Every article you publish, every image you post to social media, and every email you send isn’t just “content marketing” in the strictest sense — it’s a reflection of who you are as a company.
Most businesses put a great deal of effort into the act of branding, but once they’ve settled on a logo, a color scheme, and a value proposition, they don’t always follow through on maintaining their image.
Your content strategy reflects your company’s values, as well as your value proposition. When you develop your strategy, and when you develop each unique piece of content, you need to pay close attention to the quality of that content and how engaging it is with your target audience.
According to Forrester, 87% of B2B companies struggle to produce content that truly engages their buyers. According to another study, 46% of both B2B and B2C marketers said personalized/dynamic content was the most difficult tactic compared to other marketing optimization strategies.
So, how do you build a content marketing strategy that truly reflects your company?
Develop a Brand Voice
Successful content marketing depends on consistency — not just consistency in your strategy, but also consistency in your style and voice.
Establishing and documenting a unique brand voice is the best way to ensure your marketing stays consistent. Even if you have multiple people writing blog posts, emails, and social media posts, if they can refer to your documented brand voice, they can all represent your company in the same fashion across channels.
A brand voice encompasses everything from words and language to the images and personality that comes through in your marketing. Unlike tone, your brand voice is consistent. It should be easy to recognize. Ideally, someone who encounters one of your marketing assets will immediately recognize your brand, even without seeing a logo.
To define your brand voice, try to describe your brand using just a few adjectives.
For example, you might describe your brand as:
This might be a good brand voice for speaking to consumers about helpful products. But if you’re a B2B firm that markets to C-suite executives at large companies, you may wish to use a brand voice that can be described as:
Unlike your brand voice, your tone can change depending on the context of the marketing asset.
For example, your tone may be more formal if you’re writing a white paper. But if you’re sharing a funny meme on social media, it makes sense to keep your tone casual.
To document your brand voice, create a chart that details the adjectives that describe your brand voice, a description of each adjective, and a list of dos and don’ts.
Build a Strategy That Reflects Your Brand
You want to represent your brand as organized and forward-thinking. You want to be on top of the latest trends and provide your audience with the most valuable, up-to-date information possible.
If you wish to accomplish these goals, you need to plan ahead. But most importantly, you need to be consistent.
Too many companies rely on a content strategy that is unstructured and untargeted. According to a study presented in Inc. Magazine, only 32% of marketers had a documented content strategy in 2016.
That means a whopping 68% of marketers were blindly producing content. They had no understanding of how each asset reinforced each other, how well their content helped buyers engage, and how successfully they’d positioned their content to drive real business value.
To create a content strategy that truly reflects the value of your company, focus on the following elements:
- Your audience: whom you’re creating content for
- The problem you’ll solve for your audience
- The things that make your company unique
- The best content formats for your target markets
- How you’ll manage the creation and publication of your content
Before you create any content, create buyer personas for each of your target markets. These are fictional but fully fleshed-out representations of your ideal customers. You can compile personas based on market research and data as well as your own insights.
Once you have buyer personas, you can craft every piece of content to speak to them.
For example, you’ll know that your piece of content is for “Tom,” the CEO of a small business who has two kids and a master’s degree, or “Mary,” the HR manager of a mid-level firm who never has enough time to answer her emails.
You’ll also have a better understanding of what types of content your personas typically engage with. For example, if you’re targeting CEOs, you might be better off with a white paper. If you’re targeting middle-aged consumers, “how-to” articles might be a better format.
Finally, you should draft a schedule for how you will create content. This will include who on your team is responsible for what, who gives final approval for what’s published, and how each content asset fits into your grand strategy.
You may wish to deploy multiple strategies, such as a general content marketing strategy and additional ones for initiatives like events, new products, and features, or special sales. You can even create a content strategy for the holidays.
Don’t Just Post Content — Become a Thought Leader
Anyone can write a blog post. But very few people can write a good blog post. Fewer still can create content that provides true value to those who read it.
You may recognize the term “value-added content.” Value-added content is content that adds something new to the conversation — it doesn’t just rehash the same talking points one could find elsewhere on the internet.
Ideally, a piece of value-added content will be unique enough that the value it provides can’t be found anywhere else. Original research, testimonials, insider guides, webinars, interviews, infographics, and white papers are all examples of value-added content.
The best way to craft value-added content is to approach your audience as a problem-solver. Identify their pain points, then create content they can use.
Value-added content is the key to becoming more than just another voice in a sea of online noise.
Instead of creating content for content’s sake, try to disrupt, challenge, and re-imagine. With a strong brand presence, a reliable network, and value-added content, you’ll be able to better reflect your company in the market and establish yourself as a thought leader.
Need help drafting your content strategy? Reach out to us for more content ideas today!