If you think that the content is based on a collection of blogs, tweets and web pages that works together with the objectives of a company, you are correct; but only in part. While social reach, branding, and quality content are important elements of content management, in the grand scheme of things, there is so much more.
If you are involved in or want to be involved in any aspect of digital marketing, you will want to develop a clear understanding of what goes into developing a successful content marketing strategy. Here, we will outline some of the key areas that any content manager or strategist needs a solid understanding to run a successful digital marketing campaign.
- Understand the content marketing (sales) funnel
The sales funnel is essentially a broad-based term that describes the buyer’s decision-making journey, with three key phases being knowledge, assessment, and purchase. Anyone who is involved in sales and marketing needs to pay close attention to this process to better understand what makes buyers move through the funnel.
To some extent, content marketing is considered a reach, which means that it is something that is at the top of the sales funnel. To an outsider, it may seem that this aspect of digital marketing is “far” from the real part of the money-generating (sales) funnel.
This article via Single Grain suggests that, with content marketing, there is a fourth stage of the sales funnel that comes after the “pleasure” of conversion, which essentially translates to establishing brand loyalty. Therefore, content strategists should always think of four critical stages of the funnel:
- Diffusion: attract new customers
- Conversion: convince customers to buy
- Closing: make the sale
- Retention: establishing brand loyalty and repeat customers
The “top” of the funnel is where brand awareness and lead generation occurs. It’s where you have the opportunity to network on the widest possible customer base and not only build your audience, but also engage with them to understand more about your entire strategy. But a great strategist or content manager will understand how to engage customers through every part of the funnel, and ideally keep them flowing through the funnel.
- View your content as data
A content strategy isn’t about how many blogs are written per month, how much time should be spent on Facebook Live, or whether or not a business should write a whitepaper. It’s absolutely about quality, but not all of these things are exactly what strategy is about – they are components, but they are not really what will guide your strategic approach.
You can create content through blogging and great content marketing strategy can engage audiences at all times, and to do this, a good strategist needs to know how their content is performing do you want to learn how to create content visit Nirmalbharatyatra. When you know exactly how to spin your content to be effective in one phase, then you can use that information as you progress to the next phase in the funnel.
Your strategy will be guided by analysis. The strategist’s job is to meticulously monitor, track, observe, and report the numbers to continually refine and adjust toward better conversions. You will need to keep track of where your customers are “coming” from and where they are “going.” In other words, you must continually assess traffic patterns.
Continually testing what you are doing is how you will get a solid idea about the preferences, interests and buying behaviour of your audience. You need to know how well the material is performing to move to the next step in the process.
Basic questions you will want to continually ask yourself include:
- What can be refined and improved?
- What tools, applications and platforms have the best and worst performance?
- How do all the pieces come together?
- Make a plan
Creating a calendar is vital to a successful strategy. Like an editorial calendar for a traditional publication, a content calendar can help guide your strategy over a set period of time. Of course, you will want to add special dates here, such as major holidays and events that are relevant to your industry. You will probably also want to leave some “blank” spaces to incorporate, for example, unpredictable but relevant events or current affairs that you need to create breaking content.
You can also use this calendar not only to plan what you are posting, but also where. Having a multimedia strategy and even including outreach activities like guest posts and public relations is crucial these days.
When considering distribution, you’ll want to consider the different purposes that different types of content serve and how this can affect your marketing and how you can use various combinations of content to save time and resources. You may want to consider, for example, establishing authority through guest blogging, writing blogs in conjunction with email series, and using social media to build tribes and groups.
It is completely reasonable and efficient to develop a strategy based on pieces of content that can be easily reused across different channels and for different purposes. So, as you develop all of your content (think multimedia), consider the ways it can be easily converted in the future.
Here are some ideas, just to name a few:
- Build a webinar on a series of email courses to sell
- Create PDF guides from old blogs
- Develop blogs so they can later be used to easily create a case study or whitepaper
- Create an infographic from a slide show (or vice versa)
You can also create each piece of content with the intention of a mixed-use strategy. Tweet buttons are a great example of this. Anything that provides an easy way for you and your audience to expand the distribution of a given post is gold.
- Set a specific address for your content
Let’s say you’re a strategist or content manager, and you have a strong content framework and ready writers. You’ve developed a strategy, you know the funnel and a timetable. You have established, in a general sense, what you mean.
Many companies already have a ton of content and a team of writers to create it. These are essential, as is a set of analysis tools. But it’s important for strategists to understand where different types of content fall into the marketing framework.
The following list is not a concrete example. It will definitely vary with context. But it’s a good idea to divide content types into different phases of the funnel so that everyone on the team is clear about the purpose of each.
- Broadcast: Facebook Ads, Landing Page, How-To Videos, Infographics
- Conversion: social media, informational blog posts, case studies, quizzes
- Closure: series of emails, reviews, questionnaires
- Retention: exclusive offers, white papers, emails, contests, surveys
Always keep a fresh mind set
One of the key traits of a great content marketing strategist is having the ability to continually solve problems and learn new things. Content marketing isn’t rocket science, but it does require some patience, creativity, and an analytical perspective. Although an effective strategy requires analytical thinking, it is by no means short and dry, this leaves room for a lot of creativity and, at least to some extent, experimentation.
You will need a clear vision of your goals, and you will need to have at least a flexible business plan. It also requires a good understanding of the most effective and up-to-date tools you have access to in the context of the business and industry you work with.
Therefore, as you progress through the above points, you always want to think ahead of new solutions and tools that you can use to continually refine your strategy to reach new goals over time.