In a perfect world, everyone would respond harmoniously to everything you did in the marketplace.  Every engagement would start the sun shining, the birds singing and the register ringing. Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist. In reality, you can’t make everyone happy.  The sun will always be shining too bright for some and not enough for others. The singing birds are perfect for some, but not others and the register is starting to become a thing of the past.  That is where a content marketing strategy comes in.

Before we go any further, a content marketing strategy has little to do with the creation and distribution of content and has more to do with your customer’s journey, business goals, and current marketing priorities. More importantly, a content marketing strategy doesn’t replace your marketing strategy, it compliments it by ensuring that you have taken a proper look at your business, adequately understand your areas of opportunity and exploit every opportunity you have to grow your business.

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Most organizations believe that they are already doing a great job with their content marketing strategy, but in reality, companies of all sizes haven’t even begun to scratch the surface and here’s my opinion on why:

  1. Confuse what strategy is. If you have read some of my other articles then you have heard me say that strategy is what occurs above the shoulders while tactics occur below. Strategic thinking is the reason small companies come out of the woodwork to crush large companies that have stiff, short-sided cultures that limit their ability to be agile. Confusing a tactic with a strategy is the fastest way to sink the marketing ship.
  2. Limited Vision. As hard as it is for some people to do, you have to look at a situation in its entirety. Even though there is a rapidly changing business environment you still have to look ahead 5 to 1O years; while looking at the intended and non-intended impacts on the decisions you make today.
  3. Poor Planning. Stop and take a moment to think about your overall strategy. Now think about the process you took to get there. If you didn’t consider buyer personas, customer touch points, communication preferences, and formatting. You haven’t given this enough thought. If you haven’t compared marketing and organizational goals to improve your use of your content—you still have some work to do. If you haven’t determined what KPIs and metrics you are using to gauge success it is time to get serious.

Does this sound like a lot of work?

It is, but the reward is worth the investment in time. Before starting your journey down the strategy development road, before you start creating an inventory of your assets before you start making things… it is crucial that you start with some foundational research.

Here is a list of questions you will want to start with:

  1. What processes need to be considered in order to move forward?
  2. Which internal and external stakeholders need to be involved in the planning process?
  3. What are your competitors doing?
  4. How is your industry changing?
  5. What existing budgets can be used?

Once you have the basics covered, you can begin the strategy development process. Here is a helpful list to get you started:

  • Using your persona’s journey, identify what content is needed to achieve your marketing, branding and overall organizational goals.
  • Take a look at what you already have. Creating an asset inventory will save you a lot of time and money.
  • Don’t take a one-size fit all approach. Different content channels have different looks and feel. Pay attention to how the content you distribute looks and feels on different channels and adjust accordingly.
  • Tell your brand story. Everything you do should carry your brand’s tone, look, feel and unique value/selling proposition
  • Save yourself the time and money. Look for an automation provider that can take your strategy and implement it using marketing automation such as the one we offer at Centipede Digital. This will enable behavior-based content distribution.
  • Curate with care. Either you were born to create content, or you weren’t. I have seen some costly mistakes occur when businesses try to be everything. Consider hiring an agency to create your content or if you insist on doing it yourself hire a marketing consultant to guide you through the process.
  • Ensure that you are providing content in multiple formats. Since different personas have different needs you want to avoid message fatigue by providing variety and fresh content.
  • Solve their pain points. Plot content to specific pain points. Take into account your prospect, buyer and customer journey.
  • Educate, Measure and Manage. This isn’t a one-and-done scenario.
  • Manage the process. Someone has to own strategy. Ensure that you have determined who that person is and that you have provided them with the ability to make strategic and tactical decisions.
  • While planning your strategy you need to determine which KPIs you are going to need in order to measure the success of your plan.
  • You need to educate your internal stakeholders. Everyone should understand the overall marketing strategy and how it not only accelerates sales but contributes to long term customer retention.

There are plenty of resources available to help you manage the Content Management Strategy (CMS) creation process. Keep this article in mind as you embark on this new endeavor. As always, should you decide to leave your marketing to the professionals we are always here to talk.  Pick up the phone and call 972-521-6002 or complete the form below. We would be happy to help.