There is a funny joke that goes, “Why did the marketer burn his initials into a leather jacket?” The answer is because he was looking for his personal brand. Although that joke may be little corny, if there is one thing that can help you build trust with your existing and potential customers while you position yourself as a thought leader in the industry you belong to, it is content marketing. With content marketing, you can promote your business, establish your brand’s identity, and maximize your return on investment (ROI).
When you consider these benefits, they make content marketing extremely appealing. However, it is usually not that easy. You need a strong and reliable content strategy. Most businesses do not understand that the things they post are actually a part of a bigger discussion about their identity. You can post about almost anything you want but what is more important is that every post you make fit together. Through this strategy, you can truly reach out to your audience and tell them exactly what you wish to convey.
Let us say that you have a travel agency that specializes in vacation packages, reservations to hotels and resorts, and flights to places where people can be close to nature. Your brand’s story is “Traveling for Peace of Mind” and the following are good areas to focus on:
There is one theme that your content focuses on and that relates to the story of your brand. While you can talk about discounts on your vacation packages, it will not help with your content strategy. Your aim should not just be about supplying content for your readers and followers. You should create and publish content that is useful and usable. With a content strategy, you can manage all the content you have.
The short answer is yes. Think of your content strategy as a sketch of the key needs of your customers and your business. You can also view it as a detailed guide on how you can use your content so that you can address those needs.
As you plan out the strategy, you should bear in mind that it should be able to help give your online activities achieve your business goals. At the same time, it should meet the following requirements:
Your strategy should allow people to understand what your business stands for.
It should help you provide content that your customers are interested in.
With your strategy, you can limit the content that your competitors have already provided, which can help you stand out.
Your strategy will also help you create content that is structured based on how users think about a certain subject.
A good strategy helps you create content that will allow you to communicate with your audience in a way that they understand.
You can provide useful, up-to-date, factual, and accessible to everyone who follows your posts.
With all those requirements, it may sound like you need to be an expert in planning out a strategy for your content. The good news is you do not have to be; in fact, you do not even have to have the experience in strategizing your content. There are no definite templates for creating a content strategy. Yours will be unique to your business. However, there are five components that your strategy should include:
Business case: With your business case, you can innovate with content marketing. You communicate your reasons for providing content, the potential risks that may be involved, and finally your vision regarding how success will look like. With these things in mind, you can figure out what actually works best for your business.
Business plan: You can use your business plan for your content marketing efforts as it will cover the goals that you have for your content. It will also cover the unique value that you want to provide your content as well as the specifics of your business model. Using your business plan for creating a content strategy will help you outline the obstacles, along with the opportunities you could encounter in executing your plan.
Personas of an audience and content mapping: As you create your strategy, you should also be able to describe the audience that your content is for. It is also part of your strategy to know what their needs are as well as what their cycle for content engagement might look like. Mapping out content is also quite useful as it helps you move your content closer to your business goals.
Brand story: Do not forget about your brand story as it is where you characterize your content strategy regarding the ideas, opinions, and messages you would like to communicate. Through your brand story, you can decide on how those messages would be different from your competitors. It is also where you show your views on the landscape evolving once you start sharing them with your target audience.
Channel plan: With your channel plan involved in your content strategy, you can use various platforms to tell your brand story. Your strategy should also meet your criteria, objectives, and processes for every platform you use. Finally, you should be able to connect all of them to come up with a cohesive conversation about your brand.
With a good content strategy, you will have enough to learn more about your content goals. You can use that ample time you have to create and manage content that will fit your budget. One thing that you have to know about content strategy is that it requires teamwork. You may have heard about the maxim that says content is king. It is said over and over, but be aware that content alone will not bring your projects to life. Therefore, it has to work closely with other disciplines, including:
Whether you are a small or large team, it is important that there is a holistic view when it comes to creating and implementing content.
As you come up with your content strategy, you should allow room for flexibility. You should not expect it to be effective at first and remember that you are allowed to make mistakes. Based on these learning experiences, you can use them to gather more information regarding your audience, their preferences and requirements, your business and brand, and everything that is in your environment. These things will help you polish your content strategy in the future.
