If you look at the latest content marketing statistics, you will see that 91% of B2B and 86% of B2C marketers are using content marketing.
Nine out of ten marketers in the world are using content marketing as a part of their arsenal. That is the same as the number of dentists that recommend you brush your teeth twice a day. And who are we to argue with such consensus 🙂
Leaving somewhat clever metaphors behind, all available data points to content marketing as the go-to marketing approach. So we are not here to debate if content marketing is important or not. The numbers tell you everything you need to know.
It is time to stop thinking about content marketing as a way to publish a few random posts on your blog and place a few editorials on high-authority sites. Instead, start thinking about how to incorporate it into your long-term marketing plans.
Your competition already does it, and here are the main reasons why.
The importance of marketing strategy
Marketing is an important part of every business success story. Relying on word-of-mouth works for a fraction of businesses, maybe for none if we measure long-term sustainability.
As the battleground switched to the online space, the competition between businesses became fiercest than ever. Social media and organic search enabled everyone free access to clients and customers.
While the size of the marketing budget is still important, smaller businesses can steal attention from big brands if they know what they’re doing, with much fewer resources. However, to execute this in practice, you need a marketing strategy.
Having a developed marketing strategy means:
- You have done your research. You know who your target audience is, what their pain points are, and which channels they use when they want to make a purchase in your niche.
- You understand your position in the market. You know who are your main competitors and have a general idea about their marketing efforts. You understand the pros and cons of your product/service in relation to what your competition is offering.
- You know how success looks for you. Your marketing goals are in support of your business goals. You have defined marketing metrics you can use as milestones, measuring your progress. The goals and milestones you set are challenging, but realistic (can be achieved with your available resources).
- You have a clear plan for reaching your marketing goals. You have decided which channels you are focusing on and which marketing methods you plan to use.
Having a marketing strategy is not a guarantee for success, but not having one is a guarantee for failure or, at best, for growth that is slower than it could be.
With that out of the way, let’s discuss the less-known benefits of having a marketing strategy. We will focus on content marketing as the most popular approach, but most of the things below apply to creating all marketing strategies.
Creating a marketing strategy forces you to think ahead
It doesn’t matter if you are trying to lose weight, organize an event, or become a leader in your industry – if you don’t have a plan for how to get there, you’re most likely going to get lost.
Every great strategic plan is preceded by in-depth research. This can consume a lot of internal resources, but in turn, gives you crucial information on which your whole plan will be based upon. In the process of creating a plan, you will have to set milestones and expectations that are in line with your available resources. This will force you to think ahead which is invaluable in itself. After all, short-sightedness is a downfall of many businesses.
The equation is rather simple.
RESEARCH + PLAN => STRATEGIC GOALS
STRATEGIC GOALS + GOOD EXECUTION => RESULTS
Full content marketing strategy will deduce where you are now, mark where you want to be, and outline the path you need to follow to get there.
Choosing the right way forward
Content marketing should never be mistaken as a synonym for blogger outreach.
Yes, outreach campaigns do play an important role. Promoting your brand and content is a big part of content marketing and it is often done through email outreach. However, if the thing you are promoting isn’t giving any value, you are wasting your resources.
There are many routes you can take to achieve your marketing goals, and in extension, your business goals. However, you will find that it is best to divide your resources and take a few different routes that work well together. Routes being on-page and off-page marketing activities.
Classic on-page efforts cover:
- On-page SEO
- Developing editorial calendar and subsequent content promotion
- Optimizing landing pages
- Creating lead magnets
Here are just some of the off-page activities that you can incorporate into your strategy:
- Influencer marketing
- Link building
- Paid ads on social channels
- E-mail marketing
On top of all that, you should consider building your presence on social media, forums, Q&A sites, and so on.
There is a lot of ground to cover and you don’t want to stretch yourself too thin. This is where long-term planning comes into play. This is where the importance of having a marketing strategy is revealed yet again.
Coincidentally, this is one of the reasons why creating a strategy requires so much work. You have to explore your and your competition positions on the market and make a plan to reach your destination, in a given time-frame and with a limited budget.
