Content strategy is the forgotten key to digital transformation success
Digitization requires an optimized and audience-centric content strategy to succeed, argues Builtvisible’s Abbey Grocott.
Back to basics: does your digital transformation plan include a content strategy? / Josh Eckstein
There are two sides to digital transformation: the business side, and the customer-facing one. You need both to say that your transformation is truly a success.
The business side is where all the technology and the strategy sit – where the processes, tools, data and insights live alongside all the hopes of increased efficiency and reduced costs. This is all the technical stuff you really care about, but your customers couldn’t care less.
The customer-facing side is content and experiences, improved by the tools the business side made possible. That’s all your customers care about. All they want are things to watch, read, hear, learn or buy – and, importantly, to feel something when they do it.
Content strategy is often overlooked in digital transformation, but it’s the key to success. It’s the human touch that brings together all the technical elements of digital transformation to create a meaningful experience for customers. A well-executed content strategy can drive real business outcomes and generate significant ROI.
A customer-centric content strategy will pay for itself
One of the reasons content strategy is so valuable is that it can generate over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less. But it’s not just about saving money; it’s about creating a more effective marketing strategy. A properly planned content strategy can help businesses effectively communicate their brand message, engage with their target audience, and drive desired actions like lead generation, sales or customer retention.
The most valuable aspect of content strategy is the introspection it requires. When planning a content strategy, businesses must take a deep dive into their own operations, asking questions that can reveal hidden flaws or golden nuggets of knowledge buried in the day-to-day of business life. By auditing the content they already have, businesses can build upon what works and throw out anything that's misaligned. By asking staff for their insights, businesses can better understand what resonates with their customers.
Imagine all of that insight multiplied by the power of analytics and automation. By using technology to analyze data and automate certain processes, businesses can gain even more valuable insights and create an even more effective content strategy. The result is a winning recipe for success.
Here are three things to consider when incorporating content into your digital transformation.
1. Mine your staff, and Google, for audience insights
Any content strategy should begin with solid user research. While highly insightful, traditional market research methods like surveys or focus groups can be costly. Often your staff are the ones who know your customers inside-out, particularly product and sales specialists. Grill them on their customer knowledge, analyze that data, and feed it into your strategy.
Equally revealing is keyword research. I’m forever telling my clients that keyword research is just user research. Keywords provide an invaluable insight into what people like, how in-demand those things are and crucially, how they feel about them. A picture might tell a thousand words, but a keyword can paint a pretty detailed picture.
2. Align and integrate your existing content
Content audits are often looked at in simplistic ways - what content is working, what’s not, and what’s needed. But auditing should fundamentally assess whether content aligns with your audience’s needs and business goals. A piece of content without traffic isn’t necessarily bad content, it might just be misaligned. What’s more, it might have the power to be infinitely more impactful with your new digitized tooling or processes, so be sure to audit your content with that in mind.
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3. Optimize for continuous success
You’ve thrown out any content that’s misaligned. Great – time to put your feet up? Think again. While your content may be working for you and your customers now, who knows what the next year will bring? Go back to basics. Do more keyword research. Refresh the data. Turn a guide into a video. Make your content work harder for you. The problems or interests of your customers are ever-developing, and so should your content.
If we leave content strategy out of digital transformation, we’re not just leaving it incomplete – we could be creating a loss. Without a strong content strategy, businesses risk missing out on valuable opportunities to engage with customers, generate leads, and drive sales. That’s a risk no business can afford to take.
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