Top Thinkers Dish on What Content Marketing Strategy Really Means
In our recent content planning research, we uncovered many of the top challenges marketers face when it comes to their content processes, documentation, and team structures. Chief among those was developing a comprehensive content marketing strategy.
Which is why earlier this week, we published a post that sought to answer the one question that seems to be eluding many marketers: What Is Content Marketing Strategy?
In that piece we discussed the differences between content strategy, and content marketing strategy, and we offered 4 key components of content marketing strategy that every marketers must master, if they wish to reach content marketing Samurai status.
These include content planning, execution, distribution, and measurement.
But, becoming a seasoned content Samurai doesn’t happen overnight. It requires motivation, discipline, long-term planning and advice from the battle-hardened warriors who have paved the way in content.
Below, we have compiled what 7 of the top thinkers have to say about content marketing strategy. We hope it helps you in your journey to becoming an unstoppable strategic force in your organization.
Creating Content Without a Strategy Won’t Cut It
“Like trying to cut your own hair without a mirror, implementing content marketing without a strategy is possible, but not advisable. Here’s the 7-step process we use at Convince & Convert to create content marketing strategic plans for our clients.
- Determine Objectives: Why are you doing this?
- What’s Your One Thing? What will you create in your content marketing program that will set you apart?
- Measure Your Content Marketing: Your objectives dictate your metrics.
- Define Your Audiences: Understand your audiences like you understand your family.
- Focus on Audience Needs: What do your audiences need to know from you? Organize those needs to create a customer journey map of necessary content.
- Create a Content Execution Plan: Where and how do your audiences consume information? Build a plan that shows what content you’ll create daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly.
- Create a Content Amplification Plan: Just creating content isn’t enough. In many cases you need to market your marketing.”
Jay Baer, President, Convince & Convert
Balance Form with Improvisation
“The more I listen to and study jazz, the more parallels I see between sophisticated jazz and great content.
As one of the greatest musical statements of the 20th century, “Kind of Blue” by Miles Davis is the very definition of creativity, spontaneity, improvisation, and experimentation – which are all the elements of a successful content marketing strategy.
Whether or not you’re a jazz enthusiast, it’s worth a listen, just for the content marketing lessons.”
Jason Miller, Global Content Marketing Leader, LinkedIn
The Right Strategy Brings Cohesion Across Channels
“Most campaigns involve multi-channel distribution where content is spread out across a variety of mediums. For example, I’ve done everything from blog posts and social media to webinars and guides. That’s the great thing about content marketing. There’s a lot of freedom, so you can reach your audience via a plethora of channels.
One issue, however, that I’ve seen marketers run into is a general lack of cohesiveness with their content. Often, it is all over the place and covering a myriad of topics, which can be confusing to an audience. In my experience, you’re more likely to run into this problem without a formal strategy in place. But by developing a documented strategy, you can clearly chart your path.”
Neil Patel, Co-founder, CrazyEgg
Walk In Your Buyer’s Shoes
“Thanks to the Internet, the buyer begins the journey alone and empowered with information. A smart content marketing strategy allows you to show up early, provide valuable assistance along that path, and become the only logical choice at the time of transaction.
Can you truly feel your prospect’s pain or experience their desire? Step one is to put yourself in their shoes and truly see things from their perspective. Standing in their shoes and seeing the world as they do is critical, but it’s only the beginning. Now you need to walk in those shoes and experience the journey, again from their perspective.
The buyer journey metaphor is perfect, but only if you truly know the terrain.”
Brian Clark, CEO, Rainmaker Digital
Go All In on Research
“Creating a content marketing strategy can be an intensive and intimidating process. The first phase [research] is perhaps the most important, because it’s going to give you the information you need to fuel the rest of your strategy. With the wrong information, or without enough information, you won’t be able to draft an effective strategy, so pay attention to these main areas:
- Audience – Don’t just assume who your target demographics are, or how they behave—be as objective as possible by conducting market research.
- Competition – Take a look at what your competitors are doing in their content marketing campaigns.
- Trends – What types of content or content topics are trending in and around your industry? For example, video and interactive content are currently trending forms of content marketing.
- Platforms – Take a look at what platforms are reaching peak popularity, especially in the context of your target audience.”
Jayson DeMers, Founder & CEO, AudienceBloom
Content is Still King, But Only the Right Kind
“Creating a content marketing strategy is easy. Creating one that actually manages to significantly increase visibility and promote engagement? That isn’t always quite so simple.
We live in an age where marketing is a given for anything from product based selling to personal blog promotion. Whole marketing campaigns exist to promote social media profiles, and influencers are literal commodities in their own rights. People trade off their reputation in a way more direct than ever before. In short, it has made it harder to stand out.
Despite all of the changes, content is still king. You just need to know what kind of content to create, how to market it, and what the results might be.”
Ann Smarty, Founder, MyBlogU
Focus on Insights, Not Data
“When it comes to strategy, focus on insights, not data. Many marketing teams have dozens of tools and more data at their disposal than they know what to do with. Today’s marketer needs to focus on pulling insights from the important data and ignoring the rest. What is causing the change, why, how does that impact future work, and what did you learn? Bubbling up the data that drives insightful decisions is the best way to tune out the rest.”
Chris Moody, Head of Content Marketing, Cheetah Digital
Whether you’re starting from scratch as a team of one, or scaling an enterprise content team toward a more strategic content approach, your goal is the same. You need to create high quality content that your audience actually yearns for.
As the pace of content production quickens, and media options become ever more diverse, your absolute biggest advantage will be going all in on audience-centric content.
Improve your quality. Adjust course based on results. Create the content your audience demands. Distribute it using channels your audience lives in.
Finally, don’t be afraid of failure. And don’t just quit because your content doesn’t seem to be resonating. You’ll learn as much from the content that fails, as you will from your most successful pieces of content. I encourage you to follow and soak up every ounce of thinking that the above content pros have on offer.
You won’t regret it.