy is the big-picture vision and approach, while a content marketing plan is the actionable roadmap that outlines the steps to achieve strategic goals.


Why is a content marketing strategy important?

A well-crafted content marketing strategy is crucial for several reasons:

  • Goal alignment: It aligns content efforts with business objectives for increased brand awareness, lead generation, or sales.
  • Audience engagement: It understands target audience needs, creating relevant content for higher engagement and trust-building.
  • Consistency: It ensures a steady content flow in today’s saturated landscape, keeping the audience engaged and maintaining a strong online presence.
  • Measurable results: It facilitates tracking and measuring content performance, enabling data-driven decisions for optimisation and better outcomes.


How to create a content marketing strategy in 2024

Here are six steps to help you devise a robust and effective content marketing strategy for your brand:


1. Understand the current content marketing landscape

From the start, it’s essential to have a good grasp of the ever-changing content marketing landscape, including emerging trends, shifts in consumer behaviour, and rapid technological advancements. To remain well-informed, consider these areas:

  • Emerging technologies: This includes innovations in artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, and other tech-driven avenues that affect how audiences engage with content.
  • Social media algorithms: The algorithms governing social media platforms are dynamic and can significantly affect the visibility of your content. Keep an eye on algorithm updates across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, X, and LinkedIn to align your strategy with current norms.
  • Industry trends: Content marketing is influenced by broader industry trends. Whether it’s the rise of video content, the importance of interactive experiences, or the impact of sustainability, staying informed about overarching trends ensures your strategy remains relevant and forward-thinking.


2. Define your content marketing goals, objectives, and KPIs

To craft an effective content marketing strategy, it is crucial to outline clear goals and objectives and how you will measure them:

  1. Define your objectives: Consider what you aim to achieve with your content, such as increasing website traffic, generating leads, boosting brand awareness, enhancing customer retention, or driving sales. Well-defined objectives act as a roadmap for your content marketing efforts.
  2. Establish your content marketing goals: Every piece of content you produce should have a purpose. Start by creating a content marketing mission statement that includes key elements like your core target audience, the type of content you’ll deliver, and the benefits your audience will derive from it. Ensure that your business goals align with this mission statement.
  3. Establish your KPIs: Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) measure the success of your content marketing strategy. Example KPIs might include:
    1. Revenue growth over specific periods (week, month, quarter, or year)
    2. Organic website traffic generated by your content
    3. Ranking of main keywords
    4. Number of shares across various platforms
    5. Page views and visitor engagement metrics

A good KPI provides objective information about your end goals and helps you to make informed decisions to refine and improve your content marketing approach.


3. Understand your audiences for effective content marketing

In 2024, successful marketing relies heavily on personalisation through data analytics and customer insights. To build up a picture of your target audiences, carry out:

  1. Demographic analysis: Collect data on age, gender, location, education, occupation, income, challenges, and feedback through questionnaires.
  2. Market research: Classify your audience, identify pain points, and understand specific needs. Bear in mind that audiences may vary across markets.
  3. Customer journey mapping: Plot the journey from pre to post-purchase, tailoring content accordingly – again, being mindful that user journeys may vary internationally. You may find Oban’s primer on empathy mapping useful in this context.
  4. Create buyer personas: Craft detailed audience personas crucial for content creation, product development, and sales. Tailor these personas to each market.

When creating buyer personas for each market, questions to ask include:

  • What problems does this group need solving?
  • What are they searching for online (and how might this vary by language)?
  • Key messages for product or service selling?
  • Likely journey to and around your site?
  • Content needs for each buying cycle stage?
  • Key interests?
  • Preferred content types, devices, and timing?
  • Best place for content amplification targeting?

By tying these questions with an understanding of offline trigger events, you effectively target audience groups with your strategy. Use tools like Google Analytics for effective data collection and consult Local In-Market Experts for market-specific insights.


4. Audit your existing content marketing efforts

Brands can often find themselves with a mix of exceptional, average, and not-so-great legacy content. A crucial question to ask yourself is: Do I have a detailed understanding of the performance of my content?

If you’re not sure, then consider a content audit. This process offers valuable insights, including:

  • Evaluation of how your content is performing
  • Identification of areas requiring content updates
  • Assessment of SEO optimisation on your pages
  • Recognition of new SEO opportunities
  • Understanding your audience’s preferences and dislikes

A content audit involves cataloguing all your content pieces, spanning blog posts, guest posts, videos, newsletters, podcasts, and more. Once you gauge the success levels and assess the value of each piece, you can pinpoint and address content gaps effectively, and earmark older or irrelevant content for deletion.

