So, you have a professional marketing team working full tilt on new and innovative content but still haven’t seen any results yet. Your company has a popular blog, a podcast, and a strong Instagram following. What happens next?
Now that you have your ducks in a line, it is time to choose the best approach to reaping a good return from your content investment.
One of the major issues can be creating content without a well-planned strategy. Content marketing provides great benefits like leads for outbound marketing, increased conversions, and greater customer loyalty, but if you don’t have a plan to capitalize on all that good work, you could still trip at the finish line.
One of the primary goals of a content marketer is to tell a story. But the content marketing strategy is the plan to choose the right story and present this story to the audience at the most opportune moment.
To shed some light on this important issue, here are eight important things you should know about building a content strategy that leaves a lasting impression on your customers and also this impression to have distinct character and quality from your competition.
Use Design Thinking to Empathize with your Audience
Design thinking allows you to develop an especially intuitive approach to your content strategy. This mental exercise allows you to view your content from the perspective of your customers and potential customers. This allows your marketing team to gain a keen insight into what type of content this customer will find valuable, engaging, worthwhile, etc.
Two steps in the design thinking process are of special importance in creating a content strategy. The first step is creating customer personas, these are cards that list the goals, challenges, likes, preferred channels, interests, and other details about the customer. This allows the campaign to narrow in on the audience in question and choose the best approach to meet their needs.
The second step is the customer journey map. This is a visual representation of the steps in the process that your potential customer will take from curious visitor to paying customer and then on to the loyal customer. A journey map allows the content planners to know when the content should be introduced into the process to improve customer experience and facilitate marketing goals.
Find Ways to Foster Customer Engagement
Content can be an important tool for introducing your customers to products and services. But it is important to not view your content as a sales pitch alone. Content that has the primary purpose of engaging with your audience is the best because it encourages company loyalty in the long run and it helps build a relationship with an actual human.
To create this type of top-quality content that captures and engages your audience, a large amount of creativity and intuition will be needed to get your audience involved in the content and the creation of the content. For example, you could have user-created content published on your company blog. Customer success could be highlighted in a webinar or social media campaigns can be initiated that encourage users to share content and comment on posts.
Adhere to Brand Guidelines
When planning what content to produce and where to place it for the most impact, you must stay on brand. Old Navy has a marketing strategy in which they send mystery emails to a certain number of random clients who are given a chance to spin a wheel and receive a special prize. This is a perfect idea for this brand to address a millennial audience who can appreciate such a technique.
On the other hand, this may be a tad too whimsical for a B@B tech company looking to maintain a professional tone and brand. In such a case an email with important information about industry trends would be a better idea.
It is a good idea to have all involved with content production for your company take proper brand training, this includes in-house, freelance, or agency employees. Customers will enjoy things that are innovative and off-beat, but they are not comfortable with something that doesn’t sound like your brand.
Take an Omnichannel Approach that Eliminates Silos
Omnichannel customer engagement strategies are a key component of campaigns that retain as much as 89% of their customers. Those that do not employ these strategies only retain a mere 33%. But just because you are using an omnichannel strategy, this doesn’t mean you should be posting on every channel. You will want to select all the channels on which your target audience can be found.
For Example, it makes sense for those with customers in the Gen Z bracket to be publishing content on Snapchat, because this channel reaches about 90% of 13- to 24-year-olds. But those companies that will be targeting boomers would do better to focus their efforts on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn because they are sure to find a much larger audience in this
Make Metrics your Best Friend
Another major reason that a content strategy can fail is the failure to define the KPIs. Top-quality content is very important, but you will have to have some sort of objective method of defining what makes a piece of content top-notch. Metrics allow brands to optimize their content for success. For example, you may find that your audience does not respond well to posts on reports made on social media and it leads to fewer engagements. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your audience, as opposed to informational reports, may question how they are presented. Perhaps infographics and blogs will be more digestible.
It is true that all channels should be working in unison and simultaneously, nevertheless, the goals of each channel will not be the same. For example, your blog may be trying to attain improved SEO numbers, your email campaign may be focused on nurturing leads with resources and information. But this is why you will need those clearly defined KPIs to ensure that all of these goals are being met acceptably.
Continuously Test and Refresh
It takes time to figure out what kind of content will work best for your brand and the audience will take some time. You can speed up the process with a simple technique like A/B testing. This can help you to compare two different types of content and see which one resonates the most with your customer pool. Emails are typically launched from platforms with A/B integrated within. Landing pages and blogs have tools like VWO.
Channels that do not have any advanced testing options available can use a simpler technique. Simply use one type of content once and another type the next. A difference in timing can cause the results to be a little skewed, but you can still get a good idea of how each type is performing.
You should also consider how trends and customers’ needs will be fluctuating and affect the performance of your A/B testing. This means that something that would perform very well in one quarter would not perform well in another. But in the end, you will want to find what is working well and emphasize that as much as possible.
Segment Content to Foster Personal Interactions
Forty-four percent of customers have said they will be glad to become loyal customers after they have seen the personalized customer experience. Content is a great way to create this customized experience that they are all waiting for. Thanks to the massive amounts of data available it is much easier to adapt content to a personal level than you might think. You can use this to segment content to the right users according to their needs and interests.
For example, instead of barraging your entire client base with promotions to your blog or webinar, make sure the content has been tailored to the appropriate industries, job titles, and all other relevant information.
Build Consistent Experiences
Brands should also consider the importance of planning their content contextually. The opposite of following a coherent content plan is publishing content randomly. This should be avoided at all costs. The most important thing to keep in mind would be considering your timing. For example, you may not have a plan to respond to a news event on your blog, but it is still important to do so to take full advantage of this while the news is still fresh.
The cadence of your posting is another equally important strategy that should remain consistent within your marketing campaigns. For a very large event, you may find your brand posting far more than usual, but you should still have a regular flow of posting that more or less remains the same. To do this, begin by considering what cadence would work best with different strategies and across different channels.
In addition to the timing and cadence of your posting, it will also be important to match the context to the content of the channel. It is important to remember that one size does not fit all and this is especially important in the omnichannel scene. The same type of content will not be good for all channels because the needs of the channels change constantly. This is why it is so important to know your product and service well.
If you need help with your content strategy – we’re here to help.