Developing and implementing a content marketing strategy is essentially for meeting particular needs and predetermined targets, such as: establishing your expertise, building up your reputation, increasing traffic on your website or even generating business leads.
However, your content is not just for you. To be wholly efficient, your content must offer added value to your readership. It should enable your readers to reach their own goals, such as reading up on a particular subject, getting exact comparative information to find a solution to a problem, or even to consult complex data so as to choose the best solution/product/service amongst many on offer.
An efficient content marketing strategy will, then, be made up of high-value content, meeting not only your needs but also those of your readership.
Your content must be unique and specific to your brand. Being consistent and coherent throughout your content marketing is a real advantage.
Content marketing – different formats, different goals
Did you know that white books and eBooks are the most frequently used and most efficient content sources when looking to drive leads? Or that an infographic is likely shared 3 times more than blog articles on social networks? Each different content format will, then, encourage your audience to behave in different ways and meet different needs.
Below is a case study to illustrate these different possibilities. Let’s take a (fictional) example where your company offers a coworking space and where Simon is the young Manager of a newly created start-up:
- Simon is new to this and comes across your coworking space during his research: Simon is looking at solutions suitable for entrepreneurs like him, to improve productivity. He looks at several articles talking about productivity, entrepreneurship, and innovative start-ups, some of which are on your company’s blog. He focuses his attention in particular on an infographic which makes the link between productivity and the work environment. Interest peaked, he shares your infographic with his network and starts following your publications on social media.
- Simon sees coworking as a suitable investment for his company: Simon looks at interviews with entrepreneurs who work in coworking spaces and talk about their workspace. He then looks up some articles on the subject and downloads some business intelligence showing the link between coworking and creating a solid network for entrepreneurs, which is of great importance to him.
- Simon thinks of taking the plunge and moving into one of your coworking spaces: Simon is convinced by the notion of coworking and decides to check out some coworking spots, including yours.
The pathway taken by Simon (represented by the funnel) and the content he consumed throughout the journey can be summed up in the following funnel:
It is, then, important to offer your published content in varied formats to be able to reach your audience at each phase in the funnel.
Offer relevant subjects and react promptly
Your audience’s profile type will have a strong impact on your content’s themes. As previously explained, if you want to captivate your audience’s attention, your content will have to be in line with their preoccupations/concerns.
Next, divide each theme into different approaches and formats so that they are present and visible in each different phase in the decision-making journey: looking for information, assessing solutions, choosing the best provider.
In the example of the coworking space seen above, the predefined themes are as follows: entrepreneurship, networking, productivity and workspace trends. Each theme will then be split into different sets, and subsets, to then fur subjects in more and more detail. This will then feed content and engage your prospects and clients, whilst meeting their very specific needs. See below:
It also then possible to bring the two subjects together by asking the following question: “Does your workspace have a positive influence on the development of your professional network?”
Your content calendar should also leave room for content reacting to current affairs, to your customers’ questions, or even for a marketing event, such as a trade show or a conference. Your content is part of your external communication and as such should reflect the values and identity of your brand.
Some subjects will also impact the content format and vice versa. Infographics or data visualization can be more efficient and appealing for dealing with a technical subject filled with hard data.
A content piece can also be split up. A long article of, say, around 2000 words, can be split into an infographic, a Slideshare presentation, and several social posts. On the other hand, several different content pieces can be brought together into one single premium content piece, such as a white paper. This will enable you to capitalize on the content produced and to divide a theme or subject into several distinct content pieces.
An efficient distribution strategy
Content, as qualitative as it may be, will have no visibility or impact without an efficient distribution strategy. It is essential to have high-value content but to reach your goals, it must be seen, read, and shared. Did you know, for example, that email and LinkedIn are the two most frequently used B2B channels for sharing quality content? Remember not to neglect any distribution channels to optimize your content’s natural distribution.
Each distribution channel has its own metrics and interfaces analytics. You can measure the impact of your content marketing by using KPIs and hard data determined at the outset. Social networks, email, blog articles, landing pages – these all provide data on your audience’s behavior, such as time spent on the page, as well as the number of views, clicks, shares, and downloads. These data are also highly important for analyzing your readers’ reactions on each distribution channel for each content piece. Analyze, compare, and test to create content that is increasingly more efficient and targeted.
Measure, analyze, adjust, repeat
Using the KPIs that you will have predetermined, you will be able to measure the impact and efficiency of published and distributed content. The figures will allow you to pull out trends and to adapt your content to the distribution method so as to improve the efficiency of your strategy.
Let’s take a few examples:
- Google Analytics: amongst other factors, observe the viewed pages, the readers’ pathway, their origins, and their behavior on specific pages.
- Social networks all have their own analytics interface and also provide data on the number of views, clicks, and engagements with posts.
- Email marketing solutions such as MailChimp give interesting data on the reach and engagement generated by your email campaigns.
Each of these metrics will allow you to assess the performance of each content post, such as the visibility and engagement generated.
To take this a bit further, we recommend using A/B testing by distributing different versions of messages and images. You will then be able to observe the performance of these different approaches and thus quickly determine the most efficient method.
To be truly efficient, a content marketing strategy should be adapted to your own specific goals. As well as bringing value to your readers, the chosen subjects and formats will have to consider the expectations of your prospects and clients.
The quality of your content aside, be sure to choose the distribution channel carefully. You should be asking yourself which channel you should use, which public are you addressing, and at what frequency. The content has to be seen, read, and add value to engage your audience. A piece of good quality content shared at the right moment and split into other content pieces can bring you excellent visibility, new leads and new clients – all in line with your goals of course.
The content marketing world is constantly changing, and so it is completely necessary for you to prove your ability to be flexible and react promptly. The KPIs you choose prior to launching your content marketing strategy will allow it to drive forward. Analyzing, adjusting and perfecting will all be crucial actions for completing your strategy and achieving the goals you set for yourself.