How to Plan Your 2016 Content Marketing Strategy

Jun 8, 2016 | Sales + Training

Over three-quarters of businesses employ a content marketing strategy, but only 37 percent of that same group thinks that they use it effectively. Modern internet users are constantly bombarded with various content, which makes it easy for them to ignore most marketing.

For this reason, advertisers must continually revisit their content marketing strategy to make sure it’s reaching minimum benchmarks and meeting the needs of users.


1. Choose the Right Benchmarks

Before making any planning decisions, businesses should decide how they intend to measure success.

Many businesses use consumption metrics, such as unique users, overall traffic and page views, to decide if they’re reaching their audience. Some businesses may find these numbers useful, but the best metrics demonstrate sharing, lead generation and sales. For sharing metrics, businesses should record how many users re-tweet, like or share content.

When determining lead generation and sales, cookies can help determine how many users actually request more information or buy a product. These numbers help businesses actually determine if their content marketing strategy makes financial sense.


2. Refine Marketing Strategies With Audience Persona

Businesses once used target audiences to decide between different content marketing strategies. In 2016, experts recommend that businesses refine their ideas about their consumers through different audience personas. Businesses should make a few personas that fit their most likely audiences and buying concerns.

Marketing teams should decide how each persona will interact with all of their content, so they can create content that makes a cohesive whole for each user. For example, a teen apparel retailer may cultivate a user audience that looks for music-festival fashion ideas on YouTube and Instagram. Users may also go to the retailer’s website to ask questions about the fit and styling of specific apparel items. After making purchases, those same users may also upload photos of themselves in the clothes onto social media sites.


3. Make Sure Content Appeals to Mobile Browser Users

While many publishers focus on developing a mobile app, research suggests that businesses should invest more time on their mobile website if they want to attract new users. It’s true that smartphone users spend more time on mobile apps, but Morgan Stanley found that mobile websites attracted over two times the amount of unique visitors. For advertisers that want to grow their base, a mobile-optimized website is essential.

Advertisers should do a quick audit of their current websites to make sure that it meets the needs of smartphone users. Common mobile-friendly development strategies include using icons instead of text, keeping sites light and easy to load, and emphasizing simple content design.


4. Use Social Media As a Platform, Not a Strategy

Businesses that maintain Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts don’t automatically have marketing strategy, they simply have a marketing platform. These businesses must still decide how they intend to market to their ideal consumers and then determine how to best deploy their content across different social media platforms. Users won’t just read content because it’s on social media; each video, article or advertisement must show potential customers that the business understands their needs.

Research by Gartner and Forrester estimates that 80 percent of all sales will be completely digital by 2020. To gain a slice of that digital sale pie, businesses and advertisers must continue to refine their content strategy to attract and convert users. They must also continually evolve– what works now won’t guarantee sales for consumer-driven businesses in 2017.