People’s shopping habits are changing. For starters, more people are shopping online: about 256 million people in the U.S. (88% of the adult population) and 2.14 billion people globally. Additionally, shoppers have become more informed and enlightened, and this is changing how they pick brands.
The ongoing changes are numerous and dynamic, and the best solution is convincing your potential customers that you are the best. This is where content marketing – and the need for efficient digital content strategies – come into play.
A digital content strategy and content marketing complement each other perfectly, but they are distinctly different concepts. It is important to understand this difference to get a better handle on your overall digital marketing activities.
This guide goes into detail about the differences between a digital content strategy and content marketing. More importantly, it offers insights on how to develop the ideal strategy for your digital content marketing.
Digital Content Strategy vs Content Marketing
A digital content strategy entails developing a plan on how to run a successful content marketing campaign. It is the basis on which your content marketing campaigns are built – it is the proverbial chicken that came before the egg, depending on how you look at it.
A good digital content marketing strategy should answer several questions. Some of the most pressing ones include:
- What is your target audience?
- What problem is your target audience trying to solve?
- How can your products/services solve your target audience’s problem better than your competitors?
- What type of content will you develop, and where will you publish it for your target audience to see?
- How will you manage the content marketing campaigns at every stage?
Content marketing is the general development, publication, and sharing of content designed to make a brand appealing to its audience. Essentially, it is the means by which your digital content strategy is implemented to achieve your marketing goals.
For example, creating an SEO-optimized blog post and uploading it for people to read qualifies as content marketing. You may think of it as the hands-on or practical portion of the overall concept of digital marketing.
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The Importance of a Good Digital Content Strategy
Customers know exactly what they want, and the ultimate goal of content marketing is to convince them that your brand is the best. To this end, more than 70% of marketers are actively investing in content marketing, and marketing budgets have been (and will continue) getting bigger over time.
Hypothetically speaking, engaging in content marketing without an efficient digital content strategy is like flying blind. Ideally, a good strategy ensures that you achieve your marketing goals.
The marketing industry is becoming increasingly competitive. Your clients expect you to deliver impressive results as their marketing budgets grow larger. Otherwise, they will hurriedly move on to a more competent marketer, and your reputation (and demand) will tank.
Unfortunately, most marketers don’t put enough time and resources into making an efficient digital marketing strategy. This dooms their marketing campaigns to failure or substandard performance from the very start. Bottom line: a good strategy is important because it maximizes the likelihood of your marketing campaign succeeding.
How to Create a Digital Content Strategy
Every digital content strategy should be unique based on your client’s needs and preferences. However, all good strategies share certain aspects. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to develop the ideal digital content strategy:
1. Define Your Marketing Goals
More precisely, it would be best if you started by defining your clients’ goals. Your clients’ goals will determine how you run your marketing campaigns to achieve the desired results.
For example, a client looking for increased brand awareness will need an aggressive marketing campaign whose main goal is to catch the audience’s attention and interest. However, a client looking to grow their thought leadership position will be looking for informative content that focuses more on answering their audience’s questions and less on selling.
2. Understand Your Audience
People don’t like marketers telling them what to buy. To this end, about 27% of Americans use ad blockers – for example, AdBlock (a browser extension for blocking ads) has a user base of more than 65 million people.
It is a golden age for information and communication, and people are using this information to make more informed buying decisions. Consequently, marketers stand a better chance of success by convincing their audiences that their brands are right for their needs. However, this wouldn’t be easy without intimate knowledge of your audience.
The importance of understanding your audiences cannot be overstated. Knowing how your audience thinks will help you tailor your digital content strategy to appeal to their desires.
Conduct comprehensive research into your audience before making major decisions about your strategy. Some of the details to focus your interest on should include their personality, values, background, lifestyle, and demographic details such as their age, sex, and geographic locations. You can do this using one of the hundreds of advanced data analytics tools available on the internet.
3. Run a Comprehensive Content Audit
Content is king, as most marketers say. Content is the platform through which marketers reach out to their audiences, and if done well, it helps strike a connection that converts the audiences into clients.
Ideally, all of your marketing content should be fresh and up-to-date. This is necessary to keep up with the changing times – your credibility will take a hit if your audience thinks you are not up-to-date on the latest developments in your niche. This is where a content audit comes in.
A content audit entails assessing and analyzing your marketing content to identify your overall digital content strategy’s strengths and weaknesses. It involves defining your goals and metrics, taking an inventory of your content, collecting and analyzing data, drawing up an action plan, and then using the results to adjust your digital content strategy.
4. Get a Good Content Management System
A good Content Management System, (CMS) should be one of your most valuable content marketing solutions. CMSs are designed to help with every stage of content development and marketing. Their basic uses include creating, editing, and producing digital content. Additionally, their ultimate goals include creating, managing, and optimizing your audience’s digital experience.
A CMS will save your content marketing agency time, money, and resources such as labor. Among other benefits, it will help you quickly and easily update your clients’ marketing content, ensuring that their brands remain relevant. It will also help you grow over time as it is easy to scale.
It is prudent to invest in the best CMS available as its performance will determine your performance – and your clients’ results. Additionally, your chosen CMS should integrate easily with your current marketing infrastructure.
5. Develop Compelling Content
Content is king, and your content should speak to your audience in a way that appeals to their desires. You have to get everything about the content right, from choosing the most relevant and catchy topics to choosing words and tones that suit your audience’s personalities. It is also advisable to make your content as evergreen as possible to remain relevant for longer.
Fortunately, there are numerous efficient tools designed to help with content development. For example, keyword generators will help you identify the best keywords to optimize SEO and improve your ranking on Google SERPs.
You will also need a team of creative bloggers and content writers to write the content from a human perspective – automated tools can only go so far. Bottom line: there is a tool and person for virtually every step of content development.
6. Publish & Manage the Marketing Content
Your digital content strategy should answer every question regarding the marketing campaign, including when and where you will publish the content. You will need an editorial calendar detailing how you publish and manage every piece of content for a pre-set period.
Time and venue are the two most important factors to consider when planning how to publish and manage your marketing content. Which are the best platforms where your target audience can access your content easily and quickly? Prime digital marketing platforms include social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, the clients’ websites and blogs, and guest websites.
Timing is especially important. Ideally, you should publish the content at a time when it is most relevant to your target audience. Remember to keep the content fresh, as your audience’s sentiments will change over time.
Marketing will only become more competitive over time, and your clients’ standards will keep rising. It is important to keep up, and a good digital content strategy will help improve your marketing campaigns’ success.
It also helps to know exactly what your clients want and their opinions about your services. This is where SimpleStage comes in. We offer a comprehensive three-in-one collaboration platform to facilitate communication with your clients. Our platform helps marketing agencies collect client feedback, enabling you to tailor your services to best suit your clients’ needs and preferences.