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 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 which 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 companies can create a content marketing strategy that not only attracts target audiences but also retains their existing ones.
1) Identify benchmarks
To better understand where a company wants to go, they need to know where they have been. By reviewing previous performance benchmarks, they can paint a picture of all activities and achievements until that point and develop a detailed understanding of how their company operates. Some things that companies should consider when identifying benchmarks and setting realistic, achievable goals include:
- How many customers they previously had
- How many of those were new customers
- How many leads they 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 their previous resources were
- What content they 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 which are clearly defined and easy to understand, companies 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, companies need to understand their audience, the content they want to consume, and how they consume it. To do that, they can create buyer personas, which are semi-fictional representations of their business’s ideal customers. These personas help companies understand both existing and potential clients. A company’s business objectives should be catering to the personas they create. Having a clear picture makes it easier for them to create content that addresses their needs, behaviours, and concerns.
Once they determine their buyer personas, companies also need to understand the buyer journey, which 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, companies must understand this type of consumer mentality and adapt their content to provide solutions and ideas related to the problems these customers need help with.
The next stage is the consideration stage, and 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.
Finally, the decision stage is when buyers have decided on a solution and have a strategy to address their issues but are still deciding on the product they want to invest their money in. At this point, buyers have already spent lots of time researching data, reviews, and other materials to gain confidence in their decision.
4) Stay on Top of New Research and Industry Trends
In order to build a sustainable content marketing strategy, companies need to create content that will last and be fresh. However, coming up with new topic ideas can be one of the most challenging parts of any content creation process, especially if the company wants to create content regularly. By monitoring new information or new subject matter in the industry, companies can create more relevant and original content that captures attention among their target audience.
Staying informed and creating content related to the latest news will boost a brand’s overall content marketing strategy, help them build a more substantial reputation and establish the company as a credible resource. By keeping content fresh and focused on the industry trends, a company can use their owned media to establish themselves as trusted resources to their audience and other market professionals. They can also use other resources like brand marketers and PR professionals like Pressfarm to understand what is trending in their 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 which 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. Beyond creating this content, Pressfarm can harness their network to help you put it in front of the right eyes. Using their comprehensive database, you can connect with over 75,000 journalists across different industries. Similarly, with a personalized media kit built by an account executive, you can work with the best journalists in your industry. Sign up with Pressfarm and start generating the publicity your brand deserves today.
5) Create content that the audience wants
As mentioned previously, a company’s content needs to fit the target audience and meet their basic needs. After all, content which addresses your audience’s needs will be better received. Using research tools to collect supplementary data about a target audience, companies can get a better idea of the type of content they want and how they consume it. Once companies have a baseline audience to target, they can let them guide their 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, 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, companies also need to adapt their content to the medium they’re planning to use. While in the past, companies may have just posted information within their domain of expertise, the rise of social media has encouraged companies to create content that also encourages and rewards commenting and sharing. This shift has caused content to become more interactive.
The key to keeping a company’s marketing via interactive content formats is to funnel their audience into their CRM system and keep the interaction going by giving them relevant information constantly or pushing them to convert just at the right moment.
7) Repeat successful campaigns
When developing their first campaign, companies should use it as a learning opportunity to recognize strategies that can be scaled. They should consider their first campaign as a template that serves as a model for future campaign creation. This way, they 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, contributing 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 having a clear content marketing strategy, companies can identify what parts of their previous campaigns worked and what didn’t and reassess to repeat campaigns that will add to their overall sustainable content marketing strategy.
Additionally, once a campaign has data to analyze, companies will notice some campaigns that helped them boost their bottom line, while others did not contribute much value at all. For campaigns that proved valuable, they need to understand where the value came from.
8) Turn customers into brand ambassadors
Another way to build a sustainable content marketing strategy is for companies to share their message with their 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, companies can deliver content which 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, companies can encourage existing customers to spread the word about their 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. To encourage your brand ambassadors, companies should offer them what they cannot get elsewhere; status, influence, or substantial monetary benefits.
Even if companies 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, businesses need to be persistent and consistent, have a measured plan of action catered to retain their current audience, and attract new audience members. With a clear, concise sustainable content marketing strategy, the results will be gratifying.