You’ve probably heard the saying ‘Content is King’, but have you ever stopped to consider it? When you stop and think about your content and how effective information is in our modern age, this is when you start to realise how truly effective a solid content strategy can be.
OK… Hold up.
First: What is a content strategy? What does this content strategy involve? And then, of course, how can you make a content strategy that is truly effective?
What is a content strategy?
Now I don’t know about you, but I get pretty much all of my information online these days. It could be instructions about how to get where I want to go, what’s happening in my town, a recipe for an obscure Uzbek dish, or the research for my next holiday.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say you do much the same. Want to know the answer to a question? There’s a handy device in your pocket with all the answers…
Content strategy leverages this information to find potential clients for your business. If you’re a business person, I’m willing to bet you already have a stack of things to do, and marketing might seem like one of those things on the to-do list that looks a bit foreboding.
With a content strategy, you break down that marketing into bite sized pieces.
You then work out how to target your ideal client, what they’re looking for, the channels they use to do their research and the best way to get in front of them.
Advertising BDE* (Before Digital Era)
Old school content strategy probably went something like this:
- Develop product or service….
- Take out ads in newspapers, on radio and on TV hyping arrival of said product or service….
- Release product or service…
- Continue to promote as much as possible in newspapers, radio and TV.
This is called cost per mille, aka CPM (sometimes called cost per mile) and it refers to the fact that you aim to get your ad in front of as many people as your budget would afford. With enough brand exposure, people will become familiar with your product and buy it…
And let’s be honest, this works well, if you have the money. I mean, if you’re a big company you could afford to take out lots of ads in national papers and billboards on highways. Odds would suggest that you’d get plenty of customers soon.
For the smaller companies, or the ‘startups’ of olde, it wasn’t a level playing field. Advertising costs money and involves a lot of work.
Enter the internet and the unknowably huge expanse of the internet. Modern content strategy is a beast that evolves continuously, but, for the small business owner, it’s one that can be tamed. And even mastered.
So how does a modern content strategy work?
What does modern content strategy involve?
There’s a lot of noise out there. It’s like being in a huge marketplace with people waving big bold placards, telling you they’re the best, and showing off their beautifully edited images of gorgeous people in exotic locales.
And there, amongst it all, is your business, struggling to be heard.
Put very simply. Modern content strategy uses multiple channels to spread your word and build brand visibility as effectively as possible. And, best of all, it can be done for a fraction of the price of those old billboards.
In fact, with good planning, you can execute an effective content strategy that could boost your marketing for the cost of one TV ad placement.
First things first. Understand your audience. What are they looking for, where are they looking, when and why…
Next, understand the language they use to find what they’re looking for. The best way to do this is, speak to them! Ask them what they’re searching for and the words they use.
Once you have built this picture of what your potential client is looking for you can start to…
Build it… They will come!
You do have a website don’t you? OK. Good.
Make it amazing. Keep it simple, streamline your wording, make it obvious what you do. Don’t try and be clever.
Pop some content on there that is useful to your potential audience. Do this regularly.
Meanwhile, build landing pages that capture people’s details in exchange for downloads of your useful content.
Promote your content on social media, via press releases to relevant publications and by printing content in related websites.
And… Do this regularly. Literally, make the production of your content a clockwork process, keeping an eye on what does and doesn’t work. If something isn’t working, ditch it. Try something new.
But crucially… Keep on going!
I don’t have time/a marketing department/the capacity for this…
Marketing is hard work. Even free marketing takes time and a lot of effort, but done right, it can start to reap dividends quickly.
But if you’re not the content type, this can be a problem.
Partnering with a marketing agency is the best way to take the strain on your marketing if you’re unable to do it yourself. By using experienced professionals, they take the time to find out what your business aims are, and use their expertise to make your content strategy a success.
A marketing agency is also usually multi-faceted, providing services including website audits, search engine optimisation (SEO), copywriting, outreach and PR and other time consuming services. Some even offer PPC management and video production as extras.
Is using a marketing agency expensive? Look at it another way. The money spent on hiring a marketing agency is a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house marketing employee, normally over half the price if not more!
Marketing agencies aren’t tied to your company with employment contracts, and you can usually change your agency if things aren’t working out.
Whether you do it yourself, or with a professional, a well executed content strategy is an essential in today’s business world.
An experienced digital marketer and content writer, Oli has spent the past seven years working with a diverse range of business clients. He has recently established his own content marketing business, Sentient Creative, offering his expertise to the market.