The Wizeo Guide to Content Strategy
Surely content marketing is just writing stuff. Does it really need a content strategy?
Well, yes. If you want your content to reach the right audience, for those people to read and engage with it, and for those views to convert into leads, loyalty, and revenue.
For content marketers, being able to string one eloquent sentence together after another is just one piece of the content marketing puzzle.
But, if you’re new to the content game or you want to get your existing content working harder for you, then read on. At Wizeo, we’ve got your back. So, buckle up, get that notepad ready, and join us on a deep dive into content strategy.
What We’ll Be Covering:
What is content marketing?
Why does it work?
The art of storytelling in content
For when you need to be persuasive.
Content strategy 101.
Define your audience, your aims, and your voice.
What content platforms can you use?
From blogs to social media, podcasts to PR, get the lowdown on where you can publish content.
Outsourcing content writing and content strategy.
How we can make it easy for you.
What is Content Marketing?
Traditional advertising puts your products or services in front of your audience. Content marketing persuades them to buy.
Over 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious. That’s according to a recent study by Harvard professor Gerald Zaltman. So, effective marketing needs to tap into the hearts as well as the minds of your customers. You need to drive trust in your brand, position yourself as the best way to solve their problems, show off your expertise and knowledge, and connect with their core values before encouraging them to hit the ‘buy now’ button.
That’s where content marketing has your back. It’s a marketing strategy where the hard sell sometimes takes a back seat. Where your brand personality is as important as the benefits your products offer and where your company values can shine through.
It’s effective too.
Content marketing generates three times as many leads per dollar, and on average costs 62% less than a traditional advertising approach.
Content marketing helps you tell stories that attract, engage, and retain your target customers. But how does storytelling drive revenue? And what role does it play in your marketing?
The Art of Storytelling In Content
Humans have been telling stories since cavemen sat around a fire and drew paintings on the rock-hewn walls. The art of storytelling is so hard-wired into our brains that our subconscious processes narrative language in an entirely different way than facts and figures.
When we read narrative language, we don’t only understand what we are reading, we feel, see, and hear it too. Researchers in Spain have shown that stories can engage our motor and sensory cortexes, as well as our language processing center.
But why is this relevant to your marketing?
In essence, stories fire up our brains and help us engage with our audience at the subconscious level. The level at which your potential customers will make the vast majority of buying decisions.
Using storytelling in content can be particularly powerful when:
- Your customers need help understanding a concept or product and what benefits it has for them.
- You want to convince new customers to trust your brand.
- You need to persuade customers that your product solves their problems or encourage investors to take the leap to back you.
Content Strategy 101
Creating a content strategy for the first time can be a bit intimidating. Here’s a step-by-step guide you can follow to create a content strategy that actually works.
1. Define Your Audience
How can you know what will convince your customers to trust you, to buy from you, or to stay loyal if you don’t know who they are? Before you put pen to proverbial paper, it’s time to dive into your audience.
You can hire someone to do extensive customer and market research for you, but if you don’t have the budget for external help you can still amass detailed customer data from within your own business.
You could also look to your sales team for information on who is enquiring about your products.
What age are they?
Where do they come from?
What questions are they asking?
And what problems are they looking to solve?
Another great approach is to examine case studies of business success and analyze your direct competitors to find out who their direct customers are.
If you are already publishing content, then look carefully at what is working. Which content drives leads, what posts are generating the most engagement, and which channels are working and which aren’t.
Collate your answers to create several buyer personas that epitomize the customers you have and the customers you want to attract.
2. Define Your Content Purpose
What will success look like to you? Defining measurable targets and setting clear goals helps you stay on track when you make content decisions.
- If your goal is generating new traffic and leads:
You will need quality content that targets specific relevant keywords and questions to help you rank in the Google search engine results pages (SERPS).
- If success to you is increasing existing customer loyalty:
You will want to focus on engaging content that offers real value. For example, you could make blogs, newsletters, videos, or interviews exclusively available to existing customers.
- If you want to increase conversion rates:
You will need content that offers solutions to customer problems – with compelling calls to action.
