Probably by now, you‘ve already seen the statistics that prove a very high ROI for content marketing. Creating a content strategy for business growth is the only way to ensure that ROI becomes your reality.
Why Do You Need A Content Strategy?
Content Marketing Is Not A Secret
Content marketing is one of the best ways to grow your business and interact with your target audience.
However, it’s not a secret—every business knows the impact of content marketing. So, you don’t have a unique advantage just because you’re doing it.
A Content Strategy Improves Your Reach
The digital space is crowded with your competitors doing the same thing.
Considering all the competition, how do you get your customers’ attention?
You need a skillfully crafted content strategy that ensures your high-quality content isn’t buried under the information highway.
Guaranteeing Your ROI
Semrush research found that of the 1,500 companies surveyed, 81% of companies dissatisfied with their content marketing didn’t have a content strategy.
No strategy is like stumbling around in the dark and hoping you bump into what you’re looking for. Or, in our case, groping around in the dark and hoping you bump into your customers.
Content Strategy vs. Content Marketing Strategy
In previous posts, we’ve discussed the importance of creating a content marketing strategy.
A content marketing strategy is a comprehensive document that includes the following:
- your marketing goals and objectives
- how these goals align with your overall business mission, goals, and objectives
- and how you’ll fund the elements and tactics of your marketing campaign.
A content marketing strategy focuses on creating and publishing content that resonates with your target audience. The ultimate goal is to get your customers to take action, i.e., buy a product or service.
Additionally, a content marketing strategy itemizes vital indicators to measure (KPIs), such as website traffic, conversions, and social media engagement.
A content strategy identifies
- what types of content you’ll produce to engage your ideal customer
- who you will target with each marketing campaign
- the tone and style of content to reach each audience segment
- and the channels you’ll use to publish that content to engage them as they move through the buyer’s journey.
A content strategy focuses on the entire content lifecycle from creation and publication through distribution and measurement. It includes personas, a content calendar, and metrics such as ROI.
The goal of your content strategy is to improve the results of your content marketing campaign.
How To Create A Content Strategy For Business Growth
Who Are We?
The first step in creating a content strategy is to know who you are.
- How would you describe your brand personality?
- What is unique about your products or services?
- Why should customers engage with your brand rather than a competitor?
- Who do you want to do business with? (here, we’re not talking about demographics)
Define The Goals Of Your Content Marketing Campaign
Why are you investing in marketing? What do you want to achieve?
Here are some examples:
- Draw more visitors to your website
- Grow brand awareness
- Differentiate yourself in the marketplace
- Establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry
- Create demand for your products or services
- Generate qualified leads
- Grow your email subscribers
- Get people to sign up for your webinars or podcasts
Without well-defined marketing goals, you’ll waste money and time.
Concrete goals enable you to deliver the results you want. Further, having goals allows you to measure success.
Create Your Ideal Customer Persona
Your persona should help you understand who you want to target and all the places where you can reach them.
To engage in meaningful dialogue with your potential customers, you need to know more than who they are and where they hang out. You also need to know who they are on the inside. When you know their beliefs and values, you’ll be able to align your messaging more effectively.
You’ll want to create your personas using demographic data, such as
- Marital status
And also psychographic data, such as
- Personality traits
Implanting Your Brand In Their Memory
Remember that some potential customers may not be ready to buy your products or services right now. But you don’t want them to forget about you. For this group, you need content that will keep your brand in their minds until they’re ready to buy. Entertaining, inspiring videos work well for this purpose.
Your potential customers also have interests closely related to your niche. For instance, let’s say you’re a nutrition coach. Your potential customers are probably also interested in sports, nature excursions, relaxation and mindfulness tools, and organic or sustainable farming. So, when developing your customer personas, include ancillary interests as well.
Create A Content Strategy By Walking In Your Customers’ Shoes
Once you’ve identified your ideal customers and developed a persona based on demographic and psychographic data, try walking in their shoes.
If you have a marketing team, play out the roles. Think about the following:
- What do they feel and believe?
- Who are their closest advisors?
- How do they define success?
- What do they care about?
- What are their most significant obstacles? Fears? Frustrations?
- How might your customers find your brand?
- What digital devices do they use that might lead them to your brand content?
Your Content Strategy Should Follow The Sales Funnel
The buyer journey, or sales funnel, is a well-documented process a potential customer goes through before purchasing a product or service from your business. B2C customers move through the funnel more quickly than B2B buyers, where the purchase cycle is longer and more are involved in the purchase decision.
The journey is divided into three primary stages: awareness, consideration, and purchase/decision. So, you’ll want to use different content types to engage your customer as they move through the sales funnel.
