Why content marketing strategy should be your “next big thing”, part 1

Topics: Content Marketing

Ask any digital marketer, and she’ll tell you that if you don’t have an online presence, you practically don’t exist. And by “online presence,” we mean more than a company website—it’s the conversations you hold, the places people know you’ll be, and your online interactions that make your company relevant to its audience. And at the heart of all that activity is content.

Content as a vehicle

As many businesses are discovering, digital marketing is the main vehicle for developing quality relationships and experiences for your online audience. The digital world values meaningful, high-quality content, and without a strong content marketing strategy your website will get lost in the Internet’s abyss of endless information.

Content marketing strategy used to be the red-headed stepchild of digital marketing plans; content was considered something for a few underpaid writers to do instead of it being a true competitive advantage. But over the last five years, content marketing has become a key component of digital marketing, because the internet is built around content. Consider this: In 2013, global mobile data traffic was 30 times the size of what the internet was in 2000, and in 2014 there were 439 million new smartphones added to the billions of already-active smartphones globally. We are all desperate to stay connected to each other and the content being shared.

Content marketing is not just the best way to reach a digital audience. It’s the only way.

Social media content and increased website traffic

While it is important to have compelling, well-written content, it won’t deliver results if no one knows it’s there. One of the most cost-effective ways to get specific content in front of a targeted audience is through social media.

Customers that engage with brands on social media spend 20 – 40% more on that company’s products. Its popularity and growth has been phenomenal, because it’s so effective at connecting people to people, and people to ideas. A detailed social media strategy serves several purposes at once:

  • It gives you a channel to get the content out
  • It brings new people to your site
  • It gives you an audience whose activity you can easily measure and respond to
  • It gives you the opportunity to create a personality for what used to be a faceless company

Don’t be afraid to get creative—Random House, one of the world’s largest publishers, uses Pinterest to bring the stories we’ve always imagined into a new perspective. They aren’t trying to sell books; rather, they are appealing to the reading culture through clever boards such as “What Would Jane Austen Do,” “The Literary Imbiber,” and “Best Book Covers.” When you think about what your audience wants (in lieu of what you want your audience to want), you can connect with them through social media in ways never before possible.

But not all social channels are created equal. Indeed, there are distinct social platforms precisely because each serves a different purpose—LinkedIn is for professionals to talk about careers, Twitter is for quick bites of information, and Instagram is for the images that make memories. There’s crossover, but each thrives because it still serves a unique audience. If a social platform is not an obvious fit for your brand, don’t try to bend it to your will. It is better to be absent from a platform than to have a vacant profile or an unclear strategy. Only use channels that are regularly used by your target demographic or contain groups or communities that are relevant to your industry.

Consistent content experiences for a stronger brand

As you produce more consumable content and generate interactions both on your site and throughout social media, the personality you exhibit throughout each piece of content will become as indelible a brand impression as your logo, brand name, or signature colors.

Geico, Duracell, Coca-Cola, and Old Spice have all mastered creating content that you would recognize without ever seeing a logo. From the brand voice to the flavor of the art direction, each piece becomes the brand and generates an experience. For every brand listed above, you can think of a commercial, video, social meme, or other piece of content that gave you a laugh or made you think.

On the B2B side, IBM is proving that businesses are still made of people, and they are doing a remarkable job of appealing to the human side of tech.

Each piece of content is highly shareable and builds each brand through consistent messages and experiences. That consistency depends on setting and following standards to a fanatical degree. Having a content marketing strategy that adheres to a strict set of standards creates a reliably consistent tone and style that will come to define your brand. Carefully outlining how you want your business to be perceived and selecting the right team to curate the content that will promote that desired image is a crucial step in this branding process.

Putting it all together

Content marketing strategy doesn’t happen overnight. A successful strategy requires you to synchronize content creation, distribution tactics, personas, campaigns, and more while still maintaining simplicity so that the strategy can be easily followed. If you’d like a hand in turning your complex strategy into a simple, repeatable process, give us a call at (801).303.6300. We’d love to help you build the right strategies and continue to get the most value out of them.