by John Hayes for emfluence
Seriously, if I hear the phrase “Content is King” one more time, I’ll scream. In my humble opinion, this age-old marketing adage is entirely inappropriate. If you should assign the rank of King (or Queen) to anything in your business, it’s the client. Everything else you do, including your marketing content, is designed to serve your clients’ needs. Therefore, I prefer to think of content as a “courtier,” loyal to the throne, and always available to offer the crown some sage advice.
Content marketing, along with email marketing, and social media marketing, should form the basis of any modern marketing strategy during the holidays and throughout the year. Without carefully crafted content, you are essentially shouting “BUY THIS!” and probably wondering why it costs so much money to generate any sales.
Great content turns a click into a conversation. It’s the glue that keeps people on your website, the motivation to share your wisdom (thought leadership), and the reason why strangers come in from the cold and become customers. Personally, I couldn’t think of a better gift to your marketing department this holiday season than a carefully considered content marketing strategy.
Content Marketing – The Gift That Keeps on Giving This Holiday Season
Content marketing is something that keeps working for you long after your initial investment. As long as that content remains relevant and engaging, your clients will have the potential to discover it and find it useful for many weeks, months, and potentially years after it has first been deployed.
I recently spent some time with a client who shared an incredible story about the long-term success of a content marketing campaign. A little more than three years ago, they published a short Black Friday-themed blog post. Since then, every October and November, that blog post has found its way to the top of the search engines and continues to deliver thousands of visits to their website. The potential return-on-investment from that simple blog post, which took just two hours to write and seconds to post, is staggering. This is especially true when compared to the client’s paid search and paid social media activities that only deliver traffic for the duration of the campaign budget.
There is absolutely no reason they couldn’t replicate this success over Halloween, Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday, Hanukkah, Super Saturday, Christmas, and New Year with the right messaging.
OK, perhaps we are oversimplifying the process, and this message should come with a caveat.
Content Marketing is Difficult
Anyone who has invested time and effort into content marketing will attest that it can be difficult. This level of difficulty will be amplified during the busy holiday season when every marketer is looking to up their content marketing game.
I tend to look at content marketing through the lens of the Pareto principle (the 80/20 rule). This dictates that 20% of your content will drive 80% of your engagement. But, unfortunately, it also suggests that 80% of your content will leave you frustrated.
If you believe your content marketing isn’t working as well as it should, I would always ask three questions:
- Are you producing enough content to find the 20% that will work for you?
- Are you creating content your clients want to engage with, or are you trying to force your own agenda?
- Have you set a clear goal for each piece of content you publish?
The Importance of Setting Clear Content Marketing Goals for the Holidays
Without goals, you’ll never know if your content marketing campaigns have been successful or not. You’ll also find it challenging to optimize your content marketing strategy, to help you further reach your goals. Unfortunately, this creates a disjointed approach and may result in you producing content for the sake of content — the complete opposite of what a carefully crafted marketing strategy should look like.
So what should your content marketing goals look like this holiday season?
A recent study published by Statista.com highlighted the leading goals adopted by marketers using branded content.
Not Just for the Holidays — Long Term Content Marketing Goals
According to the Statista data, the number one reason marketers in the United States employ content marketing is to increase product consideration. It makes perfect sense that this consideration is placed above more obvious goals such as driving sales.
You can think of your content as a conversion enhancer. In any competitive market, great content has the potential to set your organization apart from the competition. Regardless of what you are selling, people want to buy from people they like and trust. Any content that demonstrates thought leadership in a specific field of interest helps build better client relationships. This has the potential to drive sales, find new customers, build customer loyalty, and everything else included in the Statista research.
It’s also important to remember, success isn’t always so apparent. For example, a high-traffic blog post that doesn’t lead to conversions might just be an exercise in vanity. It’s therefore essential to set goals that offer real benefits to your organization.
Creating an Agile Holiday Content Marketing Strategy
Like any other marketing strategy, content marketing isn’t something that should be deployed and then left to its own devices. You should always take the time to learn from your experiences and take the opportunity to optimize your future campaigns accordingly.
Keep in mind, content marketing can be optimized through a process of trial and error (or testing). First, take the time to learn how your audience prefers to engage with your content. Do they prefer long-form, detailed articles or shorter posts? Perhaps they would rather engage via a series of videos or podcasts. Sometimes, content is best distilled down to a single social media post or story.
In a perfect world, you’ll want to create content to capture interest wherever your customers choose to engage with you. But, in reality, you’ll want to focus on the channels that give you the most bang for your buck right now.
It’s important to remember that your content marketing strategy should be agile and react to changes in the market and new opportunities. If you see an opportunity, it’s always better to do something now than wait for your competition to take action. In this respect, you should never let perfection be the enemy of good. This is especially true during a time-limited opportunity like the holidays. If you don’t react now, you’ll have a long wait until the opportunity arises again.
Need help creating an agile content marketing strategy this holiday season? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!