Content is one of the most powerful tools any business can leverage in today’s digital world. It’s the core of every demand generation and demand capture campaign, the heart of any thought leadership plan, and the key to building trust with a target audience.
Every piece of content a business creates should have a specific goal, purpose, and vision. In fact, according to CMI, 60% of the best B2B marketers have a content strategy. This is the plan that determines exactly what each piece of content should accomplish on behalf of the brand.
The more cautious companies are about planning, creating, and promoting their content, the more likely they are to generate specific, measurable results.
Here’s what organizations need to know about strategic content.
What is Strategic Content?
Strategic content is part of a comprehensive content strategy.
It can be any piece produced by a journalist, blogger, or copywriter that specifically targets an important topic or keyword. Typically, strategic content is designed to appeal to customers or readers at specific points in their purchasing journey. It responds to the “search intent” of the customer, answering crucial questions, and covering hot topic issues.
Strategic content can come in many different forms such as:
- “What is” articles: Articles answering questions like “What is strategic content” aim to answer questions customers might have at the top of the purchasing funnel. They appeal to the desire for information, and position companies as knowledgeable, authoritative thought leaders in their industry or space.
- Review articles: Review articles are a form of strategic content designed to guide customers during the “consideration” stage of the purchasing journey. They provide direct insights into the benefits and downsides of products and solutions, so customers feel more prepared to move onto the next stage of their buying decision.
- Comparisons: Similar to review articles, comparison articles aim to help consumers or business buyers make better decisions. They’re strategically positioned to highlight the unique benefits of a certain product or service, compared to another solution.
How Do Companies Create Strategic Content?
Creating strategic content means setting specific goals, planning KPIs, and understanding the needs of your target audience in each stage of the purchasing journey.
To plan strategic content, most companies start with a specific goal. In other words, they ask: what do they want this content to achieve? For instance, if a company wanted to demonstrate thought leadership, and boost awareness by taking advantage of a trending topic in the industry, they might produce an opinion piece. If the same brand wanted to help customers make a better decision about which type of subscription to buy from a SaaS brand, they might use a comparison.
Creating strategic content involves:
- Defining customer intent: Each piece of strategic content needs to align with a specific need or level of “intent” shown by a customer during the purchasing journey. Strategic content created for customers looking to make a purchase might include review articles or landing pages. While strategic content designed for people simply looking for information might include “what is” or “how to” posts.
- Choosing a content type: Based on the goal set for the content, and the intent of the audience, companies can choose from a range of styles of “strategic content”. Informative videos are excellent for engaging customers during the early stages of the purchasing cycle, while social media offers can help to convert customers in the later stages of the funnel.
- Optimising content: For strategic content to generate the best results, it needs to adhere not just to the needs of the customer, but to the demands of the search engines. Companies may need to plan which keywords to use for their strategic content pieces at different stages of the funnel, and whether to implement internal and external links to boost content authority.
- Distributing content: Producing effective strategic content doesn’t just mean writing about the right topics, or targeting the correct customers. Companies also need to ensure they’re promoting their content on the right channels. Most content strategies include in-depth plans for how content will be distributed across social media, email, blogs, and more.
- Evaluating results: Because strategic content is designed to address specific goals, companies usually have certain metrics and KPIs they can track to determine whether their strategy has been successful. For instance, after creating strategic content designed to increase brand awareness, companies can measure things like traffic, clicks, and shares.
What are the Benefits of Strategic Content Marketing?
Ultimately, strategic content marketing ensures every piece of content created by a business has the right impact on its target audience. Planning how to guide customers through each stage of the purchasing funnel with different types of content leads to more measurable, meaningful outcomes.
Strategic content helps to:
- Identify who the content is for: Part of making a strategic content strategy is identifying who each piece of content will be for, and what their needs might be. When companies know who they’re trying to reach with their posts, it’s much easier to deliver impactful content.
- Define business goals: Creating strategic content helps companies to take a more goal-driven approach to content production. Rather than just producing new pieces at random, marketing teams take the time to think about what they hope to gain with each piece of content.
- Streamline content production: Having a defined strategy for each piece of content, from who it’s going to target, to what it’s going to accomplish helps to keep the whole marketing team on the same page. Most companies also build plans around their strategic content for how pieces will be created, edited, and promoted by different members of the team.
In many cases, strategic content also helps businesses to identify what’s working, and what isn’t in their content plan. When each piece starts with a goal and a set of metrics to measure, it’s easier to keep a close eye on the evolution of the content strategy. This ensures companies can focus more of their time on creating content that delivers results.