Tips For An Effective Content Marketing Strategy
According to Wikipedia, Content Marketing is a form of marketing that is focused on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a target audience. The ultimate goal of an effective content marketing strategy is to attract and transform prospects into customers by creating and sharing valuable and relevant free content to build sustainable brand loyalty. In this article, I am mostly focusing on B2B Segment of the marketplace, although many of the tips provided here are also applicable in the B2C segment.
From the definition above, content refers to any published information in a variety of forms including text, images, videos, illustrations, graphics, podcasts, webinars, magazines, blog posts, surveys, and many that are intended to be used in combination with others or alone to communicate a specific message to the intended audience. When used in combination, these various forms of content are more effective in producing the intended result from the targeted audience.
It therefore goes without saying that without content, web properties are useless. Yet, one of the most common complaints I hear on a regular basis is why, after publishing what they consider to be good and unique content, they still do not see any traffic to their websites, or engagement on their content? Many hardly get their content to even simply be viewed, liked, or shared. And maybe you are experiencing the same thing right now and asking yourself why.
The purpose of this article is to provide you with tips to help you formulate and execute an effective and winning content marketing strategy that will help you achieve the goal of building real relationships that result in consistent engagements and brand loyalty.
But before I get there, let me say that one of the biggest mistakes many make is to think that they can produce content and immediately see people jump on it and begin to buy whatever they are selling. Many make the mistake of not taking the time to formulate an effective strategy and a solid execution plan and they also lack the patience to follow through until they produce results.
They get discouraged and give up too quickly. It is my hope that the following tips and guidelines can provide you with a good starting point to build on.
Content Marketing Strategy Objectives
In order to help you formulate an effective content marketing strategy, you need to ask yourself a series of questions. This is called brainstorming. Please remember that there are two types of content on your website: static content that does not change regularly and dynamic content. The first includes your site static pages such as the ‘About us’. The second group includes blog articles and news updates. The brainstorming stage must not be rushed. Take your time with your team. Include everyone who is involved in the production and distribution of the content, including your technical team. Your brainstorming process must be conducted within the context of your overall business strategy as well as your budgetary parameters.
- Who is your target audience? What are the needs of your audience that you want to meet?
- How does your audience communicate? What are the favorite channels of your audience?
- What message do you want to communicate to your audience?
- What types of formats are applicable to your audience?
- What the most effective frequency of communication will work with this audience?
- Who will develop, write, publish and manage your messages (in-house, guest writers, etc.)?
Your Marketing Growth Funnel Journey
Building Brand Loyalty takes place through a process. If you are new on the market and have not yet built brand loyalty, you cannot expect your target audience to respond to your messages as a loyal audience. You must determine your brand growth funnel stages and define your objectives at each stage so that you may tailor your messages accordingly. Brand loyalty does not occur overnight. It requires a careful, well planned process that involves measuring, analyzing, adjusting, etc.
Marketing Brand Growth: Customer Journey to Loyalty
Your brand will go through a number of phases in its relationship with your audience. At the same time, the relationship between your brand and your audience will also go through a growth process. This growth must reach full maturity be. This is the level of maturity at which your audience will manifest maturity and embrace brand loyalty. You must not try to rush this process. Throughout this journey, your audience may have hundreds of touch points with your brand. You will need to automate a tracking system to be able to follow them through the journey. This will help you develop insights to know how to guide and accompany them throughout this journey.
In the context of B2C, you are dealing with one individual who is the decision maker and end-user. In the B2B context, however, you may be dealing with various stakeholders and you must be able to develop your Business Customer profile with overlapping personas.
Through each phase, you may have to deal with a different person – the marketing director, the CFO, and the CEO, depending on the decision making chain in the organization. When dealing with each one of them, you may have to use a different approach. Your marketing methods may require multiple marketing methods in order to reach all constituencies. A combination of free content and paid advertising may be necessary. And then, you may also need message amplifications.
Another characteristic of the B2B market segment is that business customers generally have a high lifetime value. This should enable you to allocate sufficient budget to enable you to invest sufficient resources to win them and then nurture the relationship until you begin to harvest a high ROI. While the cost of customer acquisition is certainly higher than in the B2C scenario, the lifetime value is also higher.
- Brand Awarness: During this phase, you will produce and release a type of messages that you will educate your audience and draw them to you so that they may develop an intimate relationship with your brand. At this stage, the focus of your message must not be to sell to your audience, though some may buy from you. Remember, during this phase, people people are observing you. They may come to your website several times and consume your content without speaking one single word or announcing themselves to you.. They are getting to know you.
- Brand Consideration: During this stage, they are thinking about building a relationship with your brand. They are learning to trust your brand. Even though they may respond to your messages, and even appear to be joining your movement. So, do not be deceived by their warmth. Though they may engage your website, even buy from you, you must never take them for granted. They are still not ready..
