Content Marketing Strategy

Read this article on content marketing. Content needs to be developed and built on keywords. Keywords for the brand or company need to be identified and effectively used. If someone is searching for a plumber and they live in Dallas. They might search for the best plumber in Dallas. Information like this will guide keywords. Developing keywords is not once and done but is ongoing. Google Trends is an excellent place to see how phases trend over time.

Developing a Content Marketing Strategy

Digital Marketing and Content Marketing

Digital marketing uses modern digital channels to communicate build a deeper relationship with customers.

Due to tech development, content marketing has become a preferred online marketing strategy for many companies. Brands and companies can publish and share compelling brand stories on various online platforms that aid in achieving business goals related to customer conversion, acquisition or retention, brand visibility and value, or increased sales.

According to Halligan and Shah, content marketing involves creating valuable content from the needs of potential buyers, who actively have engaged in searching information about the commodity.

Content marketing is also related to social media marketing because the created content needs to be shared, propagated and syndicated on various social platform to increase its visibility to a large audience. Initially companies used social media to share advertisements of their products, however, nowadays social media is used a two-way communication platform, and a facilitator of content marketing.

As a facilitator of an inbound approach, of reaching, attracting and retaining consumers organically, Halligan and Shah and Odden note that customers are the ones that actively seek a particular brand because it offers content that educates or entertains them. Odden goes further in suggesting that customers expect brands to invest time and effort in developing a long-lasting relationship with them, even before their first purchase.

Rowley notes that a content marketer also takes the role of publisher, and we would also add that the role would also extend to that of an editor of content. Moreover, Baer mentions this change because "all companies now find themselves in two industries: the business they are actually in, and the publishing business". Similarly, Scott highlights the fact that as publishers, marketers need to carefully identify and define their target audiences and then consider the type of content that would fulfill these needs.

Content Marketing Objectives

Content marketing objectives must form part of a defined content strategy, defined by Bloomstein as: "the practice of planning for the creation, delivery and governance of useful, usable content".

Rose and Pullizzi established the following objectives of a content marketing strategy for any organization that engages in this technique:

  1. brand awareness or reinforcement;
  2. lead conversion and nurturing;
  3. customer conversion;
  4. customer service;
  5. customer upsell;
  6. passionate subscribers.

Content marketing is the foundation for achieving trust among targeted audiences. Trust is further identified as one of the primary drivers for the success of content marketing. Peppers and Rogers identify the four elements of a content marketing strategy that could develop and sustain trust for a company or a brand):

  1. shared values (with the customer);
  2. interdependence (mutual value in the relationship);
  3. quality communication; and
  4. non-opportunistic behavior.

Factors that Lead to Viral Content

In developing content, marketers' mission is to design successful viral marketing campaigns that will help them develop higher visibility for their brands. Word of mouth and social media are viewed as more effective and affordable than traditional media, but their utility is dependent on the number of people who will forward and share content that helps a particular brand. Therefore, understanding what motivates consumers to share a particular piece of content can help organizations design and develop contagious content.

As Berger and Milkman identify, one reason people may share stories, news, and information is because they contain useful information for other people. Consumers may share such practically useful content for altruistic reasons (e.g., to help others) or for self-enhancement purposes (e.g., to appear knowledgeable).

Otherwise, content that encompasses emotional aspects will have an influence on the level of propagation and sharing in online settings. Berger and Milkman appreciate that people report discussing many of their emotional experiences with others, and customers report greater word of mouth at the extremes of satisfaction. In his empirical research, Berger and Milkman found that positive content has a higher chance to become viral because people would prefer to be known as someone who shares upbeat stories or makes others feel good rather than someone who shares things that makes others sad or upset. His study also illustrated that the relationship between emotion and level of contagion is more complex than valence alone and that arousal drives social transmission.

More specifically, "online content that evoked high-arousal emotions was more viral, regardless of whether those emotions were of a positive (i.e., awe) or negative (i.e., anger or anxiety) nature. Online content that evoked more of a deactivating emotion (i.e., sadness), however, was actually less likely to be viral".

