Well, finding the answers definitely needs a lot of brainstorming!
Content marketing is still the buzzword, given the ease with which the right words get into the heart and minds of the right audience in this online-obsessed world. But competition has become tougher than ever. Hence, the key is to use the right form of content at the right time through the right channel, focusing on the right audience. And how do you find this key? With some smart content strategy, of course!
Since coming up with a competent and crisp content strategy is so important, you should obviously be asking the right questions. What are these questions? Well, that’s the easiest part – it’s just 6 simple questions.
Six questions that help create your content strategy
- Why do I need a content marketing exercise? The answer to this question helps you define your content marketing goals.
- How will I achieve my content marketing goals? The answer to this question is the longest and defines your content roadmap.
- Who will be my target audience? The answer to this critical question will define the type of content, the frequency of content interaction, and the channels you choose. If this step is ignored, your content marketing will be way too generic, producing no results.
- Which type of content would I require? Of course, there are many favorites, but a well-tailored content format depends on your specialization and your target audience.
- What are the content channels I should use for content marketing? A perfect combination of different content channels can help you reach out to different target groups distributed across the online world.
- When will I clear each content marketing milestone? The content timeline is critical – a parameter that must be closely watched through your engagement.
So, let’s look at each question in more detail, shall we?
The why focuses on the goals of your content marketing initiative. Most successful organizations, a popular example being Amazon, have consistently reinvented their content marketing strategy by concentrating on this question, “why”. Every answer to their “why” ends with the customer, which explains their consistent success with content marketing. Their goal is to expand their community and to deliver useful content to this close-knit community who value Amazon. This goal answers the “why” for Amazon. Similarly, have a goal set for your content marketing. Why should you take up the content marketing initiative? The answers can vary from “so my audience can get to know my products well” to “so our brand can connect with our target audience and build a consistent interaction”. Each goal will have a completely different content strategy.
The answer to “how” gives you a clear perspective of the content marketing approach you need to take. Every content marketing strategy should be unique and personal, focusing on your audience and your goals of interacting with them. Yes, numbers matter but quality matters more. Hence, while building your content strategy, do not just blindly rush ahead to build a meaningless crowd – groups with followers who are not your target audience, purposeless likes, or shooting arrows in the dark.
Ensure that your content strategy details how you will be finding your target audience. Think about the brand personality you would want to portray to your audience – informative, fun, up-to-date, frank, or cause-focused. There are many personalities to choose from, but it must identify with your brand. But the core is to get your identity across as a brand worth trusting. Of course you can always change the content flavor and dare to experiment with unique approaches.
But whatever you do, never sell obviously- well, AIDA still means a lot in the content world. Also define how you will be measuring content performance, what insights would you be assessing, and how often would you be reassessing your approach. Answering this question does require a lot of brainstorming sessions.
Answering the question “whom” definitely takes a long time. Surprisingly, most of us think we know our target audience. But when we actually get down to researching about the persona of our audience, there’ll definitely be a lot of surprises. Personas are not a figment of your content marketer’s imagination – these personas are created from the data gathered from interaction with potential customers, their social media channel preferences and behaviors, their likelihood of visiting your landing page/site, their lifestyle and other demographics, possible problem areas, wants and needs. In addition to the extensive data capture options, technologies such as chatbots are precious support in gathering important data about your audience using a simple conversational interface.
As irrelevant as it sounds, the type of content depends on your brand personality and your content marketing goals. Although written text – from blog posts to whitepapers – are still popular, it’s videos that are fast becoming the darlings of content marketing. With innumerable content models from images and infographics to case studies and quizzes, you need to choose content formats in stages. Plan your content strategy for a specific period, by combining different formats and then revising the formats for the following period. This gives you a good overview of what format clicks and what does not. Also assess the best time of the week a specific format of content would work. Never forget your SEO strategy and look for the set of keywords that will help your content gain visibility.
The content channels you choose are really important and it depends a lot on your target persona. Choose the social media channels where you can easily establish your visibility with your target persona. Do not ignore other content channel options such as email marketing, online events, webinars, and podcasts. Ensure that your content approach is mobile friendly given the increasing tendency to catch up on content “on the go”
The timeline is critical – the key here is consistency. The Content Marketing Institute and Seth Godin are great examples of consistent content engagement, delivering refreshing perspectives on content marketing. Most of us budding content marketers would have definitely had our initial lessons from these leaders. Ensure that your content plan flows seamlessly from one topic to another and from awareness to action. Plan a detailed schedule for a specific period, say, quarter, with regular content performance checks. Then tweak the approach depending on the response. But never stop.
Content marketing requires immense focus and a continuous engagement with your target audience. This requires you to answer the six critical questions of why, who, how, which, what, and when. The answers to these questions will help you define your content marketing strategy with ease. So how far are you on your content marketing roadmap?