The mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing land­scape has changed irrev­o­ca­bly with the advent of the dig­i­tal world; it is increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult to grab con­sumers’ atten­tion in the crowd­ed mar­ket­place.

So how can your brand stand out from the crowd?

With an epic con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, you will be able to con­nect with your con­sumers and build a trust­ed rela­tion­ship with them, which will even­tu­al­ly lead to greater sales.

Here’s the deal:

Con­tent mar­ket­ing is essen­tial to all brands in order to stand out. But for an effec­tive con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy with an increased ROI, you need a clear­ly defined strat­e­gy roadmap to cre­ate epic con­tent and suc­cess­ful­ly reach your con­sumers.

What is content marketing and why is it essential for your brand?

Accord­ing to the Con­tent Mar­ket­ing Insti­tute:

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 includes arti­cles, posts, images, videos, info­graph­ics, illus­tra­tions, games, prod­uct descrip­tions, tuto­ri­als, case stud­ies, adver­tise­ments, tes­ti­mo­ni­als, and any infor­ma­tion regard­ing your brand, brand ben­e­fits, prod­ucts, prod­uct func­tion­al­i­ties, cat­e­go­ry or indus­try. It can be post­ed in blogs, web­sites, social media, mag­a­zines, and any oth­er medi­um.

But what will you gain from cre­at­ing con­tent?

Through cre­at­ing tar­get­ed and valu­able con­tent, you will:

  • Con­nect and engage with your con­sumers like nev­er before.
  • Build trust between your con­sumers and your brand, by demon­strat­ing your knowl­edge and exper­tise.
  • Attract, con­vert and retain them to your brand and prod­ucts.
  • Pos­i­tive­ly influ­ence your brand per­cep­tions.
  • Build and con­sol­i­date your brand iden­ti­ty.

This will lead to greater sales, increased loy­al­ty towards your brand, and addi­tion­al brand advo­cates.

Here’s a con­tent mar­ket­ing exam­ple:

With its Share a Coke cam­paign, Coca-Cola cus­tomis­es its cans and bot­tles with names, jar­gons and mes­sages, cre­at­ing a unique and per­son­alised brand expe­ri­ence. Through this sim­ple con­tent mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, Coca-Cola encour­ages its young con­sumers to become brand advo­cates and to share the brand and prod­ucts on social media. In addi­tion, Coca-Cola inspires them to con­nect with each oth­er and with the brand. The Share a Coke cam­paign thus mul­ti­plied the brand aware­ness on social media, lead­ing to increased sales, and strength­ened the rela­tion­ship between the young con­sumers and the brand.

How to develop an epic content marketing strategy and increase your sales

1) Allocate a specific budget and team to your content marketing

First of all, you need to allo­cate a bud­get and resources to con­tent mar­ket­ing. This sub­ject is too essen­tial for your busi­ness and your brand to be man­aged when time aris­es, and jug­gled among oth­er pri­or­i­ties. A ded­i­cat­ed team with­in your mar­ket­ing depart­ment needs to be set up with the sole focus of devel­op­ing a strat­e­gy roadmap and exe­cut­ing your con­tent strat­e­gy.

To be most effec­tive, you need to inte­grate your con­tent strat­e­gy with­in your mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, and you need to build your con­tent strat­e­gy along­side your mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy. This will enable you to be con­sis­tent in your mar­ket­ing efforts and to effec­tive­ly meet your mar­ket­ing objec­tives.

2) Define who your consumers are to master content marketing

To mas­ter con­tent mar­ket­ing, you need to fol­low one sim­ple rule:

Place your con­sumers at the heart of your con­tent strat­e­gy. I can­not stress this enough: place your con­sumers at the heart of your con­tent strat­e­gy. You need to tai­lor each con­tent piece to each of your con­sumer seg­ments. You need to per­son­alise your con­tent to your tar­get audi­ence, and dif­fer­ent tar­gets with dif­fer­ent needs will require dif­fer­ent con­tent.

3) Understand what your consumers need and want

Once you have defined your dif­fer­ent tar­gets, you need to under­stand them. Who are they? What are their needs, their issues and chal­lenges, and their aspi­ra­tions? How do they behave towards your cat­e­go­ry and brand? Where are they in the con­sumer jour­ney? How do they shop? What infor­ma­tion are they after? What are their social media habits?

