HOW TO BUILD A SUCCESSFUL CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY
Content marketing without a strategy underpinning it is much like a boat without a rudder—it will never take you where you want to go.
According to a study by the Content Marketing Institute, only 41% of organisations that had used content marketing in the past year had a documented content marketing strategy in place. Which means there are a hefty number of companies just drifting along in a sea of aimless content, making it up as they go along.
To be sure, that doesn’t mean their content isn’t any good—it could be the most compelling writing you have ever read—but without a clear plan outlining what that content is trying to achieve, it is unlikely to deliver results. And no matter what its underlying purpose, content marketing is a results business. So if you want to see results, you have to think about strategy.
Before you sit down to produce your content or even brainstorm what you are going to write, you need to set out what your objectives are. Why are you doing this? What are the underlying business outcomes you are trying to achieve? By having a clear understanding of your goals, you can structure your content accordingly. That matters because content that is designed to increase brand awareness or educate your audience will be very different to content that is trying to persuade potential customers to cough up and buy your product or service. And once you know what it is you are trying to achieve, you have something to measure your content marketing output against. That’s how you know if it is delivering results.
That is part one of the process—but don’t start writing just yet. You’ve figured out why you’re doing this, now you need to know who you are doing it for. Who is your target audience? Perhaps you are seeking to build brand awareness in a particular market segment? Maybe you are launching a new product in a different country? Whatever it is you are writing about, you always need to keep your audience in mind to ensure the content speaks directly to them and that it is aligned with your underlying objectives.
Ok, we’re getting to the fun bit. You know what your goals are, you know who your audience is—now you need to plan the ‘content’ bit of your content marketing strategy. You might have a burning issue you really want to shout about, but pause again for a minute and put yourself in your audience’s shoes. Is it something they will care about? Is it solving any of their problems? Is it going to make them sit up and think, or even change their behaviours? Whatever the topic(s) you decide on, the content has to be relevant, valuable and engaging. And once your audience is engaged, you have a shot at influencing them.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. You also need to decide how you are going to present your content. Is it going to be a series of blogs or guides? Maybe a white paper or two would hit the spot? Or perhaps you want to establish a reputation as the go-to voice in your industry by shaping the agenda with a comprehensive survey-based thought leadership campaign? Again, think about your underlying objectives, and then choose the medium that is most appropriate.
Now you can start writing (or, to make it easier, you could always hire us to do it for you).
Congratulations! Your content has been produced. It has been polished and fine-tuned to perfection, and is now ready to wow your audience. You already know who they are (assuming you followed the planning stage), so how do you get their attention? If they are existing clients, a well-crafted email campaign should do the trick. But if you are trying to get your content in front of new prospects, this is where you need to put in some leg work. For starters, a carefully planned social media strategy is a must (don’t just Tweet and hope for the best). If the content is going on your website, make sure it is SEO-friendly. If the content is newsworthy, securing press coverage will boost your profile and impress potential clients (if you’ve done some survey-based thought leadership, flag your most eye-popping research findings). Paid media is also an option—you could fold this into your social media strategy, or you could explore paid content opportunities at traditional media outlets.
The best content in the world is meaningless if nobody reads it, so don’t scrimp on this final stage. Think about who you are trying to reach, and then plan how you are going to reach them.
Building a successful content marketing campaign means investing in planning and strategy. Speak to Pensar Media today and let us guide you through the process and help you create content that will engage your audience and achieve your marketing and business goals.