How To Use Content Marketing Strategy To Align Sales and Marketing
Michael is the Content Strategist at Atomic Reach, a content intelligence platform used by marketers to generate more leads from their text-based content.
He is on a mission to empower marketers with actionable data so they can make more informed decisions about their content strategy.
What is a Content Marketing Strategy?
Explaining content marketing strategy is difficult as it encapsulates so many parts of your business. But essentially your content marketing strategy refers to the management of the media that your business creates: everything from case studies and infographics to blog posts or podcasts. This strategy will often change over time as you collect more marketing analytics data and evaluate the success or failure of your content.
A lot of businesses use the phrases ‘Content Strategy’ and ‘Content Marketing Strategy’ interchangeably but they differ in a few key ways.
Content strategy: brand guidelines, internal governance that your content needs to adhere to.
Content marketing strategy: How and why your content is going to be created, your goals and aims, audience research, the tone of voice and ideation.
How Does Content Impact Sales?
The days of being able to clutter your site with tons of content and hoping for the best are long behind us now. With regular algorithm updates from Google, like the one on August 1st, focusing on creating high-quality content with the user in mind is more important than ever.
Your content can have a huge impact on the growth of your business in some key ways.
Having high-quality and relevant content on your site increases your chances of being listed on SERPs. With 3.5 billion searches being entered into Google everyday, having your content on their results pages gets you in front of a huge audience. While you can’t expect all of them to turn into paying customers, even if a small fraction do you will see an increase in your bottom line.
Hearing about a company through an online search is 1.8 times more likely than traditional advertising to have a positive impact on purchasing decisions.
Off-site content can help your reach as well. Pitching articles and guest post to media publications with high domain authorities, and back-linking to your own site within the content you create can be highly effective in improving your SEO.
Not only are backlinks great for improving your SEO but having content on sites with large amounts of traffic puts your content in front of a huge new audience, improving your brand awareness.
Building relationships online can be just as hard as doing it in real life. Why should visitors to your site trust you?
They probably don’t know your brand and the chances of them building an instant relationship and resonating with your business are very slim. Using content marketing you can build a relationship over time based on their interest, goals and values.
According to Havas Group’s 2017 Meaningful Brands study, 84% of people expect brands to create content. It’s a way for customers to get to know your brand and help them with their buying decisions. If your brand isn't creating content then consumers will go to a competitor who is.
Remember that content is not about a sales pitch; most of your materials you will probably provide for free. The topics you cover should be things your target audience will be interested and aim to solve their problems by delivering quality content that finds solutions and adds value.
Your content will warm your leads and push them into your sales funnel bringing them closer to making a purchase. It is the most effective way to convert leads and rakes in conversion rates six times more than other methods.
You can create content for every part of your funnel and tailor it to help move your leads further along and eventually make a purchase. The great thing about doing this with content is that you are providing them with a product or service they want or need. You can tailor content, and from the way they interact with it suggest the next piece to move them onto, this can be different for each customer's needs. This level of personalisation in your content helps instill trust and build brand loyalty.
Content that generates leads is called top-of-the-funnel content. Its intended to reach your audience at the beginning of their buying journey and pulls them into your funnel.
Example of how blogging can generate leads:
In 2014 KissMetrics generated a total of 5,057 leads via their blog. Their total leads for the month was 8,144, with 62% of their leads coming from blogging.
Lead converting content is called bottom-of-the-funnel content. By this point in your funnel, the size of the audience has narrowed and your goal is to give your lead the final push into making a purchase.
Nurturing leads like this with high quality and relevant content through a sales funnel is great for your business. A good sales funnel leads to increased growth; a whopping 79% of marketing leads are never converted into sales. Without having a content marketing strategy and sales funnel in place its near impossible to convert leads into sales.
The Importance of Consistency
60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day. Consistent, regular content is the key to a successful content marketing strategy, your competitors will already be putting out consistent content so it's your challenge to keep up with them and create higher quality content your audience will love.
Creating consistent, engaging content, allows you to reach your audience on their online journeys and build a relationship with them, making you their go-to brand when they think of useful or helpful resources within your topic.
Inconsistent content, on the other hand, confuses your audience. If your messaging isn't aligned and doesn't try to build a meaningful relationship your audience won't make a connection with your brand, and you can even put them off coming back to you again.
If the messaging at the top of your funnel and the bottom doesn't align, leads will not end up converting and the confusion will lead them to look elsewhere for the answers that you should be providing.
Your marketing data analytics and customer feedback can help you adjust your content marketing strategy. By reviewing content that is performing well and leads to sales you can establish what content your audience wants to see more of and amend your strategy to include more of this.
You can also see what is not performing well and examine these pieces of content to find ways that you can optimise them to generate more sales.
If you’re not creating content that drives relevant traffic to your site and visitors with a willingness to buy from you, then you’ll find it difficult to turn those visitors into leads and sale. Using marketing data analytics and a thought out content strategy, you can start writing content for people that want to buy from you.