Why Every Business Needs a Content Marketing Strategy
Content is king.
You’ve heard that before, but do you believe it? More importantly, do you know why it’s true? Content marketing strategy goes by many names. Some call it inbound marketing strategy. Others refer to it as full-funnel marketing strategy.
What you call it matters less than understanding why it’s essential to have one.
Jump to a section:
- What Is Content Marketing?
- Why Is Content Marketing Important?
- Example 1: Colleen Is out of Coffee
- Example 2: Sam Needs a Storage Solution
- The Buyer’s Journey Is a Winding Road
- Align Content Strategy to Operations
What Is Content Marketing?
Before we get to the benefits of content marketing, let’s define our concept and make sure we know what we’re talking about. CMI provides a stellar definition in its B2B content marketing research report:
“Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
So many marketers spend an enormous amount of time creating tons of content — white papers, blogs, social media posts, thought leadership articles on LinkedIn, presentations, and the list goes on.
Don’t mistake volume for strategy.
Volume without strategy is a waste of time and resources — the equivalent of throwing 100 darts at a board across a smoky, crowded bar with your eyes closed. Not only are you unlikely to hit your target, you’re likely to hurt someone in the process. In the case of content, your customers are the ones at risk.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that 60% of the most successful B2B marketers have a documented content marketing strategy, 80% of them use an editorial calendar and 94% use metrics to measure content performance.
Why Is Content Marketing Important?
A thoughtful content marketing strategy, informed by voice of the customer research and aligned with operational goals, can drive significant bottom-line results. Instead of telling you why, let’s consider two content marketing examples and see why creating a content marketing calendar with tactics targeting customer personas at every twist and turn of the buyer journey is such a profitable endeavor.
Content Marketing Example #1: Colleen Is out of Coffee
Colleen stumbles out of bed and into the kitchen to brew her morning cup of courage when she is suddenly confronted with a truly terrifying reality — she is out of coffee.
“How did I run out!” she screams, scaring her cat out of the kitchen and under the couch.
While no one but Starbucks can help her now. So, she decides to grab her smartphone and get an order in the works. After browsing Amazon and placing a few items in her cart, she races to finish getting ready for work.
Later that day, Colleen decides to check the weather for her drive home and sees an ad at the top of her weather app for the coffee she left in her Amazon cart. It reminds her that she never did complete that purchase, and she resolves to complete it when she gets home.
While streaming her favorite show, Colleen sees a coffee commercial and remembers her abandoned cart. She opens the app, reviews her items and makes a purchase. While her journey wasn’t linear, it was punctuated at multiple points by targeted ads that were part of a smart content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing Example #2: Sam Needs a Storage Solution
Sam is a busy CIO looking for a solution to replace his current data storage service, which is nearing its end. With a longer sales cycle, he’s taking his time to research options and learn what other CIOs are using.
After reading an article on LinkedIn on a particular approach, Sam does some research and discovers a gated offer that he forks over his email address and contact information to access. He’s later emailed a webinar offer that he considers but passes on — until he is served a social ad that changes his mind.
He decides to give the webinar a try and ultimately sets a meeting with a representative to learn how their solution can meet his company’s unique business needs.
The Buyer Journey Is a Winding Road
These examples illustrate the reality that the journey buyers make with your brand is not linear. Your content marketing strategy should account for consistent messaging and varied tactics across the many touch points where your ideal audiences will intersect with your brand.
It should also prioritize content for what it is — a function, not an expense.
Content marketing is marketing and that makes it essential. It’s not optional. It’s not an afterthought. Content is mission critical, like human resources and information technology.
Content marketing is the key to:
- Building a strong reputation online.
- Attracting your ideal audiences.
- Nurturing leads.
- Offering people something of value that builds trust in your brand or business.
- Effective digital marketing.
If your brand strategy was a bicycle wheel, content marketing would be the hub. The various tactics flowing from your content strategy are the spokes. Using content themes that are relevant to your target audiences, you can build pieces that form an integrated marketing campaign. Content powers all of the following.
- Email marketing
- Blog posts
- Website messaging
- E-commerce campaigns
- Thought leadership articles
- Press releases
- Social media posts and videos
- PPC ads
Content is the key to accomplishing your revenue goals and it plays a critical role in supporting your operational goals. The quality of your content determines whether someone takes the next step in the buyer journey and, ultimately, whether they become a customer.
After the sale, content again is critical to driving repeat business and customer retention. Content can mean the difference between loyal brand advocates and one-time customers who forget your brand within moments of purchase.
Align Content Strategy to Operations
If content is the magnet that attracts customers to your business and the engine that keeps them engaged, it’s essential to align your messaging and content strategy with operational goals.
Operational performance, from customer service to fulfillment, must pay off the promises you make in your content marketing strategy. You may be wildly effective at driving traffic to your website, resulting in a massive influx of orders. However, if your operations aren’t ready to handle the traffic and fulfill the orders efficiently and precisely, your entire strategy could backfire.
This is another argument for making content a function, led by someone on an integrated team composed of leaders from all other critical functions of the business. Your chief content officer should be in communication with the COO, CFO, CMO and others to ensure everyone is informed, on the same page and working together to grow the business.
Take the Next Step.
Use the arguments in this piece to make the case for viewing content as a function at your business. If you haven’t already, develop a solid strategy for your content creation activity that aligns with operational goals and attracts your ideal audiences.
Need help? Let the content strategy pros at OBI Creative create a content marketing strategy for your brand that will grow your business and generate satisfying ROI of your marketing dollars.
Contact us today to get started.