When you create a strategy for your content, make sure it is a strategy that is specific to your circumstances, audience, and of course, your company. A strategy that works for your business can provide you with a framework for answering important questions like “What are you doing?” and “Why are you doing this again?”
At the same time, you want a strategy that is flexible enough as circumstances, audience, and company change. These requirements should not frighten you. If other companies can do it, so can you. Here are some examples of content strategies that have worked and are still working today:
He has almost 60 million subscribers on YouTube, and this famous gamer and comedian earned 15 million last year. His content strategy is not about him winning any awards for producing high-quality videos. In fact, he does not need to do that as it is not his priority and his audience does not care for production quality as well. What he does is provide homemade videos that his subscribers enjoy watching.
His audience is mostly made up of teens and those who love watching funny videos on YouTube. He is adept at providing content that resonates with his target audience. He knows exactly how to create content with high impact without the need to go over the budget unlike with big companies.
An online company designs customizable templates for landing pages that are also mobile friendly. They also provide testing services, so that businesses will be able to improve their reach. There are already plenty of other bigger and more famous companies out there that provide the same services. It is difficult for this company to compete with other giants. However, instead of spending thousands to acquire customers, just like most of their competitors, they developed a content strategy that is based on the idea that a good content team can outperform a sales team made up of more than 50 people.
Based on that idea, the company developed the following strategies for their content:
They started a blog to cover the process of generating leads while discussing all sorts of topics related to their company.
They offered various marketing resources, such as marketing sources, EBooks, case studies, and infographics. These offers are all available to their target audience for free.
They hired a popular podcaster to run their weekly podcast
They also offered weekly webinars that cover different topics involved in online marketing
The idea proved to be right, thanks to the content strategy. The company ended up with high ratios of customer acquisition to lifetime value.
WP Engine is a hosting platform that is focused on WordPress. Web hosting is already a very competitive sector in the world of technology. There are several hundreds of companies that target the same customers, and most of them are not even tech-savvy. WP Engine knew they were facing a huge challenge and it was difficult to overcome given the fact that they exclusively cater to WordPress users. Therefore, they tried some strategies for their content management, and these are the ones that worked:
The content was focused on their product, including its new features. They also provided news related to WordPress and WP Engine.
They also provided content focused on the industry where they talked about how agencies and marketers use the blogging platform to create and develop their online presence.
WP Engine also blogged about how people and businesses use their online presence to encourage growth in sales, leads, and other aspects.
The blog they created also talked about the open source community of WordPress. The technique they used here is to avoid branding the content as much as the others. This way, it would create a sense of being in a people-oriented group.
The company also used videos that are aimed to solve the problems of their customers.
The techniques used above were based on the vision of the CMO of the hosting platform, and it allowed them to drive significant results in no time.
The company is an insurance broker in the United Kingdom. Insurance and similar industries are not really famous for being exciting and admired. There are many cases where people and businesses deal with insurance companies only because they have to. With this fact alone, Simply Business found it difficult to attract potential customers. What they did was to acquire customers through content.
Simply Business caters to entrepreneurs and small business owners, so they focused on content that would be useful for their target audience – even if it was not related to insurance. Their content strategy involved the following:
Immediately, their efforts were recognized, and they soon experienced an increased ranking for the main keywords they used.
Fortunately for you, creating a content strategy is often approachable, easy to start, and affordable. You can kick-start your program with these three easy steps:
Research, research, and more research: Do your homework on your competition, platforms, your audience, and the industry trends. You can use these pieces of information to launch an effective content strategy.
Goal setting: You should have a goals list that is specific, such as your deadlines, time frame and money investment, and your main objective.
Draft: Now that you already know what you want to achieve, you will be able to produce content. You can assign someone who will take over this responsibility and make sure that you leave a wiggle room if you have to adjust your content strategy.
Creating a content strategy is an investment of money, time, and effort. While this is true, having a reliable strategy will help simplify all your marketing efforts while allowing your business to grow and improve.