Staying up-to-date and innovative is a great way to continue engaging your prospects and customers on their path to purchase. To understand what makes a good content strategy, you’ve got to consider a few different variables such as competitors, trends and audiences. Our goal is to share a recipe that will help you create a powerful content strategy aligned with your business needs.
Knowing Where to Start
The first step is understanding what a content strategy is and what it is not. A content strategy is how your business uses content as a primary means to achieve a business goal. It is not a content calendar that shows how and when content is being produced. It can include an SEO focus but is not exclusively an SEO strategy. Most importantly, it isn’t just something that can be quickly thrown together. Almost 70% of marketers actively invest in a solid content strategy. It is an essential part of any business to ensure success and build trust with audiences across multiple channels.
We recommend starting with the buyer’s journey, taking a close look at each stage will help you identify content pieces that are needed to help achieve a specific action – be it awareness, consideration, conversion or loyalty. Don’t forget to always keep your business goals top of mind to help identify what touchpoints are necessary at each stage. This can also help you create a framework to track against and ensure you’re not duplicating efforts.
Running a content audit can also help you determine where you have existing content gaps. Start with blog posts and venture out to see what else needs to be created or repurposed. Taking a look at what is currently resonating and setting out to beat previous performance goals is a good way to test and learn in a way that doesn’t implicate your current efforts.
Another suggestion would be to use a marketing sensitivity analysis to help you determine what content is performing best and how it all ties back to your business goals. You’ll be able to quickly track your opportunities, target audience segments, and determine what content is performing best. This analysis can help you establish some best practices to further reinforce your content strategy and ensure your future content is methodical in nature.
Four Core Elements of Content
The best way to understand how content exists within your website and across your multi-channel marketing platforms is to establish “buckets” or lines. The four core elements of content lines are:
- Information – What is your messaging? How is it perceived and how do you want it to be perceived? Perhaps it’s practical, informative, entertaining, or all three, this really just deals with what the content of your message is.
- Context – How does your content provide context for your product or service? Are you helping your specific target audience achieve something? Ask yourself ‘why’ you’re publishing a specific piece of content on your digital channels.
- Medium – Simply put it’s where the content lives and how that influences your ability to deliver your marketing message.
- Form – Lastly, this is about what your content looks like, is it text, audio, video or an interactive piece? We’ll talk a bit more about the types of content you can leverage in the planning process.
Making sure these elements are ingrained into your content strategy development process can help ensure your team is always aligned and focused on the end goal of improving business outcomes despite what industry you’re working in. Rather than focus on the definition of content, we urge you to understand that information without context is just noise.
Identifying your ‘Who’
Think about who your ideal and current audiences are. Establishing a target audience will ensure that you’re choosing the right type of content and publishing it across the right channels. In addition to knowing your audiences, ensuring you’re aligned with them on their journey is detrimental to ensuring success across your content strategy.
If your goal is to educate, identify some possible problems that your audience may be facing. Always think about their existing challenges and how your product or offering is helping them address their problem. This is a great place to start identifying content topics and clusters. This will help your teams create the right content and ultimately lead to better sales enablement.
Determine What Makes You Unique
It’s important to always keep an eye on what your competitors are doing. Don’t just think about your direct competitors, but also think aspirationally. Create ample opportunity to replicate what works, but to also innovate and create. You’ll always need to prove why you’re the better option and that starts with ensuring that your content is setting you apart from the rest, also up to par with what your audience expects.
For example, if your competitors don’t offer video, that’s an easy opportunity to sell your ideas quickly with a video-focused content strategy. Knowing what makes you unique and how you can position yourself in the space can help you plan for the future and even determine what channels make the most sense for your business.
GNW Consulting offers various services that can help you solidify your technical and strategic marketing brew to identify who you are as a brand. Whether you’re B2B or B2C, you’ve got a flair that sets your business apart from the rest.
Now for the fun part – planning your content formats. This can be an overwhelming process, but once you’ve taken time to understand your business and audiences, you’ll be able to quickly identify what content topics fit best along the buyer journey.
Blogs are among the primary three forms of media used in content strategies with a whopping 89% of marketers leveraging them for their content creation strategy. However, video has quickly become the top format used in 2020. There are a variety of content types to consider leveraging such as:
- Blog Posts – Gated vs Ungated
- White Papers/Case Studies
- Social Media
Each one has its own set of considerations, production obstacles and benefits, but ultimately understanding where it fits in the journey is key. You want to make sure you’re investing time to create content that will yield a benefit to your audience.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider how you will promote this content and across what channels. This will help ensure you’re promoting each content piece to the right audience at the right time and ensure you’re keeping your production and publication schedule afloat.
We also recommend choosing a content management system that you can use to clearly organize the planning, production and publishing of your content in a manner that works for your team. Delegate the responsibilities of content creation, publication and analytics to the appropriate parties within your organization to ensure your content strategy execution is seamless and streamlined throughout the entire process.
Publish and Measure Performance
So now you’ve produced content, but before you set it out into the wild, you’ll want to ensure you’ve established a measurement framework to gauge your content’s success in a qualitative manner. Consider what type of topics are important to your audiences and what emerging trends that are relevant to your industry, then build some goals around how often you’d like to see engagement on those topic clusters or content pieces.
While keeping things in mind like total downloads or leads is important, keep other metrics in mind such as:
- Unique Page Visits
- Return Traffic
- Inbound Links
- Time on Page
- Comments and Interactions
- Video Views
- Video Completion Rates
These metrics will indicate your rate of growth and overall engagement to help ensure you’re not just getting leads, but also creating momentum for customer success across all journey stages from conversion and beyond. Loyalty is a big part of a healthy business, so ensuring you’re not just attracting leads, but also creating useful content for existing customers is of equal importance.
Content marketing strategies help businesses prepare and plan for reliable and cost-effective ways to increase awareness and generate leads. Ensuring you’re not just focused on your paid media strategy, but also considering how organic traffic can be nurtured will help you find success quickly and position your brand favorably.
Brands grow when they are personally inspiring across all end-to-end experiences and a great content strategy is the foundation of it all. See how GNW Consulting can help you create better content marketing strategies by leveraging data-driven insights and guidance to help propel your business toward your goals. Ready to start your project? Reach out to us, we’d love to help you customize your very own content strategy aligned to your individual business needs.