Whether your business is in digital marketing starter kit mode or you have saturated the web with your brand’s presence already, you’re missing out if you aren’t using a content marketing strategy.
The effectiveness of having a written-out, well developed, thoughtful strategy isn’t just a theory or the experience-based opinion of top marketers. It is a law of the universe.
Research by the Content Marketing Institute has found that B2B marketers who have a documented strategy, as well as an individual to oversee the strategy, are the most effective group of content marketers out there. Of those that have both, 86 percent view themselves as either effective or very effective. That’s where you want to be.
What Is a Well Documented Strategy?
It’s way more than running a few social media accounts and publishing a blog for your brand. Even with excellent, value-driven content, if you don’t have the SEO tactics to drive organic traffic, the landing pages to capture leads, and the email marketing, white papers, and eBooks to lead nurture, and a dynamic offering of webinars, infographics, event marketing and more to convince your customers your brand is an industry thought leader and has genuine, long-term value to offer, then your content lacks dimension.
Also, without a robust system for gathering and analyzing your customer metrics, and using this data to constantly refine your strategy, you’re failing to offer what customers expect today from marketers. Which means you are failing to benefit from the rewards of surpassing those expectations.
Your content may slip through the cracks, going largely unnoticed, while your competitors are appealing to your market with a seamless flow of content at every touch point. You have to be able to string everything together to create something that matters.
Richard Pattinson, CEO of Brafton, explains a major flaw for businesses that may have worthwhile content, but haven’t taken the time to prep or prepare it, “The intention behind content can be good, but the scaffolding is missing, weak or flawed.”
A documented strategy, on the other hand, has a place and purpose for each piece of content. Everything flows into the next. Each case study, vlog or email subject line sets up other aspects of your strategy and holds the entire plan together. This flow also allows your whole strategy to be flexible enough to evolve along the way as you continually work towards creating that brilliantly simple, clear, yet remarkably complex brand environment that is the most effective way to attract your market and build long-term customer relationships at the same time.
A good content marketing strategy has:
- Well-defined KPIs and clear goals.
- Three-dimensional buyer personas that help you craft precisely the content that your market craves.
- A content management system for tracking your customers’ experiences, automating some of your content publication, and for gathering data.
- A balance between creativity and pragmatism that yields an ongoing river of fresh content, with each part connected seamlessly, from the font styles on your website to format used in your webinars.
- An ongoing learning process, with the goal of utilizing multiple content tactics and identifying the ones that work the best for your target audience.
The better your strategy, the more juice you give each piece of content created.
Why You Need a Content Marketing Strategy
1. A better content marketing ROI – as you refine which tactics are the most appealing to high-quality leads and which are the most motivating, you’ll be able to invest in the content that works and either reduce or eliminate what isn’t working.
2. You’ll actually know what your content ROI is – only with a documented strategy are you going to have the metrics to give you an idea of how effective your content marketing is.
3. Repurposed content – with a dynamic strategy, you can plan ahead how you repurpose your in-person events into eBooks and podcasts, your video interviews into blogs posts, and your white papers into infographics.
4. Better customer segmentation – with a content management system, you’ll be able to personalize your content for different segments, the key to boosting your conversion and retention rates.
5. More accurate buyer personas – you’ll also be able to create smarter campaigns with better buyer personas as you use your gathered customer data to continually evolve your ideal buyer personas.
6. Less churn – when you have a better idea of what your customers want because you’re using a strategy, you’ll be able to reduce your churn rates and boost your long-term revenue numbers.
7. Ability to leverage more marketing tactics – with a short and long-term plan, you’ll be able to see ten steps ahead, planning for that mega branding conference in five years and pulling off your brilliant influencer marketing campaign six months from now.
8. Optimized social media channels – when your social media posts are integrated with the rest of your content marketing strategy, your customers grow used to the value that comes out of following and engaging with your social platforms and be more likely to stay engaged. Rather than random posts, they’ll know there will be a consistent flow of value coming out of your Twitter feed and Instagram pages – industry news or tips, special deals, links to informative blog posts, early bird event registration they don’t want to miss.
9. Boosted brand reputation – with your comprehensive brand presence both online and off, you’ll do wonders for your brand reputation as you’ll have a larger social following, contact list, and more activity on your website such as blog comments, online reviews, and forum posts (depending on what channels are relevant for your business).
10. Improve lead generation – when you flow your social media posts and email marketing into your blog posts and to your landing pages and CTAs, you’ll attract more visitors to your website and invite more qualified leads down your sales funnel.
11. A/B testing – you’ll become an A/B expert, using this simple method to uncover the most effective techniques and hacks for your business, not what everyone else on the web is using
12. Higher customer acquisition rates – as you get to know your market better, you’ll be able to turn more leads into customers.
13. Establish your brand as an industry leader – with every quality white paper you publish and webinar you run, you are building up those industry thought leader points.
14. You’ll become a better marketer. The more love you put into your strategy, the more you’ll learn about just how much content marketing is capable of.
See How Far a Strategic Mindset Takes Your Content
Most brands are using content marketing today to engage with customers and drive sales. Most brands aren’t, however, getting the results they want. It all boils down to strategy. 70 percent of marketers don’t have a consistent, integrated strategy.
Even if your strategy is limited to a blog, a modest website, and social media – make each piece work together, and that “small” strategy will do more than a massive pile of unconnected components ever could.