3 steps to a more powerful content marketing strategy (with practical tips)
It’s no secret that using content marketing is one of the best mechanisms for converting general consumers into customers. A content strategy that incorporates things like powerful storytelling, integrated content and targeted messaging can help brands foster a lasting relationship with consumers. And, we know that efficient strategies like this work.
B2B environments versus B2C
- B2B: 92% of B2B marketers use content marketing to connect with business consumers, according to the Content Marketing Institute, citing it as “one of the most effective ways to promote a new business”.
- B2C: marketers are a little more slow off the mark in general. According to the institute, only 62% of them typically use this approach to gain new business – but that’s still a notable majority.
So, if we know that content marketing works for those initial conversions, should we just call it a day after we’re satisfied with the business we have? Or does it make sense to keep scaling up, building relationships and drawing in new consumers as a byproduct along the way?
Even if you can’t logistically take on more customers, content marketing beyond initial conversions, is going to help you improve your offering and strengthen your brand online. And while this can become a complex task and should constantly evolve, there are 3 key steps (with sub-sections) that can help you improve a content marketing strategy.
Step 1: Look at the environment, the challenges and the risks: In terms of content marketing statistics:
- 65% of marketers struggle to create engaging content
- 62% don’t really know how to accurately measure the ROI of their content marketing campaigns
- 60% of marketers battle to consistently produce content (OptinMonster)
With this in mind, how are you going to tackle the issues that marketers commonly face in terms of production, engagement and measuring returns?
Some helpful starting points
- Create a backlog of content that can be scheduled for regular use. This will buy you some time and allow you to tackle trending topics as you forecast or view them.
- Enlist content creators to help with the load. They can provide fresh perspectives once they are familiar with your brand and objectives. There’s no shame in getting assistance here. In fact, 49% of B2C and 47% of B2B marketers outsource content creation (Izea).
- Use software and monitoring tools to measure the progress of your content marketing. Set out clear metrics that you want to monitor over time, such as engagement, views and sentiment (you can do this using the Meltwater Boolean search tool).
Step 2: Think about the relationship BEFORE the initial conversions.
Typically, a first goal is to get more customers or create more brand awareness. But you need to start thinking about what happens after that before you’ve even achieved it.
This might seem like counting one’s digital chickens before they’ve hatched but ultimately, every interaction you have with a consumer is part of a bigger whole. The more holistic and well thought-out your strategy, the better your long-term business.
Add UX into your thinking by plotting out the ideal journey you would like a consumer to take, i.e:
- Detail how you want people to feel at every point and how you will encourage them to do this through content.
- Make sure the mechanisms you use to convey your content are ready and user friendly. Do this by emphasizing important messaging and making things easy to navigate and scan. If they aren’t ready for human consumption yet, add them to an overall strategy in a logistics section.
- Don’t say something for the sake of it – your messaging should always serve a purpose. How are you going to add value to your consumer’s life with every communication. This should be detailed in your plan.
- Make more than a good first impression. How will you continue to surprise and delight your consumers (KANO, 1980) through content beyond their initial meeting with you? Find references, get inspired and add your thoughts and action points to your plan.
You can also look at using multimedia to spice up your offering with inexpensive mechanisms on social media that help you create video snippets, live videos, carousels, panoramics, etc.
Step 3: Audit your content
High-quality content and relationship building requires constant adaptation, at least to some extent. As a marketer or business owner, you need to be able to adapt to an ever-changing digital media climate. Draw the necessary insight to see where your strategy needs to change and where you can leverage high-performing content to make your mark.
- Assess the strengths and weaknesses of your content as you go. Are some posts performing better than others? Can you identify why? You can also run a test group to get direct feedback from your intended audience.
- How is your content performing according to the metrics and KPIs that you initially identified as important? If performance is largely inline, you can consider that a strength, if it is under-performing is it about unrealistic expectations or room for improvement?
- How do support disciplines play a role in your content? Have you considered improving your SEO strategy to make content more visible? Have you integrated a paid media campaign or enlisted help publicising your content?
- Make a note of pages that have a lot of views but short reading time as an area for development.
- Use pages that perform well to inform the content you create in future.
- Monitor the performance of competitor websites and do a comparative analysis. You can do this using the built in function on Facebook, analytics or sentiment monitoring software.
Is it worth it?
As you can see, establishing and running a long-term content strategy takes time, effort and commitment. However, it’s a worthy endevour. From an SEO perspective, companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages, which helps brands rank and gain greater visibility (Hubspot). Content marketing also provides better sales-ready leads and helps foster long-term relationships. Don’t get despondent. Get smart and refocus – and your business could reap the benefits in the long term.