Content marketing generates three times the leads of outbound marketing at 62% of the cost. With that kind of incentive, it’s no wonder that content creation has become such a central facet of modern marketing. Before you jump into the fray, however, you’re going to want a solid content strategy.
Ask the Right Questions
The early stages of a strategy development include every concern under the sun. Before you get ready for launch, things need to get narrowed down for the sake of coherence. Make sure that you start the process of developing your content strategy with the right questions.
- What is your company’s mission? There’s a human element behind the efforts of your organization. Beyond generic statements like “providing excellent service” or an “outstanding product,” there has to be an emotional narrative behind your operations. Are you here to empower the ambitions of small businesses? To materialize the innovative aspirations of would-be tech entrepreneurs? To facilitate the proliferation of utilitarian infrastructure? You need a cohesive emotional hook to bring together the overarching efforts of your campaign.
- Who is your audience? “Small business owners” isn’t an answer. “Tech startups” isn’t a sufficient answer. “New Parents” isn’t good enough. How old are they? What are their preferred social media platforms? Where do they live? What kind of language do they use to communicate? What do they do for fun in their spare time? What are their favorite colors? In the efforts of expanding market shares, it’s tempting to cast a wide net, but the most successful content is targeted. You need more than a demographic. You need an exhaustive psychological profile.
- What are the pain points revolving around your product or service? Finances, productivity, processes, support – what are the key areas of operation that are most important to your industry? Moreover, what are the distinct qualitative struggles pertinent to these broader categories?
- What are your success metrics? Revenue, right? Not quite. Content marketing is one aspect of a broader effort. A successful marketing strategy provides visibility and leads while influencing behavior in your target demographic. It is still limited by a successful sales strategy, client retention, and continued customer service. In order to measure the success of your content strategy, you need to approach it as a distinct component of your overall efforts. Tangible measures of your content marketing include: unique visitors, bounce rates, shares, unsubscribes, and click-through-rate. ROI is the bottom line, but it isn’t the only metric to focus on.
Focus on Brand Narrative
With targeted answers to the pivotal questions addressed in the early stages of your development, you’re ready to tell an overarching story. You communicate with more than just your copy. A good pitch is targeted, groomed, and measured with clear goals in sight. You know who you’re selling to, what they want, and how to measure whether or not you succeeded. Now it’s time to determine what the answer looks like.
It’s time to outline a compelling essential narrative.
Fundamentally, your brand narrative is the means by which you fulfill your mission addressing the pain points of your target demographic. It has a voice, an aesthetic, and a targeted appeal. Your brand narrative describes your style and approach to delivering upon your promise.
This is a story that you tell across the entirety of your campaign where your product or service is the “happily ever after.” This is not an afterthought. It’s a commitment. It’s imperative that your underlying brand narrative remain consistent throughout your campaign efforts.
You know who you are. You understand your angle with your demographic. You have a solid strategy to address the concerns of your target market.
Don’t show up to your interview in a zoot suit.
Before you plunge forth with your ambitious new strategy, you need to have a feel for convention in your industry and niche. How does the competition go about accomplishing the goals you’ve set out to achieve?
Take a look at their voicing. Hone in on the platforms they utilize. Understand their angle. Pick up as much of their strategy as you can and make it your own. Within the brass tacks of operations, you’re limited by your resources. Content marketing similarly presents restrictions based on the time, effort, and talent that you can afford to allocate to a campaign. However, within the general realm of content output, your only real limitation is vision.
Figure out what the competition is doing and use it to your advantage
Don’t be an off-brand. Be the answer.
Marketing is a creative enterprise. You’re not here to blend in. You’re here to leave your mark.
This is the point of your journey at which your ambitions collide with your execution. The hallmark of a quality campaign is distinction.
It’s true that increased content output leads to higher traffic. The issue is that you’re not the only one to have stumbled upon this lucrative epiphany. Increasing your output isn’t enough to capitalize with conversions. You are one voice among many. Without a distinctive approach to your content strategy, your voice will be muted amidst a cacophony.
In order to make a real impression upon your audience, you don’t have a choice but to stand out from the crowd. You have to defy convention. The extent and the means are what divide the mundane from the exceptional. There is a delicate line to toe between the appalling and the stunning. The art of execution resides in captivating your audience by subverting their expectations without violating them. It is within this delicate balance that a successful strategy thrives.
There’s really only one question left if you’ve made it this far in your efforts.
Are you up to the task?