Everyday, we all create content whether we are aware of it or not.
Content is a photo or video, or simple Facebook and Twitter updates. Content both our own, and others’ is what inevitably shapes personal and corporate brands. Companies continue to try to shape brand perception and drive brand preference (whether they have the power anymore is another story), and one thing that that they rely more and more on is content. Over the past few years, we have seen content marketing rise to the top in terms of priority for many companies. I highly recommend “The Content Rules” by Ann Handley & C.C. Chapman for great best practices on content marketing. It helped me start to answer many of the questions I had like:
- What should I create?
- How often?
- How and When should I share it?
- What do we expect to gain from it?
There are many more questions that go into an effective content strategy and plan. At the most basic level, content should aim to address the target buyer’s needs at every stage of the sales or buying process.
I started charting out ideas for a content plan with a flow that met customers’ needs at each stage of the process. While going through this process, we found that many of us were guilty of stopping in the middle stages. We spent a ton of time getting attention (awareness) and building interest (evaluation), but fell short when it came to providing content that drove desire (decision), or action (purchase). And virtually nothing was being done content-wise for support and advocacy. Perhaps this is a content rut many of us have fallen into.
My next task is to start to look at channels and integrated marketing plans and how we might actually measure this thing.