Tuesday, January 11, 2011
From ecommerce and promotions, to SEO and social media, so much of what brands do online revolves around content. Marketers need to ensure they have an effective content strategy in place so they are well equipped to make the most of this opportunity
A while back, I wrote a blog post for Econsultancy's #JUMPchallenge, looking at the four Cs of multichannel marketing. This time, I'm following up on that theme and drilling down into one of the most important Cs: content.
From ecommerce and promotions, to SEO, social media and blogging, so much of what brands do online revolves around content. Marketers need to ensure they have an effective content strategy in place so they are well equipped to make the most of this opportunity.
Here are my five steps that marketers should take to ensure their content strategy delivers results:
1) Define your target audience – The content you create has to be geared towards the audience you are trying to reach so that they immediately identify with the content. So it is important to identify your audience and the type of information they are likely to want, but be aware that you might have multiple audiences, all with quite different needs.
One you've identified your different audience groups, consider using dynamic personalization to really boost your conversion rates. This will also allow you to become more efficient when actually creating content. Think about whether your audience will appreciate localised information, if they are likely to be a first time visitor or what pages will be most relevant to them. Also consider their user behaviour and where they are coming to your site from. Personalization used right will have a positive impact on conversion rates and a negative impact on bounce rates.
2) Define strategy and goals – Be as bold and specific as possible when setting your goals and make sure they are tied to real revenue targets. Consider which metrics you will use so that you can define exactly what 'good content' is. Avoid quantitative metrics such as page views or followers on Twitter as these won't give you the insight and information you need to assess if your content strategy is delivering results; they are potential revenue generators, but not actual revenue generators.
You need a content strategy! And when it comes to your strategy, there are a number of questions that need to be asked:
What will your content creation plan look like?
Which collaborators need to be involved - internal and external - and how will you ensure deadlines are met?
How often will you review your strategy against your goals to see if changes need to be made? Can you use social media and user generated content?
Can you get the audience to actually help you improve your content by giving them influence? Do you have external resource you can use or that you should consider employing? Which metrics will you use so that you can define what good content is for your organization? Can you develop a content quality scorecard and use it as one of your KPI's?3) Do your research – Don't be afraid to check out the competition! Look at what other companies are doing, within your sector but also those in other industries. Which sites do you admire? Which companies have content that mirrors the approach that you think will work for your audience? Learn from their mistakes too and try to improve on the other examples you see out there. If you do your research right, you'll save valuable time further down the line.
4) Test – Once you have your content in place, test it. Run A/B tests of various pages to see if content changes have a positive or negative effect on conversion. (EPiServer Marketing Arena is an option for that). Any moment that you are not testing different content variations is wasted time! Don't expect to get it right the first time or even the hundredth time.
5) Appoint and train your content creators – Deciding who is actually going to create your content is something many companies overlook, but it's a crucial step in any content strategy. Do you have external resource you can use or that you should consider employing? Make sure the content contributors are aware of the goals that you defined in the strategy! And be careful not to underestimate the amount of time that content generation will take.
Your comments on additional strategies and tips are most welcome!