content-marketing-strategy-mark-f-simmons-mixed-digitalWhat do brands like American Express, Coca Cola, Mercedes and Neiman Marcus have in common? Even though they are all from entirely different industries, they have one thing in common; they took notice of the power of content marketing and have the wisdom to take full advantage of it. Over 200 retail brands have gone out of business over the past few years due in part to procrastination when it comes to stepping up their marketing to keep up with today’s competitors who are catering to consumers who use the internet for just about everything today, including making a buying decision, whether it’s products or services.

Let’s Start from the Beginning with the Definition of Content Marketing

Content marketing is the process of creating and delivering engaging content in order to capture the attention of a specific target audience, keeping them engaged and generating sales. Brands that are intuitive enough to harness the power of content marketing take every step that is required of the online buying cycle through short social media blurbs, blog posts, SEO and human friendly website copy, how to guides, e-books, info graphics, branded videos and more. The trick is that once you have the content it can be challenging to get to the point where your company’s content efforts are refined and targeted enough to convert prospects into loyal clients. Following are a few things you should take into consideration as you develop your brand through creative content marketing strategies:

1. Brand Identity

You need to have a rock solid brand identity before you begin planning out your content marketing strategies, including the voice you plan on using (friendly, technical, useful, etc.). Basically, you’ll be using the content to push buttons and you want it to be the right buttons.

2. Strategy

Come up with a fundamental strategy that will serve as a detailed overview of what you want to achieve and how you plan on achieving it. This is where a good mastermind team will come in handy if you have one, if not you’ll need to take the time to brainstorm on your own or hire professionals to help you through the process.

3. Brand Promise

Specify your brand’s promise, keeping in mind that a brand’s promise isn’t about your needs; it’s about what your business has to offer your prospects and current clients. It answers questions that include why someone would choose your brand over your competitors. What do you have to offer that no other brand offers? How does your product/service fill the needs of your target audience?

4. Audience

Extend your content audience and consistently refresh your social media and email campaigns. Use the tools that today’s popular social media platforms offer like Facebook’s analytics as well as Google Analytics, which will help you refine your message until it gets the results you want.

5. Vision

Share your vision with your marketing team and inside sales professionals if applicable and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Together, come up with a branded content blueprint and put together an editorial calendar that includes your website, blogs, keyword targeted landing pages, social media posts, guest posts, press releases and email campaigns.

It’s important to keep in mind that you won’t earn a relationship with a potential client or improve your relationship with current ones by bombarding them with content, even if it’s great content. Rather, figure out how to manage your messages by posting/emailing relevant, branded content to the right audiences, at the right time and across all of your online marketing channels.