Table of contents

Content Strategy

A large part of any marketing plan revolves around the question of how to reach customers? What content will inspire them and make them engage in your story? How you create and spread your message through different marketing channels is crucial. Therefore it is important to carefully develop your content strategy and plan your content.
Let’s start this course with some basic definitions.

Content strategy is an integrated approach marketer takes to generate and distribute content trough numerous different channels to fulfill the marketing objective.
The strategy is the WHY of content, before creating one you should consider why are you creating content (hint: to meet your marketing objective)

Content marketing focuses on the tactics and execution, the actual creation, editing, and maintaining content that’s specifically created for marketing. Good content needs to be appealing to consumers and help them along on their customer journey.

Content is your message, which often includes or is a variation of your value proposition created in various formats.
It’s the main fuel that powers marketing campaigns.

Content format is the shape of the message or the way content is arranged or presented. Examples of content formats are post, infographics, video, blog, e-books, webinars, checklists…)

Content can have many purposes, be on many topics and take many formats. Good content helps build a trusted connection between you and your audience. Your content serves multiple purposes:

  • Attract customers
  • Persuade customers
  • Nurture customer relations
  • Get people to promote your brand and offer

Content Process

Now that you understand basic content concepts and definitions, let’s define the process of content marketing. Typically a content process has four steps, and we’ll tailor this course around it.

Plan
Define the content's purpose, format, and topic.
Create
Create the content with your customer persona in mind. Pay attention to the stages of the customer journey.
Distribute
Find out which marketing channels work best for your business.
Analyze
Use analytical tools to see which part of the content performed best. Get useful insights to further improve your campaigns.
(Repeat)
Use the results of the analysis to optimize your existing content and to create better content in the future.

Content planning

Planned content has higher quality, makes a greater impact on consumers and significantly contributes to the fulfillment of the goals. Before you roll up your sleeves and start on planning, it’s important to understand that content is defined by three attributes:

  • content purpose,
  • content format, and
  • content topic.

Ask yourself, what is the purpose of the content, is it to create more leads or maybe to attract new visitors to your web site. After you define the purpose, find the format that best represents your message and will be most appealing to your customers. Use the information from your target personas to find out which content format will resonate best. The format should help consumers to achieve their goals and present the solution to their problems. Design it to be easily accessible and digestible to your consumers. If you have trouble deciding on a content format, consult with your sales team to find out what content you need to effectively communicate with your target personas.

Finally, when choosing the topic for your content keep in mind your customer personas and where they are in the customer journey. Remember that content needs to serve the customer’s needs, rather than self-promoting your business. Adjust the topics and forms to the customer journey stages to increase the content’s value and efficiency. Flip each stage to discover the best matching content for each stage.  

Awareness
TOPIC: customer's problems. FORMATS: Educational blogs and videos, infographics, analyses, e-books, how to tutorials, etc.
Interest
TOPIC: give solutions. FORMATS: Educational blogs and videos, infographics, analyses, e-books, how to tutorials, etc.
Desire
TOPIC: give solution. FORMATS: Product comparison, webinars, videos, podcasts, whitepapers, etc.
Action
TOPIC: your offer. FORMATS: Product literature, testimonials, images, etc.
Post action
TOPIC: new offers. FORMATS: How to email, follow up email, community forums, etc.

Content Creation

Have you crafted the plan for your content, are you ready to present your business and values in the best light? It’s time to dive deeper into content creation. First, let’s take a look at what are the elements you need to pay attention to create quality content.

The more personalized content is usually more successful. Customers want the content that relates to them and is specific to their needs.

The length of the content will depend on your topic, the audience, and the format. Make sure your content is related to the headline, focuses on the main points, and delivers the message upfront. Remember to respect your audience’s time.

Use the same language your audience use. Avoid jargon and make it understandable for people who are new to your industry. Be straightforward and simple, and use more positive over negative language. 

Define your voice, in other words, who is behind the voice, is it a person, a team, a mascot? Use a voice that is authentic to your business. With tone, you need to consider the audience’s state of mind.

Make your content easier to remember by using infographics and tables. Find out what motivates your customer personas and craft your topic around it. Remember to pay attention to the emotional impact of the content on your audience.

Story telling

If you want to connect with your audience originally and memorably try writing a story. It will get your message across customers and make an emotional impact. There are numerous ways in which you can structure your story, for example, the way Pixar defined it or by using a pyramid principle (aka. SCQA). 

