Day in, day out, we are all consuming, sharing, exchanging, and interacting with online content. Now, we can all choose the content we want to look at and the kind of adverts we wish to receive.
These important developments have considerably changed things for businesses. Yet they’ve adapted, and they now have the opportunity to create – thanks to content marketing – a long-lasting relationship with their consumers; one based on the exchange and sharing of high-value content.
Content marketing consists in creating and distributing chatty, fun and informative content to establish and position your expertise, increase your notoriety and, ultimately, win new clients. Whether it’s blog articles, white papers, infographics, webinars or videos, this way of consuming content has an impact on purchasing decisions: according to NewsCred, consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content on average before making a purchase decision.
Below we set out the 5 essential points to consider for successfully developing and implementing your content marketing strategy:
The content marketing cycle
Content marketing can be visualized as a cycle. It’s a matter of being able to repeat these different steps for all the content that will make up your content strategy:
- Developing a content calendar
- Producing content
- Distributing this content through different channels (emailing, social media, newsletters, etc.)
- Measuring the impact of the marketing strategy thanks to key performance indicators
So, not only will you have to set up planning tools and methods, you’ll also have to think of ways to efficiently share the content produced with the team members involved, in order to revise, edit, and approve these pieces.
It’s important that each stage of the cycle is thought through with the aim of reaching your goals, whilst also being realistic with regard to the means at your disposal.
Your marketing and business teams are also an important asset and a fountain of information for your content strategy. Get them involved. They’re also the primary users and the first to benefit from this content production.
2. Your content marketing – what are the objectives?
Have you ever seen a captain climb aboard their ship without knowing where they’re going? When it’s your own content strategy, you are in control, navigating the way to your final destination. You must, then, have a clear vision of your end goal, of all the work required to produce and distribute quality content.
This first step in the development of your content marketing strategy also involves asking yourself the right questions: will your content bring something to your readers? What results do you hope to achieve?
The following further important points should also be considered: what are the standard content marketing practices in your industry? And what are your competitors doing? Where do you sit in relation to them, in terms of publication frequency, content type, engagement per content, etc.?
A content marketing strategy must absolutely involve one or several objectives and the following Key Performance Indicators (KPIs):
- Generate/increase the visibility and reach of your content
- KPIs: size and growth of the audience and traffic on social media and your website
- Set yourself up as an expert and firmly establish your expertise
- KPIs: amount of engagement between your audience and your content
- Carry out lead generation and lead nurturing actions
- KPIs: the number of conversions, signed contracts, upsell and cross-sell, renewed clients
To help you list the objectives which are specific to you, you can adopt the SMART method. This will ensure that each goal listed is Specific, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic, and Time-Related.
For example, your specific goal is to generate visibility for your brand, and it’s measurable if you can see the traffic that will be generated for your site. If you are ambitious, the fixed objective will be challenging, but it will have to remain realistic according to a well-defined schedule: x number of visits in the first quarter, followed by x + 20% in the second quarter, and so on.
3. Define the target(s) of your content marketing
The subject, tone, format and distribution channels chosen for each piece of content will depend on the mix of profiles in your target audience. These “marketing personas” will allow you to better understand the expectations, interests, and behavior of your prospective and current clients.
To establish your profiles, take advantage of your client portfolio or your database of prospective clients. You can also carry out qualitative studies, interviews, and surveys.
These standard personas can give a real insight into the different consumer profiles:
- Demographic data: age, gender, marital status, city/country (or cities and countries to rule out for each persona)
- Professional data: industry, job title, level of education
- Challenges and objectives: goals to reach on a personal (B2C) or professional level (B2B), means of reaching said goals, problems and challenges met
- Purchasing habits: websites to look for and/or find out how to overcome problems and finding solutions, reasons for purchasing these solutions, etc.
Arguments influencing the persona’s decision-making process: why is your solution the right one? Why would the persona choose your brand?
4. What resources do you have?
Writing a good quality article for your company’s blog can quickly turn out to be a time-consuming and costly task. What happens when you want to include more technical content pieces such as infographics or data-visualization? Do you have the equipment to produce videos or webinars?
Before starting your content calendar, think about drawing up a list of your readily available resources:
- Human resources: will someone within the company be able to produce your content? Who will be responsible for coordinating the content creation if it’s sub-contracted? Do you have someone already able to produce and distribute your content?
- Physical resources: this includes equipment you need for developing your content (such as project management software) but also for planning it (such as a collaborative content calendar platform for team projects)
- Financial resources: what quarterly/annual budget can you allocate to your content marketing? Will this cover the costs of employing a full-time employee, using a service provider, or the actual producing of it?
It’s important to note here that a content marketing strategy is a long term project. Certain aspects, such as results from SEO will need several months before you can measure the true impact. You will need to plan for content production over the course of the year, which includes human, material, and financial resources for the year also.
For coherent content production, you will also need to make sure that various documentation is available, such as an up to date corporate graphic charter.
5. Content marketing – everyone’s business
Your content strategy will need the support of all your employees. Though far too often seen as a job for the marketing department, every one of your teams can get involved in the development and success of your content marketing strategy. It’s so important to involve your employees in the content production and distribution process, but also to make them aware of their importance for the company’s development.
With regard to production, each department must be able to share important and current topics, as well as key data and figures, and above all, questions and comments from clients.
Regarding content distribution, employees can also become good sharers of information, by sharing on their personal social networks, in their emails to prospective or current clients, but also by supporting publications on the company’s accounts.
There are some employee advocacy tools out there that allow you to compensate the more active team members. Smarp, for example, works on a points system, showing user ranking.
25% of marketers surveyed by Hubspot feel that ROI is the biggest challenge to their content strategy.
By creating eye-catching and original content, you’ll help your brand or company to get better listings on search engines, thus increasing your conversion rate and your online visibility. In business, content marketing establishes you as an expert, and an expert in your field. On a personal, B2C level, your content will encourage interaction with your online community and create audience loyalty.
For efficiency and moving forward in a positive way, it’s important to formalize and document your content marketing strategy. You will then be able to be sharp, alert, and consistent as to the changes needed for more efficient content.
If actively inspiring better practices and leaders in terms of content marketing is important, it’s just as important to adapt your strategy to your audience and your own specific goals. Above all, stand out of the crowd and be unique.