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Content strategy: keep ahead of the game

48% of content marketers see creating content that drives traffic as their biggest challenge.
SEMRush – State of Content Marketing 2020 Global Report.

A game of chess is often used as a metaphor for business: it’s tough to master and requires concentration, a strong strategy and a touch of fearless flair to come out on top.

That strategy in particular, is essential to the futureproofing of your business.

One vital strand of your business strategy is the development of your content strategy.

Put simply, a content strategy involves the careful planning, development and management of your business content. Informed by extensive research into the profile, behaviours and preferences of your target audience, your content is crucial to every prospect or customer experience, driving audience engagement and creating a buzz around your products or services.

At Marketing Fusion - we've worked with a number of clients to build out their content strategies.  Over time the tools we have used to develop these has evolved into a template that underpins our content strategy workshops.

To help businesses, in particular those in the B2B tech space, we're sharing this as a freely available editable download that you can use to build your own comprehensive content strategy.

Why do you need a content strategy?

“Your content is your most valuable business asset.”
Scott Abel, Content Strategist.

It might sound obvious, but everywhere your business presents itself, from your website, social media, blogs, ads, to your chats and emails (sales, marketing and support) all create an image you present to the outside world.

Your content strategy needs to underpin and guide these elements, creating a consistent, positive impression and an intelligently developed customer journey.

Get it (and other things) right and the sales will follow. Get it wrong and your audience could be confused or unsatisfied and go elsewhere for information – that’s checkmate!

65% of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy vs. 41% of the least successful.
CMI B2B Content Marketing Research Report 2019.

 

What are the basic elements of a good content strategy?

What do you need to include in your strategy?  Our content strategy template will guide you through the process, but here are some things to consider:

Your business goals

When you’re looking at your business strategy, ask yourself:

  • What are your main goals for your business
  • Do you plan to grow? By how much?
  • Where do you see that growth coming from?
  • Have you adjusted your content goals to match your evolving business strategy?


Your market opportunity

How are you positioned in the market and what can you do to maximise your business potential? You’ll need to consider:

  • How external factors are impacting your business
  • How external factors are impacting your customers’ business
  • How technology may have changed
  • Whether there have been any legal deadlines or market dynamics, like Covid-19 or Brexit, that have been a major factor
  • Whether there’s an issue that’s capturing attention and focus – how can you take advantage?
  • How you can help your customers leverage emerging tech, new channels or changing customer behaviour

 

Your brand story and message

Your brand should tell a unique story about you and your business, drawing customers in and encouraging their interest.

  • What story is your business telling?
  • Are you telling that story well?
  • How do you set yourself apart from the competition?
  • Has your competition evolved or the market developed?
  • What do you want to be famous for?
  • Are you consistent? Make sure you’re true to yourself and your brand

 

Your audience

Take a careful look at the pain points for your target personas. It’s vital to check:

  • Whether they’re still the same group you were targeting 12 months ago
  • Whether their priorities have changed
  • What questions they’re asking

Your sales team will be able to help you build a clear picture of your target audience. But it’s also crucial to:

  • Do some keyword research
  • Check if search patterns have changed since you last researched them
  • Find out if new terms are emerging that might dominate search volumes

 

Content themes

Take a good look at your current content themes and:

  • Review what has worked in the past, not just likes and clicks, but what’s generated the most pipeline and business*
  • Overhaul and change any that aren’t working for you anymore
  • Find out the best cycle of theme change for you - a weekly changing content theme is likely be too much in the B2B world; in our experience, quarterly tends to work best

*NB: if you don’t have a platform that gives you that information, look at the HubSpot inbound platform, which tracks contacts all the way from first contact to closed business.

 

Channel and campaign approach

Your business will have a unique perspective and approach, so it’s important your content reflects that, whilst targeting the right media channels to drive traffic to your website.

  • Start by reviewing your existing content – can it be re-purposed or refreshed to breathe new life?
  • Develop messaging and a series of assets supporting your chosen themes
  • Ensure you have a high value centralised offer or destination – checklist, a report, guide, webinar etc
  • Use blogs and other short form content to drive traffic using more specific longer tail keywords
  • Link your assets back to the main destination site, creating strong internal linkage to build credibility with search engines as well as visitors

 

Social media strategy

Social media is a whole major topic of its own and it should be a core pillar of your content strategy. If you’re not driving enough traffic to your content and website through social channels, ask yourself:

  • Am I posting in the right places (where my prospects hang out)?
  • Am I posting with the right frequency/consistency/at the right times?
  • Am I using enough visual/dynamic content?
  • Am I engaging in conversations through social channels or just using them as broadcast channels?

If the answer to any of these is NO – then it’s definitely worth a rethink of your social media strategy, once you have your content strategy nailed.

 

Endgame

The CMI says content is one of the most effective ways to promote a business but, according to Marketing Profs, 63% of businesses don’t have a documented content strategy. This gives you the perfect chance to get ahead of the game! By following our suggestions, you can develop a targeted strategy to distribute and deliver great content to your specific audience to drive customer engagement. Then you can concentrate on the individual flair only your business can bring to the marketplace. You’ll be a grandmaster in no time!

 

It’s your move!

If you’d like to step up your game, download our free B2B Content Strategy template today.

Download our free Content Marketing template