Content is king – as long as there is a kingdom to follow you. So, if you want to build a kingdom of loyal customers, then you need a content strategy, right?
Many brands, like many kings, try to survive in their ivory towers belting out their force-fed messaging – ‘buy our product’, ‘attend our event’, or ‘download our white paper’. This brand-centric messaging approach falls on deaf ears, demonstrated by the lack of business impact driven social media or content marketing. This lack of results does not mean social media and content marketing does not work. Rather, it implies brands are not using social media and content correctly!
Key Insights Supporting The Need For A Better Content Strategy
These three keys statistics and their related insights should concern every marketer:
1. Your Content Interests Fewer Customers Every Day
Marketers created 78% more content in 2014 with 60% less engagement, states Track Maven. This performance implies brands waste messaging and decrease their ROC – return on content.
2. Inability To Prove Content Worth
50% of B2B marketers cannot track a return on their investment, suggesting they have no idea what works. They just know they should be doing something. Hmm.
3. Customers Are Using More Content Every Year
Nielsen reports Americans own four digital devices on average and spend 60 hours a week consuming content across these devices. Additionally, Google suggests the average B2B consumer reads 10.4 pieces of content before making a purchase decision.
The inference you should make is – consumers want more content, but yours might not be resonating with them because you don’t have a strategy. So, what’s your plan?
You are not alone with the lack of a content strategy. In fact, Content Marketing Institute says about 65% of brands do not have a written plan. Now, there’s a competitive differentiation opportunity, huh? Here’s some help to build your content kingdom with an appropriate brand strategy.
10 Steps To Building A Content Strategy – And Kingdom – For Your Brand
1. Start With Your End In Mind
– to figure out how to inspire your audience to engage with content.
Your content needs to support your business and marketing goals. You need to be clear on what you want your audience to think and do when they read it and how this intended action supports your overall goals. If content is not foundational to your overall goals, then you are wasting resources and lowering your Return On Content! Your messaging is the fuel to help buyers on their journey – just make sure you have enough of the right gas in the tank to get them to their destination.
2. Define Your Audience And Their Pain Points
– so you have instant relevance.
Customers don’t want to buy what you have to sell – they want to relieve pain points and exploit opportunities. However, sometimes they don’t even know where to start or the questions to ask. Three key tips to ensure your brand resonates with your audience:
- Listen to your customers, industry and category buzz to infer key pain points to help you understand how to solve them. Use them to ‘tee up’ your value proposition in your copy and graphics.
- Solicit your sales team, your feet-on-the-street sources, to feed your content development in real time.
- Leverage your real-time listening to develop audience profiles – complete with keywords, hashtags, calls to action, etc. – to develop customized content.
3. Build A Messaging House
– so you can use the right content to invite your customers to visit.
A great content strategy rolls up to an over arching messaging house, supporting a single message… manifesting in different ways. Base your content foundation on these three key actions:
- Define your over arching message
- Create 3-5 messaging pillars around which to have deeper conversations
- Map the pain points, messaging, keywords, hashtags
4. Define Your Channel Roles And Responsibilities
– to avoid delivering the right message on the wrong channel to the right person at the wrong time.
Map your audience with right social media channels and your goals to avoid using a hammer to do a screwdriver’s job.
5. Find The Content Watering Holes From Which Your Customers Drink
– so you can meet them on familiar conversational grounds.
It’s easier to fish where the fish are, instead of digging a new fishing hole, filling it with water, finding fish to stock it and then trying to catch them. Finding current and ‘greenfield’ content connection points makes it easy to develop an authentic relationship using your messaging as the conversation starter.
6. Define Your Measurement And Learning Plan
– so you can evolve the messaging and content strategy.
- Use a reach-engage-refer measurement model
- Map each key piece of content to each customer touchpoint to understand if it reaches engages and refers customers to the next step
- Understand how to optimize your content and distribution before you deploy it
7. Find Your Brand Voice And Tone
– to show your customers you are someone to do business with… instead of something.
It’s easy to show your customers that you understand their pain points – with facts, figures and benefit statements peppered in your messaging. However, it’s another thing to connect with them with an authentic and humanizing voice, so you build trust and relationship.
8. Develop The Story You Want To Tell
– because customers remember stories, not statistics.
Authors Chip and Dan Heath state that after a presentation, 5% of the audience remembers the facts and figures presented – and 65% remember the story you told. So, think about telling your story in the tweet, in the blog, and in your white paper – at every touch point.
9. Manage Your Strategy As An Integrated And Informed Supply Chain
– so you can manage raw materials, production, and hand-offs.
Managing your content strategy like a supply chain enables you to manage and scale efficiencies – listening, measurement, copywriting, graphic creation, channel management, monitoring and responding to your engaged audience.
10. Socialize And Sell Your Strategy
– because no one will use it unless executives sponsor it, and the field easily adopts it.
You may believe in your strategy, but others may not. Make sure they do, or your strategy will never get off the ground.
Building a content kingdom is not easy. Rome was not built in a day, and neither was a successful content strategy. Content is king, as long as the kingdom is interested. Follow these ten steps to lay the foundation of your content kingdom.