I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to my content marketing strategy in preparation for my overarching communications marketing plan for the next year. Content marketing is a tactic my team and I use on a daily basis and because it’s so ingrained in our daily actions, I often remind them that we need to be mindful and strategic of our actions so that it doesn’t become stale, routine or, worse, haphazard.
To communicate the brand story, I always refer back to my objectives and target markets. If I had infinite staff and an infinite budget, I could afford to be everything to all people but that’s just not the case. The real trick in this digital age is to be on the right platform, at the right time and with the right message. If one those components is off, your efforts will be wasted.
Here’s my top 3 list of ways of staying on point with your content marketing strategy:
The following quote has been attributed to Lincoln although that’s been contested. Regardless of who said it, the meaning speaks to me:
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe” Too often, we jump into the “how” without spending enough time figuring out the “why” and “who” of it. You could have the most brilliant campaign but if you’re marketing it to the wrong audience on the wrong platform (think marketing “retirement planning” on Snapchat), your campaign will flop. It’s kind of like setting off on a long road trip to Vegas without a map (plan/schedule), food (content) or money (budget). How will you get there if you have no clue which road to take and no resources to get there?
Let’s say you’ve done your research and you know who your audience is, you know where they hang out (be it Facebook, Snapchat or any of the dark social channels like FB messenger), and you know at what time. The next big question: which content should I offer them?
The question should be: what does my audience want and how can I tailor my brand story to their needs? Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and ask yourself the age-old question:
What’s in it for me?
Not sure where to start?
Sylvie’s tip of the day: I recommend using a mind map. Your brand is the starting point and you branch out from there. It really helps to see it all on paper.
Once you’ve chosen the content, what about the format? It could be just about anything – think of your target market’s needs, where they hang out and go from there:
- Social media content
- Case studies
- Influencer marketing
- Website articles
- Guest blog post
- White papers
- Online presentations
- Digital magazines
- Branded content tools
3. Measure, measure, measure
Granted, it may the least glamorous part of a content marketing plan but I assure you it’s the most important one. How can you repeat your successes and learn from your mistakes if you don’t know where things went right or wrong? Traditional marketing tactics used to rely on the shotgun approach so you’d be sure to hit a few people while casting a wide net. Today, social and digital marketing’s laser-like focus means better ROI but it also requires a better understanding and a quicker reaction time. Measurement is key!