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How a content strategy improves your business

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

Carefully crafted content, designed to educate and help your audience boosts your digital performance and supports your sales funnel

A content strategy – also known as a content marketing strategy – is a vital part of today’s marketing execution. Done well, it can build awareness and trust, cementing long-term relationships between a company and its target audience. But just what is a content strategy, and how can it be used to facilitate improvements to your business?

In this article, we cover:

  • What is a content strategy?

  • Why businesses need a content strategy

  • The benefits of having a content strategy

  • How to create a content strategy

What is a content strategy?

A content strategy should be the foundation of any content marketing plan. Whilst a marketing plan covers details about what content you plan to produce and place across different channels - be they earned, owned or paid opportunities – the former takes you one step back and helps you consider the bigger picture.

A content strategy starts the Who – analysing, understanding and solidifying your key buyer personas. Knowing your audience and the make up of this audience is essential to have content that resonates; Who is your business trying to reach? Where are they based? What drives their decision making? What needs do they have? What are their pain points? Their personal ambitions?

Your content strategy should be your northern star, keeping your marketing efforts on course. Focused on your company’s buyer personas, it will inform the content plan to help move buyers through their journey from awareness and consideration to purchasing, and ultimately to retention and loyalty.

Your content should always be communicating your value proposition in context to your buyers. So a content strategy should also look at the Why – your business exists, its goals and objectives. It features a clear definition of what you are hoping to achieve (be it website traffic increase, usage metrics, user understanding or qualified sales leads), and – importantly - how you will measure it.

While it’s promising that 78% of marketers say their organisation takes a strategic approach to managing content, 73% of them also report they either don’t have the technology in place to strategically manage content across the enterprise or they aren’t fully using the technology they have. In many ways, this mirrors the top reason why the other 22% of marketers don’t take a strategic approach to managing content: a lack of processes. A content strategy gives you a structure and framework to help you shape your content marketing plan.

Creating a content strategy is an essential part of marketing planning. Without it, you may fall into the trap of generating copious amounts of content that nobody reads or great looking videos that are never viewed.

Why businesses need a content strategy

According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 60% of organisations have a documented content management strategy. The effectiveness of any strategy – not just a content strategy – relies on how it is communicated.

By documenting a content strategy, a marketing team is able to ensure that not only the marketing team but also other business contributors understand the purpose of content produced and stay focused. It also helps teams quickly assess what content can be repurposed, giving pieces a new perspective and appealing to different audiences via a range of communication channels.

The same survey found the highest (43%) trigger for producing content was as a response to internal requests – this suggests a knee-jerk, reactive approach to content which will be at odds with a wider content strategy. Whilst this type of content may tick a short-term box, it will more often than not fail to deliver qualified business leads or embed loyalty amongst audiences.

A content strategy can help keep your business on track, focusing on the needs of your target audience and how your product or service solves a need or challenge they have. It makes you relevant in the eyes of the most important people – those who may buy from you. And it helps your business be forward-thinking instead of reactive.

The benefits of having a content strategy

Done well, a content strategy will:

  • Improve your brand awareness

  • Engage target audience – both prospects and current customers

  • Generate sales leads

  • Position your company as an authority

Creating content for different stages of the buyer’s journey is essential for successful marketing. According to Coursera, a content strategy can help you organise your existing content, be more efficient in how you produce new content, and engage your audience throughout all stages of their buying journey. It will also allow you to position your company as an authority and, if executed well, use your marketing budget more efficiently.

72% of companies believe content marketing increases sales leads. The same report found content marketing is 3 times more efficient than outbound marketing in generating leads.

How to create a content strategy

As mentioned earlier, to create a content strategy you need to start with the Who and Why. From there, build out the strategic approach to a wider content plan, looking at the What, Where and How. Consider:

  • Buyer personas: the more detailed, the better. Deep-dive into the audience you’re targeting. What is important to them? What opportunities and challenges do they have – in life? In business? Go behind demographic data and segments and consider the nitty-gritty.

  • Your business purpose: why does your business exist? What need for your target audience does it address?

  • What has worked and what hasn’t worked when communicating with your target audience before? Think in terms of channels used as well as the type and tone of content produced. Look at your wider industry and competitors. Review brands from other industries that are likely to have overlap with your buyer persona – how do they appeal to the right audience?

  • Regularly review your content strategy. This doesn’t have to be every day or every week, but if you’re in doubt about who you’re creating content for, or why, revisit your strategy. And if your business goes through substantial changes, your content strategy should change as well.

A content strategy is an essential part of today’s marketing toolkit. It’s not built on the short-term desire to go viral, but on a solid foundation of gradual and sustained growth. A content strategy can help focus a business. It won’t deliver a one-click stand; it should be aimed at building a long-term profitable relationship with customers through education and engagement.

Learn more about how to diversify your content to appeal to different stages of your sales funnel or contact the Haynes MarComs team to find out how we can help deliver a content strategy for your business.

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