Content marketing strategy makes your life easier, content more relevant, and results more powerful.
Effective content strategy is often missing when diving into content marketing, but it can make your life easier, your content more relevant, and your results more powerful. These four content strategy basics will help lay out a strategy and plan that connects with the right customers at the right time, with the right information.
1. Accept and Embrace Digital Content
For many marketers, the idea of content marketing is still a little fuzzy and focused only on the big SEO and metatag buzzwords. But there is more to the content puzzle because of what’s at stake.
In Google’s CPG Digital Influence research with Deloitte, 75 percent of shoppers said they used digital channels in their most recent shopping journey to become inspired, browse, research, or select a brand. Consumer product goods shoppers also said they used search in their most recent shopping journey and reported spending 50 percent more than those who didn’t.
Google SEO favors user experience over ad monetization
2. Create Integrated Strategies
Your customers are looking for solutions, and content marketing can lead them there, but you must be ready to interact consistently with them at each stage of the buying process. That means your entire team must know what is happening, what to do, and how.
PracticalEcommerce finds there are four types of intent behind keyword searches:
- Consumers are looking to navigate to a specific brand or product
- They are trying to find information to solve a problem
- They are investigating options and opportunities
- They are looking to complete a transaction and buy something.
Google’s 2017 Journey Finder research with Verto found that consumers’ intentions are redefining the marketing funnel. Every search is different depending on what the customer is trying to do. The immediacy of search through various technology devices means consumers are narrowing and broadening their consideration set in unique and unpredictable ways.
That means your content must match where customers are on a very fluid pattern of search and encounter during fluctuating steps of the buying journey – from discovery, to consideration and research, to deciding when, where, and how to buy, and at what price. Content plays a crucial role in this intent-driven process to make strangers friends, friends followers, followers leads, and leads customers.
At each step, your sales and customer service team members must know what your content is saying and why so they can bring customers seamlessly along to a completed purchase. Map out your sales process and map out those critical touchpoints that define your customers’ experience with you. In this way you ensure that what happens online and during your sales and service follow up matches the experience you want customers to have. This builds loyalty and life time value.
When you can attract and keep customers via content-driven relationship building, you win and grow. As Google’s President of the Americas Allan Thygesen said, “When people can count on brands, brands can count on growth.”
3. Know Your Customers’ Back Story
Knowing your customers and what they are trying to achieve, the troubles that nag them, what they’re responsible for on the job and at home, and what they do for fun are essential to strong content-marketing strategies.
Many business and sales leaders believe they know their customers and what makes them tick but developing formal personas for your critical customer types is a powerful process. You discover new perspectives and new dimensions of rapport that result in relevant content that resonates with customers and drives relationship. It’s worth the time.
Shopify’s Leslie Carruthers offers four case studies revealing how content relevant to customer needs helps companies stand out in the noise. Content creates unique value that connects with customers, solves problems, and builds loyalty.
4. Know Your Goals and How You Will Measure Them
This business basic has a different twist in content marketing. Because the online buying journey travels different and unique paths to discover you, metrics take on new dimensions.
Misaligned goals between your marketing and sales teams can cause confusion and devastate your efforts in this area, especially when it comes to content. In 5 Reasons Content Marketing Fails, the post explores how to bring these two teams together in productive harmony. Each should contribute to the overall planning and goal setting to make the most of your company strengths.
That kind of cooperation defines the metrics and what it takes to move people along from strangers, to friends, to followers, to customers. Your data tracking then targets responses and interactions based on customer interests and intentions, what customers do, and your ultimate desired result.
What are you selling? Plan your content based on the results you want to see in your defined sales goals and plans. Then determine what you need to accomplish the plan. Leads, appointments, click-through product sales, relationship building, brand support? Designed content lights the path to accomplish your goals wherever the customer is on the buying journey.
Standard SEO, traffic, open and click metrics make visible how content marketing directly supports your overarching goals and success.
Make It Happen
Use this content-marketing framework to maximize your online presence and work with creative, business-savvy writers to attract strangers and make customer-friends.