In our last post, we learned about the Customer Journey and the importance of mapping it out and understanding what pain points and questions your customers have along each step of the journey. This will help you provide the right content at the right time so that a potential customer selects you over your competition. Content marketing is the foundation of a solid digital marketing strategy.
So how do we tie all of this together? With a documented strategy.
There is a fine line between no strategy and too much strategy- flying by the seat of your pants and analysis paralysis. Without a strategy, you’ll completely miss the target of what you’re aiming for.
The basic elements of a Digital Strategy
- Who is your audience?
- Who are they?
- What are their problems? What do YOU want them to do next?
- Where do they search? Where do they consume content?
2. Strategic initiatives/tactics to hit those goals
- What will you create?
- Where will it live and be shared?
- Who will produce the content?
3. Business goals, sales goals, etc.
- Where are your goals?
- How can content marketing help?
- Hard goals: specific and measurable
- Soft goals: what are some of your lofty and aspirational goals, but more importantly how are you going to measure meeting these goals?
- Where do you stand compared to your competitors?
Who is your Audience?
Look at your audience’s needs. Who are they, what are their problems, what questions do they have? Where do they search and how do they consume content?
We first have to data gather to figure out who they are. Who do you talk to every day? Who is coming to your business and asking questions? What are their questions, what are their pain points?
Google Analytics is a good source to figure out where people are coming to you from. We want to dig deeper than gender and age demographics. These are great metrics to know, but they don’t tell us anything about the type of content they need and want.
This is where persona creation becomes important. What are their motivators? What content are they engaging with? What is their preferred type of content?
We recommend sitting down and putting some thought behind who your customers are from a demographic and psychographic standpoint. There are several good tools out there such as UpCloseAndPersona.com, Xtensio.com, or you can download our persona template for your use.
Do a current state analysis of your digital ecosystem: understand your channels, not just your website but other channels (FB, Instagram), what are you posting and what is your content compared to your competitors. What are they posting? Is their content way different than yours? Or maybe they’re not doing anything at all and this is your opportunity to leapfrog them- stay ahead of them.
This is a chance to do a gap analysis and review your content. Does it align with your customer journey? Take a look at a few of your competitor’s websites, does their content align with your customer journey? It’s important to understand where your gaps are and where their gaps are so you can begin to create more fill that gap. It’s also important to understand if you’re missing content at any step of the journey. Is your content old or outdated and in need of a refresh?
Another thing to consider is how your content on your site maps back to your customer journey stages and your personas. Do the content formats align with the types of content that your audience is interacting with?
As part of your competitor research, be sure to take a deeper dive into their content. Do they have backlinks pointing to their website? Where does their business appear on a Search Results page one of the major search engines? What’s the volume and frequency of their content? How often are they posting? And what type of content are they creating?
How will we achieve our goals? Is what we are doing going to meet our audience’s needs? Everything we are doing should have a purpose.
Map your strategic initiatives back to your goals: increase traffic, generate leads, improve reputation, etc. Map your strategic initiatives back to your customer journey so there are no gaps. It does not end with creating the content, we need to get it out there to be consumed.