What is Content Marketing and Why is a Content Strategy Valuable?
Content marketing is the deliberate communication between an organization and its targeted audience to meet specific marketing goals. It is arguably the most genuine and cost-effective way to connect with your most valuable markets, and it can take many forms. Standard forms include blog articles, email newsletters, and social media posts, with more diverse forms continually emerging, like podcasts, digital surveys, online testimonials, infographics and webinars.
In terms of some of the most notable benefits of a content strategy, they include:
- heightened brand awareness
- increased website traffic
- better search visibility
- strengthened trust
Another significant benefit of an effective content strategy is for it to fuel other important types of marketing, like email newsletters, blogs, videos, social media, and even SEO. This is in addition to the actual content making up the core experience and SEO of any organization’s digital cornerstone, its website.
How to Make Your Content Strategy as Effective As Possible
Given the clear benefits, a content strategy is an obvious priority for driven business owners. However, to execute one effectively can be trickier than it may seem, with an abundant amount of examples of content done poorly. Follow these key principles for making sure your strategy for content is as effective as possible.
Be Clear on Who You Are Talking To
Before you know how to market or even what to say, you need to know who you are talking to, and in particular, what their needs are. These need related topics could include worries, wants, habits, and interests.
There are several ways to find out more details about your target market and their needs. Target client profiles are an excellent method, which allow you to drill down to the details of your intended audience. Find out more about target client profiles here.
It also makes sense to consider not just to whom you are talking, but where that person is in the sale’s funnel. Is that person near the top, without much knowledge or information about your organization, or is that person already well aware of your brand?
The better you understand your intended the individuals in your market, and where they are in the sale’s funnel, the more effectively you can craft your messaging.
Keep the Focus on Solutions to the Reader’s Needs
Connecting with a chosen target market is not about promoting a new product/service a couple times over a year in an attempt to get a bump in sales. It isn’t about highlighting an event coming up with no other communication over the year. Poorly executed content campaigns often do more harm than good to their brands, particularly in the eyes of their target audiences.
Content is only as good as it accurately reflects the thoughts and the needs of its intended audience. Your subject matter should not only interest your audience, but ideally add insight into what they are already thinking about. Focused and connected brands will offer highly relevant content that educates and informs the reader (even a little) with each installment. The best content leaves a reader feeling better off having consumed it.
Many brands make the mistake of stuffing their campaigns with content that’s self-focused and boring to the reader; like company news, awards won, etc.
Snooze-fests all around.
Tidbits of information about the organization can be valuable to throw into your content, but shouldn’t ever be the main focus of a campaign meant to drive connection, engagement – or profits.
Whether you attempt to generate content in-house or plan to work with an outside agency, always stay focused on what the target market is thinking, which is, “What’s in it for me?”
Choose Your Channels Wisely
If effort goes into creating content that resonates with your market, effort should also go into optimizing and distributing the content, so it has the highest probability of being seen. An individual channel, like a blog or newsletter, or a combination of several channels are all effective ways to communicate with a target audience.
Consider the channels you and your organization are most comfortable with and where you can find members of your target audience. That could be Instagram, newsletters, website, etc., or, ideally, a combination thereof. Also consider what type of content you are sharing – is it lighter and visual, and could be a good fit for Instagram? Or is that piece of content more button-up and professional, which would work well on Linkedin? This answer sometimes changes from post to post, but overall, we recommend using the right channels to fit your audience and content.
Consistency is Key
The most effective content strategy doesn’t happen overnight. It works best to frame developing a better relationship between your organization and your chosen target audiences over the long term. Use a long-term vision focused on consistency. This method offers a chance to develop a better relationship with your target market and to be more nuanced in what to address, knowing there will be more opportunities coming up.
Consistently creating, curating and distributing content is the key to achieving this. It works against an organization to keep up posting good content for six months, only to drop off the following twelve months after that. This consistency extends to the processes, to the contributions of team members, all the way down to how the organization’s Instagram wall looks over time.
Consider the Upside and Take Action
Having a content strategy clearly has many benefits, but there are a lot of moving parts to manage in order to keep it running successfully. From understanding your target market, to adeptly addressing their needs, to keeping everything consistent and on, it can be a lot.
Regardless, don’t hesitate to take action! If you would like to discuss ideas and strategies to make this work for you, contact us today. We advise brands on all stripes of content creation, sourcing, planning and analysis.