Why is a content marketing strategy essential for effective content marketing?
Oct 27, 2015
If you’re one of the 70% who doesn’t consider their content marketing effective, reconsider your strategy – or consider having one.
Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs recently published their annual report on B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America. I believe that stat is almost entirely related to another statistic from the report: “Only 32% of B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.”
Without a strategy, you’ll never gain efficacy. Unless you know exactly who your audience is and the specific places you can find them, your content won’t reach its full potential. There’s more to content marketing than creation. It’s a continuous process of creation, activation and evaluation – and it all starts with a strategy.
So what do you need in your content strategy?
Define your audience
Most importantly, you need to know your audience. Without knowing their needs, you’ll never provide them with the right content. Without knowing what channels they use, they’ll never see you. Without knowing their behaviors, they won’t pay you the least bit of attention.
You can create the best piece of content, but if it’s not put in front of the right audience, it won’t have any influence. In order for your content to be effective, you need to know the people—their needs, where they are and their behaviors—you’re trying to reach.
Define the type(s) of content
Consider what people are saying—on social media, in the news, in industry publications, etc.—about your industry and your messaging. If the market is flooded with infographics, do you really want to add another one? Should you base your content on the information already there or take that, twist it and make it new? These are all things you need to consider before deciding what medium is best for your target audience.
Understand the type of content your target audience wants. What information are they seeking? What do they need to hear based on their positions in the buyer’s journey and their buying personas? By listening to the audience, exploring their behaviors and researching their habits, you can deliver helpful content – instead of flooding the market with the same information.
Decide where you’ll activate content
Content activation is defining the channels—paid, earned, owned and shared—that will get the right message found at the right time by the right people. Potential consumers can find your content through search, social media, word of mouth – the options are nearly limitless.
So where do you start? You not only need to know what content is right for your audience, but also what their influencers will pick up. Consider where specific audiences are in their buyer’s journey, and meet them there with content that will give them what they’re looking for.
Where does your audience get their information? Who and what influences them? Again, by researching and knowing your audience, you’ll have these answers – and your content will be seen and heard.
A never-ending process
The process of content marketing is simple (in theory). Create content. Place it. See what happens. Create better content. Place it. See what happens. Repeat.
Great content marketers don’t just provide one piece of content. They provide a full campaign, and constantly research their audience, the messages they want to hear and where they’ll hear it.
Consider your strategy
Content marketing isn’t about just throwing content into the world. You need to know who to reach and how to reach them – it’s the first step towards seeing content marketing success. And without a strategy, your efforts won’t reach their full potential.