“If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail…” Ah, that old chestnut.

Planning is the most important part of anything but is most important when we look at marketing.  

A long term content strategy gives you a great deal of potential as a business, not only to show your knowledge and expertise in the field you are in, but to become much more personable, and with this, approachable! Getting you on the right path to an improved ROI from your overall marketing efforts.

Why does your business need a long-term content strategy? And more important, do you know what content marketing is and how it could benefit your business? Read on to find out more about how it could help you…

So, What is Content Marketing?

To the unbeknownst, content marketing can be somewhat of a mystery. I mean, after all, how hard can it be to write a few words and hit publish? What people don’t realise is that content marketing combines efforts of all levels of marketing and business, to enable you to create unique pieces, with the ultimate goal being to engage customers in a much more deeper level of conversation.

One of the biggest obstacles I’ve had to face throughout my career is people not understanding the value of content, whether it’s clients, peers, friends, and even family. “Oh, you just write, anyone can do that” … “Isn’t that just writing a few blog posts and publishing them?” well… not quite.

Content marketing is the process of creating blog posts, infographics, video content, using social media, native advertising, images, web pages, brochures etc. to communicate your business to a wider audience. It even allows you to take a look at internal processes, from the sales floor up – can you create content that communicates what your business is about to your staff? Yes! Of course, you can, and you would be better off for it.

I work with influencers undertaking outreach campaigns to get brands noticed on a larger scale and work day to day to ensure that the content I create is formatted and structured in the right way to benefit my client’s requirements.

There’s a number of reasons why every business should have one, and it’s not just about having a content strategy, the key thing is that it’s long-term.

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint…

Look at me, making running references – anyone would think I’m an athlete. If you have ever run a marathon or even ever contemplated it (like I did once, then decided it definitely wasn’t for me) you’ll know that the training and preparation are key. Experts say that it takes anywhere between 12 – 17 weeks, sometimes even longer, to let your body prepare for what lies ahead.

Whilst I understand that marketing doesn’t take half the physical effort of running a marathon, even though we all drink about 7 cups of coffee a day to keep us going*, the planning that must be involved is extensive and must be done.

*This might be an exaggeration, it’s only really about 5 and a half…

A long term content strategy takes time to plan out, and effectively carrying out the task is harder than it seems. As an agency, we work with a number of different businesses from a range of industries. Day to day, I can go from writing about the insurance industry for pets and cars, to writing about travel and even ecommerce platforms selling electronic products for the home. If we didn’t plan each of these strategies, they’d fall apart, instantly.

Data-Led Content Marketing

Trying to predict the future of marketing is like trying to predict what Donald Trump is going to do next, impossible. But we can try (at least for marketing anyway), looking at previous trends to forecast, especially when we can focus on what distributor platforms have in store for marketers.

The Drum recently launched their content contributor network, which allows businesses or individuals a platform to share their own unique content, whilst Facebook are continuously working to improve their offering, with vehicles including Canvas allowing publishers more great opportunities to get creative.

A number of research studies recently show that the future of content marketing is bright, and is largely leaning towards data-led pieces that provide information to your reader that they actually want, creating content for content’s sake has been the pitfall of many great strategies – brands know they need to use content marketing, but they aren’t doing in the right way. And this is why the internet is full of spun content, that isn’t giving any benefit to anyone.

Have you ever read an article titled “7 Great Ways to…” and been left feeling a little underwhelmed by what the suggestions were? You are not alone.

So How Do I implement A Long-Term Content Strategy?

Bees Knees

Bees Knees

Research shows that under 40% of businesses have implemented an effective content marketing strategy, whilst 75% of marketers want to increase investment into creating more content in 2017; what will be interesting to see is how these businesses manage to effectively create a strategy that will benefit them long-term.

Implementing a long-term content strategy doesn’t have to be hard, but there are few fundamental things to remember before you start:

  1. You need to know the ins and outs of your business, whether you are the business owner or simply a bod in the marketing team looking to make a few changes, without a significant understanding of the business you haven’t a cat in hell’s chance of creating anything useful.
  2. Are you writing content for your brand or for your audience? There is a difference between these – and when you truly get down to it, it’s this distinguishment that will allow you to truly hone in on the uniqueness of your content (you can do both, just not at the same time!)
  3. Calendars, planners and diaries are your best friend.

As I mentioned earlier, content marketing is a marathon – you’ve got to take into consideration the long-term benefits of using content, it works hand in hand with SEO to improve the domain authority of your website, and from a user perspective, makes you look the bee’s knees.

Regular content, whether it’s on your blog, social media, or other platforms using outreach techniques, will put your business in an excellent position moving forward to harness a campaign-led approach. Start small – think three months of planning out what you are going to publish and when, what platforms are you going to use, and are there any influencers you could work with in future to enhance your strategy?

Once you’ve done your first three months, plan the next six months out. And after this you’ll be able to work to a 12-month calendar, looking at year-round trends, garnering valuable data to enable you to create even better content in future.

The trouble with implementing a long-term content strategy is that it takes a lot of time and effort – but that’s where we come in, speak to our content marketing team here at Advantec. We can take a look at your business, the marketing activity you currently undertake and work to gain an understanding of your business to create a long-term content marketing strategy that works for you.

 

Emma Thompson – Senior Content Manager
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