7 Tips for Crafting the Ultimate Content Strategy in 2020
Almost 80% of marketing professionals worldwide now believe that content-led marketing campaign spend will increase in 2020, along with a boom in new content formats and more competition than ever.
Content marketing isn’t just about white papers, social media posts and editorial-style content. Content has always been a potent lead-generation tool, and this year savvy professionals are gearing up to harness the potential of new content format technology such as audio, podcasts and augmented reality. So, as content marketing becomes increasingly complex and incredibly competitive, where do you start when it comes to crafting the perfect strategy for your business?
Be clear about what’s already working… and what isn’t
Content marketing is an exciting arena growing in leaps and bounds, with more options available than ever. But before getting carried away with the possibilities, it’s wise to do an audit on your current strategy, being honest about how well your current content is performing, and why. Startup resource, Informi calls this the “homework period” and it’s essential for new startups and successful businesses alike. A promising new content trend may ultimately prove less useful than simply making sure you’re optimizing on the strategy already in place.
Have a SMART goal
In the burgeoning content marketing world, you’ll need to regularly compare performance against a crystal clear goal. What’s most important at this stage in your company’s development – customer acquisition, sales, brand awareness? Decide on goals that are specific, measurable, realistically attainable, relevant to your context and time limited. This way, you can appraise any flashy new content tech according to how well it will serve your ends.
Know your audience inside and out
There is no content marketing without someone to market to. As an extension of your goals, make sure you have a comprehensive profile of your ideal target audience, the channels they’re on, what they want, the content they consume and how. Remember that this is not merely a snapshot, but a projection of how this user behaves over time, and their engagement with your brand well beyond the standard marketing funnel.
Choose content formats wisely
Written content no longer dominates. Videos, newsletters, interactive visuals and GIFs, infographics, webinars, audio, VR, podcasts and even PDFs are increasingly popular, but make sure that your strategy actually makes sense for your identified target. While YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram are wildly popular platforms for younger people, they may not give you much of a return if your ideal customer is over 50. Video is engaging across the board, but the format alone won’t guarantee success – truly quality content is still necessary.
Once you’ve honed in on the content type and the way you’ll be pitching to your target audience, the next consideration is how you plan to implement your strategy in the long term. Spend the time creating a content calendar that will help you schedule consistent publishing when and where it matters. Decide who will create and post it, how frequently, on which channel, and precisely where each piece of content fits into the customer’s journey.
Promote your content
The process doesn’t stop there – in fact, more of your efforts should go to promoting the content than to creating it. The platform you use for promotion will depend on the unique features of your business, but guest blog posts on industry sites, forum content, paid advertising and Google ads, email and newsletter marketing and social media content are all options to get your content out there.
Evaluate and evolve
Content marketing is never static; a good strategy is one that is dynamic and flexible to changes in your customer base, competition, and developments in technology. Tracking the performance of your campaign will come back to your goals – use your goal to establish some metrics and then ask how well your content is delivering.
Instantly, you’re fed back into the first step of the process. Do your goals need refining? Is your strategy all it could be? Is it time to include more varied content formats or to double down on the formats that are already performing well? You’ll only know when you take the time to assess your results in as many different ways as possible.
A content marketing strategy is essentially a map that helps you navigate the enormous (and growing) field of options for creating and promoting your business content. Developments in VR, ultra-targeted content, and interactive visual and audio paint an exciting future for content marketing, but there’s no need to get overwhelmed: authoritative, relevant, trustworthy content that adds value to your customer’s life is and always will be the priority, whatever novel developments the new year brings.
By Sarah Anderson, Freelance Writer