The Pillars of Content Marketing Strategy

Content is an essential component of your marketing strategy, and how you choose to integrate it into your overall plan depends largely on how you define your target market. Your target market is not the same as any customer that could conceivably buy your product; it is deliberately designed to be exclusive. Creating such focus grounds your message so you can tell your story in a manner that allows your audience to identify with your brand and allows you to speak to them clearly, directly, and with the sole intent to engage.

To ensure that your content is effective in driving engagement and generating sales, you’ll be hard-pressed to find any marketing team that is focused on a singular strategy that doesn’t include a multi-platform approach given that your target audience has a variety of avenues to choose from when accessing your brand. This means you need to ensure you’re agile enough to meet your audience at key points by providing content in numerous formats and platforms to help reinforce your message and continue the conversation whenever and wherever you engage.

In this age, content marketing extends beyond the simplicity of creating, publishing, and publicizing content. Your content has to be dynamic. Therefore, your plan needs to consider content and how it elevates your brand from multiple strategic perspectives, of which there are eight: brand, online/offline, research, governance, email, social, mobile and campaign strategies.

Consider your own content marketing strategy. Does it account for the eight strategic pillars of a sound content strategy? No? Well, I’m going to cover the essentials of the first four strategies, which I consider to be the starting point in your efforts whether you are evaluating current or prior initiatives or are just getting started in building a sound content marketing strategy.

1. Brand strategy

Perception and trust is the name of the game, so start by putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience to continuously evaluate whether your brand provides content that your audience identifies with and finds valuable. Now mix in trust by ensuring that you’re creating customer-centric content which will develop trust and deepen credibility with your consumers. Bake in these two aspects to your brand strategy and you’ll find that affinity will increase and relationships will become stronger over time when the foundational elements of your brand are layered with benefits to your buyer.    

2.  Online and offline strategies

Do you have a cohesive online strategy? Can you effectively connect the dots of how you’re telling your story online and where your content intersects into offline avenues of storytelling? Clinton Florry put it nicely in a prior blog post when he said, “When companies present anything less than a complete and unified presence online and offline, people notice. Really, they do. Those people may shrug their shoulders and carry on with their tasks on your site (albeit with less satisfaction and ease.) Or, in the absence of any info online, they may give up and go to a competitor.” So think about how you engage, both online and offline so as not to leave your audience hanging.

3.  Research strategy

Is your story (the content, the message, the overall design) making the grade? Evaluate it and don’t forget to ask those that matter to you the most by performing periodic assessments. Don’t be afraid to ask your audience. They’ll tell you what’s up.

4.  Governance strategy

Consider the SAS model as a guiding principle for developing and driving good governance practices. Have the leaders from each relevant business unit meet weekly to discuss and coordinate content activities and prioritize future initiatives.

Just like baking a good cake, the top four strategies are the essential ingredients to your cake batter. What can make a great cake exceptional is the layering of flavors, frosting, decoration, and good plating. That’s where the remaining four pillars (email, social, mobile, and campaign strategies) add the additional depth and character to your content marketing efforts that will take your brand presence and storytelling to the next level. So, what are you waiting for? Get cooking. A thoughtful holistic strategy may take you some time to design but will be devoured by all.

Najwa Smith is the director of content strategy at Rosetta.

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