You have social media scheduled and a blogging calendar all figured out, but will your content get where you need it to go?
Listen, we know just how important content marketing is for your business. And whether you’re an executive who is just starting out with content marketing or have been using a tried-and-trusted approach for a while, it never hurts to revisit your content strategy plan— to keep it up-to-date, innovative, and strong.
We’ve noticed that marketers often talk about how they have a content strategy. And then they proceed to say they’re set because they have an editorial calendar. But the truth is, your editorial calendar should only be a small portion of what makes up your content strategy.
First and foremost, a strong content strategy requires both a structure and an editorial calendar. In order to maintain success within your marketing efforts, we strongly suggest understanding how the two terms (structure and editorial calendar) differ. After all, the absence of one in your approach may explain why you are experiencing uncertainty in your content marketing efforts.
So how do you navigate the world of content strategy? At 24 Communications are here to break everything down for you.
What Is A Content Strategy?
Your overall content strategy is developed through the process of planning, creating, distributing and measuring content in all its online forms. Ideally, a successful content strategy will result in your business’s marketing goals – such as expanding a customer and/or lead base and seeing more return on investment (ROI) in terms of site traffic.
Why is the planning and creating and all that jazz important? Well, it’s one thing to create content, it’s quite another to create value-added content that serves your business or brand. A well-defined strategy will close the gap between your content marketing goals and your results. Simply put: it will help you get the most from your content.
The very thought of creating a content strategy may seem overwhelming. But think of your content strategy as a working game plan for your content marketing goals, processes, and expectations. It’s really that simple.
Components of Your Content Strategy
Knowing Your Audience (& Yourself!)
Before you can even begin planning your editorial calendar, your content strategy must begin with determining your target audience. Content is meant to be consumed, so it’s vital to know who you are creating it for.
When it comes to defining your target audience, ask yourself these questions:
- What are they interested in?
- What are their “problems”?
- What solutions are they looking for?
- Where do they spend time online?
- How can YOU solve their problems?
Conduct your own research and create a generalized profile (or avatar) for each customer type you are targeting. This will help you foster an idea of who you are looking for and where you will be able to find them.
Of course, you’ll also need to know your business!! This might sound like a give-in, but make sure you can clearly answer these questions as they pertain to your own products and/or services:
- Who are we?
- What do we do?
- Why do we do it?
- How do we solve customer pain points better or differently?
- What are our short- and long-term goals?
Outline Your Voice
More likely than not, your product or service is not the only one of its kind. And there are probably already tons of outlets online that are covering the same topic as you. What’s important to figure out is how you can make your content original, different, and more valuable than that of the competition?
Authenticity works! According to the 2017 Authentic Brands Study by global PR firm Cohen & Wolf, 91 percent of consumers say they are willing to purchase from or endorse a brand that they regard as authentic. So don’t delay—find your voice and let it ring through your content!
Pause, and Make Sure You Know the Answers
Once you have defined your business, your audience, and your voice, make sure you and your entire marketing team are on the same page.
In a recent content marketing research, 37 percent of B2B marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy, with 38 percent indicating they have an undocumented strategy. (I won’t rant about the importance of documenting your strategy, but you should do it… and we’ll talk about that next!).
But not enough of their strategies have a content mission, a deep understanding of their ideal customers (avatars), and goals tied to their content. If you don’t have these things, something is going to feel off. Don’t make excuses if you don’t have a solid content strategy… because in the end, nothing will change if nothing changes.
Bring That Editorial Calendar into Play
Once everything is clearly defined, you can now start working on that editorial calendar. Your content strategy won’t go far if it’s just floating around in the air. Instead of just talking about the plan and approach… Write. It. Down.
Not only will recording your content strategy help you make sense of your content marketing, but it will also be much easier to adjust and refine as needed. It’s pretty straightforward – but something we still feel the need to stress as many skip over this step.
For a content strategy to work, it must have measurable values. Content marketing metrics are loosely divided into four categories:
- How many people are consuming the content?
- How many people are engaging with and sharing the content?
- How many leads is your content helping generate?
- How are sales improving (or not)?
First, you’ll need to define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), so you’ll have a clear map of your content goals. Then, via a range of analytics tools and software, you can track the success of your content and get a deeper understanding of how it’s performing for you. Finally, you can use these metrics to modify your strategy and reach your goals.
You Can’t Always Do It Alone
Although from the outside looking in a content strategy may seem quite simple, there are so many factors and moving parts that require constant attention and adjustment in order to produce the highest possible ROI. A steady and dedicated eye on your content strategy and its metrics is crucial to its long-term success.
Whether or not your business already has a dedicated marketing team, having an extra (and expert) hand never hurt anybody! At 24 Communications, we provide real advertising and marketing solutions that translate brand awareness straight to your bottom line.
Whether you are planning a total reboot of your content strategy, looking to redesign your website, kicking off a new social media strategy, or launching a traditional public relations campaign, we can help generate positive, professional impressions that will ensure your brand is always on and always relevant. Get in touch with us today and we’ll help you kick that content strategy into high gear!