To complicate things even further, different niches respond differently to the same marketing methods so you can’t always just transfer methodology from your last successful project.
That means you have to decide early on which channels you will concentrate on and which marketing techniques you want to use. A comprehensive content marketing plan will enable you to do exactly that.
Ability to measure and correct
As a continuation of the last section, let’s touch on another important advantage of having a strategy in place – the ability to do course corrections on the fly.
Every proper marketing strategy will have defined metrics you want to track.
It is very important that you are able to track the progress of your marketing efforts. How else are you going to know if you are getting closer to your goals?
Additionally, following only one or two metrics can be misleading so it is recommended to broaden your, let’s call it, metric interests. That will ensure you are reviewing current stats in the right context as well as help you to pinpoint the problem when you underperform in a certain area.
With an ad-hoc marketing approach, you can never have the same level of understanding of how your marketing activities affect your position on the market.
Having a strategy facilitates continuous improvement
Despite investing considerable resources into researching your target market, there is always room for improvements down the line. There are a few reasons for that.
Spending more time with your product or service allows us a deeper understanding of nuances that might be important to your potential customers. That, in turn, allows us to craft content that perfectly hits their pain points and consequently improves brand trust & loyalty as well as improves engagement and conversion rates.
The second reason is understanding the niche.
As mentioned before, different niches react differently to your marketing activities. Depending on the type of your business, you might see more success with resource list building or PPC promotion than with a standard editorial link building approach.
Having a marketing strategy allows you to test the waters with less risk of drowning your budget because you can always repurpose your content for a different approach. And if you ever need to pivot, like business had to do during COVID-19 outbreak, this is much easier to do if you had a plan in the first place. Your current plan might not be working, but you will have all the groundwork ready to set new milestones.
Coordinating work towards a common goal
One thing that business owners tend to overlook is that content (and subsequently content marketing) is not just about your blog posts, infographics, podcasts, and videos.
Your whole web page is one big content piece that communicates your products and services to your customers. Content is found in your newsletter, landing pages, social media comments, lead magnets, forum answers, and so on.
The trick is getting your content on all of your channels to work together for a common goal. That is the single fastest way to growth.
Having a marketing plan lets you coordinate all of those efforts and also incorporate some not-so-standard marketing activities.
A great example is interactive content. Things like calculators, quizzes, and social media contests can work wonders when it comes to gathering leads and increasing the engagement of your customers with your brand.
If you have the resources for it, you can even consider developing webinars, conducting research, providing courses…
It takes time to open all doors and leave no stone unturned. Whatever you decide to do, it should be a part of a strategic plan.
Content marketing is by its nature a long-term approach
While content marketing can help you reach short-term goals with improvised planning, strategic goals require a more structured and well-thought-out approach.
Trying to reach multiple goals by independently focusing on a few different marketing methods without a proper plan is just not effective. You might as well throw your money in the nearest wishing well as the long-term effects are going to be practically the same.
We have seen this numerous times. Businesses wanting to use our link building services to increase organic traffic, but not having any kind of strategy in place. No link-worthy content on their blog. No on-page SEO optimization. Zero interest to think ahead. If they understood the importance of having a marketing strategy, they would be much better at managing their marketing resources. Luckily, we are here to guide them back to the light side of the force 🙂
The beauty of a strategic approach to content marketing is in coordinated efforts of multiple methods that all work together to reach selected milestones.
If your goal is, for example, to increase traffic to your website and overall conversion rates for a specific target persona, your whole content marketing activities can be focused in that direction. Content creation and promotion, social media updates, landing page optimizations, etc., can all be crafted in a way that is reflective of your goals.
Where to go next?
Content marketing offers you a wide array of different activities you can employ to reach your goals. That fastest and safest way to your destination requires you to choose the methods that will prove to be most effective and then to properly execute them.
And that simply can’t be done without a strategic approach.
If you need help creating (or executing) your marketing strategy, you can always consider outsourcing marketing to a digital agency. Feel free to send us an email or schedule a call if you’d like to learn more.