Content marketing is already strategic when it's “relevant and consistent" and designed to "attract and retain a clearly-defined audience.” Content marketing has the goal of building relationships and impacting the decisions people make about you.
Content marketing is focused on your target persona. Content strategy looks more at managing the lifecycle of the actual content. Strategy helps you increase your impact and reduce your workload.
The Lifecycle of Content
The lifecycle of content requires additional strategies that most marketers stop short of. Many people joke about how their blog is a monster that always needs feeding. In reality, their blog is just a tree in the orchard of information and influence. Most of the blogs and premium content, so hard to create, are withering on the vine.
Content Strategy Considers:
- Business Goals: What overall goals of the company can be achieved or supported as a result of the marketing? To which products and services is your marketing leading prospects?
- User Experience: Marketing certainly looks at what stage of the sales funnel the audience is in, but strategy goes beyond that to consider the experience the user has while consuming or acting on the content. Was it easy to understand? To find? To respond to the call-to-action?
- Investment: Content marketing requires a substantial investment of time and resources. Marketers are already doing this when they track what content is most engaging, and optimize their content for those keyword, titles, and topics. Strategy looks more strategically at the lifecycle of the content.
The lifecycle for your content needs a strategy and a maintenance plan. If a piece of content was worth creating, strategy will ask, “what you will do in each of these steps?”
Creation > Use > Repurpose > Refresh > Retire
Most content marketers do a good job focusing on the creation and use stages. Strategy takes a closer look at the last three:
If you have already taken the time to create a piece of content and know the business goal you’re trying to achieve, to be more effective you need to build, in essence, a mini-multimedia campaign around it. You can take one piece of content, like a new eBook, and go beyond simply blogging about it, and create a short video for YouTube, a PPT for SlideShare, or a webinar.
Identifying the best content leading to clear business goals, and repurposing that content in creative ways, will improve your efficiency and impact. It puts the power of focus in your favor.
In the effort to create new content, keeping old content updated is a serious challenge. Which content do you need to refresh, or at least review to see if it needs refreshing? Simple. Anything you are not prepared to retire.
Have you ever thinned out a file folder, a closet, or your garage, and noticed that after you got rid of half of what was there, you start to find and use what you kept? Your content is the same way. For your employees, retiring content means you just helped them focus better on what remains. And the same effect happens with your clients and prospects. The less overgrown your offerings are to sort through, the easier it will be for everyone to provide or receive a greater impact.
If you are already creating and sharing useful content, making strategic decisions about when to repurpose, refresh, and retire your offerings will improve your return beyond your original investment. And the renewed focus will increase the likelihood that your target audience will actually engage with your content marketing efforts.