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6 EXPERTS SHARE THEIR TIPS ON HOW TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE CONTENT STRATEGY

6 EXPERTS SHARE THEIR TIPS ON HOW TO CREATE AN EFFECTIVE CONTENT STRATEGY

“What’s the use of running if you are not on the right road.”
–German proverb

This German proverb speaks volumes about the importance of having the right strategy in place. Since resources are always limited, it is better to distribute them strategically.

When it comes to content, placing the right strategy with the right set of tactics is as important as the content itself.

To understand the art of creating an effective content strategy, we asked some marketing experts the following questions:

1. Please shed some light on the importance of having an effective content strategy in place. How does it affect your content marketing efforts, and in turn help your business as a whole?
2. What are the constituents of an effective content strategy, and the most crucial step in creating one?

Here are a few tips straight from the experts’ shoulder:

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JARRETT RUSH
DIRECTOR OF CONTENT MARKETING
IDEA GROVE

 

 

1. Importance of an effective content strategy and its impact on your content marketing efforts.

I’d argue that without a content strategy you don’t have content marketing efforts. You may be creating print or downloadable collateral. You may be creating blog posts. I’d argue that without a content strategy, you essentially aren’t really doing content marketing.

You wouldn’t let other parts of your business operate without goals in place. Goals are how you judge success. Content should operate the same way. You should have goals for your content, things you want it to achieve for you. Once you know those goals–whether they are increasing brand awareness around a specific product or capability, building thought leadership, or driving leads—you can then build the strategy around how content can help you get there. It’s the strategy that will determine the kind of content you create and how it all works together.

In terms of content, none of it should be working in isolation. Blogs are great, but they are only one sentence in a larger conversation that you want to be leading. What’s your second sentence? Where are you sending a reader after they read that blog? Another blog that continues the conversation? A video? A downloadable piece? You have to know this. Otherwise, your efforts in creating the initial blog are wasted. And that’s why you need a strategy.

2. Constituents of an effective content strategy, and the most crucial step in creating one?

My perspective is as a B2B content marketer, but I think that these principles apply in B2C as well. For me there isn’t one crucial step, there are three. And they all need to be completed before you can even think about actual content pieces.

The first thing to remember is that an effective content strategy is more than an editorial calendar. It starts with the development of messaging. Ask yourself, “How are we different as a company?”, “What’s our high-level value proposition?”, “What do we allow a company to do after they engage us that they couldn’t do before?” This isn’t about products. This is about high-level problems solved, so focus on the value you provide, not how you do it.

We worked with a company that manufactured and installed distributed antenna systems. They helped cell phones work better inside of buildings, but solving that problem isn’t all they did. They didn’t just help people make phone calls, they enabled the future of work. As we’ve become more reliant on smartphones it’s become more critical that they work everywhere. So, that’s where we focused. Our client helped businesses allow their employees to work the way they wanted to, and increasingly that’s through mobile devices. How they did it was by installing distributed antenna systems.

For this program, our content strategy actually centered around a pair of annual surveys of office workers. The first survey asked workers if they ever struggled with cellular connectivity in the office and how that affected their ability to do business. The second asked them about preferred methods of communication in the office. The goal, if the results came out like we expected (And they did.), was to have hard data to put behind the idea that how we work is changing. We rely on mobile devices, and when we can’t use them it affects our ability to do our jobs. We also wanted to establish that mobile devices were the preferred communication method of choice for the modern office worker.

Using this data we were able to create blog posts targeted at specific industries. Webinars. Downloadable ebooks and white papers. Infographics. More. All of it leading to a dramatic increase in not just traffic to their website, but also in the number of contacts on their email lists and marketing qualified leads.

Hand in hand, while you’re establishing your messaging, you have to know what’s being said in the market and where you can offer expertise. This expertise should be specific, and it has to be earned. Not everyone can be an expert on everything, even if it’s tempting. Just because your business installs VoIP phone systems for small businesses doesn’t mean that you are an expert on how to run a small business. You are, however, an expert on small business communication and, theoretically, the trends surrounding that. So look at your company; look at your people. Where do you have legitimate expertise that can be backed up with experience and a resume?

