The Imperative for a Content Strategy Applies to Every Brand in Any Industry
The best thing about a content marketing strategy is that it plays a role in helping you achieve almost any goal for your brand. For example, if you want to drive more traffic to your website, content can help. If you want to increase sales, content can help. And if you want to increase brand loyalty and rise higher in your industry, content can most certainly help with that.
At this point, just about every brand is producing content. It’s no secret that it can generate results – what tends to be more unclear to brands is how to make those results happen. Simply writing content like blog posts or eBooks isn’t enough – because there needs to be a strategy behind your content. Who is it for? Why should they care? How should it be delivered to them? What is it asking them to do? How does it fit with your brand and within the buyer journey?
Own Your Market in a Way Only Your Brand Can
You know your consumers are looking for solutions to their problems, and you know how your products and services that can make their lives better and easier. A good content strategy marries the two – your customers look, they find you, and they see the solution.
Your content needs to speak directly to the needs of your target audience, even if it’s not directly related to your products or services; for example, a kitchen store posting a salmon recipe. When you can be helpful out of the gate (creating awareness among your customers) your brand will remain top-of-mind to those individuals and bring them further into a buying journey with your brand.
Your brand has something unique to offer, even in a crowded market, and if you can talk about it in the right way to the right people, you’ll be able to authentically own a piece of your market in a way your audience wants to be part of.
“Strategy” Doesn’t Mean “Mass Production”
Not many brands have the bandwidth to support a full-time content production effort, nor is that necessary for driving success through content.
A content strategy means you are producing purposeful content that addresses a target audience, provides them with useful information that helps them solve a problem, and gives them an action to take to continue engaging with your brand.
A content strategy also helps you map out and understand how your content connects to your other marketing strategies so you can use the metrics gained around your content consumption to drive different marketing tactics.
Here are 5 questions you need to answer before you begin writing content.
- Who is my audience? You may have 2, 6, or 10 different audience personas who all have varying goals and objectives, and are interested in what your brand offers for different reasons. Do audience research to identify these personas and their pain points, and develop content that solves those problems or answers those questions.
- What is my audience talking about? Beyond understanding audience pain points is the deeper question of what type of content they’re already looking for. You can determine the conversations happening on a digital and social scale through a research effort that isolates key topics and themes and will help you develop your content strategy – doing so helps you become an industry thought leader as you use your knowledge to provide the information you know people are looking for.
- What is my competition doing? To truly stand out with your content, you have to produce something unique to your brand that separates you from the competition or the same old story everyone else is telling. Leveraging a similar research effort to the one you perform on your audience, track your competitors’ activity and identify opportunities, as well as trends and topics to which you can lend your own unique perspective.
- How will I produce my content? Content generation is a large undertaking for any company, especially smaller businesses that don’t have dedicated personnel for the task. Establish a reasonable frequency for publishing content, which can be as minimal as one blog post per month or as robust as two per week, and get buy-in from the experts at your company who can write knowledgeably about their subject areas. Remember, when your strategy is solid, the quantity matters far less than the quality. And if you’re looking for help with content production, another option is to outsource it; for example, hiring a marketing agency.
- What will I do once my content generates engagement? As part of any content strategy, you need to determine how your content connects to your other marketing strategies. First, consider all avenues of content dissemination; email campaigns, social media, educational resources, videos, and the like. Tracking performance provides insight into the content that’s doing well, allowing you to repurpose it for other uses and tie it into other marketing efforts. You already know it works, so capitalize on that success and continue delighting your audience, no matter what stage of the buyer journey they are in.
A Word About the Buyer Journey
For your content strategy, following the four core stages of the buyer journey is helpful for ensuring your content fits into one of them, and that you have a well-rounded buyer journey with your content.
However, it is important to note that the real buyer journey, especially in our digital world, is long, not linear, and reliant on many different types of content. You can use the following stages to guide where your content belongs, but we recommend taking the entire journey into consideration to ensure you’re addressing all the potential gaps.
- Fascination Stage: Address audience problems through helpful content like blog posts, videos, guides or manuals, webinars, templates, or checklists. This content is intended simply to get their attention to solve their immediate problem and isn’t making a sales pitch.
- Engagement Stage: Begin to educate your audience about how your specific solution can solve their problem with thought leadership, demo videos, testimonials, FAQs, or case studies.
- Information Stage: Provide reassurance that your solution is the right one, which you can achieve through free samples, deals or offers, live demos, or estimates and proposals. This stage is critical for separating your brand from the competition.
- Instruction Stage: Continue delivering helpful content that will give converted leads a reason to continue being a customer, and take the next step to evangelize your brand. You can do this through helpful articles and videos, solution updates, webinars on best practices, event notifications, and email correspondence.
Content marketing is critical to getting eyeballs on your brand and elevating your brand as a trusted source of information within your industry. Whether your company is large or small, comfortable in its customer base or still trying to grow, content plays an important role.
And content marketing isn’t just about getting new customers or racking up “likes” on social media. Existing customers value being able to turn to the brand they prefer for the answers they’re looking for.
What we’re saying is, you can’t go wrong with a content marketing strategy. You know your company the best–start telling the world about it. And if you want help developing a content marketing strategy that will help you meet your business goals, contact us today!