Content marketing is more than a buzz phrase. It’s a powerful way for businesses to connect with key audiences by discussing topics that have meaningful impact. Letting your expertise shine through content like blogs, case studies, and whitepapers can be an effective tactic, especially as traditional advertising is losing ground in the battle for people’s attention.
But it’s not enough to simply push content about what you do or what you know. You don’t want to talk at people, you want to inspire a conversation. That means your content needs to demonstrate that you understand your customers’ needs, challenges, and concerns —and that takes a strategic approach.
3 questions to define your content strategy
When backed by a good strategic plan, your content can be an effective tool to demonstrate your subject matter expertise, understanding of evolving customer needs, and innovative approach to common pain points.
So how do you define your content marketing strategy?
Start with a framework that helps you align your efforts with key business objectives and a plan for measuring the results. We recommend you start by considering three key questions that set the stage for your content strategy:
- What are you trying to achieve?
Are you trying to generate leads? Increase brand awareness? Strengthen reputation and customer relationships? Define goals that help drive decisions about the kind of content you should provide.
- Who are you trying to reach?
Even great content can fall flat if it doesn’t reach the right people. Be clear about your target audiences and segments. This helps ensure you understand who you’re talking to and what’s most relevant to them.
- How do you deliver the right message to the right audience?
To invest your efforts (and budget) wisely, consider which channels work best for your target audience, and which types of communications and messaging seem like the best fit. Your prospects may need different types of information at different stages of the buying cycle. Early on, they may want to understand the “why to care” and hear real-world examples. Some may be ready for success stories to see how others are making the most of your offerings. To drive purchase decisions, your audience will also need insights on how to solve key problems and meet specific needs.
Optimize content with deeper insights on your audience
Specifying what you want to achieve and who you want to reach are important first steps. But even more critical is making sure you really understand your target audience to help you deliver content that drives profitable results.
Many companies now rely on predictive analytics as a marketing intelligence tool, and it’s a great way to boost your content strategy as well. You can gain insights on customer segments by mining data sources such as business transactions, surveys, and social media. Backing your content marketing strategy with a data-driven approach helps you provide the right information to the right people, which typically increases marketing effectiveness.
Ideally, your content marketing program will help you build stronger relationships with prospects and customers. Fueled by a smart business strategy, your content can inspire confidence about your expertise, motivate sales, and enhance cross-sell and up-sell to increase the value of existing customers.