Before moving any step further let’s put the lights on what exactly is Content Marketing? It’s a strategic marketing plan that involves the creation and sharing of text, video, graphics/images etc. The intent of the
plan is to stimulate interest in the product or services of the brand. This
does not directly promote the brand, instead does it through creative content.
Content is certainly one of the most effective tools in this new age. It immensely helps in attracting, nurturing, and converting new leads to your customers. But, with more than 70% of B2B marketers surveyed, said that they are going to create more content this year than they did last year? This definitely makes it more difficult for small businesses and startups to make their presence count in the market.
Content marketing is one of the most important factors for positioning your brand in the minds of consumers. As a content marketer, one needs to understand the brand and consumer context and be able to craft appropriate content based on user receptiveness and channel-appropriateness. You also need to select the best route to customer in terms of tactics, and understand how content marketing fits and contributes to your overall marketing strategy. Ultimately this supports the flow of communication which impacts people sufficiently enough, to make them share your content.
If the Content Marketing strategy is built upon the marketing foundation of persona development and mapping of the customer’s journey, it will definitely help you to attract new customers and align efforts towards satisfying the needs of your business organization and create great content.
difference between Content Strategy & Content Marketing Strategy
Wikipedia says content strategy “is the planning for creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content“, whereas “content marketing is the strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience”. It is done to drive profitable customer action.
A content plan is more granular than a content marketing strategy and refers to the specific tasks one undertakes to execute the strategy. This can take the form of a simple 1-2 page document that can be updated monthly to indicate who is creating, who is approving and the associated deadlines for the delivery of the content. Let’s understand content marketing with a simple diagram:
Substance: Who is your target and why have you chosen them to be your target group?
Structure: How is the placement of your content? What platforms are you choosing for your content? How well is it organized? Do people find your content interesting? How do people find your content?
Workflow: How do you plan to place your content? Do you have the skills, budget, tools and time?
Governance: Rules, guidelines and standards that your brand operates in.
As you can clearly see above that one must consider the bigger picture of content creation rather than just the product which is only the end result. Content marketing looks at staff, tools, processes, and outcomes. The end goal for these processes is engagement, lead generation and eventually conversion. The content must always be created with a strategic outcome in mind which can include discussions, referral, affinity, and ultimately purchase or increased usage of your product or service.
Creating consumer personas
A persona is a profile that a writer develops to embody the aggregated characteristics of the target audience for whom he or she is writing. It helps to personalize the brand. These are based on the profile of the targeted customers. It is all about considering the needs and characteristics of your customers. The persona guides you through segmentation and gives a better understanding of your target market. It is a framework through which you can route any content you create. A basic persona should cover:
Content and channel preferences
Keywords and phrases
Watering holes and social media
Why do you need a Content Marketing Strategy?
A well-documented content marketing strategy helps you drive your strategic plan proactively based on the duration of your content plan – short term or long term. It creates ways for you to communicate with your customers through both digital and traditional channels, raising competitive standards, industry best practices, and the needs of your customer. In simple words, you need content marketing because…
Those who have adopted content marketing, enjoy conversion rates that are nearly six times higher than their competitors.
Pointers to follow while planning a content marketing strategy
The reliable source of traffic and leads from your content gives you the flexibility and option to experiment with several other tactics to generate revenue from sponsored content, social media advertising and distributed content. Also, the content will not only help you to attract leads but also will generate awareness for the brand. All, you need to do is, follow these simple steps:
Identifying the goal
Know your goals well in advance before initiating the planning process and you will glide through a much easier time while deciding what is best for your strategy to work. Identifying basically includes these basic pointers as they can help you to build your own list of goals, which are…
Brand awareness: How many people viewed, downloaded, or listened to this piece of content?
Engagement: How often is the content being shared with others?
Audience building: How is the content helping to convert people into subscribers and valuable leads?
Lead nurturing: Does interaction with the content (assuming a higher dwell time) helped move a lead closer to acquisition?
Sales: Did you make money because of this content shared? What revenue or ROI can you apply to this program?
Customer retention/loyalty: How can the content help retain a customer?
Upsell / cross-sell: Is there a way your content can help or convince someone to invest more in your business?
