Why is a content marketing strategy so important? Well, as technology continues to evolve at a dizzying pace, interaction between individual customers and businesses is increasing. Gone are the days where you could get by with an ad in the newspaper. The way customers discover, interpret and engage with brands is changing all of the time, and the platforms we use to engage with our customers are more varied than ever – you don’t have to look further than your Twitter feed or Facebook page to see that!
So what is content marketing, exactly? Simply put, it’s a strategic approach to your content. By defining your demographic and creating valuable, relevant content that appeals directly to your customer base, you will be able to move closer to your desired objectives. You won’t be relying on the odd Facebook post or spontaneous blog. An effective content marketing strategy will share your message with a wider audience, creating a buzz around your brand, and ultimately helping to push your customers towards a purchase.
So how do you channel your content creation efforts into an effective content marketing strategy?
1. Determine your goals
It’s important that you take the time to define both short and long-term goals before you start planning your content marketing strategy. Producing random content for the sake of it won’t help you. What do you want to achieve with your strategy? Do you want your content to turn leads into conversions? Do you want to use your content platforms to build brand awareness?
Content marketing needs to be an ongoing investment. Your plan will evolve as your business grows. So remember to take the time to refine your strategy and refocus your efforts when necessary.
2. Define your buyer persona
To build a strong content marketing strategy, knowing your audience is essential. To understand your audience and what motivates or holds them back from making a purchase, you need to map out a buyer persona (or multiple personas, depending on the breadth of your demographic).
You might think you already know your audience inside out. But the key to a strong buyer persona is research. Take the time to speak with various teams across your business, to gain their insight into your audience. How do they interact with your target audience now? What problems do they face when making a sale?
Conduct customer interviews or surveys. Check out competitors’ content. Check out your own content. What’s working or not working for you? You need to understand who your typical buyer is, what problems they face and what questions they ask during the buying process, before you start creating your content.
3. Establish your brand story
Once you’ve mapped out your buyer personas, you need to establish a brand story that you believe a) represents the heart of your business and b) will speak to your intended audience on a personal level. Your story should take inspiration from the people within your business and your overall goals. It should be a simple, clear message about who you are as a brand and where you want to be in the future.
Do you want your customers to trust you? You need your brand story to be an honest representation of why your brand exists and what you are offering in terms of products or services. Take your research into account and develop a story that invites your customer to join in. You want them to buy into your brand and become an advocate for who you are.
4. Brainstorm content ideas
So you know your audience and you know your brand. Now what? You need to start planning content!
First, carefully consider each of your goals. Which content formats do you think will help you to achieve each individual goal? For example, if one of your goals is to build brand awareness, which platforms do you think will be the most effective to reach your intended demographic? Map out a matrix to cover each stage of the buying process, including the relevant content formats for each, before you consider the actual topics you will cover with your content.
Remember: Regardless of format, your brand story should inform the way in which you convey your content to your customers. Consistency is key.
5. Map out an editorial calendar
So you’ve planned what your content will be. Now you need to know when to use it!
An editorial calendar is an effective tool to help you plan your content. Not only does it stop your content creation from becoming too sporadic, it helps you to build a cohesive, clear plan for exactly when and how your content will reach your customers. In addition, you can use the calendar to map out your goals for each piece and whether they have been met afterwards.
If you’re struggling to see results from your content, don’t give up. The process will likely include an element of trial and error. There’s no shame in going back to the drawing board. But if you follow the process carefully, you will have a strong strategy to help you on the path to success.
Need help planning your content marketing strategy? Or just need someone to create the content for you? Read more about our content creation services or call us on +65 6333 4138 now.