To simplify the content audit process, there are various tools on the market, including (but not limited to):

  • Screaming Frog: A website crawler designed to enhance onsite SEO by extracting data and auditing for common SEO issues. The first 500 URLs can be downloaded for free.
  • Ahrefs: The Site Audit program by Ahrefs crawls through all your web pages, delivering an overall SEO health score along with recommendations.
  • SEMrush: An all-in-one SEO suite that not only performs content audits but also provides insights into keyword research, backlink analysis, and competitor tracking.


5. Choose your content marketing channels

While the temptation exists to be highly visible on every social media platform, a more realistic strategy is to concentrate on those yielding the best results and then expand gradually.

Not every available channel will suit your needs, and the selection depends on your audience’s characteristics, your marketing objectives, and, of course, your resources. Consider the following questions:

  • Which channel yields the highest conversions?
  • What social media channels do my competitors use, and how frequently do they post?
  • Is my focus on text or visuals?
  • Do I have the capacity to engage on multiple channels effectively, across countries and languages?
  • How do I accommodate diverse linguistic and cultural contexts?
  • Are there niche or emerging platforms relevant to my industry?


6. Decide upon content types and tools

The content marketing landscape in 2024 is vast, with a variety of formats to cater to diverse preferences and engagement levels. When developing your content strategy, consider the following content types:

  • Blog posts/articles
  • Long-form content
  • Email marketing
  • Lead magnets (webinars, eBooks, white papers)
  • Video
  • Podcasts
  • Social media posts
  • Blogging improvements (e.g. enhancing or updating evergreen pages)
  • Site architecture restructuring
  • Building content hubs
  • Content curation
  • Infographics
  • Paid content promotion
  • Offline promotion

Each content type serves a specific purpose, offering your audience the information they need at various stages of the buying cycle (Trigger, Awareness, Research, and Choice). Integration across devices and platforms is essential, achieved through relevant calls to action (CTAs) and messaging that unify your audience’s journey.

An infographic explaining the customer buying cycle: awareness, consideration, intent, purchase, repurchase/renewal.

While it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, it’s not necessary to create every content type. Begin by selecting your favourites and starting small. The first step is brainstorming which content formats align with your audience’s preferences and where they are most active.

To streamline your content strategy, explore marketing tools that provide valuable insights and content opportunities. There are many available but to take just three examples:

  • BuzzSumo: This allows you to collect meaningful insights and discover content opportunities by analysing trends and engagement.
  • Answer the Public: A search listening tool which visualises the queries that people have about specific topics, uncovering potential content ideas for your business.
  • Feedly: You can filter trending topics, events, and industry trends to stay informed and aligned with your audience’s interests.


Transforming your content marketing strategy into a content marketing plan in 2024

Once the foundation of your content marketing strategy has been laid, the next step is to turn that into an actionable plan. You can do that by following these eight steps:


1. Carry out targeted keyword research

Conducting targeted keyword research is a priority for SEO. Keywords are far from the sole key to ranking highly, but they do remain an important factor.

Strategic use of keywords, whether competitive or non-competitive, can significantly impact your content’s visibility. Opting for non-competitive keywords may reduce lead quantity but often enhances lead quality. Additionally, incorporating related keywords and exploring variants and synonyms can provide valuable insights into your audience’s queries on Google and other search engines.

To navigate the vast landscape of keywords effectively, consider creating a comprehensive topic spreadsheet that includes essential keyword information. This approach helps to prevent getting lost in the intricate realm of keywords.

Assistance is readily available – Search Engine Journal provides a handy list of free keyword planning tools here.


2. Develop an effective content calendar

Create a content calendar to organise and schedule your content distribution. Consistency is key in maintaining audience engagement. Plan your content around key events, holidays, and industry trends to stay relevant and timely. You might find Oban’s Global Marketing Calendar – a curated round-up of over 140 marketing opportunities in over 60 countries – a useful planning tool.

A well-structured content calendar plays a pivotal role in content planning and execution. It documents where and how content will be published, specifying details such as the social media channels and content types (audio, video, written). Platforms like Asana and CoSchedule offer templates for editorial calendars, providing practical examples for effective implementation.

The content calendar becomes a visual and organised representation of your content marketing strategy. By streamlining your marketing efforts through visible and orderly content planning, you are more likely to stay on track toward achieving your business goals.


3. Start creating content

From the outset, establish a clear understanding of your brand voice and tone. Also research existing, relevant content on the internet to understand the competitive landscape. This not only informs you about what’s out there but also provides insights into the ideal length or word count for your written articles. Aspire to outperform top-ranking blog posts covering the same subject by identifying areas where you can enhance your article.

