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Whether you are in the midst of launching a startup or are an existing brand busily closing out the books for 2016, it’s a great time to think about your digital marketing strategy. Seth Godin said, “Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.” He’s correct. This means that in order to succeed and grow, you have to have a powerful online marketing strategy. The following 9 step formula will help you to develop that strategy.

  1. Create Your Core Story

At its core, digital marketing is all about storytelling. However, if you don’t know why your brand exists, you cannot tell any other stories. So, ask yourself. Why does your company exist? This should not be confused with what your company does.

Here is an example of what:

Tools For Women creates woodworking tools engineered specifically for women.

Here is an example of why:

Tools For Women wants to help to foster an interest in woodworking in women and girls. We want them to feel as if they are just as capable of creating awesome things with their hands as anybody.

Once you know why your company exists, you have created the baseline of your content strategy. This means that every single piece of content you share should meet at least one criteria. It should support your core story.

Develop Your Buyer Personas

A buyer persona is simply a collection of detailed information about the groups of people who are most likely to buy your products. To create your personas, you will begin with demographic information. How old are they, how educated are they, where do they live, and what kind of jobs do they have? Once you have that information, you can divide your personas up into groups such as:

  • Men over 40 with college educations who own homes
  • Women over 60 who are homemakers with college degrees
  • College students who live on campus or with their parents

How do you find this information? Try some roll your own market research. Look at products that are similar or complementary to yours. Check those companies out on social media. What does their audience look like? Visit product review sites and discussion forums. Who has something to say about these products?

Complete your buyer personas by figuring out where they hang out on the internet, where they get their news, what their hobbies and interests are, and what concerns them. This information is extraordinarily important when it comes to targeting your personas with great content.

Research Social Media Platforms

If you have created detailed buyer personas, you know where your audience spends time. That is an important part of creating your strategy, but you’ll have to spend more time researching social media platforms. This begins with deciding which platforms you are going to avoid.

Keep in mind that you do not have to have a presence everywhere. In fact, if you try to do this, you run the risk of spreading yourself much too thin. You also don’t want to spend time on platforms that are not compatible with your branding.

Set Goals

What do you want to accomplish with your digital marketing strategy over the next 12 months? What about six months, or the first quarter? What are your goals for the first month? Here are some examples of content marketing goals:

  • Increasing landing page conversions by 10 percent
  • Gaining 100 social media followers each month
  • Gaining 250 new email subscribers each month
  • Increasing social content shares by ¼.

Choose Your Tools

Once you have set your goals, you need to have a way to measure your success. A tool like Google Analytics is great for measuring website traffic, video clicks through rates, bounces, and other metrics that help you to gauge how your efforts are working out. Here are some additional tasks that you may be able to perform more effectively if you find a tool that can help:

Do a bit of research. There is an exhaustive number of posts listing great content tools. As long as you are prepared to study your options, you will find all of the tools that you need.

Know What Others Think of You

Self-awareness is key. You absolutely must know how you are coming off to your audience. You can start by paying attention to the comments on your blogs and social media posts. Another easy step to take is to set up a Google Alert for your company name. Then, you will receive notification whenever you are mentioned in a story, whether it is positively or negative. Finally, pay attention to product review sites. You will learn a lot about how your products and brand are perceived.

Create High-Quality Content

Your audience has high expectations. They aren’t going to stick around if you share and create lackluster content. Hold yourself and your staff to high standards. Create engaging content that informs, educates, entertains, and gets people to share.

Expand your content offerings into eBooks, podcasts, videos, and other formats that are perceived by audiences as being more valuable. Then, post that content on a consistent basis to establish trust with your audience and to earn more followers.

Plan Frequent Audits

Make a plan to perform frequent content audits. You want to weed out anything that is outdated, inaccurate, or that contains broken links. Of course, this isn’t just about getting rid of content that no longer serves you. It is also an opportunity to take old content, update it, and present it to a new audience.

Be Prepared to Change Course

New trends, a delayed product launch, an economic up or downswing are just a few examples of events that might force you to abruptly change your digital marketing strategy. Be alert. Pay attention to happenings in your business area along with current events. Then, use that information to pivot your content marketing strategy so that you continue to appeal to your audience.


Start the new year with a great digital marketing strategy. This simple formula is the perfect place to get started.

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