No matter how great your product or service is, you’re not making any money unless you know how to get it across to the right audience at the right time. One of the most bankable marketing strategies for all businesses is Content Marketing.
It is said that content is king, but rather content is a kingdom and the consumer is the king. Content marketing has existed for centuries — the only difference is that earlier, it was on print and paper, and now it has gone digital. The fundamentals of great content remain the same as ever, but the rules have changed, and keep changing, ever so slightly.
To master content marketing and convert your audience at an optimal ROI, you have to start with the basics — What is content strategy? What is the difference between content strategy and content marketing? Why is it important to have a content strategy? Why do brands need a content marketing strategy? How do you develop, implement, track and measure your content marketing strategy? Read on to know the answers to all these burning questions.
What is Content Strategy?
With so much information available on the Internet regarding building the perfect content strategy, we first must understand the basic concept of content strategy. So, let’s begin with discussing “What is content strategy?”
Content strategy is the process of continuous planning, creating, delivering, and managing various online content. Content can be of multiple types and formats- from long-form copy to short-form copy to social media to images to videos to podcasts — there is no end to it, really! A well-drafted content strategy ensures that all branded content is well-structured, aligned with user intent, practical, and easily accessible to users. The main aim of content strategy is to develop brand awareness, drive engagement, convert and retain customers.
Content strategy is all about how you use a particular piece of content to meet your business or project requirements. It also focuses on satisfying your customers’ needs. The content strategy process guides every decision that a content creator takes throughout the life cycle of the content, starting from discovery to adoption. A proper content strategy sets a benchmark to measure the success of the content against the business goals.
The Difference Between Content Marketing and Content Strategy
Often, people get confused between content marketing and content strategy. Both content strategy and content marketing complement each other, but they are very different from each other in certain aspects.
Content marketing can be defined as the process of creating — publishing and distributing the content. It is the content creation part of the content marketing process, where content strategy holds the most significant value. If you think both of these to be a part of a map, then content marketing is the journey towards the brand’s success, and content strategy is the blueprint that decides the entire roadmap.
Content strategy determines the kind of content you will publish online for your business. As stated above, there are various formats of content such as infographics, blogs, ebooks, podcasts, videos, social media posts, and more. Depending on the customer and your audience base, a business needs to decide the type of content it needs to produce online.
To create the best content for your business, content strategists often cross-check their strategy with some significant questions:
- Why are you making this content?
- What is the audience base for the content?
- What type of reaction or action do you want to achieve?
- How will your audience find the content?
- When and where will you publish the content?
- How will you maintain the brand style across various platforms?
Why Is It Important to Have a Content Strategy?
Gone are those days when publishing a blog every few months was the right thing to do for your business. Today, every business tries to upload as much content on every social media platform and website. But before you go overboard with the content overload, and subsequently overwhelm, always remember that the “why” of content is more important than “what.”
With a content strategy, you can improve the results you are already getting by implementing several well-founded SEO, content, and digital marketing techniques. In a way, your content strategy becomes a flywheel that guides your other marketing channels. Continue reading to know the importance of having a content strategy for your business.
Make the content creation process more organized.
Are you suffering from writer’s block? Are you confused about what type of content you should publish on your company’s website and its social media handles? Are you running out of blog ideas? Content creation is a complex process if not done correctly. However, with proper implementation of content strategy, you will easily create valuable and shareable content.
When you understand the “Why” behind creating content for your business, the process becomes a lot easier. Only when you focus on the end goal and create content based on it will you be able to increase brand awareness, generate regular leads and which in turn will help you to earn more revenue.
Increase interdepartmental interaction.
For any business to run smoothly, it is essential to have various teams. People working in the customer service or marketing department interact with the end customer regularly. Content strategy involves inter-team interaction to come up with the best approach. The departments that are in direct contact with the end customers will have better knowledge about customers. With inputs from employees working in departments like the product, sales, service, and customer service, the best content strategy can be developed to ensure that all parts of a buyer’s journey are thoroughly covered.
Track content ops progress.
Ask any content strategist, and they would tell you that there is no content strategy without a measurement strategy. Before any piece of content is created, the strategist must understand the reason behind creating that particular piece of content. It is essential to know the result that the company will achieve with specific content.
In other words, the content strategy helps in measuring both short-term and long-term goals. A strong content strategy comes with an outline of the metrics that you can track and analyze to determine your company’s growth driven by content.
Why Brands Need to Have a Content Marketing Strategy
Marketing, in its primitive and formative ages, was just an assisting tool for driving the sales goals in any given month. Thankfully, we have come a long way from those times. Content marketing, like many other marketing channels, has long-term goals that align with the overall business goals of an organization.
Content marketing focuses on growing your business and reaching the right audience base, as organically and authentically as possible. Here are some of the importance of having a content marketing strategy:
Build brand awareness.
Most people might not even know about your brand’s existence, and it’s time to change that. If content marketing is done correctly, you can increase the quantity and quality of your traffic, which, in turn, can lead to better lead generation.
