While content marketing has been around for some time now, it’s seen a huge rise in popularity in the past two years. Many global brands, such as Coca-Cola, have placed focus on a content-led approach rather than being platform centric, however, many are still unsure of where to begin.
That’s why we’ve pulled together the six key steps we feel are essential to creating a successful content marketing strategy:
It may seem simplistic, but having clearly defined objectives are a must-have for planning your entire content marketing strategy. Determining whether your strategy should revolve around either increasing brand awareness or sales/direct response, or both, will have a huge effect on the overall purpose of each piece of content that is created, as well as mapping out your customer journey and measurement.
Knowing your audience is essential for tailoring your content strategy. From creating personas, to using first and third party data sources, like we did for BBC Three, in order to understand the relationship the target audience has with digital and social media; having data and insight on your audience groups can help identify opportunities to reach them with valuable content throughout the day, on the right platform, at the right time.
Following the work identifying who your audience are, and how they behave and interact with content across digital and social channels, you can then begin to map out their journey with the brand. We think it’s important to consider the needs and behaviours of the customer through all relationship stages; from being completely new to the brand and needing to discover it, through to consideration and purchasing, and eventually loyalty and advocacy. The type of content for each stage of the journey will be different depending on the customer’s relationship with the brand, their decision-making criteria, and therefore their content needs. To successfully target your customers, you need to be able to distinguish between these needs, and adapt content appropriately.
We mentioned earlier about the importance of valuable content. What do we mean by that? It’s easy to think about all the marketing messages we, as brands and marketers, want to push to customers, but is this really valuable to customers? In our opinion, to create valuable content, it should be visible (which we’ll come onto in step 5) and relevant.
To ensure your content is relevant, every piece should have a clear purpose for the audience. Whether this is entertainment, education, information or utility, the content should be tailored to the customer for whichever point in the journey they currently are in.
As mentioned above, for true value to be created, content should not just be relevant, it also needs to be visible. Whether this is using owned channels, or utilising paid support, it’s key to plan where each piece of content will live, and when.
By understanding your audience, you will have been able to identify which platforms your audience are on, how they interact, for what purpose they use them, and crucially when during the day they are using the platforms. Having this information will help to make sure your content is seen by the audience, and will allow you to plan any media support effectively to really make an impact.
After going to all the above effort, it’s crucial to make sure you have a measurement plan in place to assess and evaluate the success of your strategy. We’ve created a measurement framework which aims to track from channel performance indicators (such as engagement rates, click throughs or reach) through to final outcomes to determine the business value of content and channels.
While it’s still important to track the indicators in the top half of the framework to ensure that content is optimised and customers are engaging with it, the bottom half of the funnel allows you to track against the key objectives (brand awareness or sales) that will truly benefit the organisation, and show whether your efforts are having a vital role in customer behaviours and actions.