Conducting a consumer or buyer persona research
You need to define your buyer’s persona very clearly in order to develop a successful content marketing plan. This is important for all those business owners who are new in the business or comparatively hold lesser knowledge in how to do content marketing. An in-depth knowledge of your target audience can help you produce more relevant and valuable content that they would definitely want to read.
For experienced marketers – you may not always want to keep your target audience same because this is turn may reduce your conversion rates. Also, for any new product or service you might want to experiment on the taste of your new target group for your new product or service. Conducting a new buyer persona research at timely intervals is a crucial factor contributing towards the growth of your audience.
The content audit
Now, that you have established your marketing goals, set up your brand personality and have identified who you are trying to reach, the next necessary step is – The Content Audit. The process involves an in-depth audit of all the existing content such as the website, white papers, articles and videos. The content shared on social media sites also needs to be mandatorily considered for the in-depth content audit.
An assessment of the above mentioned material can then be made on how well these random pieces of content can be put to use to match the strategic needs of the brand, its audience, and the exactness of the chosen channel.
While you can either thoroughly immerse yourself in this process or attempt to get a more time-efficient overview, the goal of the audit is to map what is currently on offer against what is exactly needed to achieve the strategic objective. It is important not just to understand what you have and who accesses it, but also how it is currently being organized, through which channels, and how often it is accessed by your audience.
Choosing the correct Content Management System (CMS)
A web content management is the application you use to publish and manage your web content. As you document your content strategy, you may not be in the market for a new content management system. However, there is great value in taking this opportunity to identify what exactly are your content management needs. Start assessing pricing, functionality, and even consider third parties to help you in your search.
You need to choose a system that seamlessly aligns with your content marketing strategy. While choosing the content management system for your business, keep the following points in mind:
Avoid over-buying / over-priced system
Avoid heavy reliance on developer
Assemble light weight technologies
Deploy people who understand the processes and your needs
Opt for scalable CMS
Choose an intuitive UI
Has APIs which supports integrations with other apps and micro services
Matching the appropriate format to your content type
It is very important to choose the correct form of content you want to create. The format is chosen according to your reach and your preferred target audience. Information can be presented through numerous mediums, which in this case can act both as an opportunity or a challenge faced by content marketers. Conventional forms content marketing such as print distribution gives access to magazines, pamphlets and even events whereas on the other hand digital distribution allows space for videos, images, interactive info-graphics, GIFs, live photos, live video, and a number of various other formats.
To keep the customers attached to your content for a prolonged time, sometimes it’s difficult to rely solely on text based forms of content. The role of the content marketer is to select the most appropriate medium which should be based on overall objectives, production capabilities/feasibilities, cost involved to generate and distribute the content and the needs of the audience. Taking these 3 initial but necessary action steps will ease down the problem of matching the content format:
Determining and complete knowledge of your objectives is one of the most essential parts of your marketing planning, and should feed into your content marketing strategy, and ultimately the business plan.
You also need 1st hand knowledge, of the journey your consumers go through as they approach your ultimate sales goal. This piece of information enables you to match content formats according to the needs of your customers.
An animated informative video may be very fruitful for nature of businesses like digital marketing services while a humorous video may be successful in promoting kids products, this practice initially makes your potential customers aware of your brand.
However, once you have captured their attention, more specific information about their exclusive requirement could be more effective in convincing them that you are their best choice in the market.
Creating a content calendar is necessary to maintain a smooth flow of the strategy. It also helps in assisting the content marketer in a precise planning of the content that they will be sharing, across which platforms are they sharing and when. The more advanced planning is used in creating the calendar, smoother is the flow and easier it is to react quickly to tactical opportunities.
A stable and efficient content marketing strategy is one of the biggest tools that any business can utilize to maximize their web presence and generate a substantial amount of traffic. All you need to make sure that your content strategy foundation is well planned. Make your content more resourceful and produce more effective results for your website and from your website. However, consulting the finest people in the market is certainly the best and the safest options for all content marketers as they provide end-to-end solutions and in-depth knowledge to all co related problems. For a detailed approach contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or book an appointment today.
Digital marketing consultant with 15+ years' experience. Primarily focused on consulting companies on their digital presence while helping them grow technology for attribution and advertising. Worked with brands and created product roadmaps, created and managed multivariate testing, performed site optimization to increase organic traffic, improved conversion rate on e-commerce sites, and created monetization plans for the largest business websites in the US.
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