With a whopping 77% of internet users reading online content and seeking authentic, valuable advice from your construction brand, the odd blog post will simply no longer cut it. This spontaneous posting, without a strategic plan, will encourage companies to publish content haphazardly (what we call, random acts of marketing). This involves simply publishing information without having clearly defined objectives.
So before we go into the why, let’s start with what a content strategy actually entails…
Content strategy: definition & development
A content marketing strategy is a plan to achieve a specific business goal; this could be to achieve increased lead generation or to build brand awareness in your sector. It also helps your target audience to achieve their own goals on your website i.e. finding information to help them make better, more informed purchasing decisions.
“Aside from creating useful, valuable and goal-focused content, a content strategy is a plan on how you will publish that content, how often and how you’ll manage it after publication. Having a content strategy turns your content into a valuable business asset that helps you to achieve business goals.”
It may feel like a time-consuming task because you have to keep coming up with new and fresh ideas on how to deliver content that your target audience needs, but did you know that those who repurpose their old blogs receive 74% better results from their marketing than those who don’t? It’s all about making the most of your internal resource and finding simple ways to maximise the effectiveness of every single piece of content created – how many blog posts have you created that could be turned into useful Infographics, slideshares, or video demonstrations?
With the vast majority of freely available information on the web, you need to mark your spot. Find your niche and produce quality educational content that proves your expertise to prospects. Build trust and credibility by demonstrating that you’re thought leaders in your industry.
Like any other plan, there are certain things you should think about when developing a content marketing strategy. Below is a list of some important questions to ask yourself:
- Why are we creating this content?
- What type of content should we create?
- Who is the best person to create it?
- Where will this content be best put to use?
- When and how often should this content be published?
- How will this content be created? Is it text, image, video etc?
Once you have answered these questions, you are well on your way to producing content that will build credibility within your industry and keep architects and specifiers coming back for more information.
Below is a table showing what types of content are suitable for the various decision makers in the buying cycle. Have you covered all these areas? Do your product brochures contain up-to-date information and could some of that content be re-purposed into a short product demonstration and installation video? Does your website have an online product selector to make it easier for specifiers to find the right product?
Benefits of a content strategy
A strategy helps focus your marketing efforts on what’s important to your audience so that you can produce better and more targeted content. This content strategy becomes a roadmap, guiding your marketing activities and directing them towards the goals and objectives you have set out. Having a strategy ensures:
- Consistency in your message – choose a theme and stick to it.
- Efficient and intelligent re-use of content (eg. turn blog post into video/podcast).
- Better optimisation for search engines and increased conversions.
- Identifies gaps in audience needs that you can fill.
“A regularly updated blog is a great way to keep adding fresh content that will be beneficial to both your target audience and to search engines. It’s more dynamic than your website which only updates or adds new information periodically.”
The Content Lifecycle
- Strategic analysis: this stage is crucial and requires an audit to establish what content you have, whether you can repurpose some of it and then find out what you need. Ask questions and find out what would be valuable to your audience. Specifiers, estimators, or architects may all be looking for different types of information. How can you provide content suitable for each at different stages in the buying cycle?
- Content collection: this is the research phase where you gather all the information and establish your key themes. Have you covered everything? What key messages do you want to spread and who in your team is going to write what? Create an editorial calendar so you know what you are publishing and when.
- Publish: where will your content be found on the website? Have you got a blog, do you send out a monthly newsletter? Don’t forget about SEO, so be sure to include keywords in the headings, titles and meta description to make your content easily found on the web.
- Content management: after publishing content, you have to monitor and manage it so that you know what is working and what isn’t. Make your content shareable on social media and this will give you an indication of how popular and relevant your content is. If it is widely shared by prospects and industry peers then you know this is the kind of information that they are looking for. Most importantly, use Google Analytics to analyse on a monthly basis popular landing pages and posts with a high conversion rate.
Developing and managing a content strategy is not a one-off activity. It’s a process; a system that requires commitment and dedication. The tasks highlighted in the lifecyle above have to be repeated on a regular basis because things change. Developments might take place that will impact your industry, your target audience’s needs could change, or your business goals may have altered. All these changes need to be taken into consideration so that the content you produce is still of a high quality to support the lead generation process.
So with the new year ahead of us, have you recently carried out a content audit to find out where the gaps lie and where content opportunities are being missed?
Now you know the ‘Why’, why not read more tips on the ‘How’ with this simple content marketing slideshare.
And if you’d like to speak to us about content marketing, give us a call on 01908 671707, or download our Content Marketing eBook here.