If you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will take you there, as the old adage says. The challenge for many businesses is they do know where they want to go, but they aren’t sure – or there isn’t consensus – on how to get there.
Conceptually, building a strategy is pretty simple and follows a logical flow:
1. Business strategy first
2. Then marketing strategy
3. Then functional strategies, like content strategy
Ideally, each child strategy is nested with the parent. In reality, a strategy is far more complex, requires research and the time to metabolize that research into meaningful and executable plans of action.
Mapping a Content Strategy
As businesses transition to content strategy, they find the staff responsible are often dual-hatted. In other words, content marketing is an additional duty, not a focus. In many ways, I find PR can find synergies in the content they are already creating, yet this is still a reactive approach, the “got to get a post-up.”
This idea is reflected in some of the data from the infographic nearby, which was first developed by JBH Marketing, and I first spotted in the Social Times. The data is based on a UK sample, but I’m more than confident in saying the findings would be similar in the US: 67% of UK marketers cite lack of time as the biggest hurdle.
Getting a post up, or so to speak, is a good way to start out – to experiment and to demonstrate traction for building support for the concept of content marketing.However, culturally, trading the boast for helpfulness is an enormous cultural challenge. Sure people will nod their head in meetings, but the epiphany — that learning moment — never really happens.
Don’t miss these related posts:
Why Content Marketing and Public Relations Need Each Other
What Does It Take to Implement Content Marketing Effectively in B2B?
How Long Should a Blog Post Be? [A Data-Driven Answer for B2B]
A good way to think about content is in the need of your target market. Every persona will require different types – and levels – of content at a different point in the sales cycle. It’s like a three-dimensional chess board. The chart above provides a generic visual to express this idea.
The sales cycle I’m showing on the Y-axis is abbreviated – some businesses might have five or six stages. The same is true for buyer personas on the X-axis – there can be both far more categories – and greater details.
In the book Epic Content Marketing, author Joe Pulizzi says customers today need 10 content touches before making a purchase. More recently I’ve read studies that indicate that the number of touches has grown to 12. There’s a level of granularity to content marketing that’s well beyond just getting a post up.
A Tactical Pause in the Content Marketing Battle
There are times when it’s more useful to stop, analyze and evaluate the effort being put forth to find a better way to accomplish the objective. It’s a tactical pause that no one wants to make.
What do you have to show if nothing was published today? In addition, a pause may mean a reconfiguration of roles and responsibilities, tapping outside help, or heaven forbid, additional headcount.
After all, if we know where we want to go, but don’t know how to get there, it’s quite possible to wind up in a bad spot. The complete infographic follows below.
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