Content marketing today is not just a buzzword or a trend to keep up with but also among the most cost-effective and efficient ways to build and maintain relationships with existing and potential customers.
Content marketing brings the best results – more website and blog visitors, more social media followers, and increased brand awareness in the target market. However, few marketers can claim to be satisfied with their current content marketing strategy results.
That is because they have overlooked an essential element in their efforts to reach the target market.
As in chemistry, inbound marketers should follow a periodic table to develop and execute an effective content marketing strategy.
But what are the key elements an inbound marketer needs to focus on before they begin executing a plan?
Seven elements of a successful content marketing strategy
1. Well-defined customer persona
The first and most crucial element a marketer must consider is the Customer Persona.
Before implementing any aspect of your inbound strategy, it is essential to determine who your company wants to target in the target market. When defining a customer persona, you should consider current market trends, the general demographics you want to target, the types of solutions your product or service offers, the people who are most likely to be interested, and the people who have the means to afford the service, and the people you want to persuade to convert, among other things.
With a defined persona, you can better understand the interests, values, and challenges of the target audience. It, in turn, will help you create a customized marketing strategy that addresses the target audience’s concerns while promoting your business in a tailored way.
However, since the market needs to change as quickly as digital trends, it is also essential to constantly update the customer persona. Research or surveys is time-consuming and can lead to missing a potential market opportunity. It is where marketers need to learn how to leverage the latest technologies available to them. Companies provide digital marketers with machine learning tools that allow them to leverage behavioral analytics from their target market and better define their customer personas.
2. A mature content strategy
The following strategic step a marketer must take is to define their overall content strategy. And no, this doesn’t include starting a blog and becoming active on social media – although that is a part of it.
Creating a well-defined content marketing strategy involves market research, determining the kind of content you can develop or curate, the type of content your target audience will engage with, identifying the best platforms to share and promote the content, and making sure the content adds value to the company’s overall marketing goals.
Most marketers mistake separating their content strategy from social media, advertising, and offline business strategies. However, the key to success is to develop a strategy that, when implemented, complements the company’s other efforts.
3. High-quality and consistent content
Once you’ve established your content strategy, the next step is implementing it. A successful content marketing strategy requires commitment and consistent efforts over some time.
In their zeal to implement their content strategy, most marketers compromise on the quality of the content they create. However, the truth is that today’s hyper-informed generation only wants to consume the information they either don’t already know or add value to their daily lives.
That means that the marketer should be able to meet the set goals in a month and deliver consistent “quality” content. It must be informative, engaging, entertaining, relevant, and contextual at the same time. Otherwise, you will lose a potential customer to the possible competition in the market.
When creating and promoting content, it is essential that all aspects of the content advertising strategy – blogs, social sharing, newsletters, email marketing projects, and other marketing materials – are aligned with what your company wants to be perceived as and the interests of your target market.
4. Analytics and reporting
Many marketers mistake not measuring how their content performs on the various digital channels listed in their strategy. That leads to them having no idea what is “actually working” and where they need to cut back their resources.
Measuring your audience’s response to each aspect of the content marketing strategy is an essential element that digital marketers cannot afford to ignore. Using tools like Google Analytics, you can get an overview of the different metrics your content is generating – the variety of page visits, source of traffic, bounce rate, devices used to access content, inbound links generated, repeat and new traffic, site behavior, and more. You can also look for other analytics tools that better suit your needs. However, it’s essential to list the most critical metrics for your content strategy – what possible results you’re aiming for, what kind of audience and traffic you expect, and how you want users to interact with the content.
You can focus on the results once you know which metrics to measure. Analytics tools often offer far too much data, confusing marketers when drawing insightful and actionable information from it.
5. Consistent optimization
When it comes to digital marketing, companies spend significant resources defining and then redefining strategies to meet current market demands. On the other hand, most content advertising strategies are not optimized – they are created and then discarded when they don’t work. And in some cases, content marketing is dropped from the business strategy altogether.
The truth is that content marketing, like any other marketing effort, requires consistent monitoring and optimization to achieve the desired results. Instead of developing a strategy from scratch every time or abandoning it altogether, marketers need to learn how to leverage their existing data along with current market data to improve their strategies.
It saves time and helps more efficiently manage other resources, including marketing budgets.
6. Map the customer journey
Different consumers are at different stages of their journey and therefore need to be provided with different content for their specific needs, as not all the content you create can have the same impact on your target customers. From their (the customer’s) perspective, you should create a journey map with an action arc for each potential customer at different stages of their journey with your brand.
By adding overlays and new dimensions to the traditional marketing funnel, the classic path-to-purchase model, customer journey maps are not necessarily linear. Based on various factors, a customer may jump from one stage to the next, interacting with some of your channels and touchpoints while skipping others entirely.
Your customer journey map should be tailored to your specific customer profile and how you reach and interact with them. This way, you will not only solve their problem but also convert them into loyal customers.
7. Brand story
Behind every problem and solution is a story responsible for creating a connection between your brand and your customers. Your brand’s story plays a crucial role in every content you create. It’s also important to note that your stories should be told from your customers‘ perspectives, not your own.
Your story needs to address what your customers value and their problems.
Your brand story needs to be omnipresent, and you can’t just write a single blog post with your brand story and then forget about it. Your brand story should be such that it can be found throughout all of your company’s content.
A good content strategy sets strict timelines for achieving specific business goals. That includes periodically reviewing what is working and what efforts need to be redirected in a different direction. An effective marketing strategy is flexible and can be adapted to current market trends.