Content marketing has become an essential strategy for business growth. But with so many options available, how do you choose the right content formats to achieve your goals?
This comes down to a question of, what do you want to achieve. Because not all content marketing is made equal.
Before you’ve even made a piece of content, let alone published it. You need to consider a number of factors, from your audience and prospective customers, buyer journeys, timeframes and what you want to achieve from your content marketing efforts.
The most successful content marketing examples are built and grounded in this strategic understanding of a business’s audiences and objectives.
Your content strategy should map to your audience’s buyer journey.
Understanding the different stages and how different content marketing formats and types fit within each stage will allow you to make the most of your content marketing strategies.
At this point, content should inform, entertain and engage. The purpose is to hook potential customers, not to sell to them.
Blog posts, whitepapers, and social media help raise awareness of a problem your product solves. Focus on educating your audience at this stage. This isn’t the place for hard sales and conversion CTAs.
This is where things start to get more information and detail-driven. At this point, a potential customer will be more serious and considered about their purchasing. They may not be quite there with a final purchasing decision, so this is the time to start dialling up the informative and story-driven content.
Videos, email marketing, and social media posts can showcase your product benefits and competitive advantages. Make your content informative and story-driven.
We’re at the the end of the funnel now. Buyers are tooled up and informed. Now you have to give them a real reason, and incentive, to buy.
Free trials, coupons, case studies address final questions and objections. Give decision-makers an incentive to choose you over competitors.
The more versatile your content, the more effective and efficient it will be.
You should not be making content solely exclusive to one channel or output. When you’re planning and putting together your content strategy. Consider how you can ‘sweat your assets’ and create a versatile multi-channel content strategy.
As for what adaptable content is, this can really vary. Hero video content can be broken down into smaller pieces of shareable snippets. This can then be used across all of your owned channels.
White papers and reports can be broken up into blog content and multi-channel social media campaigns.
Don’t put the blinkers on your content strategy. Repurpose, reuse and re-engage.
To ensure your content is shareable, ask yourself if the content gives you a reason to be shared.
Does it offer insight into an issue, concern or problem? Does it ignite the imagination and inspire ideas? Or does it show impact and results that really wow?
Then ask yourself, would I share this personally?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one size fits all approach to creating shareable content. There is no one winning formula. Every business, every audience and every industry is different.
But fundementally, shareable content is interesting content. So prioritize creating content that is interesting.
Your content strategy should but tuned to your business goals. What is the purpose of your content? What output is it aligned too?
Is it brand awareness, pushing certain products or services, or are you looking for lead generation or driving conversations and engagement?
Don’t just create your content and then try to tack activation and strategy on at the point of delivery. Create content to match the desired outcome.
Analyze performance data to see what content resonates best with your audience. Refine your strategy based on insights.
AB test your content, to trial combinations of copy and creative. Take what’s working, remove what isn’t and learn from your analytics. A data-driven approach helps create a content marketing flywheel, where you continually optimize content for impact.
Even the most creative and insightful piece of content marketing can be brought low by bad timing.
Whether this is trying to come in with a hard-line sales message too early in the incubation period, or being unaware of how external factors, such as news agendas, sector-specific or even global issues, may have impacts on your content… external factors can and will impact your content marketing strategy. So there has to be a certain level of pliability in your approach.
Content creation is so much more than just pumping out images and videos to the world.
Effective content creation and content marketing strategies are built around goals and outcomes. Simply making content, for the sake of making content, will not give you the ROI you desire. So it’s really important to know your audiences and what kinds of content they are most reactive and receptive to.
You also don’t have to have Hollywood-level production, to create content. In fact, in many instances, a more stripped-back production value is more beneficial than something slick and expensive looking… an iPhone can be a content marketer’s best friend.
But, the most important thing to note… make interesting content.
Everyone is looking for reach, shares and engagement. You won’t get any of this with uninteresting content. You can force all the messaging and calls to action you can in there, but if the crux of your content is boring to your audience, it isn’t going to work.
So, the next time you’re in a content planning session, or strategising for the year ahead before you’ve shot a frame. Think about about what you want to get out of this content, and what would be the most interesting way to achieve this.
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