It’s becoming increasingly apparent that maintaining a sustainable content marketing strategy over the long term is difficult. Why have we come to this conclusion? For starters, the amount of online content which is produced daily has already surpassed customer demand. In addition, businesses are discovering that keeping audiences interested requires them to work harder and invest more money. To generate a return on investments, companies need to figure out a way to create a more sustainable content marketing strategy by increasing social interaction and social capital.
Sustainability is the ability to maintain business efforts at a specific rate for an extended period of time. This means that companies need to not only create a content marketing strategy that is appealing to their audience but also retain their attention in a world of mass information.
In order to capture significant attention and stay top of mind, companies need to create content that will generate meaningful, brand-related conversations among their target audience. The more a brand’s audience shares the brand’s content online, the more sustainable the brand’s content marketing strategy becomes.
In this article, we will look at how you can create a content marketing strategy that not only attracts your target audience but also retains your existing audience.
1) Identify benchmarks
To better understand where your company wants to go, you need to know where you have been. By reviewing previous performance benchmarks, you can paint a picture of all activities and achievements until that point and develop a detailed understanding of how your company operates. Some things that you should consider when identifying benchmarks and setting realistic, achievable goals include:
- How many customers you previously had
- How many of those were new customers
- How many leads you received and how many turned into customers
- Which sources produced the most leads (social media, earned media, print ads, etc.)
- What marketing initiatives worked previously, what didn’t and why
- What your previous resources were
- What content you already have (ebooks, whitepapers, webinars, etc.)
2) Set goals
Goals are the foundation of any company’s content marketing plan. The purpose of setting them is to drive improvements and align the company’s resources to stay on track. To set goals that are clearly defined and easy to understand, you can use the SMART approach to set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-constrained goals.
3) Determine buyer personas and their buyer journey
Before creating a sustainable content marketing strategy, you need to understand the audience, the content they want to consume, and how they consume it. To do that, you can create buyer personas – semi-fictional representations of your business’s ideal customers. These personas will help you understand both existing and potential clients. Your company’s business objectives should cater to the personas you create. Having a clear picture makes it easier for you to create content that addresses these people’s needs, behaviors, and concerns.
Once you determine your buyer personas, you also need to understand the buyer journey. This is the active research process a client goes through leading up to making a purchase. The three stages of a buyer’s journey include the awareness stage, consideration stage, and decision stage.
In the awareness stage, a potential buyer realizes they have a want or need for a product or service. At this point, they start researching to understand more about what they are looking for. They are generally seeking information to answer questions and resolve pain points. To effectively market to customers, you must understand this type of consumer mentality and adapt your content to provide solutions and ideas related to the problems these customers need help with.
The next stage is the consideration stage – it involves a buyer’s evaluation of different methods available to them. Some examples of content that is ideal for this stage include product comparison guides, expert guides, and live interaction to deliver critical information to help buyers make the best possible decision.
4) Stay on Top of New Research and Industry Trends
In order to build a sustainable content marketing strategy, you need to create evergreen content that will always be fresh and relevant. However, coming up with new topic ideas can be one of the most challenging parts of any content creation process. This is especially the case if your company wants to create content regularly. By monitoring new information or new subject matter in the industry, you can create more relevant and original content that captures the attention of your target audience.
Staying informed and creating content related to the latest news will boost your brand’s overall content marketing strategy, help you build a more substantial reputation and establish the company as a credible resource. By keeping content fresh and focused on industry trends, you can use your owned media to establish yourself as a trusted resource to your audience and other market professionals. You can also plug into other resources like brand marketers and PR professionals like Pressfarm to understand what is trending in your niche.
Pressfarm is a PR agency that helps startups and established companies create memorable content to capture attention in the media as well as among their target audience. Their PR experts and writers work with companies to help them understand what it takes to stand out in their niche, and create quality content that makes heads turn. With a professional press release, some compelling feature articles, and a creative media kit from Pressfarm, your brand can make a splash in your industry.
By submitting your brand to the right media outlets and startup directories, Pressfarm can boost your online presence, ensuring you rank in relevant search results. With a custom media list as well as a database of 1 million+ bloggers, journalists and influencers, you can connect with the best storytellers and thought leaders in your niche.
One of Pressfarm’s affordable PR packages could be exactly what you need to take your brand to the next level.
5) Create content that the audience wants
As mentioned previously, your content needs to align with the target audience and meet their basic needs. After all, content that addresses your audience’s needs will be better received. Using research tools to collect supplementary data about a target audience, you can get a better idea of the type of content these people want. Even better, you can get a good understanding of how they consume this content. Once you have a baseline audience to target, you can let them guide your content.
Consumers today have a powerful desire for more interactive content that gives them the power and opportunity to engage with information the way they want to. Interactive content formats can; increase engagement levels, build, and establish brand-consumer relationships, gather valuable consumer data that can be used in targeting and retargeting and assist in conversations by personalizing the interaction and delivering insight.
To have a successful, sustainable content marketing strategy, you also need to adapt your content to the medium you’re planning to use. In the past, you may have just posted information within your domain of expertise. However, the rise of social media has encouraged companies to create content that also encourages and rewards commenting and sharing. This shift has encouraged content creators to develop more interactive content.
The key to keeping your content interactive is to funnel your audience into your CRM system and keep the interaction going by giving them relevant information constantly or pushing them to convert just at the right moment. By offering valuable content, you can also boost your online presence since search engines will pick up on the fact that more people seem to be gravitating toward your content.
7) Repeat successful campaigns
When developing your first campaign, you should use it as a learning opportunity to recognize strategies that can be scaled. You should consider your first campaign a template that serves as a model for future campaign creation. This way, you will be ready to launch the next campaign right away.
Unfortunately, disorganization is common within content marketing. Many large and small businesses claim that they lack a coherent or integrated content strategy. This contributes to inefficiency and a significant disconnect between branding, marketing, public relations, and sales efforts. Of course, a lack of comprehensive processes can limit the development process, leaving marketers struggling to find information or execute campaigns on time. By developing a clear content marketing strategy, you can identify what parts of your previous campaigns worked and what didn’t and reassess to repeat campaigns that will add to your overall sustainable content marketing strategy.
Additionally, once a campaign has generated data that you can analyze, you will notice some campaigns that helped you boost your bottom line. On the other hand, you can also pinpoint others that did not contribute much value at all. For campaigns that proved valuable, you need to understand where the value came from.
8) Turn customers into brand ambassadors
Another way to build a sustainable content marketing strategy is by sharing your message with your most valuable customers and content contributors. Many consumers and content creators would be happy to use branded content to build their own personal brands. This is especially true if you’re producing quality content. In fact, your customers could actually transform into brand influencers if they’re happy with your products or services.
To capture the attention of content creators, you can deliver content that is tailored to their respective styles. This can build interest and transform these people into superfans and brand ambassadors.
Through referral marketing and loyalty programs, you can encourage existing customers to spread the word about your brand. When you offer customers a reward, they will be more than happy to share your content with their network. However, in order to encourage these people to share your content, you need to offer something more than coupons, discount codes, or other things that they can easily get elsewhere. Examples of good offers include status, influence, or substantial monetary benefits.
Even if you do not plan to have a sustainable content marketing strategy, content marketing is a long process. It is not just a one-time thing that will generate long-term benefits. So, to be successful, you need to be persistent and consistent, have a measured plan of action designed to help you retain your current audience, and attract new audience members. With a clear, concise sustainable content marketing strategy, the results will be gratifying.