Five tips for effective content marketing strategy
In a marketplace where brands bombard customers with messages across all devices and all channels all the time, the quality of marketing content and how well it’s deployed cannot be neglected. A 2017 Content Marketing Institute report1 revealed that among unsuccessful marketers, 97 percent didn’t have a content marketing strategy. Successful marketers did.
Because content now plays such a fundamental role in a company’s overall marketing success, a cohesive content marketing strategy is essential. Here are some tips for developing a strategy that works.
1. Define and know as much as possible about your target audience
Identifying your target audience isn’t as simple as figuring out who’s likely to buy your product. That’s the starting point, but if you want to create and deliver truly effective content that will grab their attention and lead to conversion, you’ll need to know the specific personas you’re looking to target.
Here’s a simple example. If you’re selling a gaming keyboard with fancy keys that light up and vibrate, your niche audience probably won’t be spending hours on Facebook or Instagram waiting for you to reach out to them. They’ll be gamers who trawl gaming forums and websites, read reviews of gaming equipment, and track the latest trends in gaming hardware. To reach them, you have to be where they are with informative, relevant, and exciting content that will position you as a thought leader in the field.
Understanding your audience well enough to create highly differentiated personas may take a little time and effort, but it’s a must for building an effective content marketing strategy. After all, knowing what your audience wants or needs starts with knowing who they are.
2. Determine what you want them to do once they’ve consumed the content you provide
Beyond just trying to sell your product, ask yourself why you’re putting out such content. What information can you provide that you audience needs or lacks? What do you want your content consumers to take away from it? What do you want them to do with the knowledge they’ve gained?
Think of delivering content as a service to potential customers. Instead of prioritizing sales, prioritize your audience. Offer something they will value and that strengthens the credibility of your brand.
Create content that positions your business as their go-to platform for thought leadership. For example, offer white papers with good-to-know data for their industries, companies, or roles. Give them tips they can apply in their own daily lives.
If your target audience members are frequent fliers, share information on how they can get the best deals, the trendiest tourist spots, and tips from other frequent travelers on how to survive long-haul flights. If you’re targeting working moms, post recipes for quick breakfasts or produce videos of effective ten-minute workouts—anything that can help them save precious time in their day.
3. Tailor your content to your customer’s lifecycle stage
If you are trying to raise brand awareness in a new market, make your content accessible and quick and easy to consume. Instead of a content-heavy white paper, an engaging video would more likely move a new audience from indifference to interest.
On the other hand, if customers are already interested in your product, give them content that will move them closer to points of sale. Infographics might add context and substance to your pitches. Send personalized newsletters with tailored offers, provide pre-sale assessment or comparison tools, or offer interactive demos on your websites.
Content is more than curation; well-timed content marketing communications can help ensure brand visibility and drive customer conversion. For example, using innovative martech solutions, you can deliver seasonal catalogues and promotion codes at precisely the right moment. If you embed an SDK code in a promotion, the user IDs of individuals viewing your product on connected platforms, such as on Pinterest or Instagram, will be accessible to you.
If the user ID matches an existing one in your database, you could send an email to move the individual toward purchase. If there’s no matching user ID, an unknown one will be created. This means you can start to build a profile of customers even before conversion. When they do decide to register or purchase, you already have information about preferences and habits.
A recent survey conducted by Gartner revealed that 8 in 10 customers would be more likely to do business with companies offering personalized experiences, and that in particular, content marketing will be the make or break of successful marketing personalization. Knowing your customer on the individual level is key to ensuring your business stays relevant.
4. Listen and observe to know what content works best and where
According to a survey conducted by LinkedIn2, individuals don’t go on LinkedIn to pass time, as many do on other social media platforms. These connected professionals expect content that is straight to the point, highly informative, and immediately useful such as infographics, research reports, and trend studies.
On the other hand, videos have proven to be the most popular medium on Facebook. Posts with the highest engagement in 2017 were all videos, while images and link posts have been steadily losing popularity3. In particular, heartwarming videos proved to go viral most easily.
To know what works for your particular audience, listen and observe. Track the different engagement rates, reach, and views of the different types of content you create to determine which type has the highest engagement and conversion rate, then create more similar content to ensure that every piece you produce delivers the maximum payoff.
5. Create a feasible, reasonable content schedule that you can meet with confidence
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Before you begin churning out content, create a content calendar. Mark out all the national holidays, seasons, or events that may be relevant to your audience. If you’re reaching out to influencers to guest post for you, take into consideration their timelines as well. Just as it does for an editorial publication, a content calendar will help you post consistently and with relevant content.
Second, set a frequency timeline. Determine how long it takes to create a white paper or to film a video, and then allow reasonable production timeline to meet deadlines. While quantity is important to a strong content marketing strategy, don’t neglect content quality. Set reasonable and achievable deadlines.
Never compromise on the necessary groundwork. Know your audiences deeply so you can target content precisely to their needs and interest. Set clear objectives for what you want them to know, believe, or do once they’ve consumed your content.
Think of content as a service that aligns with your customers’ life cycle stages and pay close attention to know what works best at each stage. And, perhaps most important, set yourself up for success with a plan that aligns with your overall marketing strategy with targets and timeless that are aggressive but achievable.