The importance of a long-term content marketing strategy
Content is King!
Videos, blogs, social media campaigns – one thing is for sure – content marketing is constantly evolving.
It can sometimes feel quite overwhelming and it’s not easy keeping up with all the latest channels, especially in the digital arena. So, it’s important to start your content strategy planning with your business goals and objectives firmly in mind, so that you can measure and monitor along the way. Setting goals is a vital activity for ensuring growth and staying ahead of competitors, and will often result in refinement of the content strategy at regular points throughout the year, tweaking any area that might not be performing as well as you hoped.
To support a busy business owner or sales team, who spend much of their day calling or visiting customers and prospects, content is a key tool for nurturing leads and buyers.
Content is the voice of an organisation
Content helps you to tell engaging and inspiring stories, but while it needs to be heard, it should also be tailored and relevant. Websites, blogs, social media, emailers, videos, podcasts, advertising, print, eBooks, and whitepapers are some of the key ways you can create and share content. The goal should be that content adds value for the audience and directs people to your website, where there is a smooth user journey to boost conversion rates. A good content marketer knows not to spread their organisation’s content too thinly by being on every platform available – they deliberately choose the right mediums.
It’s important to plan and develop a proper long-term content strategy. If you want it to perform well, engaging copy and concisely edited videos can’t always be turned around on the spur of the moment just because the CEO had a last-minute idea.
What is a content marketing funnel?
A content marketing funnel is about personalising content for your audiences; always looking to engage them further and create a relationship so that you build loyalty to make future sales. A great content strategy meets the different stages of a customer’s journey. There needs to be a consideration for whether an organisation is marketing to consumers or other businesses since the customer journey from brand awareness to purchase will differ vastly and the content needs to reflect this.
Consumer purchases tend to be faster paced and more influenced by trends. Many business-to-business purchases take a longer time to close; sometimes years. Either way, customers need reassurance that their money is being spent on a product or service that meets their needs and is the right choice.
Once your organisation is on their radar, every piece of content they come into contact with needs to work hard and convince them your product or service is the right one for them; that your organisation deserves their business. This may involve sending regular emails, keeping them up to date with relevant news and useful information such as customer testimonials or reviews and other proof points. All this takes time and planning, which makes a robust content strategy key.
How to build an effective content marketing funnel
There are four key stages that you should consider for your content marketing strategy to support your on-page search engine optimisation (SEO):
See – brand awareness: new brands and organisations are discovered when they are able to answer a problem that prospective customers have and tap into their values. Providing information on a problem area commonly faced by your target audience will help bring traffic to your website. Keyword-rich landing pages are crucial.
Think – consideration: the goal here is to convert your website visitors into warm leads, you want them to engage with your content and respond to a call to action by contacting you. The content at this stage needs to educate people about your product and/or service and how it can solve specific problems.
Do – decision, purchasing: case studies from existing customers showing how your product/service solved their problem and worked for them and their business, will contribute to the final nudge your prospect needs to convert into a customer. You need to reassure them that you will meet their needs.
Care – nurturing: there is also a final element, which is sometimes overlooked, and that is nurturing current customers so that they talk to others about you. Providing your customers with further advice, tips, giving them free stuff, updating them on the latest products, sharing your insights and expertise in a way that benefits them directly or conducting customer surveys can all help to keep them loyal to your brand.
How to enhance your content strategy with varied content
All great content strategies begin with a combination of deep thinking and brainstorming. It’s important not to just include the marketing team, but business development, sales and other people within the organisation who can share insights and ideas. Content isn’t just written. It can be visual images – photographs or graphics – or videos, webinars and podcasts. Would the CEO be willing to be interviewed by local media or start a podcast and share their in-depth knowledge? Could the experts within your team create ‘how-to’ videos? Or could you share industry insights based on your knowledge and research? Can you use quirky or fun graphics to explain complex issues?
It’s a good idea to create personas for your typical or ideal customer and consider their requirements, the solutions they’ll be looking for and where they are likely to search for those solutions (hopefully your company!) By having a clear idea of your customer, you can create a detailed plan of content and which channels are appropriate for each audience.
What stories can you tell that will help customers? What sort of things does your target audience care about? What are they interested in? What are the emotional triggers? And how can this be incorporated into your content plan?
Be careful not to overload your customers and prospects, however, as pushing out too much content can put people off. Part of having a well thought-through content strategy is that the content is on point, as is the timing of delivery.
It’s worth also thinking about your content management system for refreshing content on your website. We use WordPress for its ease and simplicity, alongside layout builder tool, Elementor.
How to measure the effectiveness of your content marketing
Data analysis is key here. How are visitors landing on your website and what are they doing during the conversion process? What information are they reading? Are prompts and calls to action strong enough to push them effortlessly to the end goal? Or are prospects landing on your website but jumping off too quickly?
Being able to create a single view of your customer and monitoring responses and engagement is integral to producing content that works. There is no point spending time and resources on your website, regularly publishing landing pages and blog posts and filling your social channels if you don’t take time to measure if any of it is working.
It’s useful to gain insights into how your customers and prospects best consume the content you share and if your messaging is appropriately streamlined across your channels. Just because you love a particular blog post doesn’t necessarily mean your audience will. Take out the guesswork and regularly analyse results so you know what to keep investing in and incorporate your findings into your content plan.
Google Analytics is about to become your best friend so it’s time to get acquainted. Asking the right questions and knowing where to find the answers will enable reports to be easily pulled together. By analysing user activity, you can follow the journeys your website visitors take and where they may lose interest.
Where have those leads come from, what page did they land on first, how long did they stay there? And, importantly, did they drop off or continue working their way through the website until either a purchase or business enquiry was made? It’s useful to take a closer look at audience demographics and the device they have visited from too.
You can also set up site search analytics to determine user needs and behaviour from the search functionality on your website. Learn what specific terms your customers are using, and the destination pages their searching sends them to. This is a great way to determine missing content and refining keywords across your website.
Now you’re armed with the right knowledge, let’s put this into practice and ignite that strategy! For help to get started in the world of content marketing, please contact Arps using the form below to book a chat…
Start planning your long-term content marketing strategy today...