Not starting with strategy will cost you in the end

· 15th November 2018 · 3:59 pm

Content marketing sits at the heart of the Bluestripe proposition. We feel its central to almost every communications strategy. Content fuels your media relations activity, your social activity, your events activity

Right at the start of any new client relationship, we know its hugely important to take a breath, think carefully about what the client wants to achieve before you write a single word.

Rushing into these things never pays off. Try to build a house on sand and it will obviously collapse. Similarly a content campaign without the proper foundations will crumble and fall away.

Taking the time to lay these foundations before you embark on a new content initiative will give your campaigns the best chances of success.

As part of our onboarding strategy, we build a ‘content house’ that will stand the test of time, we work out the foundations of your brand, what are the supporting pillars and what is the over arching theme we want to sit on top to cover everything else. This is the start of our content strategy.

An effective, documented content strategy will link your content to clear business objectives, show you where your brand sits in the broader content landscape and help you identify the burning issues that are keeping your prospects up at night.

The Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI’s) latest benchmarking study reveals that 62 per cent of the most successful content marketers have a documented strategy, compared to just 16 per cent of the least successful ones. That means, you’re almost four times more likely to be successful when you have a proper strategy in place.

What’s more, 72 per cent of marketers who have increased their success over the past 12 months cite ‘strategy’ as a key factor driving that improvement.

Once your strategy is in place, you’ll be in a far better position to ensure the content you create is tailored to your audience’s needs. You’ll know exactly how to make sure you reach them with the right messages, in the right formats and through the right channels at each stage of the marketing funnel.

You see, so many B2B marketers aren’t seeing the results they should be from their content campaigns because they think they have a strong content marketing strategy in place, when in fact they don’t.

We always take an ‘audience first’ approach. We start by considering who your audience is and the challenges your customers face. Then, we create useful, unique and engaging content tailored to help with those specific and evolving needs.

Take our events program (yes, we see events as content) with our client Propel. Propel are the leading independent recruiter for the digital economy. Over the last eighteen months we’ve produced a series of events on a diverse series of topics including the rise of blockchain, the growth of the fintech sector, Scaling your business and Digital Transformation.

But, people don’t generally attend Propels Breakfast Briefings because they want to become more aware of the Propel brand.  They generally don’t attend because they have a vacancy they want to fill. They do it because they love the content, they love the style of the event and the networking opportunities. They want to learn and hear from expert. They want to know more about technology and its implications on their business. We want them to see Propel as a trusted advisor and partner.

We didn’t rush into this style of event. We worked with our client to talk about the ideal audience, the ideal tone of voice and the ideal topics.  We even make sure the venue reflects the client’s brand.

And then we create a written plan.

The simple fact is, it’s not a viable strategy if it isn’t documented.

We’ve spoken to many potential clients who have told us that they have a content strategy in place. Ask them to send it to you and you often get a blank look.

It seems that many marketers feel there’s no need to document their strategies. After all, everything is in their heads anyway. Wouldn’t writing it down just be a waste of time? The fact is that most are just so busy and so pressed that they don’t have the time. And that’s where we can help.

We describe our ourselves as a strategic communications agency because we understand that producing content for contents sake is a pointless activity. It needs to have strategy at its heart.

It must be part of your overall communication strategy and not merely put in place under the vague banner of SEO or thought leadership.

It needs to be planned out and aligned with existing business planning documents. It needs to be agreed with all the key stakeholders. Quite often these meetings uncover gems and insight that become key to communications success.

In short, the insights that are uncovered while developing your content strategy are far too valuable to keep locked away inside your head.

The insights you’ll uncover about your audience and its needs will help you engage your customers and set your content apart from that of your less successful peers. As a result, you’re almost four times more likely to deliver successful campaigns with a proper strategy in place.

Key takeaways:

  • You’re almost four times more likely to be successful when you have a content strategy in place. Laying the right foundations while planning a new campaign makes it far easier to achieve your goals.
  • Take an ‘audience first’ approach. Consider who your audience is, then create useful content that’s tailored to their personal preferences and helps them overcome the challenges they face.
  • It’s not an effective strategy if it isn’t documented. Verbal content strategies don’t provide the depth of insight you need to guide your tactical decisions and maximise your chances of success.
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