Creating good content that adds value to the customer’s purchasing experience and overall knowledge, in general, lies at the crux of helping brands earn credibility and trust.
Although content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing, it generates about three times as many leads. Hence, every brand must try to be at the forefront of creating content that adds value.
Easier said than done content marketing has several different elements to it, which we’ll discuss in this post.
And content creation is a long journey with challenges. In a recent research by Content Marketing Institute, several marketers reported low content success (63%) due to several content creation challenges. 51% said it was due to strategy issues.
These stats make it imperative for every marketer to understand the nitty-gritty of building a creative content marketing strategy. Read below to understand the must-haves for your content marketing strategy.
Must-haves for your brand’s creative content marketing strategy
Frequent content audits
Creating content with little understanding of what works is an avoidable mistake. 4.4 million new blog posts are published every day across all platforms. Amidst such massive competition, publishing relevant content that your audience wants is the only way to succeed.
Understanding what your audience expects from you using different techniques like creating and sharing feedback forms, diving into your content’s analytics (bounce rate, engagement, conversion rate, etc.) with Google Analytics, social listening and competitor analysis is key to creating valuable content that drives results.
Social listening refers to learning the perception of your brand in a data-backed way by extracting information from social media channels. When you track the social media mentions and conversations related to your brand, you are keeping a check on what people are saying about you on the social web.
Tools like Hootsuite help you track your brand’s mentions on the internet and offer meaningful insights for further use.
Competitor analysis, on the other hand, is all about keeping an eye on what is working for other players in your industry and which part of their content market strategy is yielding results.
To perform competitor analysis, identify your top competitors, their strengths and weaknesses and keep an eye on their social media content. You can perform competitor analysis by leveraging tools such as SEMrush and SpyFu.
The general practice is to audit your existing content every quarter to refine your future strategy. The challenge to rise as a leader, amongst the sea of content being published each day, can be combated with regular analysis of your existing content.
The content marketing process is no longer all about creativity. You must use data to make informed decisions and at the same time, not stop experimenting.
That is, it is critical to take risks within set frameworks to optimize your content marketing strategy and outperform your competitors. Your content marketing team must adopt result-driven frameworks at every stage of the process right from audit to execution.
Here are some of the most productive frameworks that companies like SEMrush and Ubersuggest implement in their strategy.
Set CLEAR goals
Here’s what CLEAR stands for:
- Collaborative: Teamwork is key to producing quality content
- Limited: Limited and time-driven goal makes it easier for your team
- Emotional: Goals that your team relates to
- Appreciable: Smaller goals to achieve bigger milestones
- Refinable: Easily changeable with time and circumstance
Setting CLEAR goals and Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) make effective content creation achievable.
OKRs refers to setting ambitious goals alongside minimum key results expected. They ensure that each experiment benefits the brand in some way and the sky remains the limit for achieving stellar results.
Content for each step of the customer journey
Experienced marketers wear the customers’ shoes to understand their psyche. Creating content for every stage of the funnel is key to keeping the audience engaged and boosting conversions.
A typical customer goes through the journey of:
- Awareness: At this stage, the customer gets to know about your product. Content creation at this stage revolves around questions that your customers might have. What are your products’ USPs and why should people spend their money on them?
- Consideration: After understanding your product, the customer begins to consider buying it. Help them know more about your product, pre-sales and after-sales services and provide them with reviews from past customers.
- Decision: After having an in-depth understanding of your product and services, the customer reaches the decision stage. Directly indulging with the customers is critical. Tell them how your brand is better than other players in the market and build credibility with success stories and case studies from happy customers.
- Retention: Retaining customers is more cost-effective than acquiring new customers. Once they’re converted, your customers are already engaged with your brand. Producing content that keeps them updated on what’s happening within your company and offering timely discounts and exclusive offers is a great way to retain customers.
All in all, producing content that caters to audiences at every stage of the funnel helps your brand achieve its marketing and revenue goals.
Diversifying your content to cater to various channels is crucial since different platforms prioritize different content formats. Instagram is ideal for visual content and short-form videos while your website blog is suited for long-form content that ranks better on Google. Put simply, catering to different platforms helps you reach diverse audiences.
An effective creative content marketing strategy is often a careful blend of blog posts, newsletters, lead-generation emails, how-to guides, case studies, videos, social media posts and more.
Producing blogs regularly helps your target audience find you on various search engines. Moreover, people invest their time in reading content that helps them make informed purchase decisions. Hence, maintaining an active blog is imperative for every brand.
Newsletters are a great way to retain customers (with exclusive offers and deals) and engage with potential customers who signed up to your list as they found your brand interesting. Timely newsletters also speak of your credibility and enable you to keep your audiences informed of the latest things in your industry.
Lead-generation emails are a part of effective email marketing. Email marketing is all about enabling your brand to personally engage with customers at every stage of the sales funnel.
According to a study by Litmus, 78% of marketers in 2020 said email is important to overall company success, compared to 71% in 2019. Every other form of content produced can be shared via email to bolster positive results.
Social media posts can help you reach a wider audience since over 53% of the global population is present on social media. Social media has become an inevitable part of content marketing.
User-Generated Content (UGC) and case studies help you earn your customers’ trust as they speak of your brand’s niche expertise in the form of social proof.
After all, 79% of people say UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
While you can produce several more forms of content as a part of your content marketing strategy, the above-mentioned ones are critical to your success.
Systematic content distribution
Systematic distribution lays the foundation of an effective content marketing strategy. There are three types of marketing content: owned media, earned media and paid media.
Owned media refers to every piece of content created by you and available on your website, social media and other channels. Owned media includes blogs, social media posts, emails, newsletters and more.
Earned media refers to every piece of content that talks about you but is created by others. For example, product reviews, shoutouts, blog posts with external links to your website, brand mentions and more.
Paid media refers to advertising on various channels such as Google search, paid Facebook and Instagram ads, sponsored PR Posts, display ads and more.
Ideally, all of these content types must be a part of your strategy to create an omnichannel presence.
To create an integrated omnichannel experience for your audience, you must figure out the most relevant platforms to reach them effectively. Brands that realize amazing results with content marketing create content calendars for timely content creation and distribution.
You can also leverage content distribution tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to schedule your content distribution across the social web.
Tracking your progress by analyzing various content metrics (engagement, traffic received, conversions, etc.) is necessary to optimize your strategy regularly.
You can leverage tools like Google Analytics and Socialbakers to keep track of your content marketing efforts across all channels.
Although content marketing may only be a part of your overall digital marketing efforts, all other parts depend on the strategy, production and distribution of your content. For example, SEO is incomplete without a high-quality blog. Similarly, social media marketing without strategic content would be of no help.
Hence, content marketing is the key lever to drive growth and revenue for your brand. Make sure to focus on the must-haves outlined in this post to craft a stronger content marketing strategy.
Ashley Kemper is an Assistant Editor at Commerce Mentors. She has 5+ years of experience in writing about Marketing, SEO, and Technology. She also helps with the end-to-end execution of content strategy. When not writing, Ashley spends most of her time reading and cooking. As a sports enthusiast, she spends her weekends running and watching badminton tournaments.