Why your business needs a content marketing strategy
25 JAN 20170
If you want to make an impression online, you need content marketing. The old models of advertising just don't work anymore. According to HubSpot's 2016 State of Inbound Marketing report, mobile ad blocking increased 90% over the previous year while native ad engagement on all platforms plummeted. However, people still click on interesting blogs. They don't want ads, but they will take information they can use.
Content marketing is a way of reaching your customers in a way they appreciate. You're giving them something of value, whether it's useful information, new insights, or just a quick laugh, you're making a positive connection. It's a way of getting your brand out there and making potential customers aware of what you do without the obnoxious odor of traditional advertising. And that's far from the only benefit content marketing offers.
Of course, if you're going to make the most out of content marketing, you need a solid strategy behind it. Before firing up word editor and pumping out a blog, take some time to make a plan. Establish your goals, who you want to reach, how often you want to post, and what kind of tone you want to take. That way you're producing content with a vision, not just typing into the void.
One brand, one voice
Content marketing lets your business stand out with a unique voice. In our over-saturated market with an endless number of competitors, alternatives, and distractions clogging your customer's mental bandwidth, you can't afford to be just another face in the crowd – you need to be unique.
When done right, content marketing can let you inject some sorely needed personality into your business. You get to show who you are, share your business' ethos, and shine a little brighter than the next guy. By being consistent, you can build a strong brand identity that your customers can recognize and appreciate.
This means you need to know who you are, who your customers are, and what kind of content you can produce that will reach them. This is especially important if you have multiple people responsible for producing content for your business. You need everyone on your team to be on the same page so you're not producing schizophrenic content that seems all over the place.
A content marketing strategy that identifies your tone, your values, and your goals will guide your efforts and build your brand's unique voice.
Part of a good strategy is goals and production targets. Content is one of those things that is just too easy to toss on the back-burner if you don't have a concrete plan for it. When the phone is ringing off the hook, your inbox looks like a crime scene, and employees are calling in sick, who has time to write a blog? It won't get done unless you make it a priority.
A content strategy that aims for a certain amount of content to be produced and posted each week or month will help keep you focused. Set attainable targets to meet and stick to them. Obviously your exact goals will depend on the size of your team and the budget you have at your disposal, but set them. For a smaller business, a blog post and five social media updates a week, and one larger white paper or piece of premium content (infographic, video, sideshow, etc) every other month is a fairly achievable task with a little elbow grease.
When you have a strategy and schedule in place, it is easier to make good on your content goals, and that consistency is the key to seeing results.
See the way the winds are blowing
One of the most interesting things about content marketing is what it can tell you about your customers. Paying close attention to what posts get clicks, what kind of comments people leave, and the general reception to your posts can help you figure out when you're hitting the nail on the head, and when you're way off.
As these things tend to go, surprises abound. That big feature blog you sweated on for hours and hours about a topic you felt was near and dear to your customer's hearts might flop, but that silly 300 word half-thought you dashed off before lunch somehow generated a ton of conversation. Is this depressing? Yup. Does it tell you more about your customers, what to focus on, and how to effectively use your time? Yup.
Engagement is a two-way street, and the more you put yourself out there, the more your audience will respond one way or another. Being sensitive to those shifts and knowing how to tweak your strategy to adjust separates the average bloggers from the rock stars.
Don't go into the wilderness without a compass
Content marketing is a weird world. For a lot of businesses it's completed uncharted territory. But even for experienced content producers, the landscape is always shifting. If you just plan on wandering out and finding your way by "feel,” you're going to get lost.
Having a good content strategy is like having a compass. No matter what happens – big shake ups in your industry, unanticipated customer needs and interests, or whatever else - you'll always have something to guide you. This will let you keep your brand on point, save time and effort, and see real results for your efforts.
Any strategy is better than none, but, if you really want to maximize what you can accomplish with content marketing you should turn to a professional. At Lifeline Design, we can help you outline a content development strategy that will help shape your tone, identify your audience, and achieve a higher success rate. We can even help with content development, copywriting, and distribution across various social media networks!
Content marketing doesn't have to be complicated, but it does take discipline and effort. Make sure you have a content marketing strategy that will keep you moving towards your goals.