Every day, your customers are bombarded with an overabundance of information. How can you expect to break through the noise, deliver your message, and make sure it connects?
The answer isn’t shying away from producing and delivering valuable content to your prospects and customers, it’s developing a cohesive, targeted content marketing strategy, and a commitment to giving your campaign the time and resources needed to produce results. By aligning your unique branding message across multiple mediums and channels you can ensure you reach the right customer with the right content at the right time.
In this series of videos, Margot Bloomstein, principal brand and content strategist at Appropriate Inc., explains how businesses should approach the development of their own unique content strategies.
1) Content Strategy: What It Is and Why You Need It
Companies are beginning to see increasing value in content. But few of them understand the strategy behind the process, despite seeing the potential. Bloomstein explains that a content strategy is the bridge that unites these separate parts.
One of the factors that’s slowing the adoption of content strategy, says Bloomstein, is the relative lack of related case studies and data-driven content strategy analysis. Companies want the value of new undertakings outlined in black and white. To them, content seems to occupy a gray area.
According to Bloomstein, the next step is to demonstrate the relevance of content strategy in every department. Only then will businesses recognize how beneficial a content strategy can be.
“The other thing that I feel like we’re not hearing a lot about yet is really, ‘What’s content strategy for you?’” says Bloomstein. “Whether you’re an information architect, a project manager, maybe a designer or a creative director, maybe a social media consultant or a search engine optimization specialist, across that whole spectrum within the interactive discipline, content strategy fits in a lot of different ways.
“You really deserve to learn: What’s in it for you?”
2) Breaking Down the Steps to Content Curation
Content marketers struggling to find time to write can reduce their workload through content curation.
The idea behind content curation is simple: aggregate relevant posts and repurpose them for your needs. Still, some marketers struggle with the idea because they don’t understand how to utilize outside content for their gain. So long as you’re abiding by the guidelines set forth by the original authors and sites, you should feel free to adapt the content to your needs, says Bloomstein.
“Why don’t we take a step back for a moment and talk about what [content marketing] is not,” says Bloomstein.
It’s not about hoarding content indiscriminately, she explains. You have to have goals in mind from the outset. Not every bit of content you come across will be relevant to your audience, either. The content curation process is intended to determine what is and isn’t important, in addition to what your readers want to see. Then, it’s your job to get that content in front of them.
“If you think about all the content scattered across the Web and maybe across other channels as well, all the content that maybe competes for attention…you need to kind of filter that for your target audience. Tell them that this is what’s most important about a particular topic at this specific time.”
3) A Breakdown on Creating a Cohesive Brand Image
A brand image should manifest itself in all of the content created by a company, but how can a company without an image create one?
Bloomstein discusses the process of creating a cohesive brand image as part of an overarching content marketing strategy. Companies with a recognizable brand are at a distinct competitive advantage when compared to competitors that have a less-developed identity, she says.
Your company’s goals should overlap — to an extent — with your goals for your brand’s image. If you want to drive sales, then your brand image should support that goal. Bloomstein offers one last valuable piece of advice: Don’t falter by using your brand to mimic companies that already exist. Leave that for the businesses that can’t distinguish themselves or their brand.
“You don’t need to be a better or faster or bigger or more profitable version of something that already exists, because that already exists,” says Bloomstein. “What’s that sort of blue ocean thinking around your brand that you can use to differentiate and, really, where you can begin to focus to say, “This is what we do that no one else does. And the only place you can get that is right here.”
Editor’s note: This article has been adapted from a video series recorded with Margot Bloomstein, principal of brand and content strategy consultancy Appropriate, Inc.