Bill Gates originally coined the phrase ‘content is king’ way back in 1986. At that time, he understood the power and importance of the future state of the internet. He said: “…people must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore… and those that succeed will propel the marketplace of ideas, experiences and products – a marketplace of content.” Your website forms part of that marketplace by providing people with information, helping them make informed decisions and guides them towards making a purchase.
Regardless of the size of your business, or how long you have been in business, whether you have been operating for a long-time or are just starting out, you need to have a content marketing strategy for your business to provide direction and focus for all your marketing endeavors.
What is a content marketing strategy?
Consider thinking of a content marketing strategy as a road map for your business. It’s the core document which outlines where your business is and how you are going to get there. A content marketing strategy does this by combining all your various communication tools – i.e. your website, emails, social media posts, blog posts, printed advertisements, radio ads, special featured editorials, videos, podcasts, e-newsletters, webinars, photos, presentations, case studies, testimonials/success stories, brochures etc and combines them into forming one cohesive plan.
It is the one document which describes which key marketing messages you want your customers to know and what messages you are going to use on of your each social media networks or marketing collateral. A content marketing strategy will give your business purpose and direction.
- Your content marketing strategy should provide vision
You’re in business because you believe you have something valuable to offer – your overarching vision for your business needs to be able to be clearly described by you to your future customers. When you know where you’re going, you will arrive so much earlier than if you stumbled around and made it up as you went along. Don’t write a blog just because everyone else has one – write a content strategy which will give your business direction and a sense of purpose. It answers the core questions of: ‘who you are’, ‘what you do’ and ‘why you do it’ and ‘how this is useful for your customers’.
- Your content marketing strategy offers you inspiration
It’s natural to experience some form of writer’s block at some point, but if you already have a content marketing strategy in place – this experience will occur less frequently because you’ll know exactly know what to write and when. Follow your content strategy – keep it relevant, consistent and up-to-date by publishing original content on all your communication channels. Different messages and different media work on different social media networks, as you have different people following you on each social media network, so create messages which you know will inspire each different group.
- Your content marketing strategy helps you stay consistent
When you’re using multiple different communication networks to market your business, it is important you focus your efforts in the same direction and keep these core marketing messages consistent. You need to ensure that regardless of where your customers see, hear or read your business mentioned – the message they see and read all convey the same message. When you develop an idea, make it easy for your customers to easily recognize and identify where the messages have come from.
- Your content marketing strategy is not…
A content marketing strategy is not simply a sales pitch or a glossy new brochure promoting your business. It is not a series of hackneyed marketing phrases you use to advertise your business, or offer a ‘limited time offer’ giving your customers a sense of urgency making them feel compelled to act immediately and use your services or buy your product. It is not simply a list of the products or services you sell.
Why should you write a content marketing strategy?
Most of us do not go online to be sold to, instead we go online to become better informed on a subject, entertained, or updated on new ideas. If your content marketing is effective, your readers will find themselves nodding and smiling in agreement. But if your reader begins to sense a slight sales pitch, they may roll their eyes, close their browsers’ window, unsubscribe, or even use the back the button on their browsers and exit from the web page.
Effective content marketing allows you to engage and develop relationships with prospective and existing customers – it enables you to earn their trust, and loyalty. You can do this by establishing a genuine rapport with your customers through something you have written (or shared) posted or asked them a question and prompted them to respond and therefore your message has resonated with them. By establishing your knowledge and expertise in your niche, you have effectively created thought-provoking information and your content becomes top-of-mind. This is the real essence of content marketing – when you are driving sales and creating leads but not intentionally selling something.
What should I write in my content marketing strategy?
A useful starting place is to try asking and answering the following questions about your business:
- What are your goals?
- Who are the people I am targeting?
- What type of content will they find the most compelling?
- How do I want my target audience to respond when they have read this information?
- Why will these people find this information useful or interesting?
- What is the ideal length for each type of content on each of my social media accounts?
- When, where and how frequently should I share this type of content on each of my social media accounts?
- How am I going to track and analyse my results?
Where do I start?
Start by simply writing or sharing great content. The content that you write and share reflects your businesses values and practices. If you write weak or sloppy content, it will result in future content being ignored. Your subject matter needs to be compelling, persuasive, valuable and relevant to your target audience. Your writing style and key messages need to be engaging, intelligent and professional, which is in keeping with the way you run your business. Bill Gates was right when he could see the potential and realized the importance of the ‘marketplace of content’ and content being king – it is the foundation for which to market your business.