Just a year or so ago, the words content strategy were basically unknown and we didn’t even talk about content strategy as part of the marketing mix — only promotion. Still, the search volume, according to Google Keyword Planner, is only about 20 global searches a month. Changes to the Google Algorithm over the last year are about the make content strategy your best option for getting found online.
Adding content strategy into your marketing mix
As I said, the promotional component in the traditional marketing mix was all about selling your brand. Sure, there might be a little PR in there, but probably 95% of corporate communication was selling.
The NEW content strategy (also called content marketing) is all about giving value to your online visitors and social graph. That means focusing on giving, rather than getting. The new content strategy element of the marketing mix focuses on building and engaging a trusting community.
But, don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Forbes magazine had to say:
When I am asked for my definition of content marketing, I usually include the phrase “guns blazing” as in “you cannot go into a relationship and maintain a relationship with a consumer guns blazing. You have to engage, relate to, share relevant content with your audience and yes integrate your “guns” AKA your product, into your overall content marketing strategy.”
It cannot be sell, sell, sell at every single turn.
What content should be in your marketing mix?
Obviously, not self-promotion — at least a minimum of self-promotion. Most of your content should help folks you share with. That means knowing your target audience, what they need, and what keywords they use in search. Basic market research with a little digital research thrown in.
But, you don’t need a huge, expensive survey to get this basic market research — you can do the whole thing digitally.
- With a little snooping, you get a great idea of what problems folks face and what they need you to share with them. Check out your Facebook wall. What questions or concerns keep popping up (you may need some text analysis software, such as HyperRESEARCH to make this easier)? Share content related to these questions.
- Check out Google Trends – what are folks sharing? Can you craft some content related to these trends?
- Search Twitter using hashtags related to your keywords. This will not only tell you what folks are talking about but give the means to connect with influencers on this topic.
- Create Google Alerts around your keywords to discover what others are talking about.
Developing a content marketing strategy?
- Obviously, your content strategy should encompass your keywords and goals for your business. But, that doesn’t mean your content strategy needs to be strictly about your brand or market. For instance, Dove created fantastic content marketing around “The Search for Real Beauty” which never even mentioned the brand. A client creates content around the sustainability efforts of his prospects. Find something your market is passionate about and create content around their passions.
- Your content strategy should combine content creation (original content) with content curation (finding useful stuff others created and sharing online through social media). Ensure your content curation doesn’t violate someone’s intellectual property rights.
- Find information and entertaining tidbits through your Google Alerts.
- Don’t forget to network with other folks to learn things you can share. Not everything can or should be done online.
- Share content on a consistent basis so there’s always something fresh. Use a calendar to help. Setting up a schedule that includes topics and keywords — even sources of information to use — makes the task of creating content easier. Using a tool like Hootsuite or SproutSocial to help easily share content from across the web lightens the load of content curation. Don’t be afraid to deviate from your calendar when a content opportunity presents itself in the form of trending topics or when events preclude publication. For instance, earlier this week we were dealing with the Navy Yard shooting in DC. It seemed insensitive to post trivial stuff when so much tragedy was unfolding.
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Hausman and Associates, the publisher of MKT Maven, is a full-service marketing agency operating at the intersection of marketing and digital media. Check out our full range of services.