Tactics Associated with a Content Marketing Strategy

Various authors approached content marketing and discussed the dimensions or tactics that can be incorporated in a content marketing strategy. There are various forms of content, from the basic ones, such as video, image, text, to the more specific ones, to the more specific ones, as the ones we will explore in this section.

All content marketing tactics are also related to another aspect of digital inbound marketing, namely search engine optimization, namely certain techniques that should be implemented to increase the visibility and reachability of each type of content.

In any online setting, organizations can choose from a variety of formats and tactics for a successful content marketing strategy. However, these tactics need to reflect the needs of targeted audiences and the objectives of the organization. The most common content marketing formats and tactics are presented below:

  1. Blog posts. As the most common form of content marketing, blog posts are published on a website and are then shared on social media, once they are optimized using the premises of search engine optimization. Blog posts should be published on a regular basis in order to attract new and recurring visitors, and they should be focused on providing valuable content for the targeted audience so that it will make readers inclined to forward and share them on social platforms and other websites.
  2. Ebooks. This type of content reflects a comprehensive and in-depth resource of information on a certain subject for potential consumers, and can provide a new source of credibility for the company responsible for the creation of this content. In online marketing practice, ebooks are considered a lead generation tool because in order for potential customers to access the free resource, they usually have to provide their contact information. As a result, consumers get the opportunity to learn valuable information, and the organization that produced the ebook develops a new lead for their business.
  3. Templates. Templates and worksheets are used by organizations in online settings to help potential customers with certain issues, by saving them time and effort. By downloading a template or a useful worksheet, companies aid in simplifying a challenge for potential customers, who, in turn, will be more likely to engage with a particular company in the future.
  4. Infographics. This type of content can organize data in a visual manner, thus providing a more compelling and engaging opportunity to transmit information. Infographics are relevant to large sets of information and data that can be exposed more clearly and easy to understand.
  5. Videos. This content format has the highest level of engagement and contagion on social media and other websites. Videos can be used as a content marketing tactic to explain certain issues, demonstrate a product or service, or present a topic of interest to targeted audiences.
  6. Podcasts. Podcasts represent pre-recorded interviews and edited radio shows that are used to debate different topics of interest to a company's target audience. Podcasts are also used for lead generation, by asking listeners to subscribe for updates, thus this content tactic can build an audience and establish a particular brand as a source of expertise. 
  7. Guides. Introductory guides or guides help potential consumers with step-by-step instructions on achieving different goals and task.
  8. Kits. This content format represents a collection of content with a common subject. Online companies use this tactic to repurpose content that was already published, and aggregating it under one offer.
  9. Tip sheets and Checklists. This content format provides guidance and concise tips or best practices for potential consumers looking to complete a particular task. Again, this content offer creates the basis for a long-lasting relationships with consumers, who will engage on a continuous basis with a company.
  10. Webinars. Another content form used by companies to gain more credibility among targeted consumers are the webinars. Usually compiled as a series, webinars provide information on a certain subject and they involve gathering expert and leaders in certain fields to share their ideas on the main topic.
  11. Whitepapers. Whitepapers are similar to academic papers in their objective, authoritative, detailed and informative presentation of research findings and reports. Ebooks tend to present in-depth content in a creative, visual and often inform manner, whereas whitepapers provide unbiased details on trends or evolution in a particular industry or area of business.
  12. Case Studies. This content tactic can provide potential consumers with an incentive to convert. Online companies use case studies to share customer success stories that explain how their products or services helped a particular customer.
  13. Surveys/Research Reports. As another content marketing tactic, companies use surveys and their results to reflect on the perception of respondents on the state of an industry or to persuade potential customers about the features of a particular product or service.
  14. User-generated content. This content type can take any form of text, images, video or audio that was created by consumers of a brand or company. This content created by loyal customers can then be re-purposed and re-distributed with the audience of the organization, to increase its visibility and generate more credibility among customers. More recently, based on the uniqueness of social media, research has focused on the impact of user-generated content in influencing brand reputations and brand development, and brand co-creation.