We have too much content out there, folks. (Or maybe in your case, not enough.) Content on the web today has become a commodity, and there’s a race to the bottom to drive the minimum of impact for the lowest price. It’s no surprise how we got here, but there’s hope for those who want to do content right. A content strategy strengthens your entire marketing program, especially digital marketing.
What is a content strategy?
Kristina Halverson summed content strategy perfectly. Content strategy is the practice of planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful and usable content.
Let’s break all that down.
- Creation – The underlying principles guide why content is created and for whom, how will it be structured, and who will be responsible for it. With a clear plan about your audience and how it moves the needle for the business, you will be better prepared for success.
- Delivery – How will the content be reviewed, edited, published, and distributed. Not only do you have to publish content, but you also need to distribute it to your current and prospective audiences.
- Governance – Are there any legal requirements or checkpoints that may affect the creation and delivery of content? Who is responsible for curating and retiring content after its lifecycle?
A content strategy provides a necessary track for the content train to roll smoothly on. Without it, you may find that you derail from your energetic start of content creation. Your thought leadership article becomes just a long-winded rant, and it sits as a draft.
The truth is that only about one-third of B2B businesses have a content strategy, according to the Content Marketing Institute. It’s mind-boggling that two-thirds produce content without a specific purpose or have a mature process to react to industry news or shifts in the marketplace.
You’re not alone if you feel challenged to build or scale your content program. I’ve worked for employers where content was truly king, and their only setback was human capital. At others, they had the resources, but lacked strategy. And that led to poor results and a lot of frustration. You need to find the balance that works for you and your organization.
The bar for quality content is higher than ever before
It was once possible to get results from an offshore agency produce hundreds of 300-500 word articles. However, those results were questionable at best. Would your customers trust an article that was filled with typos and had severe readability issues? If the content is just a means to influence search engine rankings, how valuable is it when search engines deindex and issue spam penalties against small businesses? Perhaps, you might have used these services not realizing how much it can hurt your business.
If you’re investing in traditional advertising, it’s costly, especially if your messaging and product market fit isn’t entirely dialed-in. Proper content marketing lowers your marketing costs by producing informative, useful content that shortens the buying cycle. A statistic by Demandmetric indicates that content marketing generates over 3X as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less. Diversifying marketing spend into efficient and effective marketing channels is wise for any business owner that wants to elevate their customer acquisition strategy.
What makes great content? It must be useful, entertaining, and usable. It’s often easier said than done, but every brand has the opportunity to provide content that is irresistible to prospects and customers causing them to consume it and come back for more. Examples of great content include intriguing customer stories that tell the story behind the story, features high-quality videos and photos. These investments pay off because you’ll be investing at least 2X more than your competitors.
When it comes to producing content, a content strategy is so critical for a small business so they can solve their customer’s problems, build trust, and inspire them to take the next step.
A proper content strategy benefits small businesses
Content marketing driven by a robust strategy pays off for small businesses. Curata reported that long-form content produces 9X more leads than short-form blog posts. This data point is compelling since it affirms that quality wins over quantity. HubSpot concluded that companies that published more than 16 blog posts per month earned almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published 0-4 monthly posts. No business owner in their right mind would object to increased traffic and leads.
A content strategy might appear to be optional to some, but the cost of simply jumping into content and promoting your brand at every opportunity is expensive. Content for content’s sake will result in doubling back to correct, realign, and many wasted cycles that could be used to building your customer lifecycle. As a business owner, your life is busy enough. You might as well do it right from the start.
- With the rise of content, the bar for quality content increases
- Consumers are more empowered than ever to research
- Simply blogging for blogging’s sake won’t cut it anymore
- Content initiatives need to connect to business objectives
- Content strategy guides the content creation, publishing, measurement, and governance so efforts can be scaled.