How your content strategy can save your brand
In this day and age it is difficult to get across any points on marketing strategy. Yes, your small business needs too many strategies, and you are busy running your business. You might ask yourself, will this stuff really help me be less busy?
Content strategy is an idea we have been recently introduced to with the advent of content marketing. You already knew you need a business plan and a marketing strategy, and suddenly you now need a bloody content strategy as well?
Your average marketing websites say it is good for SEO and social media, but everyone struggles to find a way to measure its performance, which makes it hard to sell.
And then when we eventually get someone to draft one out, no one guarantees it is going to be implemented!
Listen, I know it is hard work, but if you look at the big picture, doing a content marketing strategy is only going to supercharge your brand and potentially solve and prevent serious problems at the organisational level. It is going to be the nexus between your marketing goals and your immediate digital activities.
Content marketing is not only useful for a more optimal and attractive website, but it will also benefit your whole brand and yourself, for we are communicating constantly. It is useful even if you are working on your personal brand (which you should).
Here are seven beautiful benefits of a content marketing strategy.
1. You'll find and consolidate your voice
A content strategy will help you identify your message and position it in your marketplaces by forcing you to think what you can offer as an expert and write it down so that you don't forget it.
You then show it to your colleagues often enough, to the point that any communicate on behalf of your business, online and offline, is impregnated with the common leadership of the brand.
This can even help making stronger teams and in turn recruiting more efficiently, filtering out people that do not align with the brand values.
I have often seen this intended through mission statements, but more often than not those statements do not go beyond cheesy catchphrases scraped from some branding website, as you would probably do when writing Christmas cards.
A content strategy will help you think about those messages more comprehensively and turn it into actionable and measurable tasks as simple as writing a blog post or a new landing page.
2. You'll start sharing a vision and stop bitching about each other
A strategy gives you a 'North', a clearly stated indication of what content your website should have in order to achieve your goals. This can potentially help your team solve the kind of conflicts that arise from not sharing a vision, –which is very common– and solving it is fundamental for effective leadership.
Strategy empowers collaboration towards common goals, which is the most optimal way to solve conflict .
Years ago I worked for a local venue that was both an inclusive charity and a commercial events venue. The venue managers were quarrelling between a caritative and a profitable use of the space. Now the strategy states that it is a charity and also a business, and they don't need to be self-exclusive. The creation of the website helped them multiple spaces to expressing both purposes and coexist as one.
3. You save time and money, which is the same as winning time and winning money
Many brands don't have any strategies for, say, social media promotion. They aimlessly post on Facebook and write blog posts about things that are only important to them because they are involved in them, but this content does not give the slightest value to their target audiences.
Not doing research, you are stabbing in the dark just waiting to get lucky. You hear you need to update your blog regularly because 'it is good for SEO', and you do it without have done due research, therefore it fails.
The quality of your content and the impact of your efforts is going to grow astonishingly once you have done your due research and embrace an strategic approach.
Another time (and life) saver is the fact you have a faster buy in when suggesting any changes to the website or any campaigns.
Along my journey I have been astonished how useful it is to have a shared purpose and goal to get people above you agree with your ideas.
4. You improve constantly against the initial plan
Sometimes I spend hours and hours learning how to play classical pieces on the guitar without recording myself. When I achieve a level where I am satisfied with my performance, I record myself and I find eye-watering mistakes I am able to correct as soon as I practice the same piece again. I learned this from The Art of Learning by Joshua Waitzkin.
Having benchmarks you can review and contrast your performance is crucial for improvement. What gets measured gets managed.
A content marketing strategy will help you know when you are making mistakes and how to correct them. Without benchmarks anything goes, but you don't grow. And this is dangerous because sometimes we fear setting goals and not hitting them, so we rather not have any expectations. This is a mistake in itself.
5. Coherence across channels
A strategy will help you find your voice and a way to express it appropriately across channels.
This is important because the medium shapes the message, so if you don't have a strong message, this might end up in an uncoordinated and coherent brand, which will harm your credibility across channels.
6. You connect the big picture with what your audience sees about you
This is something the marketing strategy or business plan tends to give, but the actions that come from a marketing strategy can be a little ambiguous, hard to understand and therefore rarely implemented in full.
Your content strategy will turn your marketing strategy into tangible assets that will exist on the website and other channels and will talk to your audience.
7. You get insights from research you wouldn't otherwise get
In the content strategy you set metrics, benchmarks and goals. This means you will periodically go back and see whether you are hitting the goals or not.
But the amount of data available is staggering, and you need to simplify those goals. I recommend starting with one or two metrics and then gracefully expand if you really need additional insights.
Then you do your 80 20 analysis and restate the strategy.
A content strategy is not a 'would be nice to have' thing anymore. It is something that can help you solve and prevent fundamental problems within your brand. It is an opportunity for you to take right now.