How to build your content marketing strategy for the future
The conversation around content creation and strategizing is trending, with many companies debating whether they need a content marketing strategy or whether it’s a waste of time, money, and resources. However, it is a relatively new concept, and older professionals in the marketing industry are still not convinced that it is just as vital as the other traditional forms of marketing.
Build your content marketing strategy for the future
If you don’t have a digital content marketing strategy in this day and age, you might be left behind. Whether your company is just starting or is already firmly established in the market, it needs a quality, consistent and relevant digital presence.
Why? Because now more than ever, people are using their phones and other devices as a tool to find information, solutions, and service providers. According to a February 2021 research study, nearly half of the respondents said they spent five to six hours per day on their phone, not including work-related cell phone use. Another 22% of respondents said they spent three to four hours per day on their phones on average.
The marketing transition
In the past, when people needed work done, they relied on referrals and yellow pages. However, today's service bidders rely on referrals and word of mouth less frequently than recent years. In fact, referrals fell by over 16% in the last five years. It appears that, the holy grail of corporate development for aeons, is losing its clout as the business world unfolds.
Now that we know how critical your digital presence is, let us look at what a digital content strategy is and what it means for businesses.
What is a digital content strategy?
A content strategy is a framework that assists businesses in curating, managing, distributing, and promoting valuable digital content. It's a way to ensure that the organization's digital content is consistent with its overall goals and strategy.
People’s perception of an online presence usually starts and ends with a company website, but it is much more than that. Your digital presence includes a company website, social media platforms, eBooks, video interviews, podcasts, case studies and success stories, infographics, blog posts, webinars, emails, presentations, and whitepapers.
The digital content creation mistake
Some companies shy away from creating a digital content strategy because they don’t know where to begin or what it entails. That’s why they make the mistake of only sharing content when it's available, for example, when they have a new product, service or upgrade available. The truth is, you are not harnessing your company's true potential.
With competition increasing, you have to ensure that you stay on the radar of your potential buyers. How? By providing information and solutions outside of the services and products you provide. Your goal is to be the first brand that comes to mind when a business or consumer needs a service or product.
Before you sit down to create a strategy, you need to consider the following questions to grasp a rough idea of the direction you want your digital content to take.
Why am I designing this content strategy?
What are you trying to achieve by putting together a digital content strategy? You don’t need to have one hundred reasons before starting - two to five will do. For example, are you trying to increase brand awareness and generate leads or sales?
Who is my target audience?
It would help if you had a clear idea of whom you are curating this content for. Understanding who your target audience is can help with decision making and allows you to narrow down your choices. For example, knowing your target audience or buyer persona will determine the type of content you put out, the tone of your content, and what channels you use to distribute content.
What kind of content are they interested in?
As we mentioned earlier, there are different types of content available that you can use in your digital strategies, like blog posts, podcasts, videos, among others. Find out which type of content is most popular with your target audience and focus on that through market research. Keep in mind that you need more than one type. Even if you have one or two sure choices, try to have a mix.
If, for instance, you are a clothing brand targeting 16–25-year-olds, short videos and pictures are a great way to grab their audience. You can also write short blog posts about quick ways to style their outfits or color block.
Where do they usually search for this kind of content?
You might develop unique and valuable content, but if it’s on platforms your customers do not frequent, it is as good as useless. Carry out surveys and polls and let your customers fill out questionnaires ranking their most addictive and popular apps and platforms so you know where you should publish your content.
How often should I publish this content?
It is essential to strike a balance between being persuasive and not being irritating. You want your potential customers to always have your brand in mind, but you do not want them to find you annoying and too persistent.
For example, if you choose to connect to your clients through email marketing, do not send them emails every single day. Even if your content is valuable, they may unsubscribe from it as it could become a bit of a nuisance. So instead, let your clients consume your information in doses.
Who will be curating this content?
This is a critical decision because it will determine the type of content you put out. Just because you know everything there is to know about starting an eCommerce store, it does not automatically mean you have the skill to write blog posts or eBooks about it. But, if you do, that's perfect.
If you do not know how to use this knowledge to produce insightful and valuable content, you can outsource it to different content creators like writers, influencers, and videographers. In addition, you can hand over this task if you have an in-house content creation team.
Why is good content important?
