Don’t Know Where to Start with Your Content Marketing Strategy? Discover Helpful Tips & Techniques
When you think of your business, the chances are that you’re dreaming big – maybe not FTSE 100 big, but you want it to succeed. You want it to do more than just “pay the bills”.
Because of this, you understand the importance of marketing and, in the digital age, the importance of content marketing in particular.
Why is content marketing so important to your success? According to The Content Marketing Institute, “Content marketing rakes in conversion rates six times higher than other methods.” And small businesses that blog regularly convert 126% more prospects than small businesses that don’t.
Given this, it’s hardly surprising that 86% of organisations in the UK used content marketing strategies in 2018. If trends continue as they are, this figure is set to grow further in 2019.
Unfortunately, this creates a problem: the growth in content marketing has meant an increase in content channels and content types. Content marketing is becoming prohibitively complex and confusing for ordinary businesses, especially for smaller businesses that can’t afford a dedicated content strategist.
…Should you use social media? If so, which is better? Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn?
…Are you blogging enough? Should you include infographics? What’s the ideal word count? How important is the headline?
…Is it worth writing a press release? Do people still read magazines?
…what’s the best type of content? Are people still reading blogs? Is a YouTube account worth it? Do people prefer videos to blogs, podcasts to videos?
Argh! Too many options leave you floundering in your content strategy before you’ve even started. Feeling overwhelmed is a key ingredient in procrastination. The task seems too difficult and the dark-playground is just a click away.
So, if you’ve been putting off planning your content strategy (and if you’re reading this, that’s almost certainly true, considering you should’ve started planning back in September Last year!), you need help.
One option is to consult the services of a content strategist, such as Lion Spirit Media. We’ll help you to create a strategy that works. Alternatively, the following advice will help you create a winning content strategy.
Step 1: Align Content Strategy Goals with Business Goals
You need to choose your business goals Think about what you want to achieve with your business. Here are a few things to help you decide on some workable goals.
(GROWTH) Are you looking to grow the business? By what percentage? How many new customers do you need to achieve this growth?
(RETENTION) Are you looking to retain existing customers? Increase the spend volume of existing customers?
(AWARENESS) Are you looking for greater brand exposure?
You probably want to achieve all three – growth, retention, and awareness; your task is to rank these in level of importance so you can decide how much time to dedicate to each. E.g. If growth is your most important factor, you allocate 50% of your budget to growth, with 25% each to retention and awareness.
Defining your goals will help inform your content strategies in the following ways:
1. You’ll be able to work out whom to target with your content. You’ll establish who they are (e.g. young professionals), where to find them (e.g. Facebook, magazines, etc.), and what type of content they prefer (e.g. podcasts, videos, blogs).
2. You’ll be able to work out which type of content is most likely to pique the interest of the right people at the right time (e.g. a “How to” guide is more likely to help with retention, whilst a blog about your services will help with growth and awareness).
Let’s explore these two facets of content strategy with Step 2 and Step 3.
Step 2: Who Will Help You Achieve Those Goals?
In other words, who is the target market? Once you know your goals, you can work out how to tailor your content to the right people and where to place it for the greatest exposure.
For instance, if you want to achieve growth, you can establish who your best customers are by looking at your customer list and seeing which type of person/business makes the most sales. Then, create a content strategy plan to find similar people.
Imagine your best customer is a young professional interested in technology. Start by making broad assumptions about the type of content they consume (e.g. tech blogs) and where they consume it (e.g. LinkedIn). Use this to create content that you believe they will find interesting and place it in channels you think will work for that demographic (i.e. write a tech blog and post it to LinkedIn).
As your content strategy progresses throughout the year, narrow your focus and create more relevant content as you learn more about them, what they find interesting, and where you can find them (see step 4).
Step 3: Decide on the Type of Content to Use
There are many different types of content at your disposal, including:
- Press releases
- Case studies
- Product announcements
Each has its own purpose and can capture people at different stages of the sales funnel.
For instance, a podcast is probably more suitable as a tool for customer retention. They’re often long, are not particularly salesy, and have an informative/deep engagement element to them.
Tweets & Instagram pictures, on the other hand, may be more suitable for capturing new people at the beginning of the sales funnel – channeling them to your website. They’re hooks: quick, succinct, and designed to pique interest.
Instagram works well if your product has strong visual elements, e.g. you sell food. Tweets work well with products that have a more cerebral quality, e.g. you sell tech products.
Understanding what you want to achieve (growth) and whom you want to speak to (your target audience) will help you choose the appropriate type of content for your strategy at the right time.
You will be using a mix of content types, topics, and channels throughout the year.
Step 4: Post, Measure, Tweak
As you move through the year, you need to assess the assumptions made in your content strategy to see how they’re working. Use metrics and tracking options on your website and media channels (Google Analytics, content scheduling platform analytics, and code tracking on blogs/press releases) to establish how well your strategy is working.
A-B testing makes sense in the first few months. For instance, run a Twitter and Instagram campaign using the same topic and see which gains the most conversions (i.e. retweets, likes).
As you move through the year, you’ll be able to track how well your strategy is working and modify it accordingly. Doing more of the things that work and dropping the things that don’t.
Content strategy is complex, but you can cut through the confusion and create a plan that works by understanding the different steps in the process.
This involves meticulous research. You need to spend time defining your business goals, understanding your audience (who they are, how they speak, where they spend time), researching the appropriateness of different types of content for specific outcomes, and testing and analysing results.
Implementing a solid content strategy means that you’ll be able to communicate effectively with the right people at the right time. You’ll convey your messages in meaningful and impactful ways that help achieve your business goals.
Feeling overwhelmed with your content strategy options? We can help. Get in touch with our content strategy team today. We have a range of coaching and consultancy options waiting for you to discover.