- Brand Comparison: During this phase, your audience will visit you at a variety of touch points. But they are comparing you with your competition. They like what you provide but they are still comparing, trying to find out what makes you unique. If you are tracking them properly, you will notice that they will ask you questions that indicate that they are trying to learn more about you.. You will then shape your message accordingly, to overcome some of the doubts and wavering, etc.
- Brand Decision: Your messages during the previous phase will play a key role in pushing them over the edge. You must now have provided targeted and personalized content through automation via a multitude of channels. Now, they are ready to buy or take whatever action constitutes conversion for you.
- Brand Retention: Here, your focus turns to retention.
Types of Marketing Content
There are many types of marketing content that you can publish based on the queries of the searchers. The type of content you choose must be able to adequately address their questions.
I am listing below just a few types of content that I believe you will need the most. I encourage you to do more research in order to determine the best and most appropriate marketing approach needed for your digital marketing strategy.
Please note that some situations may require you to use a combination of any of these types of content, while in other cases, just one type of marketing content will be enough.
- Blog Posts
- Short Content Article
- Long Content Article
- Visual Content (Videos, Images, Graphics, etc.)
- Detailed Lists
- Interactive Content
- Complex Data
- Research Publications
- Paid ads
What Type and Format of Content Should You Use?
Like I said earlier, you need to choose the type of marketing content that is appropriate to adequately address the queries of the searchers.
When making a decision as to the type(s) of content to use, you must refer to the results of your keyword research as well as competitor analysis. It is assumed here that you have already determined who your target audience is and you understand their needs and the best way to communicate your answers to them. The following three questions can guide you in the selection process:
What is (are) the searchers intent(s)?
There are two primary types of searches’ intents: (a) Commercial Intent; (b) Informational Intent. Commercial intent generally indicates that the searcher is focused on buying. Informational intent means that the searcher is gathering information or investigating. You can use paid advertisements to target commercial intent keywords. Informational Intent is the focus of this article. Online queries for information may be satisfied with a variety of content types: short or long (quick) answers, detailed comparisons, general overviews, complex explanatory content, research papers, etc.
This is generally the free content that appears in organic search results and is generally delivered through blog articles and other types of content that is generally free. About 70% of all traffic is derived from organic search results. You should therefore invest adequately in the development of this content.
What are your competitors’ answers to searchers’ intent(s)?
By analyzing your competitors’ content that ranks high in organic search results, you will learn the types of content that search engines considered as the best answers to searchers queries. By analyzing their content, you may gaps in their answers. Find what is missing and provide it to the audience.
Again, examine the content that search engines have deemed as the best and placed at the top of organic search results. What format and types are they? Are they paid ads, images, videos, news updates, links, widgets, etc.? This gives you a hint as to how to beat your competitors by providing THE BEST content.
What (types) of answers (content) will resonate with the searches (your audience and their influencers)?
Through your research, you will discover the type of content that resonates with the audience. You will then come up with a strategy to present a better content. Even though your competitors’ content format may have made it to the top of the list, do not be afraid to be creative. Learn from your competitors but use creativity, insights, and innovation to gain a competitive advantage.
The key is research, creativity, and innovation.
Effective Content Marketing Is A Process
As with all other aspects of digital marketing, content marketing takes time to produce results. You must be prepared to invest for the long run. Prepare a budget based on your content marketing objectives. Bring your team together around your strategy. Your content marketing strategy must be an integral part of your overall digital marketing. Many people fail because of a lack of adequate preparation at this stage.
Throughout the execution phase, practice “Measure – Analyze Strategize – Execute.” As your measure your content marketing performance, learn to properly attribute the results. Remember, today, both business and individual purchases take place following a multitude of customer touch points that may last several weeks if not months before reaching final conversion. This means that the purchase decision has been shaped by several factors. It is therefore necessary to apply the correct attribution formula in order to evaluate the proportion of the participation of your content marketing strategy in the conversion result.
This means that your content marketing deployment requires careful planning and analysis. One great killer blog article is not going to create the results all by itself. You must track your customer and engage them at every touch point during their path to conversion.
Again, many other factors played a role in the process of nudging the customer towards the conversion goal at each one of the touch points.
In conclusion, your strategy that gives you total competitive advantage over your competitors. You must not be content with producing a content that is simply good and unique. You must commit to producing content that is BEST in order to win in this competitive digital landscape. Just creating a GOOD article is not enough. Your success lies in your ability to find keys to gain a competitive advantage.
If you found this article interesting and useful, please contribute a comment and share with others in your echo-system who may need this information. Also, feel free to share your experience and ideas to help others.
I hope that this article helps you plot a winning content marketing strategy to achieve your digital marketing goals. But if you would need professional help, please consider OnMax Host Digital. Contact me to schedule a FREE consultation. At OnMax Host Digital, we aim at being 100 times better than your competitors.