- If you want to improve brand recognition and trust:
Consider publishing research, opinion pieces, and white papers to increase your industry visibility. Or, look to social media content for partnerships with influencers trusted by your audience.
Of course, none of these aims are mutually exclusive. Your goal might be two, three, or all of the above. But, having actionable goals helps you define clear routes forwards.
3. Know Your Brand Voice
Your content and tone of voice will vary depending on where you publish your content. But, your brand voice will always remain strong and unchangeably, yours.
Your brand voice is the verbal personification of your brand, its values, and its personality. So, are you authoritative and professional? Fun and quirky? Calm and reassuring? Putting together a verbal identity (at Wizeo we can help you with that) before you start creating content will ensure you stay recognizably you, whatever content you are publishing.
4. Consider Your Resources
Once you have a content strategy in place, stick to it. Posting regularly not only increases the efficacy of your plan, but when your customers expect content from you and you deliver on time, you’re increasing their trust in your brand.
Consider the resources you have available in-house – are you able to post two to three blog posts per week? Can you update social media daily with compelling, creative content? If you think you will struggle, think about outsourcing content creation to a professional content agency.
What Content Platforms Can You Use?
You’ve figured out who your audience is and you know what kind of content you want to create. But where should you distribute this content?
Here are a few ideas:
Incorporating your content strategy into your website pages (beyond a blog or published articles – we’ll cover those next) helps add value for your customers and can boost your SEO.
Think about bringing your brand story into product descriptions, writing a values-led ‘about us’ page, or including mini ‘how-to’ guides on your product or services pages, for example.
Share industry-relevant thought pieces, write how-to articles, share customer interviews or case studies, or write about topics that you care about as a brand. In terms of SEO, blogs allow you to create compelling, useful content focused on relevant target keywords.
How many blog posts per week? Two to three is optimal to drive traffic and leads from Google searches, but blogging regularly is more important. Create a schedule that works for your team, and stick to it.
Social Media Content
Social platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Tik Tok offer a more informal way to showcase your brand personality, values, and story. If you’re an outdoor clothing brand set up by two keen hikers, for example, you might share adventure travel and lifestyle content on social media that helps convey a sense of your passion and expertise.
LinkedIn provides a more professional, business-focused alternative.
Podcasts are booming. In 2020, it is estimated 100 million people listened to a podcast every month. In 2022, that figure was expected to be 125 million. If you want to reach a youthful, growing audience, consider a podcast on topics relevant to your story, industry, values, or expertise.
There’s a reason Tik Tok is thriving and Instagram is prioritizing reels. Video is a compelling way to communicate.
In fact, your audience will retain up to 95% of the information when they watch your content, compared to just 10% when they read it.
So, pop video explainers on your website, create reels for social media or embed video into email newsletters.
PR and Press Releases
Press releases take your content beyond the scope of your website. They help increase your visibility within your industry, reach your target audience via other media sites, boost your credibility, and generate all-important high-quality back-links which are essential for effective SEO.
Don’t create content in isolation. Repurposing makes each piece of content work harder for you.
If you’ve written a blog, turn it into a social post, re-frame it as a podcast, and include it in your next newsletter. Perhaps that blog topic can then offshoot into smaller relevant topics targeting longer tail keywords.
One of our favorite content marketing tips is to maximize how you use each piece of content to maximize its value.
Outsourcing Content Writing and Content Strategy
A few reasons you might want to consider outsourcing your content writing and content strategy to content marketing services:
- You lack resources, expertise, or time in-house to create regular, compelling content. Content agencies and other content marketing services give you access to professional writers, SEO experts, and other creatives with experience meeting content briefs. At Wizeo, all our writers are subject specialists with in-depth experience creating compelling content in your industry.
- You need the flexibility to scale up your content creation quickly.
- You want excellent ROI. With a content agency, you don’t have to pay a salary for a full-time staff member. You simply pay for the content when you need it. Content is written by a professional writer, with fast turn-around times and on-point SEO.
There you have it! Your guide to creating the right content strategy for your business.
Need a helping hand? Get in touch to have a chat about your content requirements and we’ll have our subject matter experts get started on your content right away!