Only 43% of content marketers have a documented strategy. It’s a thought provoking statistic when you consider that a company’s content strategy provides the framework necessary for it to identify its customer needs throughout their purchase journey and beyond. A carefully considered strategy shows how your brand can meet those needs and inspire trust with the right content.
Every piece of content is a stepping stone towards your brand’s marketing objectives. Only with a documented, regularly updated content strategy can you map the entire path and drive the customer outcomes you require.
A brand’s strategy should define its marketing goals and show how it can achieve them by bringing the brand purpose to life. Everything begins with your brand’s unique value proposition and a clear articulation of your core customers.
I. Content Strategy – Mapping your brand experience
A great customer experience has a profound effect on behaviour. That’s why Mediablaze always challenges its clients to think like their customers. But before trying to empathise with people, your team must ensure that it understands each potential customer’s touchpoint with your brand. Consistency is key to success. If the tone of your brand’s email clashes with the look and feel of your mobile app, the whole strategy becomes fragile.
But don’t be tempted to rush into wholesale changes. Start by plotting out every pre- and post-purchase touchpoint – from that first Google search to your loyalty programme. This enables you to identify any barriers in the customer journey, and to prioritise actions.
This is the driver behind our Mediablaze Brand Experience Map. It is a tool that allows all customer touchpoints to be plotted on a single visual (you can download our Brand Experience Map template to create your own).
II. Content Strategy – Understanding customer journeys
Once you have clearly mapped your range of touchpoints, you need a team of colleagues, stakeholders and interested outsiders who are willing to step into the shoes of your customers.
Rich insights from customer data are valuable, but lots can be gleaned even from simple persona portraits. Encourage your team of would-be customers to think about the myriad of ways someone might encounter your brand for the first time — for example, a mobile search while talking to a friend or content shared on Instagram. Follow their journey and identify what is stopping them from achieving your marketing objectives. This process will quickly enable you to identify barriers, such as a social post with no call to action, or a broken link.
Collating a list of these barriers allows you to consider how they could be overcome, before investigating the data to understand the scale of the problem. Prioritise the changes based on the effort required versus the potential return.
III. Content Strategy – Evolving your Content Marketing Playbook
Sophisticated content marketers treat their strategy as a living document: a Content Marketing Playbook.
Some elements of your Playbook are unlikely to change quickly. For example, brand personality and tone of voice must be consistent. But tactics should be regularly updated. At Mediablaze, we recommend using easy-to-update digital formats for Playbooks – from simple wikis to fully branded, CMS-driven intranet sites. By integrating KPI dashboards and staff-facing content, you can encourage users to return again and again.
IV. Embedding a culture of experimentation
A truly adaptive content strategy should use failure to drive success. A Playbook should be updated with examples of best practice and the results of any content experiments.
The most effective content strategies centre around experimentation. This means empowering staff to solve problems by building hypotheses, and testing these scientifically. For example, “I think we can increase product views by adding category storytelling on landing pages.” More insights and ideas will be spawned from small-scale failure than from large-scale success.
A Content Marketing Playbook for your brand
This four-week programme will identify the ideal content themes, formats and platforms for your audience. It includes:
- Interviews with key stakeholders
- Review of your content documentation
- Audit of existing personal and journeys
- Review of customer touchpoint strategy
- Review of existing production processes
- Audit of current content formats and cadence
- Development of long-list of experiments
The final output – your own Content Marketing Playbook – will allow you to share the knowledge, develop a series of experiments and put your strategy into action.
The original version of this article was originally published on The Drum by Stephen Hobbs.
We have a team of content strategy specialists that can help you tell your brand’s story. For more information, get in touch with us.