With 76 percent of marketers indicating they will increase their content marketing this year, businesses need to take note and not only create quality content but focus more on tying their content to business results and driving activity around creating content, connecting with audiences, and optimizing the entire process.
With all this attention on content, we can’t forget the importance of a content strategy because without one it often leads to inconsistent content with no core themes or purpose. This is confusing to your target audience and can negatively impact your brand’s credibility.
Additionally, the days of content being generically created and without a strategy like that from inbound marketing companies like HubSpot simply doesn’t cut it any more. Generic content is unlikely to rank organically. Generic content doesn’t get shared. Generic content doesn’t engage people and is therefore unlikely to deliver against your wider marketing objectives.
If you skip the strategy and head straight to delivery you’re in danger of creating content, which could either confuse or alienate your audience, or fail to reach them at all.
As a strategic marketer, I’d like to share with you some essential steps to help you create a content strategy for your business. A content strategy is the high-level vision that guides future content development to deliver against a specific business objective. Make sure your content strategy:
- Ensures your content is consistently aligned with your brand message and values
- Ensures your content enhances your credibility
- Ensures your content helps you stand out from the competition
- Ensures your content delivers against your objectives
To develop a content strategy you need to start with clarifying your brand’s values and core strengths as well as reviewing the content you already have to make sure it is delivering on your objectives.
Once you have conducted an internal review, take a look at your customers to understand their wants, needs, and purchasing journey as well as where and when they consume content.
As a final step before developing your content strategy, you’ll need to look at your commercial competitors to better their brand values, unique selling proposition, and how they are communicating them to their customers. It would also be worth looking at your content competitors. These might be different from your commercial competitors, as they could be anyone who creates content about the service or product you offer.
With this research conducted, you need to conduct a GAP Analysis to determine what is and isn’t working and identify the gap where you’ll position your brand.
As content is usually goal-driven, so too is your content strategy. What you create depends on what you want to achieve.
There’s a great book I’d recommend on content marketing by Dan Norris. He outlines the importance of content marketing and is worth a read!
Content Machine: Use Content Marketing to Build a 7-figure Business With Zero Advertising by Dan Norris (2015-08-09)