If there is one thing businesses big or small are breaking their heads and exhausting considerable budgets in setting right, it has to be their ‘content marketing.’ The new age prerogative to reigning the minds of customers and ruling their hearts for businesses is turning out to be the ‘content’ they dish out to their prospective or existing customers. Customers are no longer tempted by jargon or pretty faces as they were earlier consuming the advertisements through different mediums. The world of internet with an ocean of information has made the customer confident. Unlike in the past the customer does not believe unless he verifies and as such it has become tough for businesses or marketers to sway their interest and decisions in favor. Looking at the challenge marketers devised the idea of content marketing which looked at distributing or publishing content in relation to the product or service. This content unlike the advertising material holds more value, provides understanding of the product or service and tries to address the need of the customer or consumer instead of making a sales pitch for the product or service. Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as, ‘Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.’
Content marketing has created a niche for itself and is now a vital function for any industry. A healthy 80 percent of B2B marketers have a content marketing strategy in place reveals stats from the content marketing institute suggesting 32 percent of the marketers have a documented strategy while 48 are working without a documented strategy. Study from Curata reveals that 76 percent marketers plan to increase their investment in content marketing while 38 percent believe their content marketing strategy to be in good shape.
As with any effort an organised effort to achieve a goal, guarantees better results. The same can be said about content marketing. As such a content marketing strategy following the content marketing pyramid is a safer bet when it comes to curating and developing content for the purposes of marketing. The content marketing pyramid can be divided into five different layers as mentioned below:
The bottom layer consists of social media posts and curated content.
By social media posts we mean the regular posts that the business shares on its social accounts be it Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, image on instagram etc. Curated content is information collected on a particular subject or topic for representation online.
Short form blog posts and contributed content
Right above the bottom most layer of social media posts and curated content, appears short form blog posts that are brief posts on the blog of a business website, it could be a brief description of a product or service, information on a new product or an explanation for a specific query. Contributed content is usually content shared by influencers or bloggers, industry experts etc on a specific subject or topic that relates directly or indirectly to the the business.
Infographics and slideshares
The third layer in the content marketing pyramid and which unlike the previous two is more visual driven, is a method or medium to express information in form of infographics, example a pie chart lining out the information about product use or relevancy etc. Slideshare on the other hand tries to represent information in a crisp format using both images and text for easy consumption. A Demandgen report titled the content preference survey states a 9 to 52 percent increase in the use of infographics over the last year 2015.
Longform blog posts and presentations
Longform blog posts and presentations are usually an in depth know on a subject or topic related to the business. It can be a detailed description of a product or service or about the industry. The idea behind this kind of content is to equip the reader with all information available on the specific subject or topic.
Primary or secondary research, ebooks or whitepapers, thought leadership
Appearing right on top of the stack, a white paper as defined by Techtarget is an article that states an organization’s position or philosophy about a social, political, or other subject, or a not-too-detailed technical explanation of an architecture, framework, or product technology. Typically, a white paper explains the results, conclusions, or construction resulting from some organized committee or research collaboration or design and development effort. Wikipedia defines Presentation as the process of presenting a topic to an audience. It is typically a demonstration, lecture, or speech meant to inform, persuade, or build good will.
So how do you define your strategy on what kind of content to produce?
The way to go about producing content is to first define the Corporate Strategy followed by Marketing Strategy, creating the base for Content Strategy.
Corporate Strategy should underline the objectives of the business, whether it wishes to optimise its approach for mobile, increase its presence in a specific demography or establish itself as the leader in a specific domain or subject.
Marketing Strategy, depending on the corporate strategy the marketing team lines out its strategy to achieve the targets set through corporate strategy, for example the business wishes to increase its footprint in a specific demography, the marketing team will then look at how best to engage with the audience in the specific demography, web, mobile etc. The kind of content being consumed in the specific demography etc. Similarly in terms of optimising for mobile the marketing strategy will try concentrating on mobile innovations or defining the mobile proposition for the business.
Content Strategy, once clarity prevails in regarding to the corporate strategy that is translated into the marketing strategy the next step is to translate the marketing strategy in shape of the content to be produced. Taking the content pyramid into consideration the content marketing team defines on what and how to produce, the channels that will help distribution to get maximum gains etc.
Understanding and utilising the content pyramid becomes much more convenient if marketers are in the know of the customer base they wish to target. Customer Identity Management is a handy tool that comes of use for marketers trying to identify individuals for the purpose of engagement. CIM solutions provide for the identification of a customer by gathering profile data at the time of registration. Customers using the social login enable the capturing of behavioural and psychological data coming from the data shared by the social network provider. Knowing the audience can make the task of serving targeted content and achieving the best results a reality.