For the last few years, content marketing has become a major buzzword among digital marketers. It’s not surprising when you look at the stats. Pew Research Center found that nearly a third of all adults in the United States are “almost constantly” online. What’re they doing? Consuming content. They’re watching videos, swiping through Instagram, reading blog posts, absorbing pop-up ads and tweeting and retweeting to the point that it’s not bizarre for any random user’s Twitter timeline to read like a highlight reel of someone else’s life.
In other words: to reach people where they are (online), businesses need to constantly be creating content. Unfortunately, with the sheer amount of content on the internet (we’re talking more than 1.2 million terabytes of data between Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft alone), it can be hard to grab people’s attention. This is where a content strategy comes in.
What Is A Content Strategy?
You might think to yourself, “Hey, I already have a content strategy. I’m writing blog posts! I occasionally tweet about my products!” That’s great. It’s a first step, but that’s more of an editorial strategy than a content strategy. A content strategy is much more defined. It will help you plan the right content, to be posted at the right times, to market to the right people, for the right reasons — whatever that may be. Your content strategy should outline:
- The Whys: Why are you making this content? Are you crafting clicky service headlines to help position yourself as a leader in your industry? Are you looking to make product demos to help promote a product launch? Are you simply planning a hashtag Instagram campaign to show customer appreciation and bolster word of mouth?
- The Wheres: Where will this content be posted? Are you posting a series of blogs? Are you adopting an omni-channel strategy with social videos and guest posts? Will it be serviced into a newsletter? Are these guest posts or is it going on your own channels?
- The Whats: What are your style guidelines? What is your overall messaging and how does that fit into your company’s culture? What questions are you answering with your content? What reactions do you hope to get?
- The Whos: Who’s in charge of overseeing the content. Who are you hoping to reach? Who on your team is doing what?
A content strategy may seem like a lot of work, but the truth is that every new business should be carefully planning their content. Here’s why.
Most Of Your Audience Will Block Out Ads
In the age of ad blockers, content is more important than ever. About 25% of people are actively blocking ads on their devices, which means traditional methods of digital advertising aren’t as effective. Even if your advertisement does manage to get through, people are flooded with 4,000 to 10,000 ads every single day. That’s too much for a brain to possibly process.
Content, however, doesn’t read like an ad. It’s not something a person instantly disregards. We’re not rushing to click out of an unwelcome pop-up. The best content actually provides legitimate answers to real questions asked by your target audience. It’s something they want to read, so they’ll take notice. A content strategy helps you define those questions and search for the right answers.
A Content Strategy Improves Branding
The truth is that most content out there is actually terrible content. A Stackla report found that 57% of consumers believed that less than half of the brand-created content they’ve read felt authentic, but 86% of consumers admitted authenticity was important when deciding what brands they liked and supported. See the problem?
A content strategy will help improve your branding, first by creating consistency. You’ll be able to narrow down your brand’s specific perspective and company culture, which in turn, will help you create content that feels authentic. Second, it will help you figure out your audience’s needs, so your content always has a purpose and doesn’t feel like a cheap grab for clicks.
A Content Strategy Helps You Define Goals And Track Progress
You can’t achieve your goals if you don’t know what they are. A content strategy helps you define your goals. Maybe you want to generate leads with your content. Maybe you want to gain more followers on social media. Maybe it’s part of an on-going SEO initiative to boost your organic search traffic or part of a thought leadership initiative to position yourself as a leader in your industry — whether you’re selling products or services. Maybe you just want to make cold, hard conversions.
Either way, your content strategy will help you layout more than just your overall goals. It will enable you to create specific benchmarks of success and give you the tools to track what’s working and what isn’t, especially when paired with an analytics and link-tracking service like JotURL. JotURL helps you track your links to find out which content is getting the most conversions and optimize your overall strategy. In turn, your content will be more effective and you’ll be able to realize a greater ROI in future projects.
The Bottom Line
Content is an oft-overlooked but essential part of any business’ marketing plan — but especially for a new business that’s looking to establish their brand’s voice and company culture. A comprehensive, well-thought strategy will give you the tools you need to succeed with your marketing goals and actually save you time in the long-run. It takes the guesswork out of it. Instead of wasting time on trial-and-error, you’ll know what’s likely to hit.
By Ryan Gould
Vice President of Strategy and Marketing Services
From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programs, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organizations.
Ryan is known for taking complex marketing and business challenges and developing solutions that simplify processes while driving customer outcomes and business value. He also thrives on guiding Elevation teams toward execution of strategies that help companies succeed in new verticals, while staying true to core values and brand integrity.LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/rygould/