Have you heard about the latest content marketing trend? In all honesty, I hope not. At conferences, in boardrooms and in marketing planning sessions around the world, the idea of a ‘quick and easy’ content marketing strategy is being floated. I would avoid it at all cost.
If you think about it, by definition a strategy can’t happen in a flash. It’s a plan for the long-term. A strategy outlines a course of action to help you achieve goals. It requires research, considerable effort to understand the habits of your audience and a fair bit of thinking time.
Why you need a documented strategy
It also needs to be documented, something that doesn’t happen quickly. Research from the Content Marketing Institute consistently shows the most effective content marketers have a documented strategy and they follow it closely. This is true for B2B and B2C, across regions and from year to year.
It’s essential to have your strategy published so everyone in your organisation can reference it and understand explicitly why you’re taking a specific course of action. If it’s not documented, you can’t measure success. If you can’t measure, you can’t prove it’s working. If you can’t prove it’s working, good luck getting more budget to continue.
What’s needed for a content marketing strategy
After working in content marketing for a couple of decades, and working on dozens of strategies, I know one thing for certain. When you take the time to do a proper content marketing strategy, you’re always surprised at the results. Anyone who tries to convince you otherwise doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
That’s right. I’ve learned it’s impossible to predict from the outset the best course of action to achieve profitable customer action for a brand. It takes a concerted effort to determine:
- What are the business goals of the company?
- What is the messaging that will resonate with the intended audience(s)?
- What types of content does your audience want to consume?
- When will they consume it? What time of day? What day of the week? What stage of the buying journey?
- What social channels do they use? When do they use them?
- What are their search habits? Do they even use Google to find information about your products or services? If not, whom do they rely on for information about the solution you provide? Do they even know what they need?
- If you produce the perfect content for your audience, will they find it?
- Are your website and social channels presented in a way that instils trust in your audience? Do they represent your authority and expertise?
You have to do your research for a content marketing strategy. You need to understand your audience. You need to go to the source and ask questions. It takes time and a dedication to get to the heart of how you can help.
Who benefits from a flash content marketing strategy?
It should be a warning sign if anyone makes suggestions about content production, social media or SEO in a first or second meeting. Another worrying sign is when a vendor promises results on the back of an investment in digital marketing – AdWords, sponsored posts or adverts on social media.
When an agency offers you a content marketing strategy on the spot – or in a flash – they’re not really offering you a strategy at all. What they’re doing is giving you the opportunity to order product from them. It’s a sales job from start to finish. You should resist the temptation because that’s a strategy for them – not for you.
Listen to this episode of Brand Newsroom for more information about how to choose the right agency for content marketing.
Consider what happens if you rush
A content marketing strategy should take 4-6 weeks to complete. If you feel like that’s too long or that you don’t have enough time, think about this. How much time and money do you waste when you create content that’s not suited to your audience? Or when your content is published in the wrong medium? What if your content is distributed in the wrong place or at the wrong time? Does your content reflect the true value you provide to your customers? Perhaps the most likely thing to occur if you rush – is your content different from everything else out there, especially from your competitors?
How to avoid the latest content marketing swindle
It’s time to update my post on content marketing swindles to reflect this latest trend. If your content marketing strategy is being done on the spot or in a flash, you’re being swindled.
If you want help developing a thoughtful content marketing strategy to achieve your business goals, attract your target audience and create long-term business assets in the process, please get in touch. We specialise in content marketing strategies at Lush and have the experience and team to help you on your way.
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