When content marketers see results, there are two clear reasons for it. According to Content Marketing Institute, 85 percent of successful content marketers credit their success to better content creation, and 72 percent attribute success to the implementation or revision of a content marketing strategy.
Assuming you’ll work out the efficiency piece with practice and analysis, it’s imperative that you examine your strategy. Among organizations that measure their ROI, 72 percent say their strategy is effective (says a HubSpot report). That’s pretty good, but it still leaves some room for improvement.
Your strategy starts with your unique goals, whether you’re looking for conversions on your e-commerce site or increased foot traffic at your retail store. Your goals are at the heart of the matter, so make sure you know exactly what target you’re aiming for. Each time you change your approach, take notes. If you’re recording what works and what doesn’t, failure becomes an opportunity. If you don’t record a mistake, you’re bound to repeat it.
Let’s say your current strategy isn’t meeting your expectations, or you’re ready to move the ball further down the field. Take a step back to examine the components of your existing strategy. Chances are, there are five things you and your team need to do.
- If new customer segments want in to your brand, try and develop new products for them.
- Experiment with new forms of content.
- Identify and track the metrics that matter.
- Have your CEO speak at conferences or write opinion pieces.
1. Welcome unanticipated customers into your community
Beauty subscription service Birchbox launched its content marketing strategy by appealing to professional women who prioritize wellness. Its content targeted progressive women with inspiring quotes about self-empowerment and interviews with female entrepreneurs.
After receiving overwhelming requests for a men’s product, however, the subscription box service launched BirchboxMan. This channel for men’s grooming has its own social accounts, on which the brand posts educational content: videos about grooming routines and tutorials focused on demystifying men’s grooming. In 2017, online purchases of the men’s brand constituted 35 percent of Birchbox’s business!
Just remember: You’re not the one deciding who your audience is.
2. Remember, a (visually consistent) picture is worth a thousand (complementary) words
You should use different types of content to accomplish different goals, but it’s important to maintain a consistent appearance and voice across all media. Nancy Schwartz, marketing consultant for creative media agency Lion Forge, explains why animated video has an important place in a broader content strategy.
“Animation can create visual consistency so multiple components of a marketing campaign reinforce one another,” Schwartz says. “While an animated video might appear on a company’s website or social media, for example, complementary illustrations could appear in its print materials and presentations.” In addition to style, tone and terminology are also crucial in crafting a consistent voice.
3. Keep the content (and the cookies) coming
As a marketer, you recognize the power of social media, but do you know how to leverage it? Growing a social media following with your audience requires a consistent publishing cadence, and the content shouldn’t just be promotional. For Oreo’s hundredth birthday, the brand’s Daily Twist campaign took breaking news stories and turned them into visual treats
By consistently posting relevant content–100 newsy posts in 100 days–Oreo was rewarded with a 110 percent increase in engagement.
4. Crunch those numbers
Without measurement, your content strategy is no more than an educated guess. It takes careful analysis to determine your next move, so dive into the numbers driving your bottom line. Avoid vanity metrics, like registered users, that give you very little information. Instead, look at your active visitors per week or month. Measuring the average time visitors spend on your site will help you get an idea of how engaged they are, and determining traffic sources will inform your approach to increasing visitors.
5. Show up offline
Especially for online businesses, maintaining an offline presence is largely an afterthought. While the effectiveness of your offline presence can be more difficult to measure than your digital marketing strategy, it remains an important way for you to reach your audience. Speaking engagements or seminars are a great opportunity for you to share your expertise, or you can broaden your audience with a feature in a print publication.
Want to take this strategy further? Have one of your brand’s thought leaders write a book.
There’s one more ingredient that marketing managers occasionally forget: time. It can be frustrating when you don’t see results as fast as you’d like. Remember that even a well-crafted content strategy takes a while to gain traction. Be patient, and focus on the input–it’s only a matter of time before you’ll see results.