Content strategy is a critical component of any marketing campaign. Your business can offer the most fashionable handbags, the most accurate real estate models, the most astute financial counselling, or the best party planning in the city, but you need to provide the content your potential customers are looking for on your website to be able to answer their questions. If not, you may not be able to gain as much traffic to the site, and perhaps just as many leads but converting them into sales is something you will fall short of.
“Content needs to be educational, informative, and valuable for people to want to engage. It needs to inspire conversation” – Rob May, Senior Content Strategy & Social Media @ludismarketing
While every business has its own optimal strategy to develop and deliver content, not all strategies are well executed. Ultimately, and I can’t stress this enough, you need to align your content strategy with what your audience wants, and the business goals you want to achieve!
Let’s demystify certain popular myths relating to content strategy development.
Misconception 1: More Is ALWAYS Better
You might think that having more articles on your site is an automatic advantage. You couldn’t be more wrong. You figure that clients assume that the sheer quantity of content means that your business is a leader in its field.
Truth: Clients want quality. They do not want to sort through virtual mounds of material hoping to find an answer to their question or worse, some weak attempt to promote your business or products. Doing this wrong can put your business on a path towards losing credibility, trust, and authority with your audience.
Misconception 2: Any Content Counts as Marketing
You believe that any content that is even remotely related to your industry has to be a positive addition to your content, so you include it. The hope is that having more content leads to more awareness of your business and therefore counts in the “marketing effort” category.
Truth: You need to plan and do it well! Marketing needs to be a unified campaign with consistent messaging and branding. Consumers can remember only a few main messages, so throwing a slew of unrelated content at them only dilutes the messages that you do feel are important. Also, consider the tone of what you are writing and the audience you are targeting. Each piece of content needs to have the appropriate tone and direction; a technical paper for an industry is entirely different than a friendly blog post discussing much lighter topics, which is just as different than a concise but comprehensive and appealing product description.
Working with a single content provider or writing team enables the content to be in sync with your business and aligned with your audience. Thus providing content that meets your company’s specific needs.
Misconception 3: Content Strategy is Too Expensive
You, your company, or your web designer build a flashy website that has an attractive color scheme and is easy to navigate. You assume that this is enough to convince viewers that they should become customers, give you their information, and purchase products from you. Right? Wrong. Very very wrong!
Truth: You need to work harder than that to convert traffic into leads, and ultimately into customers. Viewers want real content and real value, and as such, they want valuable information about your business, products, or services. Blog posts providing industry news and consumer tips are always a start to the industry, but you need to know the field to contribute to it intelligently. The content also needs to be current, and not outdated. Is it worth the time to write your content well or worth the cost to hire a writer to do it for you?
Misconception 4: An Online Content Strategy is Optional
You think online content marketing is a new concept, so you think it is an optional extra. After all, businesses got by for years without online content strategy.
Truth: If you want to maximize your customers’ experience, content marketing is necessary. Today’s consumers go online to investigate their options, research products and user reviews, form opinions, and have discussions in chat rooms and on social media to make purchasing decisions. You are at a disadvantage if you opt out of the entire online consumer base by neglecting the content strategy tactics.
Misconception 5: Content Strategy is Only Digital
You figure that you can just make a website and perhaps spice up your social media accounts with a few updates, and that is enough marketing to get you by.
Truth: You can’t just drop the traditional means of marketing yourself and your business. Conferences and other in-person networking opportunities, articles in trade magazines, industry news, and brochures for customers are just a few examples of why you sometimes need to enter the real world. You need to brand yourself, and align the traditional forms of marketing with the online digital content strategies you are developing to maximize the efforts and time contributed.
Misconception 6: Content Strategy Equals Good SEO
Your content displays textbook search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, with appropriate primary and secondary keyword densities and placement. These efforts improve your website’s rankings in Google and other search engine results so that consumers will easily see your site, and you pat yourself on the back for mastering content strategy.
Truth: You are not going to generate followers who can easily be converted into customers just by having several pages with a lot of keywords and ad text on them. Well, not anymore anyways. Even if viewers do navigate to your site from the search engine results, they are not going to stay long if your content has little to no value. Keyword stuffing does not impress clients, and poor site design, UI/UX or user interface/experience will produce very poor results.
What does impress clients – and Google – is current, quality content. Quality is king, period. Better content, built into a well-designed site, with clear navigation, offers, and long term value, along with social buttons, encourages viewers to stay on the site, read your material, and sign up, and it may even make you gain a share through the social networks. This contributes to the SEO teams’ efforts in working to create backlinks, which also affect and improve your search result rankings. It’s a vicious cycle!
Misconception 7: Content Market Strategy Is a One-Time Event
You make calculated efforts, you plan your strategy, you develop it, you implement it, and then you go on to the next project, thinking that the rest will take care of itself and move on. Wrong!
Truth: You need to monitor your strategy and content posts, to see just how well it is performing and how you can improve upon it moving forward. Were there articles and content themes that did poorly? If so, look into reviewing and revising them. If that doesn’t work, remove that theme and get started in a whole new direction. Is it working and bringing traffic? Is it converting? Are you gaining new business leads and potential customers for the brand? Are they going to become brand ambassadors for you later? We don’t know, but I would think that this is the main goal, and the path we would want them take! We want these potential visitors and customers to become devoted proponents of your brand and content, and help increase your visibility online.
Also, keep collecting data, such as page hits, shares, likes, and retweets, as well as sources of traffic referrals, and customer conversion rates compared to costs. It’s important to invest in the right toolset so that you have the right functions too. Figure out what works and what doesn’t, stay on top of it, and adjust your content strategy quickly to align it accordingly.
If you can debunk some of these content strategy myths, then I think you’ll be off to a good start. This will help you best align your efforts and time.
Latest posts by Rob May
- Setting Yourself Up For Social Media Amplification Success! - 12 January 2015
- Google Buy Now Button Changes the Game for Amazon - 19 December 2014
- Bing Releases the Three Pillars of Content Quality - 17 December 2014
- Facebook Launches New Tools to Help Pages Better Target Their Audiences - 12 December 2014
- A Guide to Developing Content Strategy – Part I - 26 November 2014