Let’s face it, traditional marketing methods are becoming less effective. “People are sick of being sold to, marketed to, and tricked into clicking on links to unwanted products” (Schaefer, 2012, p. 19). Customers are more empowered than ever. They are conducting research and finding solutions to their problems online. They are expressing opinions about products and services and sharing them with others. In other words: They want useful information. This is where content marketing enters the picture.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing refers to developing and publishing content that is valuable to your target audience and helps them make educated buying decisions. The goal is to attract customers by providing them with meaningful information. Doing so will help to position your business as a trusted resource and thought leader. By providing this great content, the hope is that people will spread your message by sharing it with their networks. In fact, Schaefer (2012) notes that “content is the currency of the social web, and sharing that content is the catalyst to new relationships and business benefits” (p. 16). To successfully create and supply this content, you need a content strategy.
What is Content Strategy?
Brenner (2012) describes a content strategy as “the mindset, culture and approach to delivering your customer’s information needs in all the places they are searching for it, across each stage of the buying process. It is a strategic approach to managing content as an asset, with a quantifiable ROI” (n.p.).
Why is a Content Strategy Important?
Today, anyone can publish content. A strategic approach to content marketing is important because it lays out a plan for creating, delivering, and maintaining information relevant to the target audience. A strategic approach also helps to keep content fresh, create awareness, extend reach, increase influence, and position your brand as a trusted resource (Southern New Hampshire University, 2013). A content strategy, when aligned with the business strategy, also helps to achieve the overall business goals.
Watch this short video by Reload Media on the benefits of content marketing strategy
How to Implement a Content Strategy at the Campaign Level
First, you need to define your target audience and what problems they are experiencing that you can solve. Second, determine which social platforms they are participating in. Third, identify keywords your audience might search on. Fourth, create keyword rich content that will address problems your audience may be experiencing and offer solutions (Scott, 2011). An editorial calendar is the best tool to use to help you plan, manage, coordinate, and implement the content strategy (Southern New Hampshire University, 2013).
When creating content, it’s a good idea to take a broader view and think about how to re-purpose it into many smaller chunks of information to share (Handley & Chapman, 2012). An example of recycled content would be to create a white paper, slide share, and several blog posts from one article. For a campaign, this content can be used as a call to action on digital advertisements, social posts, and blog articles to drive traffic to a website or landing page.
Can you offer other ways to implement a content strategy?
Brenner, M. (2012, Sept 18). What is a content strategy and why do you need it? Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2012/09/18/what-is-a-content-strategy-and-why-do-you-need-it/
Handley, A., Chapman, C. (2012). Content rules. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Schaefer, M. (2012). The Tao explained. In The Tao of Twitter (p. 15-20). McGraw-Hill.
Scott, D. M. (2011). You are what you publish: Building your marketing and PR plan. In the new rules of marketing and PR. (3rd ed., p. 137-168). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Southern New Hampshire University (2014). MKT-666 Module 5 Analyzing Content in a Social Media Marketing Campaign [pdf]. Southern New Hampshire University.