5 Tips for a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
According to the Oxford Dictionary, content marketing is “a type of marketing that involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.”
Below are five questions that your organization or business should thoughtfully consider in order to design a successful content marketing strategy.
1. What is the purpose of your content? Consumers seek information that helps them determine the best products or services for their needs and wants. Therefore, the content you develop should be the type of go-to resource buyers find in their search for information. Try to develop a variety of content that is:
a. Educational: The purpose of this content is to provide general, non-salesy knowledge about the industry, trends, technology and innovation surrounding the product or service.
b. Statistical: It’s all about numbers with this type of content. The analysis and interpretation of mathematics, formulas and percentages can be used to tell an indisputable story about the product or service.
c. Technical: This type of content may contain information related to measurements, applications, requirements, specifications and intellectual property protections of the product or service.
d. Procedural: Content for this purpose provides instruction and process of application related to the product or service.
e. Informational: This content may be designed as a sales-pitch and allows consumers to research and find answers to their questions about what, when, where, why and how a product or service meets their needs and desires.
2. What are some different types of content? People learn in a variety of ways, so building a library of content in a variety formats insures maximum awareness, impact and retention. Consider your content creation based on four basic, types of learners:
a. Visual: Graphics, pictures and imagery work best for these learners.
b. Auditory: Videos, audio blogs, podcasts and music appeal to members of this audience.
c. Kinesthetic: These learners need to physically experience the product or service since they process knowledge thru touch and movement.
d. Reading/Writing: Blog articles, white papers and online research is the preferred method of learning for these consumers.
3. Who will create the content? Now that the purpose and type of content for your marketing strategy has been determined, you can begin to harness the resources for creation.
a. Internal Resources: A graphic designer, videographer, and copywriter might sound like the perfect team for an established, profitable business. However, as an entrepreneur or young business, you probably don’t have the resources to hire someone else to do the work for you. The good news is that technology has made tools of the trade fairly easy to learn and use. Unsplash.com has a vast library of great photos that are copyright-free, and Canva.com is great for basic graphic design. Most laptops come with basic video editing tools, and of course, you can use Google or Youtube to find tutorials for tips and tricks for content creation and editing.
b. Professional Network. Business partners, employees, vendors, customers and other members of your professional network are a treasure trove of content creators, particularly for the written format, video interviews, podcasts, product demos and/or reviews.
c. Industry Experts/Competitors: Keeping up with what your competitors and industry experts are posting through social media or newsletters is also a valuable source of content. First, it allows you to stay on top of the latest trends and developments, reaffirming that your products and services have proper market position. Second, reposting someone else’s content that is also relevant to your audience’s needs and desires can raise awareness that your company is an expert resource of information.
4. How will you distribute your content? Tools like social media, websites and inbound strategies are all components of a marketing strategy, but none exist or can be successful without quality content. Each of the following channels should be used to distribute content, but the strategy employed will depend on whether your target audience is consumers (B2C) or other businesses (B2B).
a. Social Media: Overall, social media is a brand awareness marketing tool. Facebook, Instagram and PPC (Pay-Per-Click) are primary tools for B2C marketing; LinkedIn and Twitter are typically more prominent with B2B lead generation efforts.
b. Email Campaign: The most common purpose of email drip campaigns is to generate awareness, drive traffic to your website and collect contact information. Blog articles, video interviews, audio blogs, podcasts and event information can be disseminated to an established subscriber database through monthly newsletters and related autoresponder sequences.
c. Demos and Presentations. Personally, I have found presentations and demos to be two of the strongest distribution channels for the products and services I have promoted through the years. In the early days of my sales career, my first manager taught me to give a demo by letting my prospect handle the product while I sat to the side and provided verbal instruction on how to use it. Presentations (lunch and learns, webinars or guest speaking) give you a unique opportunity to harness the attention of a finite number of attendees to disseminate laser-focused content in a manner that is both educational and engaging.
5. How will you track the ROI of your content marketing strategy? All the effort you put into developing and launching a strategic marketing campaign is for naught without reporting and analytics tools to monitor the return on investment. Social media, email campaigns, presentations and surveys can all be set up in a way that assigns a scoring system for engagement of website visitors and campaign subscribers. Synching these tools to a proper CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform will allow you to view, in one lead record, the number of points accumulated. Higher scores indicate more engagement. The more engaged a lead is, the more likely they are to be a customer or a prospective convert.
Developing a successful, content marketing strategy takes time: time to research, time to build, time to develop, time to distribute, time to run analytics and time to design a master schedule to manage it all. A marketing strategy should also be flexible with input and demand from customers, innovation from the industry and technology, as well as evolving business goals. Be patient with your content marketing strategy: It takes time to review, revise, repurpose and repeat for continued, measurable success.