We have always heard people say, “Rome wasn’t built in a day!” but have you ever wondered how long it took to build Rome? Wouldn’t it have been funny to discover that Rome was built in 2 days? The foundation of every perseverance post would shatter, but that wasn’t the case.
Rome was built in 1,229 years, and as with every good civilization (even though this one eventually collapsed), the foundation had to be strong. If buildings, organizations, and civilizations know the value of a solid foundation, why should your content marketing strategy be any different?
Picture your content marketing strategy as a house of cards; if the foundation isn’t firm, the cards barely get past the first level. You can’t expect to build a successful business with a weak base, no matter how good your product/service is. Therefore, you must understand the foundation of a good content marketing strategy in order to take your brand and startup’s marketing efforts to the next level.
But before we do that, let’s cover some fundamentals about content marketing strategy.
What is a content marketing strategy?
Since content marketing is an approach that uses content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience, a content marketing strategy is an actionable plan for creating and distributing valuable, relevant content that helps a business achieve its marketing goals.
A content marketing strategy should go beyond gimmicks or fads. It should contain detailed and workable means of making a brand more attractive to prospects, customers, and employees. A good content marketing strategy cuts across all stages (ideation, creation, and distribution) to deliver valuable information that helps people make better decisions, ultimately leading to more conversions.
Reasons why you need a content marketing strategy
If you’re not using a content marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to reach and engage your target audience. Here are four reasons why you need a content marketing strategy:
- Developing a content marketing strategy brings better ROI. Instead of randomly churning out content based on whims and intuition, a good content marketing strategy removes the guesswork from your marketing efforts. That way, most of your resources go into creating specific results.
- A good content marketing strategy helps you deliver content that builds trust and credibility with your audience. When you consistently produce high-quality, valuable content, your audience will start to see you as a credible source of information. This is especially important if you’re selling products or services online.
- A content marketing strategy can help you drive traffic and boost conversions. By creating a plan that optimizes your content for search engines and promoting it through social media and other channels, you can drive more targeted or organic traffic to your website or blog.
- A good content marketing strategy puts you ahead of your competitors. The main reason websites like Hubspot, Sproutsocial, etc., are leading in the digital marketing niche is that they have fully developed and executed their content marketing strategies.
The building blocks of a good content marketing strategy
Remember we said that a good content marketing strategy needs to cover all stages of the content marketing process; it needs to also go a step further and be measurable. Otherwise, how can you tell if it’s working or not?
That said, a good content marketing strategy must have the following in its conceptualization.
Awareness: oftentimes, the words “writer” and “strategist” are used interchangeably when “content” is in front of it. While a content marketing strategist can be a writer, a writer is not always a content marketing strategist.
Understanding your approach is one of the foundations for a good content marketing strategy.
Businesses with the mindset of simply pushing out content without a plan will likely not achieve results. For every content posted, you have to be aware of the position you are posting from. A good content marketing strategy is formed before the pen ever hits paper or fingers hit the keyboard.
Brand Identity: this could be classified as awareness as well. Rather than being aware of your skills, you know who you are as a brand and what you aim to achieve. Each person who will speak for the brand needs to be aware of; the brand’s language, voice, tone, audience, and persona.
Understanding the brand identity allows for synchrony across all fields. This way, you don’t have to be worried about having more than one writer develop content for the brand. A brand identity ensures that the content of your brand flows smoothly.
Goals and objectives: a good content marketing strategy begins before the pen hits the paper. It starts as a mental and physical outline of your brand’s goals and key performance indicators (KPI) that measure them.
Determine which of the many marketing objectives fit into your brand identity. Different metrics can be used to gauge the progress of the content based on its type. Once you have determined the goals that essentially make up the four corners on which your brand is built, they can be used as the KPIs of your brand.
Ideal customer: the “Who” your brand caters to is as important as developing your brand identity. Content cannot have a purpose if it doesn’t have a target audience (unless the content’s purpose is to simply exist).
The idea behind marketing is to reach your ideal customer and hopefully get them to interact with your brand beyond content. Before creating content, you should have conducted market research and developed an ideal customer. (i.e., someone who is most likely to be interested in your content and buy the product or service offered). For starters, a b2b content marketing strategy should not be the same with a b2c content marketing strategy even if the core ideas can remain the same.
The details of your ideal customer should focus on demographics (age, gender, location, e.t.c) and behavioral traits (purchasing behavior, values, needs, e.t.c). In staying ahead of the competition, focus on the aspects of your ideal customer that others overlook.
Pain points: once you have the image of the ideal customer and you have addressed customer purchasing behavior, the next step is to ask yourself the hard questions. “Do your products and ideal customer gel?” Pain points are the specific problems that current and intending customers have in the marketplace.
The marketplace is filled with thousands of products that classify as a want and not a need. Is your product going to be one of those? No matter how much your ideal customer is inclined to interact with your content and purchase a product, it will ultimately fall under the category of luxury if it caters to secondary issues.
Picture a “homeless” customer who can’t seem to find a blue house in the marketplace, but she also can’t find a blue raincoat. If she finds both a blue house and a blue raincoat, she will surely pick the blue house as it eliminates her need for a blue raincoat. Of what use is a product that no one needs?
A good content marketing strategy requires robust planning
We have covered five points so far that make up the foundation of a good content marketing strategy. If you noticed, we never once spoke about the type of content itself. Many things go into preparing a good content marketing strategy before you start creating topic ideas.
No matter how information-packed or intense your content seems, if the foundation of your content marketing strategy isn’t sure, the whole thing will surely crumble like a house of cards. Luckily, we have made these mistakes, so you don’t have to. Developing a good content marketing strategy should not be a trial and error process. You can always hit a home run once you step on the pitch.