If you’ve been around marketing long enough, you will have heard the term, content marketing strategy, a key pillar to any digital marketing strategy. But just because you know (or may not know) what a content strategy is, it doesn’t mean you’ve implemented one, which means you’re missing out on all the benefits. In this post I breakdown what a basic content strategy looks like and why it is important.
In past posts where we talked about the minimum digital marketing strategy everyone should have in place, we defined a Content Marketing as: Educational or informational content that is relevant to your audience opposed to traditional promotional content about your brand/product
Examples: Blogs or videos that provide information on a topic your target audience would find value in. Take this blog post for example, It is content marketing geared towards businesses who have an interest in using digital marketing better, but first need to understand the basics.
Companies Fall Into Three Stages When It Comes To Content Marketing
Based on my experience from working with companies, I find there tend to be three areas an organization can fall into when it comes to a content marketing strategy:
This tends to be a company or brand that wants to “have a blog” and “do social media”. They are very much in a high-level strategy mindset and want to add bells and whistles to their brand without fully understanding the time and effort required to do content well and then only having limited if any, execution on the strategy.
This tends to be a company or brand that completely undervalues the fact that most consumers, regardless of the industry to customer type (both B2B and B2C) expect to be able to consume digital content from the brand. Examples can include anything from local restaurants to enterprise software businesses. They don’t put time or effort into a content strategy which means they have limited information about them across digital mediums.
This tends to be a company or brand that is actively producing content for some channels and believes there is value in doing so. They might not have a perfect plan in place, but at least they are actively and regularly creating content.
The Reality About Content Strategies
The truth is you will NOT see results overnight. It could take months or years to get noticeable results from your efforts. However, it could pay off in the long run.
Consider this basic example. If a consumer is shopping for a product and finds two companies that offer very similar services, what company will they buy from? If the price, quality, and experience are the same, then there are only a number of ways left that Company A can differentiate itself from Company B. Now let's say that only company A has been regularly creating authentic content about their industry/services and distributing it through their blog, social media, and other channels. When a consumer sees that Company A has all types of good quality content, the chances are they will be more favourable to Company A because of the added trust and credibility that comes from the content the company has produced.
In a competitive market going the extra mile can make all the difference when it comes to being successful. It helps attract new customers and also retains existing ones.
Implementing A Content Marketing Strategy
Hopefully by this point you’re thinking “well I guess there might be some value in content marketing, but how do I do it”.
Define Your Objectives
Before you do anything, you need to first decide what you’re hoping to accomplish by implementing a content marketing strategy. This will vary for every organization, but could be a combination of things like reaching new customers, engaging existing customers, getting more conversions, or positioning your brand as an industry thought leader. Document and define your objectives so there is no ambiguity and everyone knows what you’re working towards.
Pick The Type Of Content You Want To Create
A lot of companies approach creating a content marketing strategy wrong. Instead of deciding on the type of content they are going to create, they decide on the platforms they are going to create content for. This is a huge mistake because it puts you in a limited mindset with preconceived notions of what “will work”. Instead, start by brainstorming content you can produce that relates to your brand and your objectives. Remember the content needs to be authentic and valuable to the intended audience.
Select Your Platforms
If you are a small company it is okay to start with a limited number of platforms. The reality is that you have a limited amount of time and budget. Pick a handful of platforms you’re going to create content for and do it well. This might be a company blog and one or two social media platforms. Try different platforms and see what works best for you.
Any company regardless of size can produce content. If you’re not great at writing, create videos. Chances are you have a camera on your phone and can do some basic editing with free software. Not great at being in front of a camera, try creating graphics that convey information. Regardless of the medium, create relevant content for the platforms you plan on using.
I would not recommend posting the exact same content on every platform. Consumers engage with content differently on each platform and because of this, you need to modify how and what you present from one platform to another. For example, Instagram tends to be more graphic/video-centric based content around lifestyle/aspirational themes whereas LinkedIn tends to be more professional content. The good news is, you can use one piece of content to inspire the others you need to create. Take a blog post for example. Once written you can pretty easily extract quick facts about the subject in a video and post that to LinkedIn. Then you can make a graphic with a quote on Instagram. Again these are just examples of how you can break long-form content down into small pieces for easy and relevant consumptions on various platforms.
Create A Posting Schedule and Stay Consistent
I recently heard someone say that getting results from content is like getting fit. To get fit all you need to do is consistently eat healthy and workout. To see results from a content marketing strategy all you need to do is create content and post it regularly. To help with this I would recommend coming up with a plan. Decide how much you can produce each week (the more the better) and start doing it. Don’t be a Dreamer, be a Do-er!
The trick is to start, but the benefits come over time. Consistent content over time can have a massive impact. If you have questions let us know. Keep being great!