  • Content ideation: First, get creative by generating content ideas aligned with your goals and relevant to your audience. Consider various formats, such as blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, and more. The key is to create content that is informative, entertaining, and valuable to your audience.
  • Content creation: Then, with your content ideas and a calendar in place, dive into the creation phase. Ensure that your content is well-researched, well-written, and genuinely adds value to your audience. In a saturated content landscape, quality matters significantly.

Remember to embrace a diverse range of content types, recognising that multimedia content is more critical than ever in 2024. Cater to different preferences and consumption habits by incorporating a blend of written, video, and audio content. User-generated content can also play a pivotal role in building trust and authenticity.


4. Don’t overlook the importance of SEO

The significance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) cannot be overstated when crafting an effective content marketing strategy in 2024. Marketers can harness the power of SEO by:

  • Proactively engaging in keyword research, identifying and incorporating relevant terms that align with their target audience’s search behaviour.
  • Ensuring proper on-page optimisation, meta tags, and a user-friendly website structure.
  • Building authoritative backlinks from reputable sources, enhancing credibility in the eyes of search engines.
  • Incorporating internal linking in written content. This involves incorporating hyperlinks within an article that direct readers to other relevant pages on your website. This enhances your website’s visibility on search engines, as well as contributing to a more organised and navigable website.
  • Regularly monitoring and adapting to algorithmic changes, staying abreast of emerging trends. Examples in the recent past include Google’s Helpful Content update and Google’s MUM update.
  • Employing analytics tools for data-driven insights to maintain a robust and adaptive SEO strategy.

By integrating these actions, you can increase your content’s visibility, connect with audiences, and stay ahead in the competitive digital landscape.


5. Select the right Content Management System (CMS)

A content management system (CMS) is the backbone of efficient web page creation, management, personalisation, and optimisation for maximum conversion. It encompasses content creation, publication, and analytics, making the choice of a CMS a crucial decision. To guide your selection process, consider the following:

  1. Ease of use: Opt for a CMS with a user-friendly interface, ensuring a quick and uncomplicated experience for seamless content management.
  2. Design options: Evaluate the available design options, checking for a variety of templates that can be easily customised to align with your preferences and branding.
  3. Extensions: Anticipate future needs by choosing a CMS that supports extensions, providing the flexibility to add extra features when necessary.
  4. Support: While most CMS software is user-friendly, having reliable support can be beneficial. Look for platforms that offer assistance to address any queries or challenges that may arise.

Popular CMS options include WordPress, HubSpot, Drupal, Magento, and Shopify – but there are many on the market, so it’s important to research options carefully.


6. Craft an effective content distribution strategy

Producing exceptional content is just the beginning; the next crucial step is effective distribution. Maximise your content’s reach through various channels:

  1. Social media: Share content on platforms where your target audience is active. Remember that different markets will have different social media preferences and behaviours.
  2. Email marketing: Leverage campaigns for direct delivery to subscribers. Personalisation and targeted messaging are key.
  3. Influencer outreach: Collaborate with industry influencers to extend your content’s reach. Thoughtful and strategic collaboration can amplify impact and contribute to overall marketing success. Note that while influencer outreach is cost-effective, response rates may vary, and negotiation may be necessary for product promotion.
  4. SEO: Optimise content for search engines to enhance visibility and attract organic traffic, implementing best practices for long-term discoverability.
  5. Paid promotion: This includes targeted advertising on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and their international equivalents, as well as pay-per-click ads on search engines such as Google.

For international marketers operating across borders, it’s important to consult Local In-Market Experts to help choose influencers, refine channel selection, and understand audience preferences.


7. Foster community engagement and user participation

Building a thriving community around your content can significantly enhance your content marketing strategy. You can encourage active participation and engagement from your audience through the following:

  • Interactive content: Develop content that invites user interaction, such as polls, quizzes, and surveys. This not only boosts engagement but also provides valuable insights into your audience’s preferences and opinions.
  • User-Generated Content (UGC): Encourage your audience to create and share content related to your brand. UGC adds authenticity, builds trust, and expands your reach as satisfied customers become advocates.
  • Live events and webinars: Host live events, webinars, or Q&A sessions to directly interact with your audience. This real-time engagement fosters a deeper connection and allows you to address queries or concerns promptly.
  • Social media engagement: Actively participate in conversations on social media platforms. Respond to comments, messages, and mentions to show that you value your audience’s input. Consider creating exclusive groups or communities on social media for more focused discussions.
  • Community forums and platforms: If possible, establish dedicated forums or online spaces where your audience can discuss topics related to your industry or niche. This facilitates knowledge-sharing and creates a sense of community among your followers.
  • Recognition and rewards: Acknowledge and reward active community members. This could involve featuring user-generated content on your official channels, offering exclusive discounts, or even showcasing customer success stories.
  • Feedback mechanisms: Implement systems for collecting feedback from your audience. This could be through surveys, comments, or direct messages. Use this feedback to refine your content marketing strategy and show your audience that their opinions matter.


