Developing a Successful Content Strategy

by Chris Horn

With Step 1 on securing executive sponsorship & educating the business, Step 2 about sharpening your market segmentation and Step 3 on how to map out personas and buyer journeys already covered, today's post will explore the next phase on our digital go-to-market transformation roadmap - 'Developing a Successful Content Strategy'.

Our roadmap is made up of three major phases, starting with operationally pivoting your business around the customer. During this phase, you will typically encounter six key steps as you progress toward genuine customer-centricity.  

STAGE ONE ON THE DIGITAL GO-TO-MARKET ROADMAP

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In my previous post, I covered step three - how to map out personas and buyer journeys to gain a more intimate understanding of how your customers buy. The next step on the roadmap is to develop a content strategy that enables your organisation to have relevant ‘conversations’ with your customers, across multiple channels.

Step 4 - Develop a Content Strategy

With your understanding of the buyer’s journey now firmly in mind, the crux of your content build will be working out what content assets are required to meet your buyer’s needs and facilitate progression across this end-to-end. One of the key challenges to consider, is the fact that you’ll need to generate content assets for each of your key segments, solution groups, buyer personas – each with several journey steps – and adapt them for different channels, which can quickly add up to become an unfeasible build.  

You may be lucky enough to have legacy content to repurpose and adapt, but even so, there will still most likely be a significant build required. This is where having a sharpened market segmentation will really kick in to save you by limiting the scope of your content build. As such, you will now have the capacity to create content across each stage of the buyer’s journey and deliver more relevance to your key customers.

The following are three practical tips to help you build a content strategy your organisation can execute:

1. Start Small

The challenge of generating content is frequently the undoing of even the best planned marketing and sales transformation strategies. A common mistake is trying to do too much, resulting in strain on the operating model and incomplete buyer journeys as production is bogged down. Start with a realistic number of buyer personas so that you can build content holistically across their buying journeys.

2. Focus on Impact over Quantity

Developing content that successfully ‘cuts through’ in a cluttered information environment is another key challenge. Further compounding this difficulty is the increasing sophistication of buyers. With their subject matter knowledge ever growing, the standard required to expand their thinking and stimulate action (such as sharing their details to complete an online form) is only getting higher. Retaining your resolute ‘outside in’ customer focus will help you precisely address specific buyer pain points. Pulling together the very best thinking from across the business, developing unique and differentiated insights, as well as packaging with creative flair will all be key to breaking through.

3. Equip the Organisation for Sustainable Content Generation

Many organisations build content successfully for campaigns or pilot programs, but deliver far more sporadic results when it comes to the ongoing need to generate fresh material. Engaging executive sponsorship greatly assists with this challenge – firstly to ensure that the appropriate internal or external resourcing is in place, and secondly to generate accountability across the business for adding insights into the production process.

Look for process efficiency wherever possible. Develop templates which help your thought leaders provide inputs. Repurpose material so that you can do the thinking once, then adapt a range of content assets across different formats and for different channels.

What's Next?

As you pull together your content strategy, it is good to keep your channel strategy in mind, so that you can distribute your new content to the right places at the right time. Our next post will cover step five, evolving your marketing and sales channel mix to deliver an enhanced customer experience at a lower cost.