How To Incorporate A Content Strategy Into Your Marketing Strategy
American Express, Sony, The White House…companies and organizations are increasingly turning to content strategy as an intimate and powerful marketing tool. According to the Custom Content Council, nearly 70% of Chief Marketing Officers indicate they are shifting marketing dollars from traditional forms of advertising to content marketing.
While American Express is using tools like their Open Forum to educate consumers, B2B companies are also using content to engage their audience and, according to The Content Marketing Institute, over half of those surveyed indicated they planned on increasing the thirty percent of their total marketing budgets currently spent on content.
How do you take advantage of the explosion of digital and social channels and successfully integrate content into your marketing strategy?
Clearly Identify Your Goals
Content marketing builds your brand, but is less a form of advertisement and more a form of consumer communication and engagement. Statistics from GfK Roper Public Affairs tell us 80 percent of buyers would rather get company information from articles over traditional advertisement, most reporting it makes them feel more connected to the company. Understanding the relationship building inherent in marketing and encouraged when using a content strategy frames goal setting:
Remember to keep goals achievable and measurable so ROI calculations are effective, typically the intent is to build brand awareness or achieve conversions. Set goals that measures this rather than an ambiguous metric.
Know your target audience, their interests and needs; plan content around these identifiers; relevance is key.
Plan and calculate timing of communications to support consistency. It’s better to start less frequently but always on time and with relevant material than to start with a bang and fall away.
Scale your content strategy and continue evaluating and adjusting during each phase. It may be tempting to try to handle article marketing, social network building and blogging at once, but it is unlikely this is achievable without a large and cohesive team of experts.
Don't Be Afraid to Use Experts
While you must incorporate foundational marketing principles when integrating a content strategy into a marketing strategy, you don’t have to be an expert. There are many resources available developed by marketing professionals and those who work in Internet Marketing, Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. Guides such as the “6 Tips For A Killer Content Marketing Plan” can give you a solid launch into the planning process.
There are generally four accepted phases to the process of content marketing. They include:
Content development and management
Data collection and mining
Listening and facilitation of conversations stemming from content
Evaluation and adaption
Tackling this process, when done well, is time consuming and challenging. There are alternatives to developing your plan and executing content alone:
Hire a consultant to rework your marketing plan. The development of digital and Internet based content marketing strategies is relatively new. There are consultants and firms that specialize in this modern form of marketing and can assist your leadership team in evaluating your current market invasion strategies for confluence with building an online presence.
Outsource your content. Of course, nobody will understand the vision of your business like an insider, but outsourcing can save time and labor costs when internal capability is not geared towards content marketing. Outsourcing with a content provider means you spend less time evaluating the writers and authors and more time working on the aspects of your business you handle best.
Interruption marketing is no longer the sole or even most effective way of reaching your audience. Content marketing allows you to create "sales" messages that are requested and anticipated. Building a content strategy into your marketing plan can help you build a relationship of trust and relevance with your customers. Planned well, you can build your bottom line using simple conversation.