The Marketing Impact of Content Strategy: A Data-Driven Roadmap to Engage Your Audiences
In today’s digital landscape, content is the lifeblood of any successful online presence. But simply churning out random blog articles or social media posts without a clear direction in mind can lead to chaos, wasted time, and lackluster results.
This is where content strategy comes into play. Instead of guessing what topics to cover and formats to use, you can develop a well-researched content strategy framework, grounded in data, to determine the right channels, the right formats, and the right target audiences for your content.
What is content strategy?
At Brunner, we think of content strategy as the foundational guide for creating, distributing, and managing strategic content to meet specific business and marketing goals. Establishing a content strategy helps us determine:
- our target audiences: who they are, what they care about, how and where they consume media, and their purchasing journey
- our key messages: primary and secondary points that will resonate with our target audiences based on what they want and need
- our channel mix: the best places to reach our audiences where they are already reading, watching and listening to content, including social media, podcasts, streaming devices, etc.
- key content opportunities to show how companies can help their target audiences solve their biggest pain points
Whether your company is B2B or B2C, developing and following a content strategy framework is essential because it aligns content efforts with our business goals, broader marketing objectives, brand strategy, and everything we know about the audiences we want to reach.
Whether your company is B2B or B2C, a content strategy framework aligns content efforts with business goals, marketing objectives, brand strategy, and the audiences we want to reach.
How can content strategy affect our daily lives as marketers?
It ensures consistency and coherence.
Intentional, thoughtful guidelines in a strategy make certain that your brand’s messaging remains consistent across different platforms, enabling you to establish a strong brand identity. It also helps you maintain a cohesive brand voice, tone, and style that resonates with your target audience, building trust and familiarity.
It keeps your content audience-focused.
By understanding your audience’s preferences, pain points, and personal values, you can develop content that speaks directly to them, establishing a deeper connection and driving engagement at the right moment in their journey.
It plays hand-in-hand with search engine optimization.
Effective content strategy includes keyword research, optimization techniques, and strategic placement of relevant content. By implementing SEO best practices within your strategy, you can improve your website’s visibility in search engine results, driving organic traffic and expanding your online reach.
It maximizes your return on investment.
Investing time and resources into building a content strategy ensures that your efforts yield tangible results. It takes careful work up front, but with the benefit of saving time and effort in the future. You can measure the performance of your content, identify areas for improvement, and refine your approach.
The proof is in the pudding. According to the Content Marketing Institute:
- 67% of marketers report that content marketing generates demand and leads
- 72% of marketers say that content marketing helps to educate the audience
- 63% say that it helps build loyalty with existing clients and customers
Investing time and resources into building a content strategy ensures that your efforts yield tangible results.
How to create a content strategy
Define your goals
What do you want to accomplish? Is it an increase in brand awareness? An uptick in conversions? The more measurable the goals are, the better.
Know your audience
Conduct thorough and data-rich research to understand your target audience’s demographics, preferences, and behaviors. At Brunner, this step would look like this:
- Perform audience research and develop distinct persona profiles.
- Create journey maps and messaging maps, detailing the action each persona takes at each stage of the purchasing process and how we want to talk to them at each stage.
Establish a content strategy framework
Craft a publishing mission and content pillars and possible topics. What’s the goal of sharing your content? To educate? Inspire? Your content framework provides barometers to measure all content ideas against. We recommend that your publishing mission is rooted in building trust and awareness with your audience, not necessarily just making the sale right away.
Conduct a content audit
What content currently exists on your website and other channels? How well is it performing, and does it fulfill your audience’s needs? Asking yourself these questions will uncover any gaps in your content ecosystem and empower you to address those gaps moving forward.
Develop a plan
Create a schedule for content creation, distribution, and promotion, with your team’s bandwidth and budget in mind. A calendar will ensure a consistent flow of high-quality content, and it helps you stay organized. Be sure you conduct SEO research to inform your content calendar and topics.
Create engaging and helpful content your audience cares about
Now comes the fun part. Tailor your content to provide value and expertise to your audience. What topics do you know more about than your competitors? What formats can you produce often and well? How does the content tie back to your deeper goals?
Measure and analyze
Don’t skip this step – you’ll only regret it later! Monitor key performance indicators such as website traffic, engagement, and conversions. Analyze the data regularly to understand what works and what needs improvement.
Ready to get started on a content strategy?
Investing in a well-crafted content strategy is a clever tactic that can position your brand as a thought leader, engage your target audience, drive organic growth, and cultivate brand loyalty.
If you’d like to chat about developing a content strategy for your brand, please get in touch. We’re happy to have a conversation.
Delaney Held is lead, content marketing at Brunner. She has seven years of experience in content strategy and development, copyediting and writing, community engagement, and public relations. Her role at Brunner is centered around conducting data-rich audience research for clients then developing intentional content strategies and engaging pieces for those target audiences. She has worked across a variety of verticals, including non-profit, construction, consumer products, and insurance. She holds a B.A. in Public Relations from the University of Pittsburgh. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.