You might be also interested
In the sales funnel, content marketing starts at the upper part and guides interested parties via the first stage into the "sales funnel".
We will now take a closer look at what is meant by the five steps and what needs to be taken into account.
The first step is to collect all the information necessary for planning and implementing the overall strategy or the planned campaign. This includes, on the one hand, the definition of the objective and the target groups. What result do you as a company expect from what content and what added value can you offer customers or partners in the form of content?
It is then necessary to identify and research suitable topics in order to reach the target group and the objective. In this first phase, all existing own web content (owned media) should also be viewed and checked. This content audit, together with the newly researched information, provides the basis for the conception and planning of the content strategy.
2. Conception and planning
The focus here is on the conception and planning of the operational process. This raises the question of which topics you want to cover, when and in which format and via which medium.
Think about the available media and content formats, whether it should be push or pull measures, paid or self-generated content. During the conception, the focus on the brand essence should be kept in mind. By formulating clear messages and integrating them into the concept of the content strategy, you can convey a clear identity to customers and the public.
The next step is the planning of the content measures along the customer journey. The path that a customer takes from the first contact with the content of a company to the purchase or contact is an important factor when deciding on certain measures.
3. Production of the content
After creating an editorial plan, the respective content is implemented and the prerequisites are created.
Briefing: The better the specific content measures are planned and designed in advance, the smoother their implementation will be.
Budget: Budget and resource planning is essential. Many great ideas fail in implementation because in the end the funds are missing. Content marketing still offers high cost advantages compared to traditional advertising media.
Quality management: All content to be published must be carefully checked. Typing and spelling errors or other blunders seem dubious and can cost promising leads.
4. Distribution of the content
The best content is of no use to us if nobody can find it. The aim of the systematic dissemination of your content is to maximize the relevant reach. The operational implementation can be accelerated by automated processes. Careful SEO optimization is essential in online marketing. Ideally, all resources that are invested in own (owned media) and purchased (paid media) channels result in earned media, i.e. in attention and dissemination by third parties without incurring costs.
In order to realize successful content marketing in the long term, continuous monitoring of content activities and their optimization is necessary. There are various KPIs for measuring success. The objective decides which criteria are useful. The reach is relevant for pure brand strengthening and in classic media, in social networks success can be tracked via the engagement of the users, on blogs and own pages via the access numbers or download rates. Success can be measured much more precisely in terms of contacts and sales. By tracking the customer journey, it is possible to determine how many of the hits on your content result in a purchase decision. Also the lead management offers meaningful KPIs to evaluate the success of the content strategy.
Content Marketing Formats
Which content formats are right for your company is determined by your previously set goals and your target group. Various formats can be used to communicate the content. The spectrum ranges from pure texts to cross-media content and educational content.
Text content / storytelling Texts are quasi the "classic" form of content marketing. Corporate blogs are a must these days and this type of presentation is profitable even for small businesses. You can present yourself in the form of your choice and provide interested parties with tailored content. Other formats are, for example, guest articles in specialist magazines or on relevant industry pages. Participation in groups on professional networks can also make you known to potential customers. A very modern variant of content marketing is multimedia storytelling. Different media are combined into a single story and published uniquely on each medium. You can use the strengths of each medium. Videos generate emotions.
Educational Content Educational Content is the format of choice to explain complex products as well as convey other complex information. White papers, case studies and webinars, which you make available to potential customers or business partners, are ideal for this type of knowledge transfer. The aim is to convince the customer or partner of your own competence and to position yourself as a trustworthy expert.
Graphic or video content The creation of meaningful infographics or videos is becoming more and more important for products that require explanation. The triumphant advance of the moving image has only just begun, and it is now common practice in young industries. Product videos, short films or useful application guides will make it easier for your potential customers to choose you.
Podcast With the advent of smart home technologies and the spread of smart speakers, the audio sector is currently experiencing a renaissance. For companies, these are new opportunities to meet decision-makers where they are most emotional: in their free time or while traveling.
Which channels to use?
In general, one differentiates between the publication channels owned, paid and earned media.
