Core point: Don’t start executing on your content marketing until you have a sound content strategy.
Yes, easier said than done, but so many of us get infatuated with a tactic before really planning out what should happen and why. You wouldn’t build a car without a step-by-step plan, but many of us create an eBook, Facebook page, web content or custom magazine without a content strategy.
To address this, Newt Barrett and I covered the B.E.S.T. content strategy in Get Content Get Customers. The goal of asking the B.E.S.T. questions as part of your content marketing strategy is to find the intersection between your products/services and the information needs of your customers. Only then can you craft a content marketing approach that will deliver more sales, more customers, and more measurable results.
- What action do we want our customers to take?
- What effect must we achieve with them?
- How will we measure their behavior?
- How will we put them on the path to purchase (what exactly is the conversion)?
- What do our buyers really need to know (not about our products, but about information and tasks relevant to what we have to offer)?
- How does what they need to know align with the our unique expertise?
- What will provide the most benefit personally or professionally?
To sum up: What’s the intersection between your expertise (as it relates to your products) and the informational/entertainment needs of your customers? That’s what I like the call the secret sauce!
- Does this content marketing effort help us achieve our strategic goals?
- Does it integrate with our other strategic initiatives?
- Do we have executive support for this content strategy?
To sum up: I’ve seen too many custom content projects live outside of marketing and the overall strategic goals of the company. To truly be successful, a content strategy needs to tell your brand story as it relates to your customers. Don’t let it live in a vacuum.
- Have we precisely identified the prospects we want to target?
- What are the different customer segments? Why are they different?
- Do we really understand what motivates them?
- Do we understand their professional roles?
- Do we understand how they view the product or service we offer?
To sum up: Get a handle on the buyer persona for each of your customer segments. If you don’t know them well, how do you know what they need. (Excellent overview here on a buyer persona.)
Once you have this information, and the executive team buys into this essential background information for your content strategy, then you can start developing the execution plan.