What does content strategy help marketers accomplish? Does it help us tell our story better or understand our audience more? Does it help us to feel more confident in our design and campaign decisions? A well-documented content strategy solves all of these problems. Content strategy answers the big questions about a project which helps us create stronger content for our customers and prospects.
We know the value of creating valuable, purposeful, intentionally written content. We understand that it can change our customers perspective on our brand, services, or products. And we also know that it can have a negative impact if we do not think strategically about every content element on a page.
Content Marketing is Evolving
When was the last time you took a good look at your content and got down to the grit? Every single piece of content that your customer can find on your site should fit the current voice your brand is looking to portray. When you sit down to re-examine your existing content, it makes sense to look backward at what you have already created and found areas where the content can be improved or maybe even eliminated from your ecosystem.
Content Operations Will Become a Thing
It was not that long ago that Sales and Marketing Operation roles started to show up on LinkedIn and in large organizations. These roles were responsible for managing the tools that helped our sales team move prospects through the sales process with ease. With so many wheels in place to make content creation, execution, and delivery happen seamlessly, we will start to see more roles popping up for Content Operations. Ideally, these individuals will be able to look at a documented content strategy and pinpoint the best “go to market” strategy for each piece of content and then execute that strategy efficiently using the right channels and tools to deliver it to the end user.
Less Content Will Mean Better Content
It wasn’t that long ago that industry experts were telling businesses to just blog. It doesn’t matter what you say, just blog, blog until your fingers hurt because the copy is valuable and will increase search rankings. But, the smarties over at Google caught on to these shenanigans, and they changed the way we created content which I am very grateful. In 2018, we need to take the approach of “less is more” with our content marketing. If we are just writing blog posts because we have seen the topics or strategy succeed for other brands, we are not going to succeed. A valuable piece of content is original and purposeful. We cannot follow our competitors or other marketers into the abyss only because they found a topic that worked for their audience. In 2018, we must have paved our paths and write less fluff and more quality content.
Investment into SME’s
We are always writing content, for ourselves, our customers, and our industry. We talk a lot about the right way to do something, what works and what doesn’t. My blogs here are an excellent representation of this as well, and I would consider myself a subject matter expert when it comes to content strategy for both interactive and traditional digital web experiences. But, am I an SME on email drip campaigns? Probably not. Or am I an SME on SEO? Not that either. And I believe that in 2018, we have to stop writing content about what we know a little about and invest in subject matter experts who know the topic, product, or service inside and out. There are investments that all marketers will eventually need to make with their content—good writers, reliable storage for cataloging, tracking tools to capture valuable analytics, and a strong resource to educate. In some cases, an SME may not be a writer, and that is ok. Partnering an SME with a good writer can help tell a better story without worrying that the story will be too dull. Investment in an SME can bring your content marketing to a whole new level and will position your business as thought leaders in your space.
Investment Into the Right Type of Content for Your Audience
As we move into a new year, we have to stop thinking about launching flashy content simply because we see a trend and instead launch content that fits our user's needs. For interactive content, that means taking a step back and thinking about our audience long before we create any piece of content.
Ask yourself these questions creating a piece of content:
- Who is your audience and how educated on your product are they?
- What does your audience want to learn from your content?
- When are they thinking of making a purchase and how long is your sale cycle?
- How will they make a purchase? Will they need to call into to talk to a sales rep and if so, what will that sales rep know about the content they’ve already engaged with?
Creating content without a documented content strategy is like shooting without a target. According to Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Content Marketing Research Report, only 37% of respondents said they currently have a documented content marketing strategy. That means 63% are just throwing their content out into the universe and hoping that something sticks. We have to change this in 2018, and I believe that most marketers will start to see that for our content to accomplish our goals, we will need to take the time to document exactly what those goals are and how this content will help us achieve them.