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The importance of content marketing strategies

Are you wearing the Emperor's new clothes?

In pursuing the thinking that ‘Content is King’ you could end up wearing The Emperor’s New Clothes.

For decades, brands have been persuaded by advertising and SEO experts that content is the latest and greatest silver bullet, so they’ve created the best new content outfits they can afford. Problem is, in today’s complex digital world, consumers often never see this great content, if it hasn’t been developed as part of a well thought-out strategy.  Find out how, with the right content marketing strategy based on inbound methodologies, your new content 'outfits' will get the attention they deserve.

Old-school advertising approaches focus on a ‘big idea’ which is used to create a piece of clever content. Then a media company places it where it will disrupt the consumer the most. While this approach can achieve traditional results, it usually fails to achieve the key goal of a good inbound or content marketing strategy - measurable sales conversions.

Individual pieces of content aren’t ‘king’. But compelling content developed within the framework of an inbound marketing strategy is certainly a much smarter approach, and will deliver on the promise of marketing riches if approached the right way.

Content marketing or Inbound marketing? Find out the differences and similarities between these modern marketing approaches.

Let's think of content like a gift. To buy someone the perfect gift requires careful thought and consideration. You have to know the person well and understand their likes and dislikes. While we intuitively do this for people we know, we need to work a little harder to get it right for the range of different consumer segments a business may have. The place to start is with the huge range of consumer data available to most businesses including: web traffic analytics; email reporting data; social media reporting; CRM data; customer surveys; public records; etc. When this information is combined with market knowledge, comprehensive profiles of key consumer segments and their habits and behaviours can be developed.

Persona profiles can then be created to help identify the information your ideal customers are searching for through their purchase process. Like the gifts you give loved ones, sometimes it's the thought that counts more than anything. So when developing content as part of a sound inbound marketing strategy, there’s no need to blow the budget on one or two pieces of ‘over the top’ content. It’s far better to develop a range of content, big and small, that’s relevant to each of your personas at each stage in their purchase process.

With a good inbound strategy in place, you can develop a content plan to engage your ideal customers. Ensuring you invite your personas to engage with your content 'gifts' is a vital step. For a gift to be truly appreciated it needs to beautifully wrapped with a card telling the recipient who it’s from. Content gifts are no different.

A good content marketing strategy places invitations to engage with content in the right place and at the right time to attract your ideal customers' attention. Social media and paid media today are vital components of a content marketing strategy and content invitations need to be adapted to be suitable to the channels in which they are placed so your personas appreciate the invitation.

Struggling to develop the right content for your social channels? Get our free infographic to find out the formats that work. 

Once a potential prospect has accepted your invitation to engage with your content, the next step is to support their purchase journey and nurture them with relevant content appropriate to their stage in the purchase process. This process gives you an opportunity to not just build awareness, but to build trust with a consumer. It also gives you the ability to evaluate the potential business opportunity and calculate the right time to open a direct conversation.

As part of a content marketing strategy, a brand needs to develop a digital marketing platform capable of managing engagement with content and interactions with consumers (and the reporting and analytics that go along with this). This is where marketing automation comes in.

Without the right marketing automation software to manage engagement, it’s extremely difficult and labour intensive to know what content a prospect has come across. It’s also difficult to understand the right time to directly engage a prospect if there’s no record of the content they’ve viewed.

A good content marketing strategy uses the available budget to give the most relevant and valued gifts to the people who will appreciate them the most. A good digital platform is the way to manage what’s been given to whom and when.

Content is a gift – handle it with care.

Inbound or content marketing? Which is right for your business? Check out our comprehensive guide here.

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