A documented content strategy is the secret to an effective marketing machine, and yet 39% of marketers don’t have one, according to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2019 B2B Benchmarks report. This is unfortunate but not surprising. There are plenty of brands that do content marketing without a solid strategy—and it shows. (Poorly designed content, ineffective distribution, and weak messaging are just some of the telltale signs.)
At the end of the day, these brands are shooting themselves in the foot, sinking time and resources into content that just doesn’t work. In our opinion, if you’re not going to do content right, there’s no point in doing it at all. Luckily, there’s an easy way to make sure you are working effectively—just have a documented content strategy.
A good content strategy improves every aspect of your content marketing efforts, making your life easier and your content more effective. If the idea of creating a strategy seems overwhelming or like a waste of time, here are 5 huge reasons you might change your mind.
1) A content strategy ensures your content supports your goals.
Everything you create is intended to achieve your larger brand goals. If you can’t justify why it does, you shouldn’t be doing it. A good strategy gives you focus and clarity, helping you brainstorm better ideas, refine brand messaging, and create cohesive content that will really move the needle.
Note: A long-term strategy doesn’t mean you have every single piece of content mapped out for a year; it means you have established parameters and guideposts to help you stay true to your larger goals.
Tip: Your content strategy goals will be influenced by your brand strategy. If you haven’t built a brand strategy, here’s our step-by-step guide to create one—plus a few tips to make sure your content strategy is aligned to your brand strategy.
2) It improves your ROI.
Good content requires an investment of time, energy, and money. When content is ineffective, your ROI suffers. A content strategy improves your results and, as an added benefit, helps you allocate resources more efficiently. Because you know your content needs ahead of time, you can spot ways to improve your production process, make the most of what you have, and bring in reinforcements if you need extra help.
Tip: To ensure you have a well-oiled machine, you need the right team—but that doesn’t mean you need to go on a hiring spree. Find out what roles you need to fill to make sure all your bases are covered (even if you’re a two-person team). You can also experiment with a divisible content strategy to get more mileage from the content you create. And if you need additional support, here’s what to look for in a content agency.
3) You can identify what’s working—and refine as you go.
The reality is that you can’t always predict what will be most successful, and content marketing requires a fair amount of experimenting, testing, tweaking, and refining. A strategy is crucial to help you outline your goals, identify KPIs, and track related metrics to help you gain insight into whether or not your efforts are actually working.
If they’re not, you can correct course without sinking a ton of time or resources into ineffective content campaigns. Remember, too, that a good content strategy provides a basic framework, as well as the flexibility to tweak things as you go.
Tip: If you’re not sure what you should be tracking, here’s how to use metrics to improve your efficacy.
4) A content strategy keeps everyone on the same page.
There are a lot of people involved in content creation, from project managers and copywriters to designers and editors. It’s easy to get siloed or have communication issues if there isn’t a detailed process or plan. That’s why a documented strategy is so important. It helps everyone understand what the goals are and clarifies confusion.
Tip: Document your content strategy with this guide, and keep it in an easily accessible place. Also identify the point people who can answer questions, give approvals, etc.
5) It helps you publish quality content, consistently.
Content marketing is like investing in that it requires a consistent and sustained effort to yield the best results. It isn’t about sheer volume; it’s about delivering a cohesive message. A content strategy is the key to doing this well. Instead of investing in one-off pieces or scattered efforts, a content strategy lets you take a more holistic approach to content creation so that you can publish a steady flow of content.
Tip: Even if you only publish once a quarter, your content should always provide some sort of value to the people you’re trying to reach. Whether your content educates, entertains, or inspires, try these tips to make sure it provides value.
How to Revamp Your Content Strategy
If you already have a content strategy and are looking for ways to improve, here are a few extra tips, tools, and resources to help:
- Answer these questions to make sure you have a truly comprehensive strategy.
- Create marketing personas to help you come up with ideas that will truly resonate with people.
- Bookmark these 100+ content marketing tools to help you create content more effectively.
- Find out how to fix the 15most common content strategy mistakes.
Of course, if you’re feeling a little lost or don’t have the bandwidth to create your content strategy, hit us up.