Content marketing is important. Anyone who has ever decided to open a business is well aware of that. However, the latest statistics reveal that only 30% of B2B businesses believe their content marketing strategy is effective. There is an increasing amount of disappointment.

It isn't because content marketing has suddenly become less effective. Instead, the problem lies at the door of a lack of strategy. Companies were told to involve themselves in content marketing but were never told exactly how to best take advantage of it.

These four essential components will show you how to create a good content strategy.

Make Goals (in the right way)

First of all, your campaign needs direction. This comes in the form of a clear goal that you can measure. Simply saying you want to increase conversions is technically a goal, but it's not a goal that will be of any use to you and your company.

Here are the key aspects that you need in any goal:

An example of a good goal is, "Company A wants to increase conversions by 20% in the next six months via Facebook ads."

That goal is clear because it wants to increase conversions by 20%. It's time-specific because it's measured over six months. It's also measurable because you can track traffic specifically coming from Facebook ads.

Form a Core Message Unified Across All Platforms

Your core message isn't the halfhearted company slogan you may trumpet out during large scale corporate meetings. This core message is what will form the heart of your content marketing strategy.

One of the reasons why so many companies fail to benefit from content marketing is they send mixed messages to their customers. In one piece of content they are saying one thing and in another piece of content they are saying something entirely different.

Your core message should be what unifies every piece of content your company produces, and it's vital that all members of the content team know about it.

Create a Persona

Your message may be unified, but the voices of your content should be entirely different. The boring corporate drone is a thing for yesterday. Customers don't respond to this because they don't feel as if it speaks to them. Instead, you need to create a fluid persona that gives the impression that you are speaking directly to another person in the same room.

You don't have to make it massively casual, but it shouldn't be terribly formal either. Furthermore, it should be immediately clear which member of the team has written what. Even without their names on it, it should be obvious from the tone and style.

A unique persona is what sticks in a person's mind.

Reflecting the Needs of the User

Content is no longer about simply getting a backlink in place. It's about reflecting the needs of the user. Your content must improve a user's day and provide real value.

Nobody knows more about this than Andrew Raso from Online Marketing Gurus. He says, "A good content strategy involves the process of producing evergreen content, which constantly reflects the needs of the user."

To understand what the needs of the user are, you need to conduct research. This research is what will show you what your users are looking for and what they will respond to. There's no generic list you can use for this. It differs for every industry and niche. Only through monitoring the statistics can you properly understand what people are looking for.

Testing is the Key

You will need to conduct testing in order to acquire the best results. This means A/B testing will become a big part of your business. Get into the habit of looking at the results every day and making a decision based on this feedback.

It requires an injection of capital and a willingness to be patient in order to go through a successful testing campaign.

If you can get this right, you'll gradually refine your content marketing strategy until you get the results you want. But it takes time, so don't expect to see anything significant during the first few weeks of your campaign.

How will you start refining your content marketing strategy?