Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What is a Content Marketing Strategy?

You may notice that the more recent posts on this blog are not wholly related to
healthcare. This is no accident. I believe that people benefit from a wide variety of ideas and, to that end, I strive to learn new things while sharing what I know.  I never mentioned this on the blog before, but a sometime ago I disrupted my career.  I left healthcare and started working in a completely different industry. This, of course, has not changed my interest on healthcare, nor have I stopped following healthcare.

This personal disruption isn't abandonment; it is a means of growth.  And, boy-oh-boy, have I learned a lot! Not only have I learned a new industry, I have also learned new ways of doing things, I have learned to see common things in a different light, I have learned new applications for the same old, and so much more. I think these things can benefit both you and me. So, while I will still post about healthcare frequently, don’t be surprised to see a more broad range of topics.

Today, I want to share what I have been working on recently: Content Marketing Strategy
With the Internet being such a powerful learning tool, content is a great way to develop brand recognition as a thought leader and fountain of information. The goal of a content marketing strategy is:

Efficiently produce and organizing relevant / up-to-date content that engages by immersing the audience in a meaningful / helpful / enjoyable / interesting /and sharable experience in order to attract new and existing followers / customers / readers and motivate your audiences to practice the same behaviors as your best customers. In time, you will develop a following of people that will return to you habitually in time of need.

I know that is a giant run-on sentence, but with good cause. Content marketing strategy has a huge job that requires a huge sentence. The words in the goal stated above were not chosen at random, each word has a specific purpose. For example, look at the first word, efficiently. If your goal is to produce mass content, you must do it efficiently or your marketing spend will go through the roof and your business won’t benefit.  If you are new to content marketing strategy, I encourage you to read and reread that phrase. Interpret each word for yourself. Then, work to improve upon that phrase.

In addition to the word choices, the statement is intended to imply actions that help to execute on the goal. For example, the phrase attract new and existing constituents, is intended to imply the need to develop a plan to attract people to your content. This may be through advertising, SEO, etc. 

Another implication relates to the part of the phrase that says motivates your audience to practice the same behaviors as your best customers.  Clearly, you have to know your best customers before you can do this. In knowing your customers, I don’t just mean knowing their names – I mean knowing their behaviors and speaking to that persona. If you aren't familiar, you should do a little research on user persona. While it generally is used referring to user experience and interface design, it actually has a much wider implication in getting to know your customers. 

Now, spend a little time picking apart the goal phrase above and see if you can find the other implications that drive planning and execution. 

Here is a great video I found on YouTube that sums it up well. 

Anyway… I find I learn best with visual examples. So, if you want to get a good grasp content marketing strategy, take a minute to look at what others have done. Here are some examples of really impressive content marketing strategies:

You will notice on those example sites that content types and the organization/display of that content vary from site to site. So, what is content? Here is a short list of possibilities:

Social media
Case studies
White papers
In-person events
Articles on other sites
Research reports
Branded content tools
Syndicated data
Virtual conferences
Mobile content
Digital magazines
Link bait
Press releases
Social feed
Live presentations / QA session

Now that I have defined content marketing strategy and given some examples, I think I will close this post as it is getting rather long. In the next post, I will share more about planning and executing a content marketing strategy.

Before I go, I do want to point you in a direction to learn more while you wait on my next post. In my venture into content, I learned the most valuable information from the Content Marketing Institute. You should pay them a visit to learn more: http://contentmarketinginstitute.com


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