Can Your Brand Benefit From a Content Strategy?
Why Content Marketing?
When it comes to your marketing strategy, great content really is king… and queen, for that matter. However, there are a few things to consider when deciphering what type of content strategy to go after. The first being your overall business goal. Are you a B2B company looking to garner more leads or perhaps an ecommerce brand pushing for brand awareness? Content marketing will be effective in both of these situations, but will require very different strategies and tactics. Our guide will help you determine the best content model for your business, as well as how to get there through managing content from a digital marketing agency’s perspective.
How to Craft a Content Strategy Based on Your Business Goals
Depending on your business goals and target audiences,the content type you include in a dedicated content marketing plan will differ. A few helpful questions that can act as thought starters to inform your content marketing strategy include:
- What is the typical lifecycle of a target customer?
- What content type would they need at each phase to help push them to make a decision?
- Where do your target customers live online? Are they searching for information on Google? Looking for how-to guides? Interested in thought leadership in whitepapers?
Understanding the answers to these questions can help you craft your content plan and business goal. For example, if you are an ecommerce business, you may want to develop blog content that answers common questions users may have around your product type. If your target audience includes businesses, you will likely include whitepaper or case study content ideas to provide valuable resources, generate awareness for your solutions and nurture leads down the funnel. Start by considering your business and content goals and the audiences you’d like to reach through this lucrative marketing plan, and that will spur ideas around what type of content your strategy should include.
What Are Your Competitors Doing?
When creating a content strategy, the first step your marketing team should be focused on should be analyzing what your competitors are doing. The benefit of starting a content strategy after your competitors is that you can look at their existing content’s failures and successes, learn from them and create better, quality content from those insights. Here are three questions to ask yourself once you’ve identified what your competitors are doing with their own content strategy:
- What keywords are they ranking for that you are not?
- What content ideas are your competitors producing? Is it interactive content? Is it long-form content?
- How are your competitors positioning their brand? Are they already known as a thought-leader in a specific niche or industry?
Understanding the answers to these questions is key to determining the volume you will need to gain impression share.
How to Understand Your Target Audience
Whether you are looking to attract new customers or retain existing customers, it’s important to understand your target audience. If you are looking to target a niche audience within your broader target audience, then your content should be tailored appropriately. The goal here is to create content that resonates with your audience. You can begin this content creation process by conducting research to identify your niche audience and determine where your brand can meet their needs.
For example, if your brand sells cookware, then a niche audience could be women in their early to mid-20s. This group will likely prefer content that covers advice and recipes for those that are beginning their cooking journey, whereas an older group would prefer more advanced techniques and be willing to invest in extra accessories. It’s important to note that when you focus on a niche audience, much of the competition from your larger audience is removed and can result in a better bang for your buck. In addition, niche audiences also tend to be more engaged. so be sure to interact with them often.
Content Marketing at Different Stages of the Funnel
There are three stages of a business funnel — top of the funnel (TOFU), middle of the funnel (MOFU) and bottom of the funnel (BOFU). This funnel helps guide a lead or user through the buying journey with the goal of converting them into a customer at the end.
At each stage of the funnel, a user has different needs and interests. At the top of the business funnel, the user is in discovery mode. This user has just discovered your brand or product and may be interested in learning more about you. To capture users in this stage of the funnel, you will need the following content:
The middle of the funnel is when a user or a potential new customer is in the consideration mode. This user is now deciding whether or not your product or service is valuable to them. Oftentimes, they are comparing your business against similar businesses in the industry. This is a crucial stage of the funnel and producing the right kind of quality content can assist the user in making the right decision. At this stage of the funnel, you will need:
The last stage of the funnel is when a user will make a purchase. They have gathered all the information they need and are ready to enter their credit card information or sign up for your service. This may be the end of the funnel, but there is still valuable content you can create to push the user over the edge. Bottom of the funnel content includes:
- Customer stories
- Free trials/products
- Promo codes
Getting the Most Out of Content Creation
No matter what your marketing goals are with your content strategy, nearly any brand or marketer can benefit from producing great content. Ultimately, you’re providing value to your customers at various parts of the funnel, which means you’re creating a more engaged and loyal audience over time. A robust content strategy might take some time to develop, but it’s well worth it in the long run. Most brands make the mistake of thinking that they can’t produce enough content so they don’t produce any at all. Or, maybe you already have great content and aren’t sure how to make the most of existing content! Just start somewhere, even if it’s small, and it’ll only enhance your overall marketing goals and content marketing strategy as a whole.