I recently attended Content Marketing World with over 1,000 other passionate marketing and business professionals. The topic was content marketing and how to effectively deploy content strategies.
But there were a number of sessions, including my own, that asked the question “What is Content Marketing?” A few that answered “What is Content Strategy?” And still others that asked “What does it mean for brands to become publishers?”
So here I will define content marketing and content strategy. I will provide the simple business case for why you need it and also how you can quickly gain success with a content strategy that deploys effective content marketing techniques.
What is Content Strategy?
Wikipedia describes content strategy as “…the practice of planning the content creation, delivery, and governance. A repeatable system that defines the entire editorial content development process…”
I define it as the mindset, culture and approach to delivering your customer’s information needs in all the places they are searching for it, across each stage of the buying process. It is a strategic approach to managing content as an asset, with a quantifiable ROI.
What is a Content Strategist?
Kristina Halvorson describes the content strategist as the person who defines not only which content will be published but also why it is published it in the first place.
I define the content strategist as the change agent required to explain why content strategy is such a huge opportunity for companies to evolve the way they market and sell products, by putting the customer at the center of everything you do. By helping them with content. By answering their top questions with great content.
What is Content Marketing?
Wikipedia defines this as “all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to attract, acquire and engage clearly defined and understood current and potential consumer bases with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”
For me, content strategy is all about the why and how and content marketing is what you actually deliver – the tools, techniques, channels and content types.
Why Do I Need A Content Strategy?
This is a simple argument: The web, social and mobile revolutions have changed the world connecting all of us and enabling the seamless flow of instant information. We are all now the most popular and trusted source of news and for each other.
Marketing is not just about promotion. Traditional Marketing techniques are no longer as effective as they used to be. The amount of content and messaging being delivered to consumers every day is increasing exponentially. And so, a content strategy can save marketing and maybe your entire business!
In short, your content has to be awesome. It has to be truly helpful. It cannot be about you. It has to be about your customers’ wants and needs.
How To Be Successful With Content Marketing?
- It starts with culture and changing the deeply-held belief that marketing has to promote your products. Content Strategists need to be able to articulate why you need a content strategy and start to focus your organization on helping your customers.
- Define your measures of success. Look at how many “early-stage” search terms are driving traffic to your website. This tells you if you are answering your customers’ top questions. Look at your percentage of leads from inbound sources. This tells you how well you attract customers and earn their business vs. buy it. Finally, look at how much early-stage content you produce and how well it engages your target audience.
- Create an inbound content destination that answers your customers key questions, does not promote your products directly but invites your visitors to explore your solutions. If your content is great, your conversions will be too.
- Get a mobile plan so that you can deliver content to your customers in the format that they want.
- Think like a publisher and follow these steps to creating great content.
- Measure your success. Test. And optimize everything!
Click here to see my presentation from Content Marketing World.