Developing Content Strategies That Stick
According to B2B's recently-released Content Benchmarking Report 2015, a great majority of marketers (nearly one hundred percent) believe in the importance of content marketing, yet less than a third of businesses have a formal strategy in place.
More and more individuals and small businesses are bringing their advertising to the 'net, in part thanks to the proliferation of websitebuilders like Wix.com, which make it easy for anyone to launch a website. The influx of millions of websites, however, has also led to a new norm of content over-saturation, often called “content overload.” This means that it's even harder for good content to gain a foothold, especially for brands which release ad hoc pieces of content without a clear strategy.
The Importance of a Content Strategy
In other words, it's never been more important to develop a content strategy. But on the plus side, having a formal strategy can make reporting back to clients worlds easier, and can improve the available reporting strategies on content types within a brand to see more clearly what type of content is most effective.
Define Objectives and Target Audience
To create a content strategy, start by determining the goal of your content. Is it meant to improve brand awareness? Create conversions? Spread specific information? Define objectives clearly and if necessary, create work streams for different objectives where you determine to have multiples.
You must also clearly define your ideal audience. Knowing your target market will help you create content and an approach that appeals to your audience.
What Does Your Audience Want?
Think about the benefits of what you are offering. You and your business provide something your target audience wants. Whether it's fashion advice, tips on lowering bills or stock market projections, your business has an added benefit strength on which you can capitalize. If your content doesn’t quickly and clearly explain the benefits of what you offer, it will be looked over or forgotten. To help determine the greatest benefits of what you sell, try talking to your staff members or polling existing clients.
What Will Set Your Content Apart?
Once you have created a content plan and defined your target market, you want to think of ways to make all of your content unique: a theme, for example. A good tactic is to create innovative and compelling ways to convey useful information, such as infographics, that relate to issues that your ideal clients care about. Another idea is to go the inspirational route and share motivational news and information. Having a theme for all your content will make it easier to generate and set the groundwork for better content creation.
Never Begin Without Metrics
Now that you’ve defined your content objectives, you should set your benchmarks for success.What regular, measurable goals have you set for yourself? Will you simply post content regularly? Do you want to gain a specific number of conversions or actions? Remember that metrics can not be achieved if your content's success can’t be tracked. Never publish a piece of content without ensuring its reach and effects are clearly traceable. Views, interactions, comments, everything should be able to be measured and quantified.
Developing Execution Plans
This is the 'where and when' of your content strategy: if most of your ideal audience is active on Instagram during workweek lunch hours, posting only on Facebook in the evenings will give your content plan a lackluster performance. Once you know where and when your audience is consuming the most content, you know when and where to post. Develop a weekly or monthly plan that can be regularly repeated around the calendar year. Remember to tailor your content for holidays, seasons and sales as well. Those major annual events should figure in prominently in your annual content plan. A full content calendar will make it easy to tweak your content strategy and scale up or down in response to the data you measure.
The Bottom Line
Content overload is here - and it's likely here to stay. But as many case studies show (such as Uber's jaw dropping kitten delivery campaign) content, and content shareability, can give a brand unprecedented power and reach. Without a strategy, a marketer is a commander without a battle plan, likely to suffer severe losses against those who not just develop and utilize one… but do so well.