You’ve probably heard the expression “content is king”. Perhaps you’ve heard it so often that it’s starting to grate a little. Yet, there is a good reason this statement, first coined by Bill Gates in 1996, is now bordering on cliché. It’s true.
According to HubSpot, almost 70 per cent of businesses are “actively investing in content marketing” this year. Content has become a key approach for businesses looking to engage with consumers and improve brand awareness. But unless your content is built on a solid, well-considered strategy, the ‘king’ will end up dethroned.
Research suggests 63 per cent of businesses don’t have a documented content marketing strategy. In other words, they’re winging it. Sure, they’re busy. They might event publish content regularly, complete with bells and whistles. But without the support of a targeted strategy, such output takes a lot of time, a lot of effort and delivers minimal results.
A successful, results-driven content marketing strategy is going to look different for every company and every industry, but the key building blocks are the same.
Outline your objectives
Why is content marketing the right approach for you? What specific goals are you hoping to achieve? Consider revenue, sales, traffic and engagement, and make sure targets are specific and measurable.
Define your target audience
Who are you currently talking to? And who do you want to talk to? Whether you want to expand your existing audience or reach a new one, understanding your target audience wants – what their relevant concerns and challenges are and what role they have to play for you – allows you to produce more relevant content. The more relevant the content, the better the engagement. The better the engagement, the better the conversion.
Select content formats and channels
There are countless ways to communicate through content marketing – think video, infographics, blog posts – and plenty of platforms on which to do it. Depending on your targets, not all are created equal. If you’re already publishing content, an audit will help you understand what is and what isn’t working, as well as whether that content is aligned with your newly established goals and objectives. An audit will also help you better understand where your target audience is spending time. Once you have established which formats and channels to use, consider how they will connect to tell a cohesive brand story.
Establish who is in charge of planning, producing and publishing content, as well as managing subsequent audience engagement. This might be the same person or allocated across various teams, depending on the size of your business. Either way, it will be crucial everyone understands their own role and how it plugs into the content workflow.
Once your strategy is in order, use it to create a tactical, time-oriented content plan. This will determine the ‘what, when and where’ of every single piece of content you publish.