Two-thirds of top-performing content marketers have a documented strategy in place according to recent research, but the upheaval of the last month has likely forced even the most successful of companies to make ad-hoc changes to scale and adapt to the changing behaviours and habits of target audiences.
The clearly defined buyer personas and avatars that worked at the start of the year are no longer relevant, and with internal resources being allocated elsewhere, marketers are wondering how to adjust in the short term to keep campaigns on track.
The answer is an interim strategy that takes shifting business goals, budgets and audience demands into account and allows you to continue creating and distributing relevant and engaging content.
The short-term strategy does not have to be comprehensive. Just a brief, one-page strategy can outline everything you need to do during the next six months to maintain an effective marketing output.
The strategy should be aligned with your current business goals and shared with team members and management. The important thing during this time is getting everything done quickly and efficiently as general business will be under greater strain.
Prep before strategising
Your business may have updated its core product or service offerings during the last few weeks, so you will need your marketing to step up and educate existing audiences about a new business model.
If you are lucky enough to be operating as normal for the most part, you can make use of your existing content strategy to craft your short-term document. Have a look at your previous editorial calendar and roadmap and see if there’s anything that you can bring forward to support your efforts.
Your company goals may be the same as they were in early 2020, but it is a good time to reassess where you are right now and where you want to be in Q2 and Q3. You may need to collaborate with your sales team to find out where exactly they expect revenue to come from in the coming weeks. Has anything changed in this area?
A few insights can help you to identify relevant goals that your content marketing campaigns can support. From here, you need to detail exactly how content will lay the groundwork for your company to act on its priorities and achieve objectives.
Brand and consumer-centric
While content marketing is inherently consumer-centric as it’s rooted in providing value for the end user, you still need to know how it will help you before aligning it with the customer later on. Will content drive traffic to your webpages and act as a key revenue driver during a difficult period?
Content could help your brand to differentiate itself in the current climate. For example, you could:
- Address challenges that B2B buyers are facing
- Create editorial blogs to showcase thought leadership
- Educate and entertain with practical solutions
Stock photography provider Shutterstock recently detailed a campaign case study where it created an infographic based on its first-party data. The image, released in 20 different languages, delivered 160,000 page views during the first two weeks and a 22% email marketing open rate, both of which helped to generate revenue and improve ROI.
While consumers will want content related to real-world goings on, it is a good idea to mix in relevant but general information about your industry or niche. You want to get to a place where your audience relies on you for up-to-date and engaging content and knows that you are there with the right articles and blogs when they most need them.
You also need to take another look at your target audience descriptions. Are their needs, priorities and pain points the same as they were in Q1, and are they using different digital platforms to consume content? Identifying changing habits and behaviours will make it easier to tailor and personalise content.
When you know what audiences want, you can start thinking about how your expertise and knowledge can help them.
Think about creative
Now that you have identified the overlap between your business goals and audience needs and have a good idea of how content can support both of them, you can move on to brainstorming ideas and thinking about the formats you will use to deliver messages and the channels that will put them front and centre.
Your previous content marketing strategy will come in handy here as the majority of things you put in place can be carried over. Work processes and turnaround may be slightly different, but by and large, you should still have an infrastructure in place to get content out of the door.
However, formats may need to be optimised. You should have access to data that shows how consumers are viewing or reading your content on a day-by-day basis. Organic articles, blogs and videos really work well at the moment as in-person events and more traditional distribution channels have either been compromised or are too costly to manage.
Outline a schedule
You might also need to tweak the frequency of your output. Budget constraints may play a part in either scaling up or down, as can audience needs and expectations. Try not to be too ambitious at this time. A manageable, consistent schedule will provide your customers with what they crave without the need to overstretch.
Partnering with an agency to support content distribution is a useful option here as you will be able to focus on core business activities while an expert sets up and manages a regular posting schedule on social media.
You still need to be able to measure the success of your content marketing, so link a few metrics to the goals you have written down so that you can determine ROI and overall results. For example, a simple goal of driving a 20% uptick in repeat visitors to your website is easily trackable. Think short term and be realistic. Long-term goals can be saved for when things are back to normal.
Agencies can also step up and support your creative efforts if you need a helping hand with crafting news, articles and blogs. Content marketing always has a role to play in a forward-thinking, modern business. Even a small-scale campaign can provide benefits as your company evolves and prepares for the future. Posting relevant and timely pieces will keep audiences engaged and drive traffic to webpages and increase sales at a time when you most need it.