The concept of content strategy has really begun to pick up steam over the last few years. While the idea isn’t anything new, brands and agencies have a great deal more to choose from, resulting in more to consider when developing a content strategy for their business. Coming from someone on the agency side as well as being a woodworking blogger, it’s like being a kid in candy shop. However, because there are so many choices out there, you can easily fill up. Picking too many things without focus and direction can lead to a lack of an underlying strategy and a watering down of your investment’s ability to demonstrate success.
For example, some factors that have contributed to both the growth and breadth of available content options includes things like:
- Social media platform proliferation
- User-generated content
- Access to advanced (and in many cases free) data analytics
- Native advertising’s encroachment into paid programs
- Publishers’ editorial calendars
- Bloggers and their loyal followers
- The impact of technology to increase efficiency of content delivery and reduce production costs
With all of those contributing factors constantly evolving and changing, there are three simple things to ask yourself when developing a sustainable content strategy.
1. Is it considered?
Is the content strategy you’ve developed laddering back to your brand’s overall business objectives? Are you playing a simple awareness game in a digital environment where more engagement objectives are warranted? If you are using content to simply talk about yourself and your products, rather than listening to and engaging with your audience, then you might be missing the boat entirely. Consumers can tell you what content they are looking for, what they are engaging with, and what key benefits your product can deliver upon. Seeking ways to connect your content strategy to your target’s personal interests, and even how they discover and interact with content (social media, blogs, how-to videos, etc.) is something you should consider before developing separate tactics.
Brands will often immediately go to content creation and distribution through paid channels. Far too often brands dismiss their own level of expertise, internal content sources and partnerships they have through retail distribution and shopper marketing channels that can contribute to the overall content ecosystem. It’s when you begin to consider everything at your disposal (content resources, expertise, partnerships, etc.) that you can begin to establish the connections critical to a successful strategy.
2. Is it connected?
Content strategy is just another aspect of marketing. As in all marketing efforts, the better they are connected with one another, the more impact they’ll have. That doesn’t translate into simply carrying the same logo and look/feel. Creating connections between the messages consumers are exposed to (mass, outbound marketing) and the content they discover (search/discovery inbound marketing) must be a part of a continuum. With the variety of factors driving the growth of content marketing mentioned above, connecting the dots between awareness, engagement and conversion is absolutely essential.
Connections build efficiency in everything from paid advertising investments to production budgets; from internal expertise to user-generated content; and from vast communities of advocates who use your products every day. Once those connections are fostered, brands can then begin to tackle one of content marketing’s biggest challenges: moving from sporadic initiatives to an “always on” mentality. It’s all about being consistent.
3. Is it consistent?
Inconsistency is one of the biggest enemies to a successful content marketing strategy. The inherent “newness” of content marketing compared to more traditional investment paths has left it in the bucket of “test & learn” or a component to a larger digital plan. It is critical to maintain an “always on” approach to content marketing in order to demonstrate long-term success. While it is easy to measure and quantify the immediate (30- to 90-day) value of content marketing through a variety of social and site metrics, it’s the long-term impact that sets it apart from just a fleeting impression level delivered through mass marketing channels.
A consistent flow of content that is both created, curated and distributed by a brand—and measured along the way—makes evolving and optimizing your plan most effective. How the content is organically indexed by search engines, how people are discovering the content and how the content ultimately leads people back to your brand is the true measure of success. Consistency, even at a very small spend level, can return tremendous insights and dividends on your investment.
If you’d like to learn more about how Curiosity can help with your content marketing efforts, please contact us. We’ll be happy to talk more.