3 Questions to Ask to Determine Your Content Marketing Strategy
Do you have a content marketing strategy? If you’re a modern business owner, we hope you do; content marketing is an essential part of reaching your audience online.
First things first: what is content marketing? Content generally refers to digital content such as blog posts, photos, or videos, but might also incorporate Tweets, Snapchat “snaps,” infographics, or something else. Content marketing is when you use these items to help promote your brand or business. Typically, content marketing is not the same as a direct advertisement. The ultimate purpose of your content may be to achieve leads and sales but content marketing has other more immediate benefits such as building brand recognition, informing or entertaining your audience, and increasing your social reach.
Once you’ve decided that content marketing is crucial to your business (and trust us, it really is) it’s time to start building your strategy. A dedicated, comprehensive strategy is key to making content marketing its most effective and results-driven. Even if you’re just beginning to develop a content marketing strategy, the following three questions can help you go from clueless to fearless today.
1. Who is your audience?
Honestly, content is dead without an audience to consume it. But too many businesses (and even some “marketers”) make the mistake of thinking that audience is all about the numbers. It isn’t. While it’s great to have thousands of social media followers, your content means nothing to them if they aren’t your target audience. The right content marketing strategy starts with a highly-specific audience that is comprised of your target demographic. If you have a small, but engaged following of the right people, then your content is falling on the right ears (or eyes). Discovering exactly who your audience is can be the challenge.
The key here is research and data analysis. Start with what you have. You might know already from years of experience in your industry who your customers tend to be. This is especially true for local businesses who interact with their customers firsthand. Online businesses are a bit trickier, but today’s modern analytics tools can help you discover your target market with almost frightening accuracy.
Knowing who you’re selling to sets the tone for every bit of your content marketing strategy. As a basic example, brands targeting millennials will likely reach them more effectively via engaging methods such as video marketing. In a different situation, business executives may be your main consumer, and your content likely will require a professional tone and an approach that appeals directly to the needs of this individual. LinkedIn often proves effective for this demographic. Knowing your audience can help influence both the content itself as well as the best possible vehicles for sharing that content.
2. What type of content performs best with your audience?
Once you’ve gotten a detailed understanding of your audience, now it’s time to create with them in mind. One savvy approach is to create an ideal client avatar: a made-up persona that encompasses all the major elements of your typical customer. This allows you to feel that your content marketing is addressing a single individual instead of a large group, and it can help make every piece of content more personal and more specific. That is the type of content which makes sales happen.
Sometimes, determining what type of content performs best is simply a matter of trial and error. After all, there are surprising statistics out there. Did you know that 54% of Internet users in Australia aged 55-69 use Facebook daily? If your key demographic involves the middle-aged crowd, pay attention! Facebook might be where you’ll best reach them.
Experiment with producing and sharing different content to see what resonates. Look for engagement with your content across social media, and use analytics to track user behaviour. Over time, you’ll hone your content strategy so that you’re only creating and delivering what your audience wants and needs.
3. What is your ‘WHY’?
Finally, you must ask yourself what is the “why” of your business. Take some time to evaluate your own business goals and values. Look at your brand, your products and services. What makes you unique? What do you offer customers? How do you solve their problems? A content strategy is nothing without high quality, relevant, and authentic content to back it up. To create this amazing content, you need to know why you are producing every piece and how it will be beneficial or relevant to your audience. With this always kept at top of mind, you’ll be set with an outstanding content marketing strategy that gets incredible results year after year.
But don’t forget, your business is always growing and evolving so your content marketing plan will be, too. Regularly re-evaluate what’s working with your content, and don’t be afraid to experiment with new technology. There’s so many way to reach your audience in this digital world—you never know what new app or social media platform could help you reach even more people who would LOVE your brand.