Content and Inbound Marketing
In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an article titled, “Content is King,” where he said that “much of the real money will be made on the Internet [through content], just as it was in broadcasting.” It has been over 20 years yet “content is king” is still relevant to any effective marketing strategy today. As of January 2020, almost 70% of businesses implement some form of content marketing.
Content Marketing and Content Strategy Explained
Content marketing and content strategy are often used interchangeably because they work hand in hand and often come together. Still, it’s important to distinguish between them for businesses to effectively implement both.
Content strategy or content marketing strategy is the process of identifying business problems and addressing them via content creation and distribution. Meanwhile, content marketing is a form of strategic marketing that uses the creation and distribution of relevant content to deliver value, and attract and retain audiences with the goal of eventual conversion (purchase, subscription, upgrade, etc.). To put it simply, content strategy is to planning while content marketing is the implementation of the plan. These two work together for optimal results.
In a 2018 survey on content marketing trends in Australia, it was found that 68% of all Australian businesses that implemented content marketing have reached the stage where the content strategy has paid off and content marketing has shown some results. The survey also reported that 72% of the same group of businesses attribute their organizations’ increase in overall success to their content strategies.
These findings confirm the importance of producing quality articles and multimedia for blogs and social media. But they also emphasize that focusing on mere content creation and distribution is not enough. One needs technical work and expertise to take a step back and evaluate whether the content being produced contributes to the business goals one is trying to achieve.
How Content Strategists use Content Marketing to Grow Your Business
Content Strategists Identify Your Business Goals
The first thing content strategists do is to study your business model, plan requirements for them to identify which problems you’re having in the business. After this, they set a goal then they formulate a content strategy that should help accomplish the goal. This first step is crucial to effective content marketing since it makes sure that whatever efforts you devote towards making and distributing content will help solve the problem your business is having.
Content Strategists Form A Strategic Vision
After identifying the business problem and coming up with a content strategy that would address it, the next step is to formulate a strategic vision for all content strategic efforts to follow. This is especially important for organizations with collaborative environments because executing effective content marketing campaigns takes more than just one person. Having a clear strategic vision helps put everyone on the same page, makes communication easier, and also helps ensure all content marketing initiatives are aligned.
Content Strategists Determine Where Content Should Be Distributed
Content can take many forms and show up in different places. The content strategists identify which form of content would suit your needs and which platform it content should be distributed in so that content marketing targets are hit.
Content Strategists Verify Whether Content Marketing Efforts Satisfy Business Goals
Content marketing involves a scientific approach in formulating the plan and making sure the plan satisfies business goals. Using data available to your business (conversion rates, audience reach, click-through rates, etc.), strategists determine whether or not the content strategy you’re using is able to address the problem you were having in the business. This step is crucial because it checks whether or not your content strategy works; identifying whether it’s faulty is also just as important since it allows you to save time and money by making changes early.
Content Strategists Curate Content
Content marketing is often associated with brainstorming ideas and producing actual content. Unbeknownst to most people, effective content marketing takes a bit more technical work. Content strategists need to determine your business’ unique selling proposition in order to know what to communicate to your audience. Then, they need to conduct audience research not only to help identify the problem content marketing has to solve but also to determine how your content should appear and sound.
Content strategists aim to make your products and/or services relevant to your target audience. To do this, they conduct research to learn about your target audience’s behaviour and preferences; then, once they’ve identified what your audience wants and what their pains are, you can offer them solutions to their problems.
Content Strategists Add Structure to Content Marketing
Lastly, content strategists should also plan how said content will be created be it in the form of a content calendar, content briefs, or even wireframes.
A content calendar is a schedule of what, when and where content will be published. It often includes the content subject, campaign targets, publishing date, and so on. This is helpful for collating all content related initiatives in the content marketing campaign so that every member of your content marketing team understands the flow and purpose of what they’re doing.
Another way of doing this is by creating content briefs. Content briefs are documents that contain all relevant information one needs to produce content that satisfies metrics in SEO or social media.
Meanwhile, a wireframe refers to the skeletal outline of a webpage concerned with page design. Although this does not seem to be within the scope of content, it is something content strategists should be familiar with because it influences how content is perceived by the audience and can affect the results of content marketing.