It's likely you'll never compare a content strategy with planning a vacation. In reality, here’s why you should.
Who doesn't like a vacation? Whether it's a trip to the city or the serenity of a national park, a week away reconnects us with our family, improves our health and when we return, it even increases our work productivity.
But, if you're like me, you can do without the planning and the packing.
My wife likes everything planned down to the last detail. Packing for a trip takes on a whole new meaning, especially when previously, throwing things into a bag the night before seemed reasonable.
We compile a list. We check the list to make sure we have the right items for the activities we are planning. But that's not all. In addition, we manage the list to ensure we don't over pack. And, all items must be ready for the suitcases days in advance. Quite frankly, it's a bit irritating. That is, until I reach into my luggage at the hotel and grab my cell phone power cord that I otherwise would have unintentionally left at home.
Unfortunately, it’s not just power cords. As a matter of fact, the lack of planning creates problems in many areas, especially in business.
You've read the studies. B2B buyers are well on their way to a purchasing decision before they even speak with a potential vendor. In reality, your ideal customer seeks information that educates and builds their understanding. That's just one of the reasons that content is so important today.
But when you approach your content strategy, like preparing for a vacation, you'll improve the health of your business.
A content strategy is like packing for a trip. It takes preparation and planning and may even become a bit tedious. But just like preparations for a trip make your vacation more enjoyable, a content strategy will positively impact your customers and prospects.
Compile A List
If you have a blog, post on social media, publish a newsletter or develop other content, you need to plan the topics and the publishing dates. Like goals, creating a list or a content calendar dramatically increases the chances you'll stay on task.
For a trip, writing down "green sweater" triggers the item you want to pack. However, a content calendar requires addition detail. For example,
- Expected Publish Date
- Content Channel
- Links To Complementary Content
- Completed Draft Date
- Approval Dates
- Actual Publish Date
Check The List To Ensure It Matches Your Needs
Just like the destination and activities impact the list you make for your trip, a content strategy drives topic selection and distribution channels. Content marketing assists prospects as they self educate, build understanding and learn how your capabilities fit their needs. For example, topics such as:
- What's new and why it matters
- Trends, benchmarks and statistics
- Product Demos
Match your content and distribution channels with the audience you are trying to target.
Coordinate Your Outfits
Bringing pants that go with multiple shirts increase your wardrobe options. Coordinating your communications lets you get more out of your content investment.
Content complements a B2B sales organization business development efforts. The same information that allows a web prospect to learn about your capabilities can help a business development rep as they interact with potential clients.
If you attend trade shows or conduct webinars, coordinating appropriate follow up communications will further inform and connect prospects.
Overpacking your luggage may cost you additional fees. But when you overpack content, it costs you potential customers.
Unnecessary and uniformed emails. Innocuous social media posts. Internally focused web pages. Or the online hard sell.
Who likes it?
So, why do companies still subscribe to those tactics?
Shoddy content damages your reputation.
Conversely, effective content builds your client base.
Do Your Homework
Before a trip, a visit to the Weather Channel, Trip Advisor and local attraction web sites allow you to pack more effectively. Researching your ideal customer allows you to build content that appeals to their needs.
How quickly do you delete emails or avoid phone calls from people who clearly don't understand your business?
Buyer personas guide content development and distribution making it far more likely that you'll connect with a prospect.
HubSpot defines a buyer persona as a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. Understanding the demographics, behavior patterns, goals and motivations, allows you to develop more effective content and distribute it in the places they will most likely look for it.
Plans Are Nothing. Planning Is Everything
Dwight D. Eisenhower said "Plans are nothing. Planning is everything."
The modern day adaptation, "Content is nothing. Content strategy is everything!"
The modern day buyer uses content to make purchasing decisions. Thinking through a content strategy is time consuming and tedious. However, effective content planning connects you with your target audience and ensures a better return on your marketing investment.
InterEdge Marketing develops effective content for clients that drives conversions. Contact us for more information on how to develop an effective content strategy.