*Disclaimer- We promise not to preach the internet wide cliché ‘content is king’ at any point during this article, so enjoy!
The days of sporadically firing out posts on social media, occasionally uploading a blog or maybe, if you’re lucky spending a couple of hundred quid each quarter on online advertising are long gone. Or at least, for brands that want to succeed, it is.
We’re going to explore what exactly a content strategy should look like, as well as let you know why you need one and what extra strands you can include to maximise your marketing.
When an impressive one fifth of internet users time is spent reading, watching and consuming content and additionally a huge 68% of them spend time reading about brands that interest them, content strategy isn’t something to be ignored.
Getting your content in the right place, at the right time, for the right people to see it requires tactics, and that’s exactly what your strategy should include.
You might have already nailed your tone of voice, which will make content creation easier, but portraying what you’re about and how you refer to what you do briefly within your brand guidelines is VERY different to knowing how to communicate with your audience.
A good strategy will set you apart from the competition and news flash, is also such a cost-effective way to create leads. Content Marketing costs on average 62% less than traditional marketing techniques and still generates around 3 times more leads, a no brainer, right?
In short, a content strategy encompasses the development, planning, creation, delivery and management of content. How you choose to lay it out or store that information is entirely up to you. Some simple Googling will give you downloadable templates to start off with, but it won’t take long for you to realise what information yours needs to hold and to build your own template.
‘What is content though?’ I hear you cry. Well, in truth it can be anything from blogs, videos, and social posts to influencer collaborations and ads and that’s just scraping the surface of the mediums on offer. You can choose to feature one or all of those in your strategy as long as you keep in mind the desired result, which is to ensure your customers, or website visitors, know you, like you, and purchase from you.
As you’ll have noticed in the previous paragraph the list of what constitutes the title of ‘content’ is longer than the queue at McDonalds on a Sunday morning, so it’s key that you’re choosy about which channels make sense for your business so that time spent creating it is productive.
Begin by doing a stocktake, or audit, of what already exists, it’s a great starting point to know what works and what doesn’t. Involve teams across your business; salespeople, product development staff and account managers. They all have expertise to offer and know what concerns, queries and interests’ customers may have at different stages of their journey, which is a great way to start building relevant content.
If and when you’re feeling brave it can be really useful to categorise your content strategy by which ‘personas’ of your audience will find each item helpful or entertaining, and at what stage of the marketing funnel will they need that information to ensure they convert.
I appreciate a content strategy may just sound like another fad that is going to take months to create and as long to implement, for potentially no pay off. Trust me though you WILL get pay off which may materialise in the form of more purchases, website visitors, articles shared or videos watched…etc. Don’t believe me? There’s proof! According to the CMI 61% of customers made a purchase after reading recommendations via a blog they trust. So, it might be worth adding influencer marketing to your ever-growing list of content strategy considerations.
You see, creative, relevant and informative content really can lead to great things in business.
Your goal, in business, is to create connections. Whether that’s with other companies, or customers, or suppliers. So, to do that, what better way than to tell people about your expertise and exactly what you’re about, through a well written interview with your managing director, or a video showing your new offices and an explanation of how the move came about? It is an opportunity to take your metaphorical ‘shop window’ to another level.
The content you create can be responsible for so many other design, marketing and tech decisions such as the UX or UI of your website, which quite literally revolves around what content is featured. SEO is another great example which is, again, totally driven by words so ties in perfectly to your strategy. Generate a list of target keywords every few months and work hard to integrate those into whatever materials you’re creating. Within a surprisingly short time, this consistency will be rewarded, and you’ll see a rise in your rankings for sure.
Creating what you want to be putting out into the world also really helps to solidify your unique tone of voice, which in turn can really amp up your brand loyalty. Customers will buy into and identify with you as a brand and moreover as people they trust and want to be associated with. They will come to recognise your language on social media, in comparison say to your direct emails and you seamlessly become a name that is comfortable to them.
You never know, producing some great content could also lead to other opportunities such as being asked to speak at events relevant to your industry, or perhaps writing articles to feature on other influential sites. I strongly recommend considering these invitations as it massively improves your companies’ profile. You’re not only boosting your brand recognition but also positioning yourself and your company in a place of thought leadership, where what you have to say carries weight and authority.
According to the US National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span of a human has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds in 2015. That’s a second less than a goldfish. This is the reason grabbing the attention of your website visitors and keeping it is no mean feat, it requires quality content to stick around for. A great piece of advice I received from a colleague way back when was to remember an individual browsing the web isn’t on the hunt for you per se, they’re looking for a solution in the form of your product or service. Keep this in mind when mapping out what you want to create.
Once you have an idea what you’re going to produce as well as where it will be hosted and promoted, move on to choose what KPI’s you’re going to use to measure the success of that item or campaign. For example, if increased levels of brand awareness are the ultimate goal then you may want to pay attention to views, new followers or share counts.
Consumers are social, and they socialise whilst trying to find the product or service they’re after, so it’s no surprise that social channels for brands are a massively influential tool and should be treated as such, this is known as social consumption to those in the biz.
Visitors to your site care more than ever about your values, being offered a personalised service and receiving reliable user and customer experience. Especially the millennials, they’re a hard to please bunch, so rather than spamming them with infographics listing reasons they need your product, why not list the ways you are being more environmentally friendly across the business?
The bottom line whatever the medium you’re producing is to keep it relevant but be creative at the same time. Look at what your competition is doing. Research national holidays and celebrations. You don’t have to be a pizza restaurant to celebrate National Pizza Day (9th February fyi), am I right?
Stay tuned for tips on your 2020 strategy, coming to the blog soon. Need some help putting your strategy together or coming up with top-class ideas for your target demographic, we can help you out, just get in touch.