After you know where the opportunities are in the market and where your organization has the expertise, you can identify the conversations that you can be a part of and, better, the conversations you can own.

The last thing you need to know before creating a strategy is how your buyer prefers to consume content. Where do they go for information? Do they like trade publications? Are they reading blogs? Do they hunt down things on social media? Do they prefer video? Before you can even think about what you’re going to say, you need to know how you should say it. You only know this information by asking, so find your recent wins and ask how they found you. Ask what the problems were that caused them to seek out a new solution.

After you know what you want to say, who you want to say it to, and how you want to say it, you can dive more into the specifics and build out the actual schedule of content pieces and figure out how they all work together.

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BILAL MUNIR
DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIST
PUREVPN

“What’s the use of running if you are not on the right road.”
–German proverb

 

This German proverb speaks volumes about the importance of having the right strategy in place. Since resources are always limited, it is better to distribute them strategically.

When it comes to content, placing the right strategy with the right set of tactics is as important as the content itself.

Content marketing is at the forefront when it comes to promoting your brand on various channels. After all, a successful content strategy is nothing more than a right mix of content marketing techniques executed at the right time.

At PureVPN, we ran a cyberstalking campaign in the recent past. The campaign’s success can be gauged from the fact that it was mentioned on Forbes, Hubspot and Content Marketing World 2017.

Our homegrown strategy was at the center of this campaign. We brainstormed for many days, after which we arrived at the conclusion of employing storytelling and user-generated content as the main pillar of our strategy.

We reached out and interviewed people who had fallen victim to cyberstalking. Also, we accepted guest submissions on the topic and made a content marketing funnel. The content marketing funnel was composed of three stages.

Reach: Reached out to the people and influencers who were interested in sharing their story.

Publish: Accepted guest submissions and interviewees on the topic.

Engage: Promoted the campaign on social media.

Since the Cyberstalking campaign was purely a CSR campaign with the aim to promote the cause, there wasn’t any revenue goal tied to it.

My advice to fellow marketers would be to incorporate the following points to make their strategies more effective:

Idea Generation: This stage involves getting the team together to generate new content ideas.

Keywords Research: Once an idea for content is finalized, refer to Ahref Keyword Explorer or Google Adwords for keyword volume.

Competitor Analysis: Research on competitors and see whether they have covered the same topic and how they have covered it. One up their approach.

Community Research: Search for content marketing opportunities within online communities and social media groups and communities. Leverage existing queries and questions on Quora, Reddit, Facebook Groups and Twitter.

Content Calendar: Set specific dates and times on when the blog post, video or any content piece will go live.

Buyer Journey: On which stage of the buyer journey should the content piece target? Is it Top of the funnel content, Middle of the funnel or bottom of the funnel content.

Paid Promotions: If you are going for paid promotions, incorporate paid advertising and partnership opportunities in the strategy as well.

Content Repurposing: It is a good idea to convert your content into different formats, like converting a text blog post into video or infographics or images and then sharing on different platforms.

Influencer Marketing: Influencers in the same niche can help promote your content in their circles. It is crucial to leverage influencers while marketing your content piece.

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MARIA BOTTA
MARIA BOTTA CONSULTING

 

 

 

1. Importance of an effective content strategy and its impact on your content marketing efforts.

One of the most important things that I tell all of my clients, you can’t have an effective Content Strategy without having clarity on your business goals. Your business objectives could be creating awareness of a new brand/company or driving qualified leads into the funnel, better customer service are some examples. Knowing what the objectives are will help you determine the WHY, and having a clear understanding of WHY your business is creating content is the key to successful content that delivers. Content does not necessarily refer to new content, a good strategy takes into account ALL content – that could be your website content, content on SM, photography, videos, etc.

This is only one part of why creating a content strategy is so important, another important thing that is revealed during the strategy process is your organizations ability to deliver on the promises you make through content, governance and the ability to maintain a consistent effort – know your internal limitations and constraints and make the necessary adjustment in your
organization before you engage in any content effort.

