Last week I announced the launch of brand new services on the site, starting with the most important of all, the brand fundamentals. This week, it’s a close second with my other favourite framework: the content strategy.
Ever since my time at Procter & Gamble when I was working with the media team and search agencies alongside our Google/YouTube partners, the content strategy has been at the heart of my approach to digital marketing. It brings together an understanding of your customer and your brand and will guide your content creation and distribution across all your platforms.
Growing your business: Create and distribute content that will engage your customers along the path to purchase and, ultimately, allow you to grow your business
As I said last week, it’s easy to get caught up in running Facebook ads or creating profiles on new and exciting social networks and telling your social media manager (or, in the past at least, your intern) to post like crazy across all those networks. Once you have your brand fundamentals in place, however, the next step has do be defining what content you’re going to create – before you run off creating it willy-nilly (good word!).
I would usually start by talking about why content is so important, but I think we’re past that stage now and we’ve all bought into the ‘content is king’ maxim. Today, it’s more a question of what and how.
And that’s incredibly important, as seen in a few vital statistics*:
- 88% of B2B marketers now use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy, while only 32% have a documented content marketing strategy
- In B2C, 37% of marketers say they have a documented content marketing strategy, up from 27% in the previous year, but of these only 37% say their strategy is effective
- Content marketing budgets continue to increase, with an average of 32% of total marketing budgets now going towards content
So what is a content strategy?
Unfortunately, as with all digital marketing, there’s no standard template you can just download and then, tada, that’s your content strategy done. There are plenty of frameworks available online, though, so if you can sift through them you may find one that suits your needs.
I have my own framework, of course, so that’s what I’ll focus on in this post! Here are the elements, or steps, you’ll need to work through in order to get to an effective content strategy:
First, you’ll want to set clear objectives for what you want your content strategy to achieve. As with any strategy, you need to start with understanding where you’re trying to get to, so that you can make sure that your strategic choices can actually get you there.
Second, assuming you have a clear customer target identified (that’s part of your brand fundamentals), you’ll want to dig deeper now to understand that customer’s specific needs. What questions do they have that you can answer, what problems do they need solving?
To identify the right kind of content that you can then go off and create, you’ll want to find the sweet spot between what your customer is looking for, and what you as a brand want to talk about (after all, you want to reach those business objectives you defined in step one). These content themes can range from the broader, more lifestyle- or brand-focused types of content down to the more specific product-focused content, and will sit at different points along the path to purchase.
Once you have the content themes identified, you’ll want to decide on which type of content will sit on which platform. For example, behind-the-scenes photos from your office or from the product development process would be best suited to go on your Instagram channel, a how-to video could go on your YouTube channel, and a how-to article on the blog on your website.
Pulling all this together, you should now have content areas identified that both address the needs of your customers and take you closer towards your brand’s objectives, as well as establishing a role for each of your chosen platforms in your brand eco-system.
As ever with digital marketing, I also recommend that you think of the capabilities and resources that will be needed to implement this content strategy.
That is, you’ll need someone with graphic design skills to create images, perhaps someone who can create and edit videos, you’ll need a copywriter, and so on. In addition to people, you’ll also need to plan budget both for content creation and distribution and probably also promotion.
Your content strategy is what will bring to life your brand, engage your customers and, ultimately, drive sales of your products or services.
Discover our new services to help you create your content strategy:
· DIY coaching
If you’re an early-stage startup with limited time, money and manpower, then the DIY coaching solution is for you. After all, you’re the expert on your business! You’ll be in the driver’s seat, with an expert there to help you navigate the roads.
· Workshop facilitation
If you have a larger team and want your key stakeholders to be involved in the process so that the content strategy is really anchored in the organisation, then the interactive workshop is the most effective solution. This can also be of value if you’re already an established business but are finding that you’re not getting the results you’re hoping for with your content marketing efforts. We’ll get together and share best practices, spend time on key exercises to draw out important insights, and pull it all together into a strong content strategy that will guide your future content creation and distribution.
· Customised solution
Finally of course there is a fully customised, ‘done-for-you’ solution that we can develop to be tailored specifically to your situation and objectives.