“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
Antoine de Saint-Exupery couldn’t have known about the importance of content planning when he penned those words almost a century ago, but his message couldn’t be more true today. Marketers are managing an increasing amount of content and data, while facing pressure to boost conversions and marketing ROI. To meet these demands, marketers require a solid content marketing strategy, not just a wish to succeed.
More than ever, companies are getting the most out of their content marketing by developing a strategic approach. According to Content Marketing Institute’s most recent survey of B2B marketers, two-thirds of respondents use a content marketing strategy, and 19% of those without hope to develop a strategy in the coming year. Importantly, respondents with a documented content marketing strategy report higher levels of overall content marketing success compared with those with just a verbal strategy.
Whether your organization is just beginning to map out its marketing content or is ready to strengthen an existing strategy, there are a few essentials to transform mere marketing wishes into results:
Clearly Define Your Goals
The pressure to post content – any content – on a regular basis is legitimate, but the companies that are most successful with their content marketing take time to focus on quality before quantity. Rather than get caught up in marketing logistics right away, identify your desired outcomes first. Do you want to increase newsletter sign-ups, generate more social engagement, boost traffic to your website? In short, what do you hope to gain from content marketing and how does it support your organization’s overall objective
It’s important at this stage to consider your budget and resource limitations. If you are a small marketing team, is there any room in the budget for outsourcing content creation or analytics? What skills and content ideas do staff in other departments have to support the content strategy? It’s worth noting that according to the Content Marketing Institute survey, the average percentage of total marketing budget spent on content marketing is 26%, but the most successful companies spend 40%.
Implement Useful, Relevant Measurements
Look back at the past year to identify content that met your newly defined goals. Which didn’t perform as you had hoped? Analyze the content subject matter, keywords, and channels used. Decide which content you can repurpose and use again, as well as where there are gaps in content that need to be filled.
Consider using metrics that can give you quick and clear insights into whether your content is meeting your goals. Remember, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Make sure to revisit your goals and select a strong set of starter metrics. For example , if one of your goals is to expand your customer base to overseas markets, use Google Analytics to measure traffic to your website. Focus on unique users, total pageviews, and unique pageviews, then break the information further by geography.
There are literally dozens of key performance indicators you can choose from to measure progress, from click-through rate to bounce rate. Consider taking advantage of technology that can analyze this information in ways that allow you to be strategic moving forward. Look for tools that provide different ways to examine and process your data, and that can give insights into changes in the market as a whole. Insights into customer actions and demographics are essential as well, which leads us to the next must-have...
Know Your Audience
Creating content is far easier once you have identified your ideal customer. Even if your company is well-established, it’s important to review your buyer persona to make sure this hasn’t shifted. What are the demographics, buying habits, and values of your target audience? For current customers, what problems or pain points do they experience, and how does your product solve them?
Talk with other departments, especially the sales team, to gain further insights into more specific characteristics and unique motivations of your audience. This is another opportunity to take advantage of technology that utilizes artificial intelligence to provide segmented information about current and potential customers.
Create Prioritized, Personalized Messages
Now that you’ve established goals, metrics, and target audience, developing key messages should feel fairly straight-forward. You’ll want to prioritize a few key content categories based on your goals, such as raising awareness, product highlights, customer actions, social engagement, etc. Then, you’ll build specific content under each of those categories.
Your goals will also determine which channels you’ll prioritize. For example, if you want to attract new customers, you might produce blogs or videos about a particular aspect of the industry to share widely on social media. If you wish to increase customer retention, you might consider a newsletter sent via email.
Increasingly, content messaging is segmented to give customers a more personalized experience. Thanks to AI technology, marketers can identify which topics would interest certain demographics of their audience. Algorithms can make it easier for marketers to decide which content is having the most impact, and where customers are most likely to see them.
Be a Constant Source of Support
Many marketing departments have a small staff with limited time to develop, create, post, and analyze content all on their own. Fortunately, having a well-defined plan is the first step to gaining insights into which tasks must take priority, and where help is needed. More and more marketers are using AI-driven technology to analyze data, study potential customer behaviors, support more personalized content creation, and evaluate marketing ROI.
As you plan your content marketing strategy, be sure to investigate how a data-driven tool can support your plan. You can even participate in Vennli’s limited time free trial to see how our content intelligence platform can help your wish for company growth become a reality.