“Why is content strategy important?” is usually the next question after “what is content strategy?”
Unless some aspect of content strategy is directly tied to a sales function or a specific content need (e.g., email campaign or SEO for conversion) it’s hard for people to see how a comprehensive content strategy is critical for driving brand, sales, engagement and even company innovation.
10 reasons why content strategy is important to your business.
1. Manages one of your most valuable assets. Content.
Content is an asset. In the age where content is king, your content is one of the most valuable resources your business has. In fact, a McKinsey report Measuring the Full Impact of Digital Capital argues that digital capabilities like content should be viewed as assets, not expenses. Increasingly, your content and your digital environment is where both customer insights and customer contact happens.
An excerpt from the report about content being an asset and investment:
“The need for growth and competitiveness will force companies to build strong digital capabilities. Viewing them as assets rather than additional areas of spending requires a new set of management and financial lenses. Embracing them is a major shift—but one worth making for companies striving to master a still-evolving landscape.“
So why is content an asset? Because it’s an investment that grows in value.
Like money, when the digital content and information you generate is invested, allocated and managed correctly, the power and value of your content grows.
- You build more customer insights and analytics to better understand your customers and satisfy them
- You hone and strengthen your marketing efforts
- You create more brand engagement points
- From blogs, to landing pages, to social media, you build an infrastructure for more revenue
After all, content is what users seek on the web. Content is valuable to them.
And when it comes to information around your product our service, you want them to seek yours as the most valuable to have. A smart and well-developed content strategy helps you find and build the most valuable content assets.
2 . Effectively engage users.
The if-you-build-it-they-will come approach to developing digital content is essentially a Hail Mary pass. Without methodic planning around the creation, review, distribution and performance metrics of content, it’s more likely your organization will flail at offering content that engages customers and speaks to customers’ needs in a way that will activate or satisfy them. What happens most often in this scenario is group-think or self-interested company content that speaks primarily to the business need or ego of the organization.
3. Reach and convert customers before they even know they’ll be customers.
A good content strategy helps you create, plan, distribute and analyze content to help customers understand that you are important to solving their problem or enhancing their life. When applied to programs like content marketing, your content acts like a beacon. Especially for those who are distant from you in the buying journey. For instance, those who feel lost with their need or pain point (a problem without a path). They don’t yet have enough information to channel it to a specific action or need that your product is clearly designed to address.
In this “lost-in-the-woods phase,” when you reach out with quality content, you become a trusted, responsive expert, that helps them understand. You let them walk the path from being lost to discovering that they needed to seek you all along.
4. Drives continual, long-term sales value.
It’s true content like blog posts can take a little while to rise to the top of Google or become popular go-to sources for consumers. When they do, they offer tremendous sales value longer.
While an traditional ad or display ad (and ad spend) is fleeting. Successful posts, video and viral campaigns stay up and keep attracting new customers again, and again and again. Way after your, let’s say, 4-week, expensive media buy for ads ends. In fact, according to DemandMetric, content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.
5. Support a consistent digital brand experience.
As customers increasingly act digital first and sometimes only with digital, digital is becoming the front lines in driving and sustaining delightful experiences around brand.
And for digital, that’s all about interacting with your digital touch points like your site, your web applications and the content and experiences they provide.
Why is it important to have a consistent experience?
Imagine encountering two employees that aren’t on the same page on how they talk about a product. A potential customer may walk away more confused than helped. Or the inconsistency may deter you from feeling good or confident about the product or the company advice behind it. Not a good formula for driving sales.
Like the physical world, you also don’t want to have that same experience between a web site or an app, or digital brochure or email and the site.
Brand is all about delivering consistency. Content strategy helps you deliver it.
A content strategy helps coordinate and exact standards on messaging, content needs, customer needs, content distribution needs so that customers have a consistent engaging experience across touchpoints. When successful, that great experience a customer had looking at a blog post continues when they go to your website or speak to customer service.
6. Optimize your company time, resources and budget.
Imagine getting a team to build a house without plans or blue prints. Essentially, wing it. If you’re like me, I’m not sure if I’d want to live in the house they build.
Even more, I’m not sure if I want to see all the costly three-stooges-like-antics that would likely happen in trying to coordinate all teams and resources to build that home.
For creating digital assets and content programs, a content strategy is that blue print. Not only to build the “content house” but to help build it more efficiently. Some examples:
- Faster sign off from leadership around a project, such as a website redesign, because they are aligned around the content structure, messaging and proposed delivery of content
- With clear end goals, confidently establishing efficient workflows and time to deploy resources
- With the focus and agreement on content to be created, you focus on creating the right content rather than lots of content or duplicate content
- Back-end developers (BED) have better insights for receiving or developing metadata required for making content flexible in how it will be presented or personalized across platforms
- More consistent content structure and messaging thanks to better coordination across business units and silos
7. Streamline internal operations.
As a plan that establishes standards and actions for brand, messaging and execution and management for content, you avoid more surprises, conflicts or lengthy meetings as well as “uh oh” meetings.
8. Build marketing and service advantage.
A content strategy allows a company to have the flexibility and ability to delight customers with the right content in the right place at the right time. That is essentially defining your quality of your business’ service to customers. A better service gives you an advantage over competitors that fail to.
9. Avoid Content sprawl.
Content sprawl is like simply throwing everything you have in a room and saying to yourself “I’ll deal with it later.” Your mom probably didn’t like it with your old bedroom. It’s even worse for a website or app.
Your business or organization content, like web pages, product pages, news stories, downloads, etc. can pile up from lack of content management. Eventually your site content gets bloated and the content itself becomes a hinderance to customer satisfaction and it breaks three of my rules of content:
- Be findable. With content sprawl, it’s hard for users to find what you want in a pile
- Be relevant. When content isn’t updated with new information or deleted if the information is old, you are increasingly providing less relevant information. One good page lost in a sea of useless pages
- Be engaging. Hard to be engaging if you simply overwhelming the user with content
Content sprawl for a digital organization is like a disease that will eventually hit companies that fail to treat it through content strategy. Especially enterprise-level organizations. A well-developed content strategy that has processes for reviewing an updating content will help you ensure you deliver a strong experience to the customer.
10. Discover new customer opportunities and innovate.
A good content strategy, especially with a robust discovery phase, is good for challenging assumptions and seeking opportunities to service customers better.
As you analyze your digital property, customer, market and content to understand who is using your content and how, you’ll have insights that can inform ideas for new products or services (content based or not). For instance with one client, our content strategy discovered that they wanted an easier way to onboard into the system. That encouraged an company innovation to achieve that goal.
A bonus. Content strategy statistics.
- Seventy-two percent of marketers believe branded content produces better return on investment than traditional magazine ads. (Source: Luma Partners, LLC)
- Ninety-five percent of B2B buyers doing research on a company view content the engage with as trustworthy. (Source: DemandGen)
- More content, more assets, more conversation points: According to Hubspot, companies that blog have 434% more indexed pages than businesses without blogs
- Forty-seven percent of buyers engage at least 3–5 pieces of content before they make contact
- Ninety-six percent seek information from industry thought leaders before buying
- Seventy percent of customers feel closer to a business after engaging with their content
Perhaps that’s why 90 percent of business-to-consumer companies used content marketing in 2016 (Source: Content Marketing Institute).
CONTENT STRATEGY CONSULTING
Content strategy is defining today’s successful business and leaving those too slow behind. Looking for more ideas and strategies around content marketing and delivering satisfying digital experiences for your brand, website or mobile application contact me for a free consultation.