Marketing without a content strategy is like playing darts blindfolded after riding a carousel – you’re probably not going to hit your target. The good news is it’s not rocket science, so climb down from that carousel, take off your blindfold, and make sure you’re doing these five things:
Would you run a race without knowing how far away the finish line is? Of course not. So why should your content strategy be any different? If you don’t know where to aim, you’re just going to waste time and resources firing blindly into the darkness. Setting small, achievable goals can be a great way to not only focus your team but also to ensure bigger macro goals are being met in the long-run. Setting stretch targets like these (if done correctly) provide flexibility to overachieve your original goals without freaking out your team by asking too much from them.
You’ve seen people handing out flyers on the street, right? Everyone’s suddenly very interested in their phones or they just take one and throw it in a bin around the corner. There are people who will never want what you’re selling, and that’s okay. Forget about them. You need to find out who your main customers are and record everything about them: business interests, social media preferences, what technology they’re already using, who they want to sit on the Iron Throne. Everything. When you’ve built up a customer profile with all that data, all of your marketing decisions should be tailored to that “person”. Personalisation is critical for any content strategy as, at the end of the day, whether you’re marketing to consumers or businesses, it’s people who make the decision to use your product or service.
Sherlock who? You’re going to need some major detective skills to make an effective content strategy. Comb through your competitors’ social media, read their Google reviews, sign up to their mailing list, search through their bins at night (okay maybe not that last one). Find out their marketing strategy but DON’T copy them! Take a look at what they’re doing successfully and then improve on it in a way that’s authentic to your own brand.
Once you have your goals, you know who your customers are, and you have a good idea what works for your competitors, it’s time to choose your channels. If your customers are heavy Instagram users, focus on Instagram. If your competitors are having success with their blog, find a way to make one even better. Don’t waste time or resources on channels that aren’t effective for your business. You should focus on a few that work well and put everything you have into those.
As much as we’d all like to create something as epic as HP’s The Wolf campaign (incredible, go check it out), sometimes our marketing budgets feel like all we can do is smash rocks together and make smoke signals. Sadly, most marketing teams have little control over their budgets and have to make a little go a long way. There’s no shame in taking the cheap, or even free, tools you have available to you (and there’s plenty out there). As long as you’re creating something that’s good quality and on-brand, while following all of these steps, you can reach your marketing goals with any budget. Just make sure you’re clear on what your budget is and only spend money if it ticks all the boxes in your content strategy.
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