Three simple questions to ask when defining a content marketing strategy


Relevant and valuable content is essential in a cross-channel marketing strategy. In every step of the customer life cycle, lead nurturing processes and marketing automation scenarios, timely, engaging and personalized content make a huge difference in conversion.

Content marketing techniques are increasingly adopted in all forms of offline and online marketing to create stories, offer a multi-channel inbound and outbound information and communication strategy and converting visitors, readers or subscribers to leads and customers.

Tips to define a content strategy in e-mail marketing, lead nurturing and an integrated interactive marketing strategy

There's some great in depth step-by-step posts online about content marketing strategy. However, I felt inspired to write a very basic post about this topic after reading a very good detailed one by Kathy Hanbury at The Content Marketing Institute of content marketing pioneer Joe Pulizzi.

Keeping the initial questions simple is important to keep the stakeholders on track and not scare them off because they perceive the level of effort as too high. So, let's tackle what I think are the three most basic questions…

What is your marketing goal?

Seems like a pretty simple straightforward kind of question doesn't it? The glib response would be something along the lines of selling more, but if that's the best you can come up with in the board room then you've already laid a foundation for failure.

The most basic universal answer is that you want to drive more traffic to your site and generate more conversions. That may only be a more eloquent way of stating that we want to sell more, but putting it this way means we will be compelled to consider your entire website and interactive conversion flow.

What do your customers want?

While resolving what you hope to accomplish with content marketing is key, knowing what your customers want from you is critical. You might even ask this as the first question because if you don't know what they want then there is little point in wasting time on this type of initiative.

Do you know your customers? Any media vet will tell you that knowing your audience is absolutely vital to success. If you don't have a really great grasp on your demographic and a good portrait of what your potential and current customers want, start right there.

What are your resources?

Senior management has to get that buy-in from managers by asking them what resources and content they have available and what resources they need to accomplish the goals.

A cross-divisional team has to be appointed including stakeholders from various departments, to define the content that is needed in all scenarios, lead nurturing steps and contact moments. An inventory of existing content has to be made and channels have to be defined. An editorial calendar is a must.

For some initiatives, such as improving the content that is delivered in lead nurturing processes, content creation can be outsourced but for other initiatives you will really need the collaboration of people within your company. And if they don't see the ROI or necessity, they will not go for it.

A good example is blog marketing. The "fame" of blogdom is not an incentive for most staffers. If you're lucky you may have some real go-getters who will jump right in because they love to blog, but it's more likely most staff will see this as one more thing they have to deal with in a day. So, get a small stick and attach a large carrot to it and waggle incentives in front of their noses. What incentives you can offer depends on what you think the ROI may be on this kind of initiative - perhaps that's a question to resolve first at more senior levels.

As for non-human resources, have you done any testing on your site regarding landing page optimization? Do you have a budget for securing a partner to consult on how you can optimize your conversion process? If your conversion flow process is under-performing, no amount of amazing content is going to fix that.

Do you want to engage the multi-channel consumer?

Today's customer is cross-channel and he/she is at the centre of sales and marketing.

Communication channels depend on the consumer and marketing is about engaging the cross-channel customer and prospect throughout integrated dialogues that are driven by his/her buying journey, preferences, triggers, signals and behaviour.

Discover why your business should move to an integrated marketing approach step by step and how.

Download our white paper "Moving towards integrated interactive marketing".