What you’re missing out on by not documenting your content strategy

Do you ever feel like no matter what you do or how much progress you make, you constantly find yourself dealing with the same content marketing problems?

Sometimes, it’s even the problems you (thought you) just put to bed.

Kitten GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Content marketing can quickly take a life of its own and without firm guidelines in place, campaigns can look less like cats – which can more or less take care of themselves – and more like kittens.

It’s a reason why documented content marketing strategies exist; to put some structure on everything. Yet, our latest content marketing report, Irish Content Marketing: In Search of Strategy, found that just 43 percent of Irish content marketers actually have a detailed strategy in place.

That’s a pretty low adoption rate for something that can make your life so simple.

So, we want to break down exactly what you’re missing if you’re a part of the 57 percent that don’t have a documented content marketing strategy in place. Hint: it’s a lot.

Content marketing and detailed strategy: a perfect match

You might have the best marketing team that’s full of creative ideas, a can-do attitude and technical expertise. But unless you’ve got an overarching plan of what these people will collaboratively achieve, you’ll have a difficult time getting the same results that the companies in your industry that you look up to do.

These businesses rule from the throne at the head of their industry with consistent and high-quality content for their audience.

You Know It GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Their success starts with developing a strong brand personality – letting people see the human side of the business. Having a strategy helps to build a comprehensive presence online that brings your brand to life and keeps it consistent.

Having a documented content marketing strategy turns people’s heads in your direction – when done well. Ninety percent of Irish businesses use content marketing, according to our report, so it’s fairly clear that we’re not talking about just another trend.

Most content marketing campaigns run into hiccups along the way but there are ways to smooth out the tune. Perhaps your timing is off or you haven’t gotten the right training in yet. Having a strategy provides structure to the content’s entire journey from creation to publication. Because of that, it’s the key to unlocking the hidden potential behind so many strategies and campaigns.

Do Irish businesses have content marketing strategies?

Sort of.

Just 43 percent of us have a documented content marketing strategy – while the other 57 percent are basically winging it.

Without a detailed strategy, it can be tricky to figure out a campaign’s impact – both in terms of audience reach and financial gain – and to understand how you can improve it.

Not having a content marketing strategy is like heading to the NCT with four flat tyres and a dashboard full of warning lights. A strategy prevents your work from falling apart at the seams and always prioritises the value that the end-user will get out of your content.

Broken Car GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

We never promise that a single blog post is going to propel you into the stratosphere of commercial success. And we’re not going to guarantee that a four-week Twitter campaign is going to take care of the awareness, consideration and decision phases of marketing in one fell swoop.

However, a content strategy allows you to build loyalty and segment leads using buyer personas. You know segmentation: that tactic that lets you group your audience into smaller groups so that you can deliver more relevant content to them.

You can create meaningful content for specific stages of your customer lifecycle; the newcomers to your brand, and those needing more interaction before they get to the checkout. You’ve got those needing a little reassurance before they become a customer and the old veterans of your brand that could do with engaging content, so they’re always excited to hear from you online.

What are you missing out on in your documented content marketing strategy?

So, we’ve sold you on having a documented content marketing strategy.

OK – at least you’re intrigued about why it’s so important, right?

Damn Right Walter White GIF by Breaking Bad - Find & Share on GIPHY

That’s what we thought. Which is why we figured we’d peel back the curtain and show you what’s exactly in a documented content marketing strategy so that you know what elements yours is missing.

  • KPIs aligned to the business goal: 77%
  • Content calendar: 69%
  • Analytics and SEO: 69%
  • Tone of voice: 62%
  • User personas: 62%
  • Competitor analysis: 58%
  • Customer journey map: 54%
  • Market analysis: 54%

But most importantly, why is it that these elements are so prevalent in documented strategies? As we’ll explain below, incorporating these aspects into your content marketing strategy gives you the upper hand in a variety of ways.

Know how your content performs

Content marketing isn’t something we all do just for fun (even though it is pretty fun). It plays a key role in helping the business meet its overarching goals – usually bringing in marketing or sales qualified leads, but also growing the brand.

By developing KPIs that spell out corporate success and ensuring that those are integrated within the content campaigns, marketers can track how well the content is performing in reaching those objectives.

If you don’t know what the business wants to achieve from content marketing, it’s difficult to understand how it’s helping the business. By keeping the KPIs that are aligned to the business goal front and centre, marketing teams have a better chance of creating campaigns that resonate with audiences and deliver the enterprise real value.

Consistent output of content assets

Next up, having a content calendar simplifies content creation and makes sure that the team is churning out content in a consistent manner. You won’t have to conceptualise every time you want a new piece of content – whether it’s a blog post or a snappy tweet.

Perhaps most importantly, content calendars make it easier for marketing teams to visualise a campaign and all the trimmings that go with it. Releasing large assets and having the infrastructure in place to gain continued value from them – regular blogs, email workflows and repurposed content – can be a struggle without some form of guidance in place.

Content calendars also help avoid the tumbleweed-rolling-across-the-desert, crickets-chirping-in-the-eerie-forest, wolves-howling-into-the-abyss silence that you’ll find on many a company’s social platforms.

Wolf Howling GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Keep content relevant for your audience

There’s immense value to be found in creating assets that are aligned to the same audience: establishing the brand’s voice, appealing to your audience’s unique needs and developing consistency across content creation are just a few of them.

Documents like the tone of voice, user personas and customer journey maps are critical to developing content that aligns with the unique needs and part of the buyer’s journey that your prospects are currently at. Without it, your content creation strategy is no more stable than a sailboat without a mast.

Want to build a winning setlist of content?

Content marketing can bring immense value to your business, but without a documented strategy it may never reach its full potential.

In fact, you might just spend most of your time chasing around kittens, praying that they’ll stay in their bed this time.

Need to connect and engage? Amplify your brand’s voice? We have a globally award-winning content marketing team. Get in touch to learn how a documented strategy can help your brand.

256's Irish Content Marketing: In Search of Strategy report is the most comprehensive study on content marketing ever undertaken in Ireland.

About Nicole

Nicole is the Lead Generation & Client Success Manager at 256. She has been a passionate and enthusiastic digital and content marketing professional since 2008, having graduated in Brazil. Nicole is also a food blogger and loves to write about food and restaurants in Ireland for the Brazilian community.