Never be content with the status quo

We’ve all heard of the expression “content is king.” The phrase is so pervasive, when you type “content is” in a search, one of Google’s top autocompletes suggests “king” for you. But what is “content” and what does “content is king” really mean? And why is content marketing so important in today’s business climate?

First of all, content is not simply a blog, an online video or a social media post. It’s all those things, and more. Content can be a white paper, a PowerPoint presentation, an email, even an instruction manual. It’s everything that exists in our digital universe… which is why it’s king. Content is what powers your brand today, the way your clients and customers relate to your business, and how you keep those priceless brand narratives going.

Help your audience find you

Content marketing is not simply about creating, uploading and sharing “stuff.” It’s a robust and detailed strategic approach that begins on the same framework as traditional branding, identifies your core customers and the ways to reach them digitally, engage them, and, finally, generate a profitable customer interaction. Here are some of the key steps involved in a sound content marketing strategy:

Define your brand positioning This step sounds familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because the one tried-and-true foundation underpinning marketing is to understand your brand’s unique personality and the ways your brand aims to be the preferred choice over your competition. Your brand’s positioning is your magnetic north; every communication touchpoint needs to start here, whether your content marketing campaign is targeted to teens or retirees, and across B2B and B2C initiatives. A fractured voice and identity create noise. Synergy in all your marketing endeavours is essential.

Identify your target audience(s) One of the amazing advantages of content marketing is that you can be exceptionally laser-focused on specific audience segments. In fact, your audience doesn’t necessarily even need to be your end purchaser; you can also consider influencers (both organic and paid) who will willingly share your content with followers, friends and family members. Whatever content you create, you’ll need to think about your intended audience and shape your narrative to meet that audience’s psychographic. For example, a bank has customers from all walks of life but will enjoy greater success connecting with teens by creating a fun TikTok video, and retirees with an advertorial in an online community newspaper. Just don’t forget to maintain consistency in your brand voice, so keep it professional with that TikTok video; if your content tries too hard to act teen, they’ll see right through you and you’ll end up with egg on your face.

Determine your value proposition The content you produce has to provide clear value to the end-user. It takes time to digest content and there are only 24 hours in a day so your content had better be worth whatever piece of the pie you’re eating into. Relevant content is what provokes user engagement, creates shares, generates leads or product trial, and gradually evolves to brand loyalty and advocacy. In determining your content’s value proposition, it’s also important to analyze your competitors’ content strategies and brainstorm ways to stand out from other content creators. This approach will give you a unique place in the content ecosystem and, if the approach is campaignable, hopefully compel your audience to come back time and again for more quality content.

Draw up your battle plan Before you begin creating all that amazing content, it’s essential to develop an editorial plan and content calendar outlining all your “whats” and “whens.” This advance planning allows you to allocate all your resources appropriately, analyze workflows and prioritize your actions. It’s also extremely helpful to get a bird’s eye view on all your content initiatives to make sure the rollout is natural, with the elements complementing each other. Furthermore, a calendar helps keep you organized and faithful to your deadlines.

The takeaway

Whether you knew it or not, you’ve been content marketing for years. Your website and social channels, emails and banner ads are all part of the content universe. But those tactics really just scratch the surface on ways to introduce new customers to your brand.

While this article – itself a piece of content – may inspire you to start a blog or resolve to post on social media more often, there are challenges to the DIY approach. Content produced internally may not always align with your brand positioning and lack that professional polish. It’s also difficult to sustain your content production momentum over the months and years. How many times have you visited a website’s news section or blog and the most recent post is already a couple of years old?

It’s better, easier and offers greater potential ROI when you place your content marketing initiatives in the hands of experts. Contact us today to learn how we can take your brand communications to the next, digital level.

Contact us today to find out how our creative design services can take your company to a new, simple and sophisticated level. With our creative capabilities ranging from traditional to digital, we can help develop a branding solution that will stand out, and stand the test of time.

Angelo Perri

Angelo Perri is the founder and CEO of MHZ Design Communications, a customer engagement agency located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Connect on Linkedin.