To create engaging stories we suggest using the SCQA framework, which stands for Situation, Complication, Question, and Answer.

  • Situation: describe the facts and circumstances in which the main characters find themself. 
  • Complication: introduce the factor of change, and describe how this change affects the main characters.
  • Question: what questions do the characters ask themself to solve new problems?
  • Answer: finish the story by providing a solution to the problem and highlight the lesson of the story.

Another great way to write a story is by using Pixar’s framework. It follows a simple outline:

  • Once there was a…  (usually a protagonist with a goal).
  • Everyday… (describe the protagonist’s routine).
  • Until one day… (something happened that changed his routine).
  • Because of that… (what follows as a result).
  • Until finally… (this is where the protagonist reaches the goal surprisingly).
  • Ever since then… (how the character and the situation has changed).

No matter which approach you use, every good story has three main elements: character, conflict, and resolution. When creating your content keep in mind the best practices:

  • make emotional impact,
  • create the new content frequently,
  • be original, and
  • be simple and precise. 

CHARACTER

It's the connection between you and your audience. Incorporate goals and challenges form your target persona into the story's character.

CONFLICT

Challenge your character through the conflict and teach him a valuable lesson. This way you also teach your customers and ispire them to engage. The conflict should fit the problems, needs, and stage of customer journey.

RESOLUTION

Provide a context and emotion for audience to relate and process the story. Wrap up the story and call your audience to action.

Repurposing the content

The good news is that you can use the same content containing the same message to show it in a different way and to a different audience. If you have blog materials, use it to create an e-book. Another example would be aggregating data from the whitepaper and present it as an infographic to a more general audience. Repurposing content can be beneficial to your audience and for your business. You’ll have more time to create new content, and by repurposing existing, it becomes more sharable and reaches a diverse audience.

Content Distribution & Promotion

Now that you created your content, it’s time to find the best way to distribute and promote it. The crucial thing is to know where your customers are in their journey, and what online channels they’re using.

Your promotion channels can be grouped into owned, paid and earned, as mentioned in a previous course. Be sure to optimize your content for search engines, and use email marketing to inform your audience on the new content. Once you start creating content it is important to stay consistent. If you can’t be active on multiple channels at once, choose the one you believe will make the greatest effect.

Trends in Content Marketing

If you want your content to catch an eye, be sure to use the latest trends in content creation:

  • native advertising,
  • podcasts,
  • memes & GIFs,
  • listicles,
  • quizzes.

Future of the Content Marketing

Stay informed on new and emerging technologies that will shape the way marketers and customers create and perceive the content. Future of content will be defined by:

  • artificial intelligence,
  • machine learning,
  • virtual reality,
  • chat-bots, and 
  • internet of things.

Analyze the Content

Now that you have planned, created and shared your content, it’s time to analyze the performance. To collect valuable data for content performance, use analytical tools like Google Analytics. Be sure to create the UTM codes and to tag your campaign, source, and medium. To learn more about the benefits and usage of Google Analytics we strongly suggest studying the materials and obtaining the GA certificate.

There are a few important metrics to keep an eye on. 

  • Traffic – how many people visited your web site, landing page, or even your social media platform, as a result of the published content?
  • Engagement – how many people engaged with your content (upvotes, likes, comments…), how many pages on your site have they visited, and what was the average time spent on-site?
  • Social shares – how many people have shared your content?
  • Conversions – what content led people to take action?

After you collect the data, find out which type of content performed best, use the results to improve existing and future content. 

Key Takeaways

social media key takeaways
  • Content strategy is an integrated approach marketer takes to generate and distribute content trough numerous different channels to fulfill the marketing objective.
  • Good content needs to be appealing to consumers and help them along on their customer journey.
  • A good content strategy follows the process of planning, creating, distributing, and analyzing the content.
  • When planning the content, keep in mind that stages of customer journey influence it’s format, purpose, and topic.
  • Great content tells a story, has an emotional impact and engages the customer to take action.
  • Repurpose your content to make it more appealing to different marketing channels.
  •  Content distribution and promotion will depend on the stage your customers are in their customer journey, and what channels they use.
  • Pay attention to the latest trends in content creation and emerging technologies.
  • Measure KPIs and optimize your content for better results.

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