Content Marketing Basics Review
We all say all the time “The content is King”, no matter how cliche it sounds but literally the content is the kingdom.
Be it your Social, SEO, Copywriting, Email … content is part of almost everything.
CXL has helped me to understand some authentic stuff around content marketing.
Content is anything and everything that communicates a message to an audience. When you speak specifically of digital marketing, content is the foundation on which a campaign is built.
Selling your product can’t always be the intent behind your content marketing campaigns. In fact, most content marketing campaigns are aimed at building awareness or spreading a message around the product offering. Often, content marketing is used by brands to communicate their brand philosophy or to educate consumers about their product category, rather than simply communicating the USPs of their product offerings.
Before we jump into content marketing, you may be wondering, what is the need for a company to invest in content in the first place? What is the advantage?
The answer lies in the evolving digital consumer who wants to take a more informed decision. In this environment, a brand has to put out content that is far beyond advertisements, PR, and information about the product’s features alone. The content has to be educational and not just promotional. Hence, to establish a strong presence and build credibility, a brand has to build authority and thought leadership in its domain. It has to address the pain points and possible solutions for the consumer.
We must decide the business goal of your campaign prior to everything else. For example, a business goal of building awareness can translate into a content strategy that is centred on our brand’s image. Our business goal can be located anywhere in your purchase funnel, i.e. brand awareness, brand consideration, or brand sales; and then, these goals can be mapped to your strategy and executed.
Next we should decide and understand your target group. To satisfy your target audience, we should first understand which of its needs your product can meet. Here are some of the factors that we should consider:
- Demographic information: age, gender, location, etc.
- What your users browse online, which sites they visit frequently
- The social media channels used for communication, whether your visitors prefer Twitter or Instagram
- The influencers they follow
- The pain points specific to your target audience
However, a description of a target group may still sound very abstract — for example, “27, living in Pune, working professional”. This doesn’t give you much of an idea about the person. Here, the concept of user persona comes in handy. Buyer personas are generalized representations of your ideal customers. Personas help — in the marketing or sales of your product or service — internalize the ideal customer you’re trying to attract, and they help you relate to your customers as real humans. A deep understanding of your buyer persona(s) is critical to driving your content creation and anything else that relates to customer acquisition and retention. Buyer personas can be created through research, surveys, and interviews with your target audience.
Next, we should have a content inventory and decide a communication theme and setting targets for your campaign. The communication theme of a marketing campaign is an important step in content strategy building. But how does it help in this process?
In simple words, it helps create a brand’s personality but what is brand personality? Brand personality is the set of emotional or human characteristics that are attributed to a brand by its consumers. Hence, it is very important for the business to set the right tone because it is this communication that decides its consumer base. It also dictates the overall marketing theme for the brand and acts as a guideline for the content that the brand puts out.
We should note that the communication theme is a strategic step in the content marketing process. It is where you decide the overall theme, based on your brand personality. However, there are many elements, such as the exact content format you will use, that you will need to decide upon for executing this communication strategy.
Let’s take an example of one of my favorite campaigns by Nike in India. Nike came up with a strategy for its ‘Da da ding’ campaign and used its business goals to derive campaign level objectives. Let us map the different stages that they followed to come up with this cohesive content strategy. Nike had an overall goal of inspiring women to become athletes.
With this goal in mind, Nike derived its various strategy elements for the campaign. The target audience for Nike’s campaign consisted of women and since the goal was to inspire them, Nike used a sporty theme speaking directly to women and motivating them. It also analyzed its competitors to realize that most competitors’ posts were related to creating awareness about their brand and hence it undertook this campaign to differentiate itself and etch its presence in the mind of its consumers.
It also set a measurable content goal which was to reach over 5 million female target consumers over a period of 1 month. It is important to note that the targets that you set should be measurable and relevant, just like Nike’s, to ensure that you are able to assess the success of your content at the end of the defined period. Also, note that your content goals should be related to content-specific objectives, such as a number of articles to be produced, number of posts, number of people etc.
From the above examples, we can see how Nike’s content marketing campaigns, focused on spreading motivational messages, helped them reach out to more than a million people online. This target would not have been achievable without a sound strategy to act as a backbone for the entire campaign.
So, content marketing is just crazy and it helps us to double down on our marketing efforts. The only thing is that it has to be well planned and should sound organic and genuine to the target audiences.
In this, I have touched upon only the basics. Let’s deep dive more in future articles.