8. Evaluate your content marketing efforts

Measuring the impact of content marketing is crucial for ensuring that marketing efforts align with broader business goals. It allows you to assess whether your content marketing is effectively supporting business objectives, such as brand awareness, lead generation, or customer retention. Elements to consider include:

  • Audience engagement: Metrics like click-through rates, time spent on content, and social media shares help you to understand how well your content resonates with target audiences.
  • Conversion tracking: By analysing the impact of content marketing on conversion rates, you can determine the effectiveness of your content in guiding prospects through the sales funnel. This involves tracking metrics such as conversion rates, lead generation, and sales attributed to specific pieces of content, offering actionable insights to optimise content for conversion.
  • ROI assessment: This involves analysing the costs associated with content creation and distribution against the revenue generated. It allows marketers to allocate resources efficiently, identifying which content types and channels deliver the highest ROI.
  • Global reach and localisation: International marketers need to assess how content resonates with diverse audiences across different cultures and regions. Metrics should include international reach, localisation effectiveness, and the adaptation of content to various markets.
  • Cross-channel analysis: Content is often distributed across multiple channels, including websites, social media, email, and more. Measuring impact across these channels provides a holistic view of content performance. Marketers can identify high-performing channels, optimise distribution strategies, and ensure consistent messaging across diverse platforms.
  • Continuous improvement: Impact measurement serves as a feedback loop for continuous improvement. By regularly assessing the performance of content, you can identify strengths and weaknesses, allowing for data-driven adjustments. This iterative process is crucial for staying agile and ensuring that your strategy remains effective and relevant over time.


Key content marketing trends in 2024

Artificial Intelligence (AI):

In 2024, AI is transforming content marketing by offering unprecedented insights and efficiency. AI-powered tools streamline data analysis, allowing marketers to derive actionable insights into consumer behaviour. The scope for personalisation is much greater as AI algorithms tailor content to individual user profiles, enhancing engagement. Automation frees up time for strategic thinking. Voice search optimisation and chatbots further improve the user experience.


Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality:

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) continue to reshape content marketing. AR enhances user engagement by seamlessly integrating digital elements into the real world. VR transports users to virtual realms, providing storytelling opportunities. Marketers can use these technologies for interactive product demonstrations and captivating narratives.


Voice search optimisation:

The growing prevalence of voice search requires businesses to consider SEO strategies for conversational queries. Users now articulate queries in a natural tone, challenging traditional keyword-centric approaches. Adapting to conversational dynamics becomes a strategic imperative for businesses aiming to maintain visibility and relevance in a voice-centric digital ecosystem. Read Oban’s article on voice search for B2B marketing here.


Niche content marketing:

In an era of content saturation – which AI will intensify – creating niche-specific content is crucial for brands aiming to cut through the noise and establish themselves as authoritative voices. Tailoring content to meet very specific audience demands allows brands to cultivate a connection, enhancing credibility and positioning the business as an expert within a particular industry or community.


User-Generated Content (UGC):

UGC remains a powerful tool for e-commerce in 2024, driving trust and community. Strategies include crowdsourcing content, social media takeovers, and hashtag campaigns. UGC amplifies authenticity, tapping into the power of community-driven marketing where satisfied customers become advocates, driving engagement and credibility.


Strategic topic clusters:

The trend of strategic topic clusters continues to gain momentum in 2024, enhancing brand authority and optimising SEO. Businesses identify key challenges, categorise them into topics, and create interconnected content clusters. This approach allows businesses to cover user needs comprehensively, signalling depth and expertise to search engines, resulting in a stronger online presence and improved search visibility.


Make 2024 the year of content marketing excellence

In conclusion, crafting a content marketing strategy and then translating that into a concrete content marketing plan in 2024 requires a holistic approach that integrates the latest trends, technologies, and audience insights. By understanding the current landscape, setting clear objectives, creating personalised and high-quality content, and leveraging emerging technologies, your content marketing efforts can position your brand for success in the dynamic digital environment of 2024. Regular analysis and adaptation will be key to staying ahead of the curve and maintaining a strong online presence.

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To find out how Oban can accelerate your brand’s international growth in 2024, please get in touch.

Oban International is the digital marketing agency specialising in international expansion.
Our LIME (Local In-Market Expert) Network provides up to date cultural input and insights from over 80 markets around the world, helping clients realise the best marketing opportunities and avoid the costliest mistakes.

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