Most companies today realize that investing in a content strategy is important. What many inadvertently overlook is the definition of content marketing encompasses a much larger scope than they’d initially visualized.
Content marketing for your clients isn’t publishing sporadic blog posts, news blurbs, memes, or social media posts. While a content strategy can include these items, what many don’t initially realize is that the content marketing definition encompasses a much larger scope.
Developing a strategic content marketing strategy as part of a comprehensive digital marketing plan takes work. This piece of the puzzle is so important that many turns to a content marketing agency to ensure their plans include all the right components.
In this blog post, we’ll explain what content marketing is and why you should use it in your customer acquisition strategy.
What is content marketing?
The concept of content marketing dates back to the 1730s when Benjamin Franklin published the first annual Poor Richard’s Alamack to promote his printing business. Throughout history, numerous companies have provided content with the intent of gaining visibility and growing their businesses by providing information that is helpful, entertaining, or holds other value for consumers.
Over time, content promotion translated into magazines, radio spots (“soap operas”), television, and, ultimately, the internet. Companies began to buy out digital content to support their brands and, eventually, start creating their own.
Today, you’ll find brands utilizing content marketing to attract, engage, and retain audiences by sharing articles, blog posts, videos, white pages, infographics, eBooks, podcasts, social media, email, and newsletters, to name some of the most modern tools.
In our experience, there is a wide realm of content you can present, depending on what appeals to your audience. For instance, a wedding planner might share money-saving tips when buying wedding dresses or a restaurant might offer a popular recipe and explain its origins with fun and interesting facts.
Regardless of the industry, companies can generate the type of content their customers want to consume and strategically use it at different stages of the customer journey.
Benefits of a content marketing strategy
Content marketing is a cycle, not a singular process. Over time, your content strategy will help you earn the trust and respect of consumers. When it comes time to buy, they’ll likely consider your brand first. Companies, from large corporations or agencies to the local corner family-owned stores, use it.
Why? Because it works. Statistics consistently show companies investing in content marketing make significant gains.
Developing a content strategy helps companies gain more leads, boost conversions, and generally increase sales—and these are just a few of the many reasons you should consider investing in content marketing. Other competitive advantages you can gain through the content you produce are the opportunity to:
- Demonstrate thought leadership
- Directly connect with customers
- Grow new audiences
- Boost brand visibility
- Stay competitive and relevant
- Gain better customers with more loyalty
When it comes to relationship building with customers, content marketing plays a pivotal role because the content produced demonstrates a company cares enough about them to share information, such as updates, problem-solving tips, or information that otherwise makes their lives easier.
Content marketing keeps any company relevant in an increasingly digital-reliant world. Once a steady stream of great content commences, a brand can establish itself as the go-to authority in the market.
The key elements of a content marketing strategy
For digital marketers, the content you create for your clients should be an important part of your overall strategy, empowering them to deliver valuable information to targeted audiences. To establish this, let their brand identity lead the way.
Content creation should reflect the company’s values and launch a journey for its audience to follow. This means setting a consistent voice and tone across all channels. Once you’ve got these elements in place, turn to other key pieces of a content marketing strategy.
Goals, objectives, metrics
At the foundation of your strategy are goals, objectives, and metrics. What is hoped to achieve and how is success determined? Keep in mind the following can change throughout the content marketing cycle, depending upon where you’re at with each goal achieved.
- State what you expect to accomplish (e.g. gain website traffic or boost your mailing list)
- Determine metrics for reaching success
- Set a timeframe to achieve your goals
Another factor to consider is where each type of content will align at the stage of the sales cycle. For instance, you might want to focus on being passively informative at the beginning of the customer journey, but as they are closer to buying, your content might become more aggressive and be designed to nudge consumers towards taking action.
Defining your audience is key. If you’re not writing for the type of customers a company hopes to attract, your efforts won’t yield the desired results. To determine the right customer persona, outline a clear idea of who you’re producing content for, including but not limited to:
- Relevant demographic details, such as age, location, income, and interests.
- What challenges or problems (pain points) do customers face.
- Connect research to the solution offered.
When surveying targeted audiences, you might find you have more than one customer persona.
One of the primary objectives of any good content marketing strategy is consistency. You want audiences to incorporate consuming your content as a part of their routines. This means delivering timely and reliable content.
You can accomplish this by setting a content calendar with a sustainable schedule. Learn how long each type takes to produce and incorporate that into the timetable. Fleshing this out in detail will lead you to an effective content production workflow.
Data collection and analysis
Once content is published, the job isn’t done. Now it’s time to actively measure your content’s success by page views, comments, conversions, and other important established metrics. In the process, you’ll undoubtedly experience finding it involves a lot of trial and error. Over time, you’ll better determine what works and what doesn’t when it comes to audience engagement.
Companies often discover they don’t have the right resources to build their content strategy and, as a result, they turn to a good content writer, SEO strategist, subject matter expert, and/or others who can fill these and other important roles to develop a comprehensive creative brief for each type of content to keep their strategy on track.
How to start a content marketing strategy in a digital agency
Content is the current and future of marketing. Conventional advertising is a one-way street, whereas content marketing is a two-way avenue that engages audiences and encourages them to actively play a role.
Digital marketing agencies not embracing online content marketing strategies may find themselves quickly losing a competitive edge.
Looking to get started on your content marketing strategy journey today? We invite you to try a 14-day free trial of our WriterAccess solutions.