Contrary to common beliefs, content marketing is NOT the solution to a tactical problem. Many so-called approaches to content marketing are merely just content with no marketing ROI.
A colorful e-book, a YouTube video of your advertising campaign, a landing page with content are not content marketing. Consider the facts that content marketing is the top priority for many marketing professionals and yet most have no idea what is it or even what to do about it.
Statistical data show that content marketing is here to stay. Still it needs to become an integral part of a strategic approach to marketing across the enterprise landscape, where a sociable culture should be established that delivers customer-focused content continuously.
The 7 Cs of Content Marketing
Those words are all crucial: Culture that delivers Customer-focused Content, Continuously. The content should be delivered across all the Channels your audience uses, should ignite Conversations and drive Conversions.
The dynamism of content marketing positions it to play the role of a strategic solution tackling a serious corporate challenge.
Yes, You Have A Content Problem
The journey starts by understanding that the world has changed. Your buyers are deciding when, and how, and where they will engage with you. If your business isn’t creating engaging content across ALL stages of the buyer journey, then you are losing ground to your competition.
What is the cost of bad content? We know that as much as 70% of the created content goes completely unused. So half or more of the budget allocated to creating content is completely wasted.
The main reason these outbound content are so wasted is because it contains the promotional messages we all avoid, ignore, or worse, hate, like in TV zapping and landing pages high rate bouncing
So yes, you have a strategic content problem that is responsible for the waste of a significant portion of your marketing budget.
Defining the Business Case
Content marketing is no longer a question. It is an imperative for every single brand. As we look to the future, content marketing will become one of the key marketing disciplines along with data and technology. Yes, that’s right, silos will be broken down and the traditional channel-based approach will be left behind. No more advertising department working directly with agencies to do whatever they want. No more social media teams struggling to figure out what to push out.
So why are so few companies managing their content and marketing strategically?
Because it’s hard. Everyone produces content. Everyone owns content, and when everyone owns something, no one owns it. The CMO of tomorrow needs to be the Chief Content Officer or he will fail.
A Strategic Approach To Content Marketing
Here are nine questions to get you started down the road of strategic content marketing:
i- Defining Your Content Marketing “Why?”
Before you get started, define exactly why you are doing content marketing in the first place. What gap in your marketing performance is lacking? How much content do you produce along each stage of the buyer journey? How much of your content is used, downloaded, viewed – whatever metrics you can get. Are you ranking on the highest volume keywords used by your customers when it comes to your primary product or solution? If you’re really good, what is your market “share of conversations” in your solution area?
ii- Define “Content Strategy”
Content strategy is the combination of an editorial approach and a business strategy: how do you publish content that meets your customer needs, incites them to act, and drives additional business for your company. What matters most is that you are thinking strategically, with purpose, authority, and intention to drive better business results with content.
iii- What is the objective of your content marketing strategy?
Or as Joe Pulizzi calls it, what is your “Content Marketing Mission Statement” that defines your target market and what you want to help them achieve.
iv- What is your design objective?
Are there visual standards you want to emulate? Who is already doing content well in your space? What does it look like? It makes a lot of sense to look at the examples of the content marketers who have come before you and look at the different elements of their site. Identify which ones you like and don’t and build those design specifications into your strategy.
How prominent do you want to make your company brand? If this sounds like a crazy question, consider your objectives and how likely you are to achieve them if your readers are aware that ultimately you are trying to sell to them. If you are looking to establish trust with your readers before entering into a deeper relationship, you may want to consider toning down the size of your logo and the amount of promotion.
vi- What Keywords Are Important?
The answer to the question needs to be driven through lots of analytical research. Take the Google Keyword tool out for a spin. Look at your own web analytics and check and see how you rank for the key terms. Once you identify the gaps, you can define a set of targeted keywords to build into your content production efforts.
vii- What is your Editorial Approach?
What topics, authors, and content types can best help you deliver on your strategy? Will content curation and syndication play into the mix? There is a budgeting aspect to all this as well and if you are managing your content as an asset, you need to consider what will provide the most editorial bang for the buck. Can you create an editorial board across your key content constituents.
viii- What Will Drive Conversion?
Think about the buyer or customer journey. What is an “appropriate next step” from the articles on your site. Your buyers are probably not going to go from early stage content to a product demo, so think about additional thought leadership offers. Think about subscriptions as the main focus of your efforts. There is value in building an audience vs. buying it.
ix- How Will You Report On Results?
If you’ve defined your mission and objectives, then the next step is to make sure you track the metrics that relate to each objective. Create a report, update it monthly and share it widely.
How can you get this all done? It may sound impossible, but when the stars align, the results are almost unbelievable.