Do you feel like it's hard to keep up with all the news and information put out into the digital world? Don't feel bad. More content is being created today than ever before. It's a lot to keep up with and consume, even for a social media manager like me.
That's why it's essential for your business to be thoughtful and organized when creating your content strategy to get ahead of your competition. Anything you create — written or visual — needs to have a purpose. For blog posts, social media posts, eBooks, infographics — you name it — having a plan will ensure that your whole team is promoting your product or service, making it that much more successful.
And if you aren't thinking about using content marketing for your business, you should be. It doesn't matter if you're in the healthcare field or the tech industry, consumers don't fall for flashy ads anymore. They want to be provided value. As odd as it may sound, it's not so much about business, but about your consumers. By generating awareness of your brand through great content marketing, your users' success will ultimately unlock your business success.
The WHY of Content Marketing
When you focus on the WHY of content marketing, you will engage your customers and keep your team inspired. We use content marketing to build an audience, increase revenue, lower costs, and better our customers.
Some questions to consider before you start your plan include:
What do you want your content to achieve?
Once you've established the aim of your content, it will be much easier to have a sustainable marketing strategy. Is your goal to increase leads and drive traffic? Evaluating what makes sense for your business and industry is necessary.
Who will be your target audience?
Understanding your demographics is critical, as different groups demand a different level of service. Gender, age range, and location are just a few factors to consider, but buyer personas will delve much deeper into these segments and tell your team about essential traits, motivations, and pain points that will help attract and keep customers.
Content marketing digs into the buyer’s journey. A strategy will help create awareness of your product or service and builds trust with your brand, so the customer knows their needs will be fulfilled. They need to evaluate and determine if your business is the right fit to make that final purchase. A strategy will help put a focus on these steps and create better outcomes for business objectives.
How will your content be unique?
Audiences want to feel they can trust your business and team as industry experts. What expertise does your business leaders have that will be of use to your ideal customers? Your content needs to be valuable, relevant, consistent, and customer focused.
What formats will you focus on and channels will you publish it on?
When you're creating your content strategy, you need to pick content formats that make sense for your business and the right channels to promote it.
Do you envision your company having a blog? That's great. But blogs take time, effort, and teamwork. A blog isn't useful if you aren't pushing out relatable, entertaining content consistently.
Having a consistent flow of content — whether it be social media posts, blogs, or eBooks — is much better than only posting a few pieces a month.
While I'm on the topic, what social platforms will your company promote your content on? Does your marketing team feel the most comfortable on Facebook? That’s great, but if you're a B2B, that platform might not make the most sense to you. Maybe you should be targeting decision makers on LinkedIn or Twitter.
The beauty of working with different platforms and mediums is that they play off of each other. Launching a new webinar series? Use social media to generate a buzz. Hosting a launch event? Promote it on your blog, social, and email marketing campaign.
Having a strategy in place will help you see the big picture and how to fit all these moving pieces into place. You can always change your plan or start using other channels that will produce better results. The beauty of content marketing is that there's a lot of room to experiment with what does and doesn't work.
Without these sorts of questions answered, your message will be hollow.
Content drives everything. The customer’s goal is to find an answer, so it needs to be at the centerpiece of your marketing plan. When content attracts and informs, it will compel customers to take the desired action.
Your plans need to be innovative and robust. Not only will it help with reliable, cost-effective sources of website traffic and new leads, but it will also give you the flexibility to experiment with other marketing tactics to generate revenue such as sponsored content, social media advertising, and distributed material.
Here are some tips to get started:
- Define your goals.
- Create your buyer personas.
- Perform an audit of what's already working in your marketing plan and what needs to change.
- Develop a personality and tone to how your content will sound.
- Set a frequency pattern.
The attention span of audiences today is short lived. Will you incorporate video into your content plan and do you have the capacity? You don't have to do everything at once; you can slowly start adding what makes the most sense with your team's capacity.
Content strategy planning takes work. Having a clearly defined plan will keep you on track. There’s a lot to do, but we promise it will be worth it. And we're always here to help.