How Strong is Your Content Marketing Strategy?

Is a weak content marketing strategy hindering your social media efforts?

Ten years ago, social media was an untrusted tactic that only the most cutting-edge marketers dared to explore. As the social movement gained traction, successful case studies emerged and people began to see how it could help their organizations. Social media adoption spread and companies opened Facebook accounts simply because they didn’t want to be left behind by the movement or seen as behind the times. The problem is they jumped on board the social media train with little regard to how this tactic would impact their bottom line or what message they wanted to communicate to their customers.  This lack of planning made it nearly impossible to prove a return on investment and justify the resource cost of creating and maintaining a social media identity.

Business-to-consumer companies have embraced social media and some have experienced success beyond imagination. While highly regulated (and thus social-media fearful) industries such as financial services tend avoid completely or water down their social media presence and denude the value.  But their fear has led them astray.

Great original content and meaningful posts are the vehicles of successful marketing and public relations and social media is the road they travel upon. The more quality information you give your target audience, the more you establish your organization as trusted resource and build brand loyalty. Wasn’t that the purpose of social media marketing in the first place?

Intuit is a prime example of how a business-to-business company has implemented strong content marketing to cultivate a devoted following of trusting consumers and carve out a spot for themselves as an industry leader. So how did the maker of relatively unglamorous accounting software programs earn such a large slice of the social media pie? They carefully planned their content marketing strategy to focus on their bread-and-butter of efficient money management and focused their messaging on answering the needs of their small business target audience. Intuit accomplished this by creating original videos, infographics and blog posts that were delivered in a casual and conversational tone.

Content marketing is defined by Wikipedia as “any marketing format that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. The information can be presented in a variety of formats, including, news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc. Content marketing is focused not on selling, but on simply communicating with customers and prospects. The idea is to inspire business and loyalty from buyers by delivering consistent, ongoing valuable information.”

4 Tips for Creating a Content Marketing Strategy:

  • Develop a clear understanding of what your company excels at and define your niche.
  • Research topics or questions your customers are searching for on the Internet and determine how you can fill that need with your expertise.
  • Keep your posts focused on helping your customers and not selling your product or services.
  • Evaluate your success and determine the increase in engagement, web traffic and/or sales tracked over the course of your content marketing campaign.

Sharing quality content has the potential to boost SEO, increase social interaction, strengthen brand awareness and loyalty, which ultimately positively impact sales. It is also a way to distinguish your organization in the midst of the, sometimes, chaotic online conversation. Before discounting your social media identity due to lack of results, take a long look at your content marketing strategy. Are you posting about topics in your niche and providing answers to the questions your customers are searching for online? If the answer is no, you may have set yourself up for failure, but it’s not too late to change course.

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