It's not a single solution. You must think of content strategy as a process and an entire mindset. Marketing content will constantly change and evolve. But, with a well-planned content strategy your clients will be the guiding force behind its evolutionary direction.
With a content strategy, your clients will evaluate the needs of their customers and the needs of their businesses, and then develop a process to meet both needs. Content strategy is not pinpointing what business needs, then attempting to convince customers they need what you need. It involves pinpointing what customers need, identifying how the company can meet those needs, and then sharing this solution with customers.
The need and ability to develop a content strategy is not limited to companies with large advertising budgets. You don’t even necessarily need a written content strategy, or one illustrated by impressive Powerpoint slides. (However, if that fits your business style, create a plan as elaborately presented as you want.) All that is really needed for a good content strategy is a review of goals, workflow and available resources.
Initially, developing a content strategy may take substantial time and use of resources, but the end result will be highly successful if the strategy is well thought out and implemented.
How do I help my clients develop a content strategy?
- You must change how you think of advertising. A content strategy must be focused on putting the target market’s needs first. You need to identify the target market and learn as much as possible about their specific demographics.
- Remember content marketing is actually two-way communication between your client and their customer. Traditional advertising, on the other hand, is only a one-way communication; basically talking at the customer.
Collect all current and past advertising/marketing pieces. Include both electronic and print; such items as brochures, flyers, posters, mailers, catalogs, website and/or blogs. Gather together all marketing people and have them look at these items and ask them to consider:
- Do these items address the needs of our customers, or is it focused on our business and products?
- What are the chances people receiving this information will share it?
- What are the chances people would “search” for this information online?
- What are the chances people would “bookmark” this information and return later for additional information?
- Are these items so interesting people are likely to consider them valuable shared information, as opposed to just plain old advertising?
Sort these items by what can be adapted and included in the contact strategy, and what should be discarded. Your clients will probably find themselves keeping a little from here and a little from there.
How can content strategy help my clients' businesses?
It is relatively easy to track the results of content marketing. If you are not getting the needed results, you can quickly change or refine your strategy without an additional investment. Through direct interaction with their customers, your clients will develop a quick and accurate idea of what they want and need.
Through content marketing, a company can become known as a leader in your industry. This will increase brand awareness, the number of visitors to the company website, sales, and the reputation of the business as a leader in its industry.
Having a well-defined content strategy will allow your clients to deliver content with relevant information to customers before actually contacting them directly. They can develop a customer’s trust and confidence in their business before they become a customer. When customers decide they have a need for what your clients offer, they will turn to someone they already know and trust.
As part of an effective content strategy, your clients can include videos, interviews, white papers, webinars, blogs, and much more. If they make these interactive, their customers will feel they have become an important part of your business and it will become personal to them. Ask for feedback, ratings, photos or comments. Offer free downloads, free newsletters, free coupons or discounts. Get the customer involved and they will keep coming back. And – they will share with their friends.
A content strategy is essential to doing business in today’s market, with the trend toward content marketing increasing every day. There are even content marketing events being held throughout the country!
If you're wondering about what content can do for your clients' businesses, talk to them about these tips. Implemented correctly and consistently, they will deliver a cost-effective way to market their businesses online.