The value of a solid content strategy has increased tenfold over the last decade. Content marketing, at its very core, is now less about what the business wants their customers to buy from them and more about what the business wants their audience to know about them and what they represent from a thought-leader perspective.
For example, short, pithy blogs that were once used to sell products or to simply add SEO content to your site have grown up in a major way. They’re now value-adding pieces that range between 800 to 1200 words and are aimed at telling a story or engaging with the reader.
Likewise, infographics and video content are as purposeful as they are flashy—with a strong focus on informing the consumer and leaving them with a feeling of fulfillment or connection with the brand.
The rise of influencer marketing
With the stock of content strategy flourishing, influencer marketing has become a star player in today’s content marketing game. The dissemination of content from an organisation largely relies on the colleagues and could extend further to key stakeholders of the industry in which it operates.
This makes the content seem more credible and much less salesy—and ultimately leads to more trust between the business and its customers.
Most of this evolution is likely the result of a global business model that has moved away from a focus on once-off transactions, to forming a relationship with the customer and banking on repeat business. Customers can no longer be viewed as prospects that add figures to your bottom-line.
They are the lifeblood of any business, and it would be remiss of an organization to neglect the value in forming strong, loyal bonds with them through a comprehensive content strategy.
Because the aim of content from a marketing perspective has evolved to a more customer-focus concept, it’s especially important to nail-down how the company wants its customers to perceive it. This involves rigorous interviews with key members of the organisation, market research in the field of operation, competitive analyses, as well as interviews with customers and ascertaining their current perception.
All of this information then needs to be critically discussed and questions need to be formulated based on specific pain points that the organisation can solve. Internal feedback is then vital in ensuring that these pain points are addressed properly and that the content strategy is lead by what matters and what benefits the customer.
Collaboration breeds the ultimate content strategy
There are a few pointers to consider when formulating an impactful content strategy with your team to better target your audiences and communicate with your stakeholders.
Know the market
Research and understand who the content is directed at and more importantly, why? What’s also important here is gathering feedback on whether other colleagues or team members are convinced that it’s the right type of content for the target market, and vice versa.
You can take things a little further too, and discuss why they feel the way they do, and how they feel the idea or project can be altered to better suit your intended target market. It’s never a good idea to mark your own work, so why not get another set of eyes on it?
Have a clear goal in mind
You may have already asked yourself what you’re trying to achieve through your content strategy, but have you asked your colleagues or outside partners what they think this may be?
There can sometimes be a misalignment in what you believe your ultimate goal is, and what your teammates, agencies or collaborators believe that you are trying to accomplish. So, take a moment to present the content strategy in its entirety to your colleagues, and discover what they feel it’s trying to achieve. If it’s different to what you expected, take some time to rethink the strategy and ensure that it will accomplish your goals.
Nail down your methodology
How do you plan on delivering your content to the market? Is it feasible and appropriate for the current spec or target market? For example, is a new website, marketing campaign or brand repositioning really the best way to achieve more awareness and engagement with high school students? Do you know all your options?
Again, you may have an inkling about what’s right here, but without deeply questioning yourself, putting it to your colleagues and gathering the appropriate feedback, you’ll never know what other tools you have at your disposal. Even if you receive a few different answers from them about what they believe is the best route to take here, it’s still valuable to consider and understand.
Ensure your content is fit for purpose
Here you’ll evaluate the actual resources of your content strategy and discover how your colleagues perceive them. Although you’ll get feedback that is based on an individual’s own opinion on the creative resource that you’re going to use, it’s still possible to collate the information and find some common ground.
What’s the central theme in the feedback you’re getting from your colleagues? Is it that the assets aren’t colorful or bright enough, or maybe that they’re too wordy or salesy? You’ll quickly be able to cut through the noise of individual opinions and get straight to the heart of what your colleagues are trying to tell you. If reoccuring themes pop up that reaffirm what you’re thinking, you know you’re on the right track and can adapt your strategy accordingly.
Understand what success looks like
What type of tools and tracking techniques are you planning on employing to measure the success of your content, idea or project’s launch? It’s essential that you collaborate with your team here too, as your colleagues will be able to remove any doubt from your mind whether you’ve made the right choice, or maybe steer you in the right direction if you’ve strayed off course here.
Being able to measure how the strategy is doing and ascertaining whether or not it’s hit the mark is essential in adapting it or redelivering it in a better way. This will save you time, effort and resources.
Working with a team or other members of your organisation to collaboratively formulate a content strategy means that you get a more holistic project with a variety of considerations. This not only helps you plan it out better and ensure that you’re hitting the mark with what you want to achieve, but greatly increases the chance of you nailing down an almost flawless execution.
And let’s face it, flawless execution is what you strive for as a content manager or strategist seeking to really strut your stuff and impress your audiences.