Tips for a Rock-Solid Content Marketing Strategy

by Elliot Sedegah

posted on 08-29-2016

Marketing your business in today’s attention economy requires a different kind of thinking than in the recent past. Today, content has become paramount; and consumers seek engaging, personalized experiences that draw them in. You have to be more strategic than ever before if you want to capture their attention.

Content marketing has been around since long before the digital age. Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute said, “content marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted buyer, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.” Marketers everywhere are focusing on creating higher value content that connects with their audiences in new and interesting ways.

It’s About Connecting With Your Customers.
Many businesses are coming up with tactics to market their content, but few have taken the time to develop and document a content marketing strategy. According to a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute, only 32 percent of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy. Ouch. It’s not much better with B2C brands — only 37 percent have a documented strategy to improve content effectiveness.

All of your content-marketing efforts are about connecting with your customers. But, developing a content strategy takes some thinking and planning. Coming up with a strategy is about taking a step back; defining your goals, audiences, and objectives; and ensuring the rest of your content team is on the same page.

Define the Elements of Your Content Marketing Strategy.
Strategies are the big-picture, ambitious, fundamental plans that will guide your business. You can’t create good content without a great strategy. Here are some ideas to get you started with building your strategy.

1. Identify Your Business Goals.
Understand why you are creating content in the first place and align it to your business goals. Are you trying to build a more loyal customer base? Or, are you looking to change the way your customers think about your brand both before and after making a purchase? Clarifying your goals is important, and those goals need to be reflected in your content. Each piece of content should tell part of the story of your business and its goals. Be clear about what you are trying to convey and understand why you are making the content.

2. Make Your Customers Feel Something.
Your content should give your customers something to care about, something that they are compelled to share. Whose problem are you trying to solve? Carefully considering your target audience(s) is key. What gives them pain today? What excites them? These are areas to investigate early on to ensure you create a style and personality for your content that your customers will love.

3. Know Where Your Customer Is Going.
Developing a content marketing strategy requires you to thoroughly understand your customer, and you can’t do that without mapping the customer journey. Gather every department and map out every way your customers connect with your business — through every touchpoint and every channel. Figure out what your customers’ needs are and see whether you are satisfying them. Find the choke points and the places where your customers are having negative experiences.

4. Use Analytics to Understand Whether Your Content Is Resonating.
To determine whether your content strategy is working, you’ll need hard data to understand what content was consumed, when, and by whom. Be sure to select the appropriate metrics that align with your business goals. Remember the old adage: “What gets tracked gets done.” Ensure that your respective teams have agreed to these key performance indicators (KPIs) and will be in position to respond to improve the overall experience.

5. Devise a Plan to Reuse and Connect Your Content.
Do you have a process in place for taking master content and repurposing it for your channel practitioners who will be integrating it into your marketing emails and building some of it into blog posts and other social-media content? Having a solid plan and workflow for content reuse will ensure that your respective channel teams will stay on brand, on topic, and keep content recreation cost at a minimum.

Create a List of Tactics and Change Them Regularly.
Now, create a list of tactics you want to try in implementing your strategy. There are too many tactics to list them all here, but they include things like testing content on new channels, guest-posting on credible blog sites, creating “snackable” content from larger pieces, or creating alternative formats such as how-to videos, promotions, and more.

While your tactics may give you some exciting results, attract more people to your website, or increase sales, that isn’t the end of the story. What worked today might be quite ineffective tomorrow. Your tactics must be dynamic, adjusting according to insights, data, and feedback you receive from your customers.

Your content strategy should reflect your organization’s core values and long-term goals. While tactics come and go, a rock-solid content marketing strategy can be your foundation for building a deeper relationship with your target audience and improving business results.

Topics: Content Management