Sunday, February 2, 2020, is Super Bowl. The day of not only football but the release of highly anticipated commercials; these commercials will play an integral role in ad campaigns and emails in the following days. The ads look flawless and smooth, and they have been planning for months with endless revisions to their content, content strategy, and content marketing. You may be wondering why all this planning goes into a few seconds of a commercial. This planning determines the message content that they are trying to push out to their audience; and how the content in their social, print, and email campaigns will reach you in the coming days. The content may, if they have done their work well, influence your decisions on how you interact with their product. It may also not do well after all the planning and work that went into executing. In this case, they will need to revisit their planning, determine where they can adjust the strategy and push the revised content out again.
There is one advertisement that amazes me to this day. I don’t like soda very much, and I particularly do not like Pepsi. But the content in their ads, using just a few words, will trigger the sound of pouring fizzling soda, the sweetness of it on a summer day, that I immediately crave their drink. It could be as simple as hearing “ahhh” or “refreshing.” Yet through my studies and research, I know that these few words are not what worked. It was the overall campaign, the banners, and adverts I have seen on billboards or magazines that triggered my response. They spend countless hours and dollars to create campaigns that speak to their audience, build brand awareness, and increase their profit. They start with a content strategy.
Wikipedia defines content strategy as “… the planning, development, and management of content – written or in other media”. It is the master plan or blueprint that details how content will be used to achieve business goals. The content strategy should answer the following questions:
- Why is the content being published?
- Where is the content being published?
- Who is the audience, and what are we trying to achieve?
- What is the schedule or timeline?
- How should you organize and structure your content?
- How does your audience find and interact with your content?
Answering these questions requires research and thoughtful strategic planning. With the content strategy, you will precisely know what, why, and how your business is planning on using content to accomplish their goals. The same content and content strategy should not be reused year to year; you should revise them to fit the changing needs of your audience. Doing so will ensure you continue to create a successful campaign.
Content marketing is a method used to attract and retain customers by creating and delivering relevant, meaningful content. It’s a combination of sales and organic marketing, all in one. In content marketing, you select specific audiences that you want to influence. Then you create content to guide their behavior toward a conversion result. A few examples of content marketing pieces are:
- Blog posts
- White papers or case studies
- Social media marketing
A good content marketing strategy can only work if there is a strong content strategy as the foundation. Content strategy answers these questions: what are you trying to achieve, how should you organize and structure your content, and where should you publish your content. This foundation helps to align branding, messaging, and all aspects of content marketing to the overall content goals of your company before you begin to market it actively. Just as we need water, food, and sleep to thrive, you need content, content strategy, and content marketing to achieve a successful campaign.
Make sure you have a solid content strategy as your foundation before working through your content marketing strategy. In doing this, your content will have purpose and produce measurable results.
i-scoop. (n.d.). Content marketing: defining a content marketing strategy. Retrieved from i-scoop.eu: https://www.i-scoop.eu/content-marketing/defining-content-marketing-strategy/
Content Marketing Institute. (n.d.). Developing a Content Marketing Strategy. Retrieved from contentmarketinginstitute.com: https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/developing-a-strategy/