Raise your right hand if you believe that content creation is the future of marketing.
Raise your other hand if creating effective content marketing strategies is something you and your business struggle with.
Now, put both hands down so you can keep scrolling.
Are you familiar with content marketing efforts that don’t give back? Or do you struggle with taking your successful content marketing strategy to the next level?
Houston, we have a problem.
The Thin Line Between Content Marketing And Content Marketing Strategy
Just because a business has content marketing doesn’t necessarily mean it has a content marketing strategy. You may be posting a photo or two about your business on social media, but that isn’t a strategy.
You may also have a blog that you use once a while to fire a few blog posts your customers’ way. That’s still a far cry from a content marketing strategy that will take your business to the next level.
A content marketing strategy is a long-term approach aimed at developing a lifelong relationship with your client.
Look at it this way: content marketing is like a one-night stand. A content strategy, on the other hand, is a life-long commitment. Many businesses miss this difference between the two.
4 Signs Of An Inefficient Content Marketing Strategy
How do you know that your content strategy, or lack thereof, is inefficient at reaching your customers? It’s quite a tough issue to diagnose, but with the right perspective, you can spot it from a mile away. A business with a poor content marketing strategy will probably have:
Once a business realizes that its content strategy isn’t working, what’s the next step it takes? By natural inclination, it’s aggressively churning out more content.
These businesses end up with an awful lot of content. Think everything from cluttered websites to hundreds of social media posts with little or no conversions. The quantity is there, but the quality not so much.
2. Zero Consistency
The second sign of an inefficient or non-existent content marketing strategy is a lack of consistency. Most content marketing efforts meet a dead end when they start sending mixed signals to their target audience.
Inconsistency is visible even from the themes and colors of social media posts and marketing content. These companies’ blogging, e-books, and case studies may have varying themes and tones, something customers can’t stand.
3. Lack Of A Focal Point
How many tools does your marketing campaign need to run one social media post? The more siloed and parallel systems, the worse the strategy.
An efficient content marketing strategy should have two things: simplicity and abstraction. A content strategy that requires 200 integrations to run isn’t at all efficient.
4. Mediocre Engagement
All these inefficiencies lead down one road, and that’s lack of engagement. An inefficient marketing strategy will always have low lead generation and low conversion.
In some cases, the lead generation can be high, but due to inefficiencies down the tunnel, subsequent conversion is low.
The Numbers Behind The Hype
If you’ve spent time around marketers lately, you’ve probably heard the term content marketing thrown around a lot. And it’s for a good reason. According to statistics:
- 91% of B2B marketers use content marketing to reach their clients
- 49% of users say they use Google to find a new product
- 94% of Twitter users make purchases from businesses they follow
- According to HubSpot, the ideal blog is 2100 words long
Why You Need A Content Marketing Plan
It may be cliché, but failing to plan is planning to fail. Truer words have never been spoken.
And it’s as true in marketing as it is in other aspects of business. Running a content marketing campaign without prior planning is like driving blind.
1. It’s Cheaper In The Long Run
Creating a content strategy represents a shift in focus from high-quantity content to high-quality content. Strategic content creation offers more value since it requires less marketing dollars and smaller marketing teams.
2. It’s Effective
A content marketing strategy is one of the best ways to get the most out of your marketing dollars. It will enable a business to convert leads and generate loyal customers at the cheapest cost and with the least effort.
3. Develop High-Quality Leads
All leads are not created equal. That said, not everybody that clicks on your link will convert. Through SEO, a content marketing strategy will help you develop marketing and sales qualified leads that are easier to convert.
Steps to Take When Creating A Marketing Template
Now that you appreciate the importance of an ever-improving content marketing strategy, it’s essential to know what an effective marketing template should contain.
This step guide represents the questions and answers a business will meet on its journey to efficient content marketing.
1. What Are Your Business Goals?
Behind each content strategy is a business goal. Sadly, many businesses spend too much time thinking about prospective customers and forget about their own needs.
Defining your business goals is probably the most crucial aspect of developing a content marketing template.
You could be in content marketing to generate leads, educate your audience or distinguish your brand as a thought leader. Each of these goals will impact your content strategy differently.
Generating leads involves SEO, social media marketing, landing pages, and calls to action. For educational content, on the other hand, you will need a lot of long-form content like blogs and e-books.
Defining your goals is probably half of the work in developing an effective marketing strategy. That’s why the intent of the marketing strategy should hold the prime real estate at the top of a marketing template.
2. Who Are Your Customers?
You no longer have one large group of people known as “the customer” anymore.
These days there’s a Jemma, who’s a vegan, John, an environmentalist, Mike, who hates Christmas, and Ayana, who loves dogs.
This information is why it’s essential to conduct persona research and create buyer persona templates. They give you insight into the temperaments, beliefs, and character of your customers.
For example, a buyer persona template for a business reaching out to young women today will probably include their jobs, beliefs, pain points, goals, and aspirations.
From this buyer persona, the marketing team can create content with themes and visuals that show respect, empowerment, and independence.
3. How Will You Measure Progress?
Another crucial element is measuring progress. You will need to audit both your content and your content marketing strategies to run an efficient campaign.
What works best for your business? Is it e-books, white papers, blogs, or social media posts? Which content is responsible for the most leads, and by how much?
These are some crucial metrics that need to be tracked, and this is where key performance indicators (KPIs) come in. Your marketing campaign will need KPIs to ensure that you are meeting pre-determined objectives. Common KPI metrics include:
- Engagement rate
- Click rate
- Bounce rate
- Time spent on site
4. What Content Does Your Audience Desire?
After developing a buyer persona and running content audits, you need to develop the great content that your target audience wants.
At this point, your marketing template will outline content that meets the needs of the target audience.
A business can settle on a particular number of content formats. You can choose between blog posts, e-books, case studies, videos, podcasts, and social media posts depending on the key performance indicators.
This stage will include a lot of brainstorming. A business will need to develop content ideas, titles, genres, niches, and types that the audience is interested in. This will then be preceded by keyword research and SEO.
5. How Will You Produce The Content?
Producing high-quality content is a crucial part of your content marketing template. Here, you can make precise specifications on the quality of content that you require.
Specifications vary depending on the channel you plan to use. Take a blog post, for example. Your marketing team can specify the need for statistics, high-quality links, and formatting.
In the case of video marketing, marketers can dive down into specifics such as resolution, dimensions, and the tone and colors that match the business image.
6. How Will You Handle Content Distribution?
After producing different types of content, marketers now have to worry about its subsequent distribution and workflows. A marketer needs a 360-degree view of the process of the dispensation of content.
This process is easy if the marketing campaign is small. Once the campaign grows, things can become complicated for the marketing team fast.
Think of a business that’s moving multiple forms of content across various channels through different teams. This is where a content calendar comes in.
A content calendar is a visual representation that gives the marketer information about the process of content distribution.
Once you create an editorial calendar, it will enable you to know:
- Who is in charge of which marketing team
- What content is running currently
- What content will run tomorrow
- Which campaign ran successfully
- Which campaign had issues
Why Wait If You Can Start Today?
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