It asserts your company as a thought leader
If you googled 'how to lose ten pounds in a month' and found a simple program that worked, and then ‘how to grow your glutes’ a few weeks later, and it also worked, chances are, you will start to rely on that source for your fitness needs.
By putting out informative and valuable content, you show your target audience that you know what you are talking about. Good content makes it easy for you to stand out from the hundreds of companies providing the same product or service.
It is an SEO tool
If you are in the digital content creation business, you know a thing or two about SEO. Search engine optimization is a tool that boosts a website or web pages chances of showing up at the top of search engine results.
The more you publish your content and strategically place keywords that your audience usually searches for, the higher the chances that your brand will be noticed, hence creating new leads.
One way to do this is through publishing evergreen content, both written and video. Why? Because it’s timeless and is relevant all-year round.
Evergreen content examples
- How To…
- Tips & Tricks
- Product reviews
- Guides / Recipes
- Top ten…
It attracts new leads
Good content is a promotional tactic on its own. If you consistently put out quality content, you attract serious clients interested in your services or solutions. Your content will walk into recruitment meetings before you even go in for a pitch.
It increases brand awareness
Unless you build rockets or are Lewis Hamilton, chances are there are hundreds or thousands of people who can provide the services or products you do. So, if your goal is to be a class apart from the competition, you must publish well-thought-out content. The more you create helpful content and publish it across multiple platforms, the higher your chances are of growing a more prominent and broader following.
High-quality content has the potential to influence purchasing behavior
If you believe that advertisements influence buyers more than article content on the internet, you are mistaken.
In fact, 7 out of 10 buyers prefer to learn about a business or brand through articles rather than advertisements. This fact demonstrates that article-type content delivered via a company blog or other content marketing mediums is the preferred approach for customers to learn about products and services. Why? It allows you to have more of a voice, style or flair, and story than typical 'professional' web pages.
Why is good content distribution essential?
Content distribution is a tactical approach to delivering content to your target audience through various channels. It entails publishing, sharing, and promoting high-quality content in strategic locations where people can actively and successfully engage with it. There are three main distribution channels: owned, earned and paid.
These are the networks your business owns and has total control over, like your website, blog, email or newsletter, and social media accounts.
Earned channels encompass third parties who share or promote your content at no cost—for instance, social media mentions, reposts, shares, guest blogs, and product reviews.
Some channels are not freely accessible. You have to pay to distribute your content to a highly targeted and specific audience. For example, pay-per-click ads, sponsored content and paid influencer content or ads on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and Instagram.
In marketing, content is king and distribution is queen - they are part and parcel of any digital content creation strategy and need to be handled tactically. We've seen a rapid influx of content met with shrinking demand in recent years. We can only consume so much information with almost 4.5 million blog posts published every day. As a result of this content shock, your distribution plan should be strategic and well-thought-out if it’s to be effective.
The beauty of a digital content and distribution strategy is flexibility. You can adjust it as you go depending on the metrics and results. If you try one channel and it fails, try another one or a mix until it is just right.
Companies that tweak their distribution strategy until it's perfect enjoy perks like increased brand awareness, recognition, lead generation, increased sales, and revenue. The starting point is to get people to talk about your brand, trust it and rely on it as an authority figure. Then, you can start leveraging these benefits to boost revenue and sales.
Social media content strategy
Social media is the perfect marketing tool right now. With new and popular apps popping up every other day, brands have an excellent opportunity to capitalize on the frenzy to grow their businesses and brand awareness. For example, Instagram and TikTok have emerged as two of the most addictive content creation and sharing apps, with YouTube retaining its power and influence.
Video content should form at least part of your content distribution strategy because it is one of the best ways to truly show potential customers your core values, purpose, goals and objectives. In addition, videos are an excellent way to tell your story and inspire an emotional and psychological connection with your customers.
Furthermore, you can combine your YouTube content strategy with a case study to accurately depict your business solutions and services.
YouTube is the most profitable video sharing and viewing platform, with 2.3 billion people accessing it each month. If you can invest in a good videographer and content development team, you can leverage your social media platforms to boost the subscription and viewership for your YouTube channel.
Other social media content examples
- Written posts, blogs and articles
- Videos and video stories
- Links to external content
- Testimonials and reviews
This article cannot entirely cover everything there is to know about developing a digital content marketing strategy, but it is a good start.
If you found this piece helpful and would like to learn more about creating a digital content strategy that works, visit our content marketing hub, where you can find more news and information about content marketing.