Improve Search Engine Optimization.
When you open a web browser and type the keyboard or phrase into the search bar, the search engine starts finding the relevant information regarding your search query. When you create useful and shareable content, the search engine can understand it and treat it differently from the sales content available online. Search engines like Google can recognize your content and how it can help people looking for a specific answer to their question. If content marketing is done correctly, your article will rank higher on the search engines, and it will also increase the traffic to your website.
Gain the trust of customers.
Customers are known to behaviorally lean on hiring people and services or buying products that display expertise in their field and have a reliability factor. The more content you create regarding the product and services that you offer to your customers, the more awareness and trust your customers start to gain in your brand and the products. For instance, if you are a dietitian and use your social media platforms to spread the knowledge about the importance of nutrition, you are more likely to get patience than dietitians who rely on only paid marketing channels, without any content to show their knowledge.
Increase lead generation and conversion.
Lead generation is linked with creating brand awareness and trust. Lead generation and conversion — or in simpler terms, building revenue, is the sole objective for any business to engage in any marketing activities. The main goal of content marketing is to ensure that the business keeps getting new leads that convert into customers who buy the products and the services that the company sells. Content marketing assures that strangers on the Internet can find about your business through the useful and informative content shared online.
How to Develop and Implement a Content Marketing Strategy
It is prevalent for a company to feel that their content marketing efforts are successful when they create a strategy. However, without a strategy, success or failure truly depends on your luck. Therefore, if you do not create a strategy, you might only be wasting your efforts.
Using proper content marketing strategies, we have successfully grown many businesses. This guide will walk you through the simple steps that you need to consider before developing and executing a content marketing strategy for your business that will help you save money and time.
- Define your goal
- Conduct persona research
- Conduct competitor research
- Conduct keyword research
- Brainstorm content ideas
- Run a content audit
- Determine which types of content you want to create
- Use an editorial calendar to organize your work
- Prioritize your content
- Publish and manage your content
- Make sure to emphasize content distribution
- Identify the most relevant channels
- Take advantage of user-generated content
- Create an integrated omnichannel experience
- Repurpose your content when needed
Let us see a few brands that stood out in the Content Marketing strategy:
- Apple: When Apple first launched its iPod in 2001, the pitch was “1000 songs in your pocket”. Even today Apple uses a similar message for its Apple Watch — “40 billion songs on your wrist”. Not only does the messaging maintain the brand voice, it also presents a great example of content repurposing at work.
- Coca-cola: The well-known global brand that rules the beverage industry today is because of the simple marketing strategies that it adopted decades ago. Coca-cola was consistent throughout with its red and white brand logo that makes people recognize the brand immediately with feeling good and refreshed.
- Colgate: A normal toothpaste tube yet this brand dominates the oral care industry in the entire world as the marketing strategy adopted by Colgate built trust among the buyers. Colgate had an innovative approach in their strategy as they chose to educate their customers on oral health and hygiene instead of just selling their products. While many oral hygiene brands followed suit, later on, the first impressions and early adoption by Colgate made it a clear winner in the segment.
How Often Should Content Strategy Be Revised?
Content strategy and content marketing are dynamic game plans, and accordingly, both need constant tracking and optimization. Depending on the KPIs like traffic, engagement, conversion, and more, you can find gaps in your content plan. With regular audit cycles, you can tweak and optimize your content for better performance. However, this constant optimization doesn’t always translate into the revision of the entire content strategy.
Ideally, once you set up your content strategy with the proper methodologies outlined above, you need to revisit the plan -
- every month for tracking progress,
- every three months to identify the most and the least converting content types and channels,
- every six months for course corrections and minor adjustments, and
- once a year for repeating the whole process, all over again.
How to Measure The Efforts?
The best way to understand whether or not you are achieving your goals is to outline the key performance indicators. While the KPIs for content strategy and content marketing overlap sometimes, it is easy to differentiate between the two. The content strategy KPIs are only limited to the publication and distribution of the content, along with traffic and engagement rates. On the other hand, content marketing KPIs include conversion and ROI factors as well.
The most common content strategy KPIs include:
- The number of content pieces published in a given timeframe
- Distribution channels, networks, and frequencies used
- Web traffic
- Time spent: on the website, on a particular page, on particular parts of a page (read with heat maps)
- Keyword ranking and overall website ranking
- Social media metrics related to each channel — followership, subscribers, shares, likes, retweets, etc.
In addition to the above stated KPIs, content marketing KPIs also include:
- Blog subscription
- Form submissions
- Downloads of eBooks, case studies, templates, and other resources
- Queries and consultation calls received
- Ad clicks, conversions, and click-through rates
- Conversions against spends on content creation, distribution, and promotion
A well-guided content marketing strategy can be your key to achieving great conversion rates at a high ROI. Are you already investing, or planning to invest in a content marketing strategy for your business? Follow me for more content to help you with your marketing operations and productivity hacks.