Here’s a per­fect exam­ple:

Go Pro’s core con­sumers are adven­ture seek­ers that love to share their exploits. By allow­ing them to cap­ture their pas­sions and then inspir­ing them to share their adven­tures with their friends and the world, Go Pro demon­strates how the brand and the prod­uct fit seam­less­ly into the consumer’s way of life. Through this con­sumer gen­er­at­ed con­tent cam­paign, the brand engages with its con­sumers like nev­er before, and rein­forces the brand’s iden­ti­ty of ‘cap­ture + share your life’.

4) Define the goal(s) of your content strategy

Before cre­at­ing con­tent, you should define the goal of your con­tent strat­e­gy, and the goal will depend on your tar­get audi­ence. Each tar­get will require dif­fer­ent goals. The goal will also strong­ly depend on where your audi­ence is in the con­sumer jour­ney. Is your aim to raise brand aware­ness among your poten­tial con­sumers? Increase your sales among your occa­sion­al con­sumers? Shift your brand image among one of your con­sumer seg­ments? Or bet­ter engage with your loy­al con­sumers?

5) Follow these 4 golden rules to create EPIC content

Once you have defined and under­stood your audi­ence, and out­lined the goal of your con­tent strat­e­gy, you will need to cre­ate rel­e­vant, valu­able and tar­get­ed con­tent. The rel­e­van­cy and val­ue of your con­tent should be defined, not by your­self, but by your con­sumers. The con­tent you cre­ate should be of inter­est to your audi­ence and help­ful to them.

The secret to cre­at­ing epic con­tent is this to:

  • Provide solutions to your consumers:

    By under­stand­ing your audi­ence, their needs, their issues and their chal­lenges, you will be able to glean their inter­ests and help them solve their issues and answer their chal­lenges. You should thus endeav­our to cre­ate con­tent that will pro­vide your con­sumers with solu­tions to their prob­lems.

  • Be knowledgeable:

    Your con­tent should be cre­at­ed by experts with knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence in the top­ic dis­cussed, and your con­tent should be engag­ing and inspir­ing. In doing so, it will be per­ceived as cred­i­ble, authen­tic and valu­able by your audi­ence, and this will pos­i­tive­ly reflect on your brand.

  • Communicate your brand message:

    You should always place your brand mes­sage at the heart of your con­tent. Your brand mes­sage should be per­son­alised to your tar­get and their needs, and be impact­ful and res­onate with them. And through your brand mes­sage, you should edu­cate your audi­ence about your brand, and your prod­ucts and their ben­e­fits. This will lead to your con­tent and your brand being mem­o­rable, and to build­ing stronger rela­tion­ships with your con­sumers.

  • Write in your brand’s tone of voice:

    Final­ly, your writ­ing style and tone should adhere to your brand’s tone of voice. A brand should be con­sis­tent across all touch points, and con­tent mar­ket­ing is no excep­tion. The writ­ing style of your con­tent should there­fore reflect your brand and rein­force your brand val­ues.

Here’s anoth­er con­tent mar­ket­ing exam­ple:

With its Live Bet­ter con­sumer lifestyle mag­a­zine, Wal­mart inspires its shop­pers to live more ful­ly while stay­ing on bud­get. The retail brand under­stands its con­sumers live on a tight bud­get, but still like to indulge, and thus pro­vides con­tent rang­ing from recipes to beau­ty tips and from house­keep­ing advice to fash­ion ideas. Through this mag­a­zine, Wal­mart engages with its con­sumers and strength­ens the brand’s mot­to of ‘save mon­ey, live bet­ter’.

What’s the bottom line?

Dif­fer­ent tar­get audi­ences with dif­fer­ent needs and chal­lenges require dif­fer­ent con­tent with dif­fer­ent mes­sages cre­at­ed by dif­fer­ent experts. Through this epic con­tent, you will dif­fer­en­ti­ate your brand and prod­ucts from the crowd­ed mar­ket­place.