As the name suggests, during the awareness stage, a customer is just beginning to think about a need or a problem. They don’t yet know where they’ll find the product they need or a solution to their problem.
For example, a B2C customer realizes an important milestone event, such as an anniversary or birthday, is coming up. So they need to buy a present. The recipient enjoys high-quality spa products that can be used at home. But they have no idea what’s on the market, where to find home-spa products, which brands are the best, or how much they cost.
Content assets that work best at the awareness stage are educational and entertaining social media posts, videos, infographics, and blog posts.
At the consideration stage, customers actively seek products or services that address their needs or problems.
For example, a B2B customer has identified a weakness in their identification security software that could potentially impact their business operations. The buying team is tasked with finding solutions and potential vendors.
To nurture your prospects through the sales funnel, you’ll want to create and publish content assets that make a case for your products or services. Examples include product comparisons, webinars, and case studies demonstrating how the product or service can solve their problems.
Now your potential customer is ready to make a purchase. Your content strategy focuses on getting them to convert and purchase from your company.
Content assets that work best at this stage are:
- testimonials (user-generated content and influencer assets for B2C)
- pricing information
- product reviews
- and other content assets that make it easy for your potential customer to choose your products or services.
But remember that journey is not always linear, especially if you’re in the B2B niche. Your prospects may cycle through the stages many times before engaging with your company and making a purchase. Creating personalized content assets that address customers’ priorities at each stage will improve your conversion rate.
Your Content Strategy Should Identify When To Use Personalized Content
Marketing Charts recently published an excellent infographic that shows when customers expect personalized content at different stages of the purchase journey.
You can see from the infographic that B2C customers don’t expect personalized content during the discovery phase. But as they move through the funnel, their expectation increases. It reaches its peak at the post-purchase stage—getting help with your product or service.
Personalized emails to your customers are one of the most successful tactics to help post-purchase.
B2B customers expect a higher level of personalized content from the awareness stage and peaking at post-purchase—how to use your product or service.
Your content strategy should cover how to include personalization in your content assets and a distribution schedule that matches customer preferences.
Create A Content Calendar
How Does a Calendar Help Your Content Strategy Succeed?
A content calendar keeps you organized and on track with your content strategy.
You can visualize your content distribution schedule to ensure that you’re covering all the topics that are relevant and helpful to your customer base. You’ll also see if there is too much redundancy in your messaging.
You’ll know what content assets you need to create and publish on which channels to ensure that you deliver high-quality content to your target audience.
By plugging in national or international holidays and events, you can create digital assets that take advantage of these milestones, organically increasing your brand visibility.
Planning content creation and distribution in advance saves time and enables consistency, a critical factor in marketing success.
Your content calendar should include every digital asset you will use in your marketing efforts, including
- live events
- blog posts
- and organic/paid campaigns—plan at least six months in advance. However, be flexible because world events could require that you make a quick pivot.
Content Calendar Templates
A Google sheet is one of the most straightforward and affordable content calendar tools. But you can also download calendar content tools from places such as:
Elements of a Content Calendar
Key elements to include in your content calendar:
- Dates: when you intend to publish
- Topics: using your keywords as a guide, list the issues you will cover in your content
- Content types: specify which content types you will publish, such as a blog post, video, social media post, white paper, podcast, webinar, etc.
- Distribution channels: map where each content asset will be distributed
- Promos: Include how you intend to promote your content, such as paid advertising, email marketing, social media, etc.
- Status: Keep track of each content asset included on your content calendar. Make a notation of each asset’s status, such as: “in design,” “ready for review,” or “published.”
Content Strategy Metrics
Your content strategy should include KPIs (key performance indicators) that help you measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. This will ensure that your content marketing efforts deliver an outstanding ROI.
Examples of KPIs include:
- Content Consumption:
- Page views
- Dwell time (time spent on a page)
- Bounce rate
- Engagement metrics:
- Likes, comments, shares
- CTR (click-through-rate)
- Conversion metrics
- Lead generation
Developing a content strategy takes time, but without this step, you’ll waste considerable resources trying to reach your marketing goals.
A content strategy is not a content marketing strategy. You need both to move your marketing campaigns forward successfully.
The e-commerce industry is booming. Just about every business is operating online. So naturally, social sales content consumes trillions of data bits across the internet daily.
The only way to be sure you reach your target audience with engaging content that resonates with their interests and needs is with a robust content strategy.
Let us know what you think in the comment box below. And don’t forget to sign up for the blog so you’ll be among the first to know when a new article has been published.