A survey conducted in 2018 indicates that about 91% of B2B businesses use content marketing to reach their customer base. It also shows that 86% of B2C businesses consider content marketing as a core part of their marketing campaigns. These statistics prove that business owners around the world understand the power of content marketing and rely heavily on it to generate leads, drive business sales, and improve their brand identity.
However, quite often, most businesses fail to understand the key elements to build an effective content marketing strategy. They end up investing a fortune in content marketing campaigns that are not fine-tuned to the requirements of their brands. This results in bad ROI and causes more damage than gains.
In this article, we will explore some of the key building blocks that constitute a great content marketing strategy. If you are a business owner who plans to create one for your brand or if you are looking to re-align an old one, read on to know how you can craft a Compelling Content Marketing Strategy:
Brand Identity Guidelines
Before you even begin to formulate content marketing strategies, you must define your brand’s identity. Your brand’s identity needs are the foundation that gives your marketing strategy a structure and direction.
If you are working with a team, ensure that everyone has a clear idea about the brand’s personality, tone, voice, and language. To define this, you can start by reading and researching brands that you aspire to follow. These brands do not need to be from your industry domain.
Brand identity can be broken down into 3 pillars:
a) Visual Features – Includes brand colors, logo, and typography
b) Brand Story – Defines the brand purpose through its vision, mission, and story
c) Brand Value – Includes your brand’s value proposition that has something meaningful to offer for your customers
You can develop documentation and educational resources for your employees so that the entire team is on the same page with respect to your brand identity.
Here is an article that explores brand identity strategies that businesses are adopting in 2020.
Target Market and Customer Persona
Another crucial step in designing a content marketing strategy is to define your target customers. Customer personas are basically a set of pointers that define who your customer is. These pointers are usually in the form of demographics.
Here’s a listing of the factors that ought to be studied and documented by building customer personas:
a) Geographic – Includes customer location, preferred hangouts, the population of the region, etc
b) Demographic – Includes customer age, gender, income, education, and family size
c) Psychographic – Includes customer lifestyle, social class, personal values, and preferences
d) Behavioural – Includes customer degree of loyalty, usage, and buyer readiness stage
Considering this set of factors, you can align your content marketing strategy accordingly. Knowing who your target customer is, what they like, and how they live can help you in understanding how you can sell better. Ensure that your customer personas are regularly checked and updated according to changes in the market.
Documentation and Consistent Content Creation
Once you have identified who your target customer is and designed customer personas, it is time to move on to actual content creation.
Two things must inevitably be done while you design your content marketing strategy:
a) Document your strategy and its timeline – Doing this will help you analyze its success rate
b) Produce consistent content – Lack of consistency can ruin even the brightest of ideas
As a business owner, your primary job is to study content strategies of other businesses in your industry, identify trends and patterns, and look for gaps or opportunities that your brand can exploit.
Ask yourself these three questions before you sit down to design your content:
a) What can this content add to the conversation?
b) How can this content loop customers back to our brand or products?
c) What content do customers care about?
With millions of customers having easy access to the internet, and many brands (old and new) writing highly creative content every day, you must ensure that your content marketing strategy is relevant, informative, engaging, and entertaining. It has to provide some value to your target audience.
Data Analysis and Reporting
It is easy to make decisions based on intuition or general belief. However, as a business owner, you should adopt a data-driven approach to make decisions. It is necessary to analyze your content marketing process and study its results.
Tools like Google Analytics can help you review how your audience is reacting to your content marketing strategy. Further, the following metrics need to be tracked closely:
– Number of visits
– Read ratio
– Main source of traffic
– Repetitive and new traffic
– Bounce rate
– Devices used
– On-site behavior
These metrics can help you understand what, if anything, is going wrong and where you can improve or make certain changes in your strategies. Data-driven decisions are the only way to validate your success. You can also check out various resources offered by Google to further understand content marketing strategy trends and its relevant data.
Focus on the Process
Finally, your entire content marketing strategy depends on how efficiently you execute it. A bad execution can lead to wastage of time, money, and efforts.
If you are working with a team, make sure you follow some of these key steps to ensure the best results:
a) Group your content as per their types- Video-based content, blog articles, infographics, how-to guides, social media posts, polls, among others.
b) Design a workflow of how content strategies are to be executed. Define what makes a team, who initiates a strategy, how results are calculated, when resources are switched on, and how feedback is reported.
c) Discuss this workflow with your team and identify possible challenges they might face.
d) Document your workflow and embed it in your work environment. The best processes often start reflecting on how your team works and even thinks. In this manner, if a new strategy is brought to the table, your team’s thought process will be adequately aligned.
e) Test your process. Make sure it is easily tweakable as per the latest updates in the algorithms. It should be able to adapt to new challenges and incorporate feedback.
Create, Execute and Analyse
An effective content marketing strategy first depends on these important pillars. Ignorance in understanding your brand identity, building customer personas, consistency of creation, data analysis, and refining your process can cost your business heavily.
‘Content is king’, is a popular phrase that is being used over the years by most business owners and it is quite true. However, attention to detail and taking the right approach to building content will help your business sky-rocket at a surprisingly fast pace, making content a beautiful kingdom.