As businesses become increasingly persuaded to the benefits of content marketing, Managing Director, Neil Edwards, asks if business owners and marketers are as clear as they should be about their content strategies.
As the Internet becomes more and more crowded, it becomes increasingly important to plan your approach to it carefully. Competition drives some businesses to success and others to failure for one solid reason: planning. Just as with your overall strategy, your company's online presence needs to be well thought-out and planned, which is where a content strategy comes into play.
Wikipedia describes a content strategy as "...the practice of planning the content creation, delivery, and governance of website content". Put more simply, a content strategy lays out a publishing plan for all of your content on the web. This includes pages, blogs posts, and downloads on your website, as well as guest posts, press releases and social media updates. Multimedia content, such as images and video also play a part in your strategy - no matter where they appear. Anything on the Internet that is attached to your business' name needs to follow your content strategy.
The reason for such meticulous planning is that it allows you to create a comprehensive and continuous stream of content that is aligned with your broader marketing goals. You will be able to make sure that all elements of your proposition are adequately covered and that you are creating and distributing content using varied and appropriate types of media.
The best content strategies, however, are not based on what kind of content you want to share, but on the kind of content your audience or target market wants to see. It is very important, therefore, to start your strategy building with the question: "what does my audience want?".
If you have been in business for some time, you may have already done your market research to learn about your target market, but it is still important to dig a little deeper to learn more about its behaviours online. An accountancy practice, for example, may understand how its clients gather information and make a purchasing decision in a face-to-face meeting, but this is very different from how it will "shop" for accounting and tax planning information online. You need, therefore, to learn more about what kind of information your audience is looking for and how, so you can be the one to provide it to them.
Your content plan should also consider the different situations your prospective customers are in. Are they just browsing, are they actively researching a solution, are they comparing you against other providers? Are they using desktop or mobile? Different forms of content and different types of media will be appropriate at each stage.
Bear in mind too that content is about more than just creation. Not only must your content be easy to read, it must be easy to share too. Your goal is to create content that is readable, understandable, findable, actionable and shareable in all of its various forms.
The idea of creating a content strategy may sound daunting, but in reality it will make your life a lot easier if it is done correctly. One of the most common reasons a marketing programme stalls is because its owner(s) run out of ideas for content: social media may not be updated as regularly as it should be; email marketing grinds to a halt; the blog isn't updated for months; enthusiasm quickly wanes. A well thought-out content strategy will make it much clearer what to update your site with and how often to do it.
Do you regularly produce value adding content to keep your clients and prospects engaged? Do you distribute your content in ways that make it easy for people to read and share? Is your content generating leads? If your answer to any of these questions is NO, pleasecontact us for advice.