Since creation and implementation of a content marketing strategy is often among the tasks of an Internet marketer, I have decided to structure my vision of the ideal algorithm to achieve such a goal, as well as to answer the most frequent questions that arise among marketers, entrepreneurs in its development, implementation, and evaluation. And Chris’s periodic table is an ideal link for all the scattered knowledge.
What is Content?
I believe that “content” is no different from “information”. In one exciting article, I found a definition of the “information” term which says: “that state of matter which defines another matter’s state”. Yes, it’s not perfect. But it makes its point. Genes define the form of a human body, a code of a programmer defines the algorithm of the automatic movement, words from religious texts define the behavior of millions of people.
Definitions and Targets of a Content Strategy
I have already mentioned that marketing occurs only when practically identical in their functional characteristics products and services appear on the market. In short, marketing is a competition of communications. And content marketing, as an integral part of it, is not an exception. It also works according to the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) model.
Every business has its purchase funnel, even the one that doesn’t realize it. And content marketing focuses on a significant expansion of the top of that funnel.
A content strategy is a step-by-step algorithm for creating, distributing and measuring the effectiveness of content to achieve 2 goals:
- Increasing sales;
- Forming the core of a loyal audience.
These two goals are closely interlinked and constantly affecting each other.
Sales are profit and circulating funds now. A loyal audience is an asset that is often difficult to assess but which significantly affects the stability of a product, service, or a company in the market.
Content types are the core of a strategy. I have highlighted the most valuable options, but this list is not exhaustive:
- Content in the form of a questionnaire
- Feedbacks and reviews
- Expert surveys
- Best practices
- Set of facts
- Statistics publication
- Case studies
- Templates and checklists
- Beginners’ guides
What is the difference between the format and the type of content? Separation is absolutely conditional. Its purpose is to help you to see and use a large number of variants of data presentation.
Based on the information provided by this project, content types are different types of content/meaning on a particular topic (e.g. “Google Analytics for Newcomers” can be considered as:
A step-by-step beginners’ guide
Interviews with experts on the correct study of the tool.
Through interviews with marketers about their knowledge level regarding the tool.
Content formats are different forms of reporting the same content on a specific topic (online/offline, by text, pictures, video, etc.):
- Images (infographics)
- Press releases
- Offline events (conferences, seminars)
- Online training (recorded videos)
- E-mail messages
Content Distribution Channels
- Private website
- E-mail newsletters
- Partner database
- Q&A services
- Social networks
- Offline media
The metrics in the table are given without any relation. This can disorient the user.
This is how logical and convenient division looks to me:
- A number of unique users;
- A number of new users.
Content satisfaction metrics:
- Failure rate;
- A number of pages viewed per user;
- An amount of time on the website per user;
- A number of visits per user;
- A number of returned users.
Metrics of involvement in content distribution:
- A number of likes, shades, additions to favorites.
Product / service / brand fame metrics:
- A number of references online and offline.
Sales and investment return metrics:
- A number of new and repeat sales;
- A cost of attracting one client;
- Customer retention rate;
- Return on investment.
The engagement trigger is a trigger in content that stimulates the reader and the viewer to share the material with others.
Why does a person share content with others? For that, there are several reasons but all of them have a deep biological nature. We want to:
- Provide satisfaction to another person and become a guide for interesting, valuable and laughable things.
- Protect another person from danger.
- Demonstrate our intelligence by showing what complex information we analyze.
Therefore, when working to increase engagement, we need to understand the main benefits of content for both the reader and his/her circle of contacts.
Perfect Content Strategy
I see a perfect final result for a content strategy as follows: 10% of the time is spent on the initial compilation and regular addition of topics, 90% is spent on the work directly on the creation of content and 0% of the time is spent on its design and “sowing”. Development of blog platforms (WordPress, Medium, YouTube) will gradually help to come to such a ratio.
Why such a percentage ratio? Time and intellectual resources of a person are strictly limited. And if a large number of them have to be spent on distribution, there are fewer resources for the creation of content.
We can talk about the beginning of a content strategy implementation upon having the following 4 points:
- A primary detailed plan with topics, titles of articles, videos, presentations, etc. (it will be supplemented later on).
- Detailed technology of content creation (ideally, there is its own technology for each type and format).
- Detailed technology of primary “sowing” of content.
- Configured analytics according to the above-mentioned metrics.
Simple Examples of a Content Strategy
Can we consider religious texts an example of a content strategy implementation? I think so. This metaphor leads us to another very important conclusion.
The purpose of marketing is to be a monopoly in a particular market.
The purpose of marketing content is to be a monopoly on answers to certain questions.
Religious texts do not just explain what is good or bad. They give very detailed recommendations on a huge number of issues related to the organization of personal and public life.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Marketing Content
I highlight the following benefits:
1. Cumulative effect. If you regularly release content by working technology, the hundredth unit of content is supposed to have a much greater effect than the first and tenth units. The effect is achieved due to the growth of the user base, which is waiting for new messages + growth of confidence in a site, video channel from search systems.
2. The diversity of forms. Good content is an intellectual product. And such a product can be embodied in different forms: texts, infographics, videos, podcasts, presentations.
3. Duration of life. People are born and die (as yet), and many issues are universal. Good content is saved in the centuries, you want to get back to it, it is commented and discussed, and all this time it benefits its author, the creator living in people’s heads.
The main disadvantage is the other side of this effect. The return on investment can take a long time.
Content Marketing vs. SEO
I differentiate between content marketing and search systems optimization by one simple criterion – author’s sacrifice. SEO is still very demanding to keywords and headlines. And if an author sacrifices the convenience of reading, the beauty of the syllable for the sake of meeting formal requirements of search systems – it is SEO. Content marketing is about focusing on the quality of content and not willing to sacrifice it.
Can they be combined? Sure. In 2 steps. First, an article is written without any formal restrictions. And then every correction (from SEO’s point of view) is made only as a necessary evil. It is important to remember where you are at in the implementation phase of a strategy. The more the subscriber base, domain authority and trust in the author are, the more you can avoid formal requirements of search systems. The reputation of a site and behavioral factors will pull your article to the top.
Future of Marketing Content
Technologies of building automated purchase funnels improve every year. When conversion and pricing policy, after hundreds of hypotheses and tests, reach a certain maximum, the only way to grow is to expand the top of the funnel and increase the Retention Rate.
The competition for attention is growing. This means the content requirements are too. The average user will most likely benefit from this. An increasing number of application questions are already being answered by users in an extremely comprehensive manner. And, in most cases, for free. Every year the requirements for content on the part of customers will grow, and getting into certain niches becomes prohibitively expensive. But there is also a pleasant moment for content creators. For talented creators. Good content is expensive. And the complexity of creation is a good filter. While others are lowering budgets for the distribution of mediocre products, for a good writer, designer, video blogger it is enough to create one product which is one order of magnitude greater than others. Of course, it also needs distribution, but its superiority makes it possible to reduce distribution budgets by tens of times.
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