No longer just a buzzword that marketers use to pitch to their boss, it has become a marketing must-have that many B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) brands employ to increase leads, heighten brand affinity, and so on. A well thought-out content marketing strategy is needed for you to rise above the noise, resonate with your readers, and prompt them to take action – be it making a purchase or ‘share’. So you may ask, what then are the hallmarks of a winning content marketing strategy?
Grab your pen and paper and let’s get started!
A brilliant content marketing strategy starts with having clear goals. They can be framed as:
A. Sales-related goals, such as leads generation, upsell or cross-sell figures
B. Brand-related goals, for example brand awareness, affinity or associations
Depending on your business needs, you can have a mixture of both.
Having clear goals helps in designing a sound content marketing strategy. If you have set sales-related objectives, readers should find it easy to jump from your content to your sales channels. Likewise if you have set brand-related objectives, your content should embody your brand personalities and values. With well-defined goals in place, measuring the performance of your content marketing strategy would be effortless.
In case you are tempted to jump right into content planning, cool your jets! There is one more essential component: Understanding your target audience.
Who are your TA (target audience)? What are they passionate about? What are their interests, needs, and desires? Where do they get their content and what formats do they respond best to? Which stage of the buyer’s journey are they at? Of course, there are other pointers you can use to guide you in shaping your readers’ personas, and if you need a guide for it, here’s one.
The upshot? By having well-built personas, you are able to produce content that your TA would want to read and take the desired actions.
With your personas nailed down, you are all set for content planning.
Here is an approach I like, which requires you to diligently look back at the goals and personas you have developed.
- What content to produce? Give them what they are looking for. Beauty brands out there, if your customers are on a lookout for beauty tips, give it to them. Just make sure to have a fit between your brand and content.
- Where to publish your content? Simple. Be wherever your readers are.
- How often should you publish? There isn’t any magic formula for this question as different content and formats call for different answers. The most basic thing is to consider your readers’ content consumption behaviors before deciding on a number, then improvise along the way.
- What content formats should you be creating? You have a plethora of format choices to choose from – blogs, eBooks, infographics and many more. But don’t sweat it, you don’t have to use them all. Pick those that you think your content will work best in, is best supported by your distribution channels and whether or not will it get the best responses.
- What is hot? You want to get your content in front of as many eyeballs as possible. Make sure you keep up with the latest digital trends so that you can publish your content in creative formats that will make your readers go “Wow!”.
- Repurpose your content. Look, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every day. When you’re out of ideas you can reuse content from different platforms or formats. Keeping an inventory of your past assets is a good way to start; track what worked and what didn’t. Emulate the success of those that have delivered results and try to avoid or improve on those that did not.
- Content creation. With your content plan ready, decide who will create the content. Some brands choose to curate and create their own content. Others choose to appoint digital agency or key opinion leaders as their workhorses. Either way, your content needs to be authentic, consistent and on-brand.
You have put in effort to create the content and distribute it to your readers. It’s time to measure the performance of your strategy and below are some metrics you could use:
- Have the objectives been met?
- How many people have read your content?
- Did they share your content?
- How many comments or likes did it get?
- What is the click-through rate or conversation rate like?
- Which distribution channels performed the best?
- What resonated most with your readers?
One last thing! A well put-together editorial calendar will help boost your content marketing strategy. Having a bird’s-eye view of your strategy can help you stay organised, plan ahead of time and drive internal teamwork, to name a few.
A long game
You may realise some part of your content marketing strategy may work brilliantly, while others may not. But that’s all part of the process. A kick-ass content marketing strategy is one that requires perpetual tinkering and tuning. If you need any help, get in touch with us. Meanwhile, happy crafting and tweaking!