More and more business are hopping on board the content marketing train. Marketers across all industries are recognizing the power and effectiveness of content for producing an online business presence.
Statistics show that a vast majority of marketers believe content is a key to future marketing success. And a majority of B2B marketers plan on increasing their content marketing budgets compared to last year.
And yet, even with this recognition and mindset shift, most are likely to get lost along the way and find themselves in a whirlwind of confusion.
Recognizing the importance of content marketing is one thing. Having an actual strategy to use content to promote your business online is on a completely different level.
And this is something that most businesses are still missing: strategy.
This is an absolutely essential ingredient that can mean the difference between creating successful, efficient campaigns and getting lost.
1. Strategy Means Having a Destination
You can just jump right into it and begin creating content. Or, you can start with a strategy and create a target to shoot for; a final destination to move towards.
Knowing you want to use content for marketing purposes is a good first step in the right direction. But what are you using it for? What are you trying to accomplish?
Without identifying the goal, how are you supposed to achieve it?
2. Strategy Means Having a Direction
Once you define a goal, the next step is to figure out how you’re going to get there.
Strategy is the answer here again.
You know where you are right now (point A). And, hopefully, you know where you want to be (point B). What tactics are you going to connect the dots and get from point A to point B?
A strategy creates a road map for you to follow.
3. Strategy Means Having Something Measurable
If you jump right into the line of fire without having a plan, there is nothing for you to measure.
Having a strategy to obtain a specific goals gives you something you can follow, benchmark and analyze. Did it work? How far off were you from the target?
Was the strategy a miserable failure? Or maybe it wasn’t all bad. Maybe it’s something that can be tweaked or altered for better results?
4. Strategy Means Being Able to Take Detours
Speaking of tweaked…
Having a road map is nice. But what if there is a traffic jam and you’re in a hurry? What if there’s construction? You need a detour.
Sometimes you will see that something you are doing isn’t working. Or maybe you see an opportunity to accomplish your goal faster, cheaper or more efficiently. Having a strategy means you can alter you strategy and change direction. It’s hard to do that when you’re not sure which direction you are going in to begin with.
5. Strategy Means not Being Overwhelmed with Tools
Did you hear about the latest and greatest tool on the market? Don’t worry… you’ll hear about a different one tomorrow.
It’s important to remember that tools are just tools. They help you get the job done. What is actually important here… is the job itself.
Having a mapped out strategy allows you to decide what tools you are going to be using ahead of time to accomplish your goals instead of jumping around from platform to platform every time a new one comes out.
Are you going to get on Facebook? On Twitter? And why? Is your audience there or are you just using these platforms because you read that you should somewhere?
This is not to say that once you decide on a tool or platform you have to stick to it. Remember: strategies give you the ability to make changes and take detours.
6. Strategy Means Never Failing
That’s not to say that every strategy is going to work or instantly get you the results you desire.
But having a strategy enables you to change your mindset. Failures aren’t failures, but rather strategies that didn’t garner the results you were hoping for.
And that just means you need to try a different tactic.
Getting no results, and not having a strategy is much more disappointing. Partially because you may not have defined “results” to begin with – so what do you do next?
Having a content marketing strategy is like having a veritable GPS guide telling where you are going, and warning you of any traffic jams or road blockages.
Eugene Farber is a writer, marketer, entrepreneur and founder of ContentStrategyHub.com.
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