6) Don’t forget the distribution

In order for your epic con­tent to have the high­est impact and for your con­tent mar­ket­ing to increase its ROI, you need to dis­trib­ute it in the right places for your audi­ence, and so where it is avail­able to them. By under­stand­ing your tar­get audi­ence, you will under­stand their habits, the plat­forms they use and the infor­ma­tion they search for. Your con­tent needs to be eas­i­ly found by your audi­ence, even when they are not look­ing for it. If not, you will nev­er reach your con­sumers and all you con­tent strat­e­gy efforts will be in vain.

In order to dis­trib­ute even more effec­tive­ly your con­tent, you should reach out to your consumer’s influ­encers and work with them to devel­op, cre­ate and dis­trib­ute your con­tent. Influ­encers will enable your con­tent to be dis­trib­uted expo­nen­tial­ly and to be per­ceived as even more cred­i­ble, authen­tic and com­pelling. In addi­tion, you should devel­op and cul­ti­vate your brand advo­cates, they will help you share and ampli­fy your con­tent and your brand mes­sage.

7) Optimize your content to increase consumer engagement

You should also opti­mise your con­tent accord­ing to the plat­form you dis­trib­ute it on. Cer­tain types of con­tent will be bet­ter received and more impact­ful on cer­tain plat­forms, and not oth­ers. You will thus need to adapt your con­tent to the dif­fer­ent plat­forms you will be shar­ing it on.

Here’s an exam­ple:

Vis­it Scot­land devel­ops con­tent to allow con­sumers to dis­cov­er Scot­land and to inspire them to vis­it Scot­land. Through stun­ning pho­tos, astute itin­er­aries, var­i­ous list­ings and tar­get­ed events, the brand high­lights the wide vari­ety of expe­ri­ences avail­able. In order to reach its con­sumers, Vis­it Scot­land opti­mis­es its con­tent and dis­trib­utes it through its web­site, Trip Advi­sor and oth­er trav­el web­sites. Vis­it Scot­land also relies on its brand ambas­sadors; the tourists, locals, com­mu­ni­ties and busi­ness­es are encour­aged to share their Scot­tish expe­ri­ences wide­ly.

8) Increase your ROI: 5 ways to track your content marketing effectiveness

In order to under­stand the suc­cess of your con­tent cam­paign and to increase its ROI, you need to track its results. You should define your track­ing mea­sures when plan­ning your con­tent strat­e­gy and before your con­tent cam­paign starts. And the mea­sures to track your con­tent effec­tive­ness will depend on the goal of your con­tent strat­e­gy.

Here are 5 mea­sures to track your con­tent mar­ket­ing effec­tive­ness:

  • Engagement:

    For any con­tent mar­ket­ing cam­paign, you need to track its engage­ment. All con­tent should be engag­ing and inspir­ing in order to effec­tive­ly attract and retain its audi­ence. How many peo­ple are shar­ing your con­tent? Who is shar­ing your con­tent? How many are react­ing and inter­act­ing with your con­tent? How many peo­ple are now fol­low­ing your brand on social media?

  • Distribution:

    If your con­tent strat­e­gy goal is brand aware­ness, you should also mea­sure your content’s dis­tri­b­u­tion. How many peo­ple are view­ing your con­tent? Who is view­ing your con­tent? How much time do they spend view­ing your con­tent?

  • Click through:

    Again if your goal is brand aware­ness, you should addi­tion­al­ly track your content’s click through rate. How many peo­ple are click­ing on your call to action? Who clicks on your call to action? What extra infor­ma­tion are your tar­get audi­ence look­ing for?

  • Sales:

    If your goal is grow­ing sales, you should track your sales. What are your con­ver­sion rates? How are your con­sumer jour­neys chang­ing? How are your con­sumers’ bas­kets evolv­ing?

  • Brand image change:

    Final­ly, if your goal is chang­ing your brand image, you should mea­sure your brand image and asso­ci­a­tions and how they are shift­ing in the mind of your con­sumers.

What’s the bottom line?

Con­tent mar­ket­ing is essen­tial to devel­op and grow your brand. With an epic con­tent strat­e­gy, you will be able to con­nect with your con­sumers and build a trust­ed rela­tion­ship with them, which will even­tu­al­ly lead to greater sales. And in order to mas­ter con­tent mar­ket­ing, you need a clear­ly defined strat­e­gy roadmap with your con­sumers at its heart, to cre­ate com­pelling con­tent and suc­cess­ful­ly reach your con­sumers.