Think you are killing it with your content strategy? Think again. Sure, go ahead and pat yourself on the back for those articles you publish every other Tuesday on your blog. And give yourself another one for your automated Facebook posts at 3:13 PM every weekday. How are they working for you? Can you measure the results of your work? Do you notice an increase in your brand awareness? What does your conversion rate look like?
Your content strategy needs to have a purpose. It needs to be able to find its way to your intended audience – and grab their attention. Most importantly, your content needs to have the power to convert. If this doesn’t sound like your current strategy, then perhaps you need to have a stronger one.
The need for a content strategy
If you want to reach the destination you are looking for, then you need to have direction – a strategy.
Let’s drive through an example, shall we?
Paul likes to go for a drive around his block every single day – literally. He takes off down his street. Turns left. Then, he makes the very next left onto the street that runs parallel to his. As he reaches the end, he turns left. And left again until he’s back on his street, albeit at the opposite end. This drive gets him out of the house, but he remains safe and within close distance to home.
Barbara, on the other hand, is quite a bit more spontaneous. She loves driving and prefers to hop into her car with no direction. This is probably why she has had to pull over and ask for help a time or two – when she no longer recognized her surroundings. Though Barbara considers getting lost a thrilling time.
Do you consider yourself a Paul or a Barbara?
If you are a Paul, the more you continuously drive this rectangular route, the more you will become blind to the things around you. The drive will become monotonous because you will no longer be bright-eyed and alert. Instead, it will become boring and repetitive, likely losing your attention after the first couple of rounds.
The Barbaras out there lack some serious structure. They want to discover unchartered territory and new places. But without any sense of direction, you will never reach the desired destination.
So, what does all of this have to do with content marketing? Everything!
Your content marketing cannot become monotonous (like Paul’s driving) or you won’t reach your ideal persona and your conversion rate will be incredibly inhibited. And, if you have no strategy in place, there will be no method to your content production. This will leave you without any direction (like Barbara) and without follow through. So, even if you do get a lead, it will likely never make it through the closing process to become a real customer.
Here is a bright idea: What if Paul and Barbara each used a GPS? No matter who you are, this easy-to-use mapping system will allow you to see where you are, where you want to go, and the best way to get there – safe and sound.
And, that is precisely why you need a strong content strategy.
Content strategy without a purpose is pointless
When it comes to creating content, you need to have a purpose. In other words, you need to know why you are creating it, where you are going to publish it, and who you expect to see it. The more clear-cut this purpose is, the better your conversion funnel will be.
When you go out to eat, the server doesn’t just bring you any meal, right? He or she will bring you the meal that you ordered. So, why would you create content for just anyone to see rather than your ideal customer?
Start your foundation by determining who your buyer persona is. That way you can create content with a clear purpose.
Consistency, consistency, consistency
Nobody knows your brand better than you. And, no one can learn about your brand if you aren’t positively consistent. If you provide content that intrigues consumers, but you never follow through, your conversion rate will suffer.
Life doesn’t stop and one area or another of your business is always going to need your attention. As so often happens, content production gets neglected. To move your ideal buyer through the funnel, though, you must continue to publish useful and engaging content – at consistent intervals – that will reach just who you are looking for.
A solid content strategy needs to be your foundation
You cannot just decide one day that you will send out “x” amount of blogs to your social media outlets and cross your fingers. You need a plan. And, well, you need a darn good one. Your content strategy needs to be your foundation. Like the strongest part of a home, this foundation is going to be the stong rock that holds the rest of your marketing process together – and effectively so.
Determining your personas behavior
Before you can begin marketing, you need to know who you are marketing to. By determining your ideal persona, you are better able to create and publish content in ways that it will reach your buyer. It is the number one step in creating a strategic and effective content marketing plan.
So, who is your ideal persona? Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Consider the basic details of your buyer persona. Consider the sex, age, career, lifestyle, and so forth. Go through all of the demographics.
- If marketing to businesses, you will want to dig a bit deeper, discovering their position in the company, what a day in their shoes looks like, what are their challenges, what skills and tools they use in their line of work, and so forth.
The more details you can discover, the clearer your buyer persona will be to you. And, in turn, the more detailed your marketing efforts.
Discovering the most accessible platform
Where will you reach your persona? Determining where your buyer spends most of his or her time will help you decide where to focus your attention. For example, which social media outlet is visited most by your ideal persona? While some will require research, you likely already have a general idea. Also, the websites most frequented by your persona can give you a starting point for your marketing focus.
It is important that you don’t overlook this step. It won’t matter if you know who your ideal persona is if you don’t know how to reach him/her.
Get the entire team involved
Finally, to establish a solid content strategy, you have to learn to share the task of creating content with others. In fact, you are going to need to learn how to delegate. You need to entrust certain production steps to others in a way to optimally utilize skills. Each and every person is born with a gift. While yours may be managing, someone else may be a better writer, another person may have the most effective brainstorming sessions, and yet someone else could be the one to analyze all the data collected.
Another way to put together a team is to pull people from all areas of your company. This allows you to get viewpoints about the buyer persona from those in different roles. For instance, someone in sales who deals directly with your current real customers may actually have more insight into the ideal persona then someone in marketing. To create a perfect vision of your buyer – and how to best reach them – you need a variety of knowledge.
Working collaboratively as a team has shown to be more effective in succeeding at an overall goal than trying to do it alone. So, get everyone involved.
Measurable outcomes are the way to go
In order to find a way to successfully reach your ideal buyer, you need to be able to monitor your trials. Without a content strategy to know what you are trying to do, you’d have no way of measuring its success and, unfortunately, its failures.
Organization, structure, and a plan are all parts of a content strategy that can help you clearly review your efforts. Ultimately, you want conversions, right? You need to be able to see:
- What marketing campaign the conversions resulted from, if any?
- How many people are engaging with your content and how close they are to being your ideal consumer?
- How far along is your persona getting through the buyer’s journey, on average?
From the results, you should be able to determine whether your efforts are effective, whether there is a hiccup somewhere in the process, or where you should be focusing your attention.
Without having a content strategy, none of this would be possible. After all, if you cannot clearly see where you are going, how will you know when you have arrived?
Final thoughts on content strategy
Every company is different so they will each be seeking their own buyer persona and have their own ideas for content marketing. However, just as collaborating as a team is great for creating a successful content strategy, so is learning from others across different industries.
We’ve shared why it is important for you to create a strong foundation with a solid content strategy that can grab hold of a potential buyer and walk them through the entire journey to conversion.
At Contentools, we are always focused on creating a collaborative arena for everyone to come aboard. As we discussed, we all have different gifts, skill sets, life experiences, and points of view. We would love to hear from you about your content marketing process. Enlighten us in the comments below. Let’s get the conversation started!