How to Craft a Successful Content Marketing Strategy
According to Strategy Magazine, content marketing will continue to grow rapidly throughout 2019 as businesses move away from native ads due to oversaturation and corresponding lack of impact. As more businesses choose content marketing strategies, it will become increasingly challenging to create content that gets noticed.
There’s a lot of bad content out there, and in today’s media-savvy world, it may be better to have no content than bad content. One of the main reasons businesses miss the mark with content marketing is that the goals and execution of effective content marketing are at odds with those of traditional marketing methods. While traditional marketing principles dictate that products and services should be the main focus of any advertising initiative, a successful content marketing strategy views a company’s products and services as secondary or supplemental to providing the audience with information that is useful to them and interesting to read or view.
Content marketing is about selling knowledge and expertise, gaining the trust of the audience through providing them with useful information based on the expertise of the company. Think about it as in-house journalism. Your company isn’t the story; it’s the source.
When creating a content strategy, take stock of your company and brand. What kind of expertise do you have in-house? What special knowledge does it take to create your product? What kind of business advice can you provide? Create a profile of your target audience. Are there other demographics you can reach with this information who would be interested in your products or services? What kind of information would someone in these demographics be interested in? Put yourself in the audience’s shoes. Cater to what they want and need to know. Build your strategy from there.
Shopify’s blog is an excellent example of effective content marketing. The company product is space in an online marketplace and support to help vendors sell goods online. Because of this, it’s easy to deduce that the intended audience is comprised of small business owners, independent entrepreneurs, and those with an interest in the art of business building. Instead of talking about the benefits of using Shopify to sell goods online, the blog is filled with articles on how to build an e-commerce business, from creating effective marketing strategies to finding manufacturers to adjusting to shipping rate changes.
Modern furniture distributor Article is another example of content marketing done right. Content on the Article blog focuses on furniture-related concerns, such as choosing the right material, how to clean different fabrics, as well as home lifestyle tips and advice from noted experts in a range of topics that all tangentially relate to what is done in, on, and around furniture, from recipes for home entertaining to interior decorating trends and tips.
The cumulative result of this is a sense of trust instilled in the reader. If Shopify is providing content that solves problems for the audience, if Article can write so authoritatively on furniture materials, home and lifestyle, then the logic follows that they must really know e-commerce and furniture, and their products must be reliable as well.
An effective content strategy is more than writing interesting and informative blog posts. It incorporates a diverse range of formats, from video and images to infographics and charts. Content can be dispersed through a company’s own website or social channels, or it can be disseminated through outside channels.
Creating and placing content on other sites is a way of maximizing thought-leadership opportunities and positioning your company and brand in front of new audiences. Whether they are paid sponsored posts or editorial contributions, the same rules apply. Create content that is intended to engage with, inform, and solve problems for the target audience.
Reaching out to social media influencers for content partnerships can be a great way to leverage the influencers’ networks to benefit views and CTRs for your content. Higher CTRs translate into higher conversion rates. At StickerYou, in order to highlight the creative potential of stickers, we are running a series of interviews with sticker artists on our blog. We ask the artist to post a link on their social channels as part of the deal. One of the most recent interviews saw an 88% organic CTR.
Creating a content strategy that makes an impact may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. By thinking through the knowledge that your company contains, analyzing specific areas of focus or expertise, considering what information your intended audience would find useful or interesting and employing a variety of different methods to get them that information, your content strategy will create itself.
Andrew Witkin is founder and president of StickerYou. As the founder of a global e-commerce leader in custom-printed, die-cut products, Andrew Witkin is widely recognized as a leading authority on e-commerce, customization, startups, marketing and the tech economy. Witkin has also served as VP North American Licensing for Nelvana/Corus Entertainment and Director of Marketing for MegaBrands/Mattel.