Once you’ve decided to join in the content marketing ‘movement’ you’ll come to realise that time is your biggest investment; time to plan, research, develop and spread that content as far and wide as possible, and then do it all over again. If you go through this cycle without seeing the results you anticipated you are, quite rightly, going to feel very disillusioned. So to avoid this, the answer is to either get a content strategy in place or re-work your current content strategy.
There are countless companies creating content in an ad hoc fashion and failing to see any results. They might be producing blog posts, videos, producing enewsletters and whitepapers but failing to get the subscriptions, increased visits to their website or regular sales. Unfortunately as a result some just give up, deciding that the activity they’ve embarked upon simply doesn’t work. Businesses that want to promote their brand and sell product or services without a content strategy in place are likely to be creating content in vain.
Strategy is one of those essential things to do, (along with marketing and accounting) that some of us put off until it’s absolutely necessary. But as you know, once these are tackled there is a sense of clarity, direction and greater confidence in what you’re trying to achieve with your business.
Here’s a definition of strategy that I think sums it up brilliantly: “Strategy is a set of coordinated, creative and sustainable actions (a plan) designed to overcome one or more core challenges that create value.” (D.Sola & J.Couturier). This could also be used to succinctly describe what content marketing is all about – Actions that create value.
It’s common practice for businesses to jump in and start creating content and distributing without an actual plan (now some of you might be fortunate enough for this to work and you may not even need a strategy – lucky you) but for most of us we need a framework to work from that informs our content marketing activities and one that helps map out how we get from A to B. The goal of content marketing is to create content that is valued by those that consume it. If you are serious about using content marketing to inform, educate and attract your ideal customer, having a workable strategy will serve to achieve this effectively and efficiently.
I recently interviewed a few businesses consultants and I was impressed that most of them had in fact put together a content strategy but I suspect that this isn’t the case for most companies as shown in a recent UK report on content strategy use amongst marketers. Doing content without a strategy is like driving to a new destination without following a map. You might get to your destination, but perhaps via a longer route, or (the most likely outcome) you won’t get there at all!
John Doherty of Hotpads said it well “Content strategy is the “how” that oversees the “what” of content marketing. While the marketing part is the execution, promotion, and measurement, content strategy is what gets it done.”
A few things a content strategy will do for your content creation:
- Establish the core values you want to highlight
- Explore a range of goals to work towards
- Help you develop more targeted content
- Your content is more likely to be of value by those consuming it
My purpose for this post is for you to see this as a little nudge to get you going with developing a content strategy if you haven’t done so, or to review the one you already have in place, so that your content creation is no longer in vain.
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