Most of the things that we do in our daily lives are so routine that we don’t even have to make an effort or think too hard to accomplish some tasks. It’s automatic. We wake up, prepare to go to school or work, have breakfast and off we go. After an 8-hour work day or 6-hour school day, we go home, have dinner, relax, watch tv and sleep. But between the work and school hours, we have things to do! When we do work or school related tasks, we have to think, formulate and strategize on how to finish the tasks at hand and come out successful in the end. We strategize when we play sports, kids strategize when playing. At work, the whole workforce needs to strategize in order to reach company goals and ensure the return of investment. Wars and battles (both literal and figurative) are won because of strategy. Businesses become successful because of strategy.
And because strategy is essential in business, the essence of Sun Tzu’s “The Art Of War” has been applied to many business strategies around the world.
“Generally at war, the best policy is to take a state intact; to ruin it is inferior to this…
For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill
To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill.”
If applied to business, this means to “capture the market without destroying it.” Win without fighting. Since the goal of every business is to survive, expand and prosper, there is a need to capture the market. However, this must be done in such a way that the target market is not destroyed in the process. An enterprise or a company can achieve this in many ways including taking advantage of a market that is underserved by using subtle approaches that will not activate the competitor’s radar or attention.
Advancements in technology and specifically the internet has developed so many innovations to allow a business to market themselves. Many companies have learnt the importance of the internet and have taken advantage of the technology by making their online presence strong and effective. Web sites, blogs, videos and email are the tools most commonly used in online marketing. And just like any important task, strategy is essential in online marketing.
One thing we always remind our readers is: content is king. Without relevant content, a website will not rank well in any search engines. If it doesn’t rank, no site traffic will be gained. No site traffic means no potential customers will see the products or services on offer, and no products sold means no return on investment. A website or blog should attract, educate and convert customers into ROI. Having relevant content is just one element of the whole formula, however. To make your online presence successful, you should have an effective content marketing strategy in place.
Content Marketing And Content Strategy Defined
With so many technological terms being used today, the definitions of different processes can sometimes blur together, just like content marketing and content strategy. Although the two have the same goal, their processes differ. To keep it simple, content marketing is the “what” and content strategy is the “how”. Let’s explain further.
- Content marketing – this is the process of communication or relaying of relevant articles, content or messages to a target market, personas or audience throughout their purchasing cycles with the goal of informing and persuading possible customers to buy a product or service. The convert could be due to the expertise and authority that has been presented by the business on a frequent, timely and orderly manner.
- Content strategy – is the planning, development and management of content, whether it be a written article or other forms of media. Usually, the process is recognized as a field of user experience designing, content management, technical communication, business analysis and business intelligence. Knowing the difference will help you in planning and execution, and just like all the specifics mentioned earlier, strategy is important.
Content Marketing Strategy Advantages
Any type of business can enhance their brand image and their overall marketing efforts by creating and sharing quality and relevant content. Research has found that content marketing contributes to 3x more leads as compared to traditional online advertising like paid search. This is a per dollar basis, so think of the possibilities. Create a content marketing strategy that will bring in the bacon. Here are just a few of the advantages of content marketing strategy:
a. Creating Traffic To Your Site
Inbound traffic is a very effective and powerful way to promote your products, services or expertise through content. It’s not just about engaging your audience, content should also inform and educate while addressing the common inquiries and issues they have related to the product or service. Customer engagement is the basis of the relationship between the brand and the target audience.
b. Engagement And Building Brand Awareness
Relevant and quality content is the basis of inbound traffic. Any content that is created and published is the reflection of the business and the brand it carries. Content should be creative and should also contain a certain ability to realte to the target audience. Remeber, some of the highest levels of customer engagement are achieved through visual content. Videos, comics, graphics and other images are powerful ways of engaging and communicating with possible clients and customers. Any visual content that has the potential to go viral is an effective strategy.
c. Generating Natural Links By Way Of SEO
When content goes viral, it will surely attract a lot of people and have the potential to become popular. If content is popular there is a greater chance people will link to that content which will help your company earn a certain degree of authority. Through an SEO standpoint, if the website has a higher level of authority or page rank, then the outbound links coming from the website will bear more weight and will be more powerful.
5 Ways To Create An Effective And Successful Content Marketing Strategy
When formulating an effective content strategy for your business you should first think about the reasons why people should interact with you in the first place. This is one of the few key elements that are critical in creating a successful content marketing strategy.
1. Have A Clear Definition Of Your Objectives
Having clear objectives from the start is essential for success, but many businesses tend to ignore this. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is your business goal in using content marketing?
- Why do you need to put money into content marketing?
- How will content marketing benefit your business?
- Are the benefits measurable?
- Are the benefits important to your business?
A good idea is to write down the answers and check them every 2 or so months to see if the tasks and activities your company is doing continue to align with your objectives.
2. Know Your Audience
Content marketing campaigns can fail if the content is too broad or too shallow for the intended audience. Some companies address issues which are not relevant to the target market and ignore the things that hold importance. To make the campaign a success, create buyer personas and target the possible personas that are most important to the business. Once the right persona has been created, create content that focuses on the most important issues being faced by those people. The right personas can help to understand the issues of the clients, buyers and customers; it can also help in addressing the problems in detail.
3. Be Consistent
People appreciate patterns. People want to find what they are looking for without too much hassle or surprises. Although people like a fresh approach, if there is too much change in how you create and present your content, customer engagement will suffer from inconsistency. The audience may find this unpredictable and may actually be turned off by it. An effective content strategy lays out a repeatable system that overlooks content creation and its publishing.
4. Always Be Relevant
Knowing what’s important, popular, timely and appropriate for the target audience is important. What’s the use of creating content that deals with old news? An effective content strategy is always searching for possible channels to distribute content and formatting the content to be specific to the channel. Content should be customized to the channel and at the same time informative and entertaining.
5. Honesty Will Go A Long Way
Don’t sell lies. Tell your intended audience what you really think. Don’t be afraid to show your opinion or your personality. Your target audience will know and feel that they are connected to a real human even though content may not show the actual human side of things. Don’t be afraid to put a face, a backstory and context to your created content. Unambiguous content is a very good starting point for an effective content strategy.
In conclusion, market trends will always change as well as the technologies behind them. Content marketing will increase in the coming years with newer forms of promotional platforms and content. Remember to be clear with your goals and your objectives in creating an effective content marketing strategy. Knowing it by heart will win you half the battle.