I recently came across a post by Chris Lake in which he shared his periodic table of content marketing. The most valuable thing in this post is a fairly simple, clear and comprehensive structure of the content strategy. Having studied its components once, it is very easy to restore this picture in memory at any time. Translation and layout of pictures are not perfect, but the key points are correct.
So, as the creation and implementation of content marketing strategies is often included in the tasks of an internet marketer, I decided to structure my understanding of the ideal algorithm for achieving such a goal and answer the most frequent questions that marketers and entrepreneurs come up with when it is developed, implemented and evaluated. And the periodic table of Chris is the perfect link for all scattered knowledge. It is important to take into account that this table was created for the English-speaking market, and some of its items should not be used in the Russian-speaking market. I will mention all these nuances throughout the article.
- What is content
- Definition and objectives of content strategy
- Types of content
- Content formats
- Distribution channels
- Performance metrics
- Engagement Triggers
- Ideal content strategy
- Simple examples of content strategy
- Benefits of content marketing
- Content marketing vs SEO
- Future content marketing
What is content
I believe that the concept of “content” is no different from the concept of “information”. In one interesting article I found the definition of the term “information” – this is the state of matter, which defines the state of another matter. Yes, it is not perfect. But the essence conveys. Genes determine the shape of a human body, the programmer’s code determines the algorithm for moving a machine, words from religious texts determine the behavior of millions of people.
Definition and objectives of content strategy
I have already mentioned that marketing arises only when products and services appear on the market that are practically identical in their functional characteristics. In short, marketing is the competition of messages. And content marketing, as its integral part, is no exception. He also works on the AIDA model (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action). Every business has a sales funnel, even one that doesn’t realize it. And content marketing focuses on a significant expansion of the top of this funnel.
Content strategy is a step-by-step algorithm for creating, distributing, and measuring the effectiveness of content to achieve two goals:
- Increase sales;
- Formation of the core of a loyal audience.
These two goals are closely interrelated and constantly influence each other.
Sales are profit and working capital now.
A loyal audience is an asset that is often difficult to assess, but which significantly affects the sustainability of a product, service, or company in the market.
Types of content
Content types are the core of the strategy. I highlighted the most valuable options, but this list is not exhaustive.
- Answers to questions;
- Expert surveys;
- Best practices;
- Collection of facts;
- Publication of statistical data;
- Case studies;
- Templates and checklists;
- Guides for beginners;
What is the difference between content format and content type? The separation is absolutely conditional. His goal is to help you see and use a large number of data presentation options.
Content types are different variations of content on a specific topic (for example, the topic “Google Analytics for beginners” can be viewed as:
- step-by-step guide for beginners;
- interviews with experts about the proper learning tool;
- through surveys of marketers about their level of ownership of the tool.
Content formats are different forms of reporting the same content on a specific topic (online / offline, text, pictures, video, interactive, etc.)
- Pictures (infographics);
- Press releases;
- Offline events (conferences, seminars);
- Online training (recorded videos);
- Email letters.
- Own site;
- Email newsletter;
- Partner Base;
- Question and Answer Services;
- Social networks;
- Offline media.
In the table, metrics are shown without any relationship. And it can disorient the user of the scheme.
As for me, this division looks logical and convenient:
- The number of unique users;
- Number of new users.
Content satisfaction metrics:
- The percentage of failures;
- The number of pages viewed per user;
- The amount of time on the site per user;
- The number of visits per user;
- The number of returned users.
Content engagement metrics:
- Number of likes, shares, add to favorites.
- The number of new and repeat sales;
- The cost of attracting one client;
- The percentage of customer retention;
- Return on investment.
The trigger of engagement is a trigger embedded in the content that stimulates the reader, the viewer will share the material with other people.
Why does a person share content with others? There are several reasons, but they all have a deep biological nature. We want:
- bring pleasure to another person and become a conductor of interesting, valuable, funny;
- protect the other person from danger;
- demonstrate your intellect, showing what complex information we process.
Therefore, working to increase engagement, you need to understand well what is the main benefit of content for both the reader and his circle of contacts.
Ideal content strategy
I see the following ideal final result for the content strategy (on the example of the article): 10% of the time is spent on the initial compilation and regular addition of topics, 90% is spent on work directly on creating the content and 0% of the time is on its design, sowing. The development of blogging platforms (WordPress, Medium, YouTube) will gradually help to come to this ratio.
Why exactly this percentage? Human time and intellectual resources are strictly limited. And if in large quantities you have to spend them on distribution, then there are less resources left to create the content itself.
The beginning of the implementation of the content strategy can be said after the presence of such 4 points:
- The primary detailed plan with themes, headlines, videos, presentations, etc. (further it will be added).
- Detailed content creation technology (ideal for each type and format is its own technology).
- Detailed technology of primary seeding content.
- Customized analytics on the above metrics.
Simple examples of content strategy
Can we consider religious texts as an example of content strategy implementation? I think yes. This metaphor leads us to another very important conclusion.
The goal of marketing is a monopoly in a particular market.
The purpose of content marketing is a monopoly on the answers to certain questions.
Religious texts do not just explain what is good and what is bad. They give very detailed recommendations on a huge number of issues related to the organization of personal and public life.
Benefits of content marketing
I highlight the following benefits:
- Cumulative effect. If you regularly release content on working technology, then the hundredth unit of content should have a much greater effect than the first and tenth. The effect is achieved due to the growth of the user base, which is waiting for new messages + growth of confidence in the site, video channel on the part of search engines.
- Variety of forms. Good content is an intellectual product. And such a product can be implemented in different forms – text, infographics, video, podcast, presentation.
- Longevity. People are born and die (while they die), and many questions are universal. Good content is preserved for centuries, I want to return to it, it is commented and discussed, and all this time it benefits its author – the creator lives in the heads of people.
The main disadvantage is the reverse side of this effect. Return on investment can take a long time.
Content marketing vs SEO
I distinguish content marketing and search engine optimization by one simple criterion – what the author donates. SEO is still very demanding on the form – keywords, headlines. And if the author sacrifices the convenience of reading, the beauty of the syllable for the sake of fulfilling the formal requirements of search engines – this is SEO. Content marketing is a concentration on the quality of the content and a disagreement to sacrifice it.
Is it possible to combine them? Of course. I do this in 2 steps. At first, the article is written without any formal restrictions at all. And further, each correction in terms of SEO is made only as a necessary evil. It is important to remember at what stage you implement the content strategy. The greater the subscriber base, the domain authority, the credibility of the author, the more the formal requirements of search engines can be avoided – the site’s reputation and behavioral factors will stretch the article to the top.
Future content marketing
The technology of building automated sales funnels is improving every year. When conversion and pricing, after hundreds of hypotheses and tests, reach a certain maximum, the only way to grow is to expand the top of the funnel and increase the retention rate. Competition for attention is growing. And that means content requirements too. The average user is likely to benefit from this. Users are already receiving extremely comprehensive answers to a growing number of applied questions. Moreover, in most cases – for free. Every year the requirements for content from customers will grow, and the entrance to certain niches becomes prohibitively expensive.
But there is a nice moment for content creators. For talented creators. Good content is expensive. And the complexity of creation is a good filter. While others are lowering budgets for the distribution of mediocre products, a good writer, designer, video blogger is enough to create one product, which is an order of magnitude better than others. Yes, he, too, can not do without distribution, but the superiority of the product makes it possible to reduce the distribution budgets dozens of times.