How to create a content-focused marketing strategy
by Lou Harnett
You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘content is King’ before, but what does this really mean and why does everybody seem to agree with it? It really boils down to what we like to call a content-focused marketing strategy.
A lot of the time, people think of content with a bit of a narrow-minded view. In reality, it’s a lot more than just Instagram images and Facebook videos. There’s a vast array of different assets that fall under the content category. That’s why we thought we’d focus this blog on what exactly a content-focused marketing strategy is and how you can get started on creating one of your own. Read on for some quick and simple steps to creating a content-focused marketing strategy that you can implement today.
What is a content-focused marketing strategy?
Before we dive into the strategy element, let’s cover the basics: what do we define as content?
Content comes in many different forms. So, while you’re correct in assuming Instagram images are content, there’s a lot more to include than just that. It's about downloadable premium content (such as guides, e-books, and whitepapers), brochures, blogs, social media posts, emails, and more. Content is message delivery but the message, in order to resonate with your audience, needs to be aligned to a challenge or pain point they're looking to solve. That’s where the strategy comes into play. It’s one thing to toss out untargeted content, and it’s another thing entirely to harness the power of content to solve your audience's problems.
This can be a simple marketing strategy and it is incredibly effective, which is backed up by the fact that approximately 82% of marketers actively utilise content marketing. So, how can you create your own content-focused marketing strategy? We explain just that below.
How to create your own content-focused marketing strategy
We typically break down the strategy element into 3 components, starting with identifying who you're targeting (and who you're not), then finding out their pain points, and finally aligning your product or service with the challenge they're trying to solve. Let’s look further into what each of these steps entails:
1. Identify your target audience
The first step is to identify who your target audience is, as well as who you’re hoping to avoid. A target audience refers to the group of consumers who are most likely to desire and purchase your product or service. Therefore, these are the people you’re wanting to target your marketing activity (and content strategy) towards.
A target audience can be defined by many different characteristics including location, age, gender, income level, interests, and much more. There are a few different methods you can employ to identify your target market, including:
- Identify industry trends and conduct competitor research
- Market research within your industry can highlight any gaps in the market that your product or service can fill. In addition, identifying where your competitors with similar products or services are focusing their marketing efforts can provide you with a customer area to focus on and where you can uniquely position your product or service.
- Analyse your current customer base for clues
- A great place to start is with your current customers as analysing their characteristics will provide valuable insight into the types of people who will benefit from your product or service. Looking into their demographics, interests, and other defining features will tell you exactly who to look for going forward.
- Create buyer personas
- At Vanguard 86, we’re huge advocates for creating buyer personas and using them to inform your marketing strategy. They enable you to hone in on the specific segments that make up your target audience. Personas give you an overview of your ideal customer based on data, surveys, historic marketing insights, and more.
- Define who’s not your target audience
- While it’s vital to know who your target audience is, it’s equally as important to understand who your target audience excludes. Avoiding targeting people who are similar to your target group, but will not be receptive to your content and messaging will likely save you a lot of money and ensure your marketing investment yields the greatest possible return.
2. Discover your audience's pain points
Really focusing on your target audience’s struggles will enable you to ascertain their pain points in relation to problems your product can genuinely solve. By pain points, we mean the specific challenges that your target audience faces on a day-to-day basis or the one-off challenge they’re trying to overcome. Of course, everyone experiences different problems so the pain points are often quite diverse and can considerably vary in severity.
Ultimately, uncovering your audience’s pain points will reveal the types of answers your customers are seeking and how you can best position your solution. For example, if you’re a finance company and a potential customer vocalises to you that their finances are taking too long to manage, you will have just landed on a customer pain point. In this case, you can ensure your organisation’s solution is straightforward and very fast to use.
There are numerous tools you can use to reveal your customers’ pain points. One of which is using surveys to ask questions about customer sentiment and any challenges they are facing. Another beneficial tool is social listening. This is using social media to track conversations about your brand - browsing through comments, DM’s, and more can provide valuable intel about what your customers need. Even tools like the live chat on your website can be helpful for discovering what your customers are struggling with!
3. Align your product or service with your audience’s challenges
The last, and arguably most important step of a content-focused marketing strategy is to align your product or service with the challenge your customers are needing to solve. Now, we certainly don’t mean pushing your product or service onto people who have an unrelated problem. We mean truly aligning your solution with a customer's pain point in a genuine way. Say you’re a footwear store and one of your customers always struggles to find a pair of shoes that fits just right, simply saying ‘we have more shoes, try them’, isn’t truly offering a solution. Whereas, if your company has a line of footwear that caters to in between sizes, then you’re offering a genuine solution to their pain point.
How does this relate to a content marketing strategy, you ask? Well, once you’ve aligned your product or service with your audiences’ challenges, you can then employ content marketing as your messaging to reach out to the customers who are facing these challenges. Content marketing, whether it’s a blog post, social media image, or brochure, is all about storytelling and appealing to those customer pain points. When you strategically set the context for your content, the customers you reach will be far more receptive to your message and more likely to convert as they are finally being offered a solution they truly need.
The needs, and therefore, pain points of customers are always evolving and adapting which is why it’s so important to have a content-focused marketing strategy that enables you to target these pain points while evolving with them. It’s important to monitor the effectiveness of your strategy now, while also staying ahead of industry trends and changes to come.
Creating a content-focused marketing strategy, as outlined in this article, will enable your business to generate reliable growth while also genuinely helping your customers. If you’re ready to take your content marketing to a new level and elevate your business’ growth, simply download our ultimate content marketing guide.
filed under Content Marketing