All of these channels are part of an efficient content marketing strategy.
Owned media: All owned presences, such as website, blog, social media channels etc.
Paid Media: All communication activities which, for a fee, distribute their own content via channels outside the company.
Earned Media: All communication activities that are not initiated by the company itself. For example virality in the social media area, the reporting of print and online media in the classic PR area as well as word-of-mouth awareness.
Paid Media in a Content Marketing Strategy?
Content marketing is seen by many as a mostly free or inexpensive way of distributing content. Although content marketing itself is quite inexpensive compared to classic advertising, paid content is also part of a successful strategy. These include advertorials in print and online media, paid ads in search engines, paid engagement in social networks, paid posts, comments and links in blogs and forums, affiliate marketing and influencer marketing. A special form of paid media is so-called native advertising.
Native advertising is a marketing category closely related to content marketing, in which paid PR or advertising texts, videos and links appear in the form of normal editorial content. Native advertising tries not to let the recipient know that it is advertising. The distribution via supposedly independent third parties serves to accelerate the content distribution and is intended to provoke viral reactions, i.e. to generate attention in earned media.
Many leading figures in the advertising industry increasingly believe that there is no alternative to content marketing and declare that there will be nothing else in the future. The success of content marketing in recent years is indeed plausible.
Content marketing bypasses the general advertising deafness and picks up customers where they are: on the Internet. It offers inexpensive ways to increase brand awareness and manage your own image. It enables a precisely tailored target group approach to acquire new customers and thus generate sales. With the increasingly crucial role that reputation and branding as well as convenient availability play, no company can do without content marketing in the future.
If you need help, check our Content Strategy service here.
What is Content Marketing?
By definition, content marketing describes all marketing strategies and instruments that customers want to reach and retain through content. The core idea of this approach is to reach people about the issues, problems, trends and attitudes that already interest them. Content marketing can address the customer on a functional, emotional and entertaining level. The main criterion for good content is always the relevance for the target group (s). Creating added value is the top priority. The whole concept stands and falls with it. Content marketing does not convey any ostensible advertising content, rather it offers interested parties background information, additional benefits or entertainment.
Why content marketing?
The importance of the Internet continues to grow and is increasingly displacing old communication. Customers, retailers and markets are moving onto the Internet at such a speed that it is essential for every company to present themselves here. This is precisely where classic advertising fail, even if the ad blocker does not intercept them. The so-called "banner blindness" describes the tendency of users to close the many advertising windows, boxes and videos with which they are bombarded immediately without even noticing their content.
The instruments of content marketing make it possible to attract the attention of potential customers or partners, to retain them and thus ultimately to generate sales. Last but not least, it is the instrument of choice when it comes to positioning yourself as an expert. In addition to the corporate blog and e-mail newsletters, which are now mandatory, there are numerous other formats such as podcasts, surveys, how-to videos, e-papers, e-books or white papers, to name just a handful.
Content marketing also takes place in a partially analogue manner, but the World Wide Web is the development that has made it the leading advertising strategy of the new century. In order to survive here it is not enough to be present through “any” content. A consistent and professionally developed strategy is required .
The right content strategy
In different corporate departments, content marketing is understood to mean different things. While PR managers use content strategies as part of their public relations work, want to build communities and generate reach in social networks, brand managers tend to focus more on brand positioning and creating an emotional bond with their customers. SEO optimization and lead generation often play a major role in online marketing.
The definitions, functions and objectives of content marketing differ depending on the perspective. In many companies, content marketing has become an integral part of brand building and inbound marketing. The image, brand essence and reputation of a company contribute significantly to the purchase decision in B2B business. When developing a content marketing strategy, you should therefore always keep an eye on both brand strengthening and sales. It makes sense to set a focus in advance.
Should the strategy have a focus on the brand core (branding) or a focus on the customer journey? Both the strategy and the instruments used must be adapted to the respective objective.
What does the implementation of successful content marketing involve?
There are a number of models for developing and implementing content marketing.
However, these match in the following emphases:
Conception & planning
Production of the content
Distribution of the content