2. Constituents of an effective content strategy, and the most crucial step in creating one?

Know your business goals.
Get organizational wide buy-in.
Clear understanding of the measure of success.
Know your audience, customer personas, journey maps, and brand ethos.
Be prepared to support and deliver on your business promises.
Evaluate your internal human capital and structure, then create the right infrastructure to deliver an effective content plan. If you don’t have the right talent on your team, hire external support.
Build in the ability to move and pivot as business priorities change.

Anecdote: I was working as a consultant to a very successful B2B global company with over 18 billion in revenues. Despite the fact they are the market leader and have enormous success, they had no digital marketing strategy and much less a content strategy. That was difficult because we had to build something on top of a frankensteined website and content that was all over the place….. big challenge but we started slowly, and have built a content strategy around the business units in a geography that has internal support and it’s working.

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GEORGE R PERRY
SEM SPECIALIST
BANDWIDTH

 

 

1. Importance of an effective content strategy and its impact on your content marketing efforts.

The importance of having an effective, defined content strategy is that it flows down into everything else your business does. It provides the framework for every piece of content (text, video, audio, etc) that your business creates. This has a profound impact on your business’s content marketing efforts, but in many ways, makes them more effective – your content strategy not only defines your audience, but it gives direction to your content; it aligns your audiences needs with your company’s business needs and allows content to bridge that gap.

2. Constituents of an effective content strategy, and the most crucial step in creating one?

The pieces of an effective content strategy include: defined content goals (what is your content supposed to be accomplishing?), metrics/KPIs to measure your content against (these can be hard or soft), and flexibility – your strategy should give you direction, but it should also be able to adapt, as situations and business needs change. In some ways, that is the most important step in creating one – understanding that what you set up now may not be what you have in a month or even a year, and understanding that it’s ok.

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AMY KILVINGTON
HEAD OF CONTENT MARKETING
BLINDS DIRECT

 

 

1. Importance of an effective content strategy and its impact on your content marketing efforts.

As the web becomes more and more saturated with content, businesses need to be more creative in order to stand out. It’s not just a simple case of creating two blog posts per month or designing an interesting infographic. While these types of content still play an important role in your strategy, it’s vital for brands to be more inventive and invest more budget in a high quality, high performing content strategy that reaches a wider audience, thus driving more traffic and better results.

Our content strategy is wide-reaching, incorporating everything from email marketing and digital PR to onsite content and social media (including YouTube). This overarching approach ensures that we cover all bases and have a presence on every major avenue.

As a business that runs exclusively online, manufacturing and supplying window dressings and interior furnishings to the UK and beyond, a sound content strategy is crucial for us. Our brand Blinds Direct is less than 12 months old, so in order to make an impact in such a competitive market, we knew we had to set ourselves apart from the off.

2. Constituents of an effective content strategy, and the most crucial step in creating one?

One of the most important aspects of a successful content strategy is tailored content. Of course, this can be difficult when your audience segments are broad. The best way to counter this is to avoid large-scale campaigns and instead focus on small, smart projects. Identify your highest value demographic and target them with brilliant personalized content.

Another significant point is maintaining the quality of your content. Your brand’s key messages should never be compromised for the sake of churning out a lot of content. Your strategy should strike the right balance of quantity and quality.

Remember, the average internet user uses a variety of channels on a daily basis, so it’s important for you to consider all of these platforms in your strategy.

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DIANE TRIM
CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
IRIS CONTENT

 

 

As a content agency owner, I work with clients who have a strategy and those who don’t. My advice is to spend the time and money to get a great strategy and work that strategy relentlessly. Even in very crowded industries, businesses can rank organically with smart content marketing. It’s very important to know your target audience well, create personas and hunt for gaps in your competitors’ strategies. I’m working with Client X who has boosted his law firm’s search engine results page rank (SERP) from a debut entry to a PR 5 in a month and a half. His savvy, smart, careful content strategy and content management approach yielded this huge result. Several of my clients’ strategies are to overwhelm the competition with hundreds of articles each month; however, it’s not as efficient or cost-effective as Client X’s content marketing plan. These whale-sized clients with their big budgets and huge content orders seem invincible, but I’ve seen firsthand how the little guy can wield a sharp content strategy and win against these behemoths.

credits: www.godotmedia.com

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