In today's world, there is no such thing as an effective one-size-fits-all content marketing approach anymore. Recently, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) surveyed businesses about the state of their content marketing strategies and found nearly two-thirds reported their organizations had no documented strategy. This statistic is surprising because given the recent rise of inbound marketing, business that have no solidified content marketing strategy are missing out on one of the best ways to attract, intrigue, and convert customers. In today's digital marketing environment, a well-defined and executed content marketing strategy is an essential component to the success of any business.
Building Blocks of Content Strategy
A well-defined content marketing strategy requires proper structure, deep customer research, and consistency. Strategy needs to be "properly interwoven into every step of a content marketing campaign and form the backbone of the decision-making process," says Adam Vowles, head of content and outreach at SUSO Digital. According to the CMI report, nearly nine out of ten respondents said they use content marketing. In the report, CMI defined content marketing as the "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."
Compared to last year, a lot more raw content is being created. The CMI report notes how over three quarters of respondents said they are creating more content now than they did a year ago. Given the fact that so much content is being created, making your content stand out from the rest is becoming a challenge. However, granular personalization and targeting can help make your content unique and particularly useful for select groups.
While email and social media marketing might work for a certain business' customers, whitepapers or webinars might work better for another. No matter what your company's area of expertise is, your content marketing strategy should reflect the personas of the customers you're targeting. Maximizing the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy depends on targeting the right customers with the right content on the right platform.
Content Personalization and Social Media
Social media has become a valuable platform for distributing personalized content, but simply distributing content across every social media platform is not the most effective approach. Instead, you should take a more targeted approach by first determining which social media platforms your customers frequent most often. For example, for B2B marketers, LinkedIn is more effective for distribution than Facebook, which is a better platform for B2C marketing. The reasoning behind this is that LinkedIn is more business oriented, while Facebook is dominated by consumers and their personal interests. When it comes to social media, choosing the right content distribution channel can make a big difference.
According to HubSpot, there are three stages of the buyer's journey. They are as follows:
Buyer has realized and expressed a potential problem or opportunity.
--Research is focused on gathering basic information.
--Buyer has clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity.
--Buyer has defined a solution strategy, method, or approach.
Brands should target their personalization strategies around these three stages. If you understand the buyer's journey, you'll know which interactions are appropriate for each stage. So, if a buyer is still in the awareness stage, approaching them with an offer for a trial or demo of your product isn't a good idea. Rather, a demo or trial offer would be appropriate when you buyer reaches the decision stage.
Creating content is only the first step towards marketing personalization. Next, you must research your buyers and develop a strategy based off of the data you've collected. At this point, you can begin personalizing your content. Without data and research, we would not know what to market, when to market, or who to market to. Data fuels personalization. The more you have, the more you can personalize the user's web experience. After you've identified your buyer personas, ideal platforms, and content distribution points, you'll begin to see the benefits of your content personalization initiatives.