As we marketing & strategy pros know, content strategy and marketing is not advertising, it is not an advertorial, it is not selling. It’s creating a relationship with your client, your customer, or your reader. And nobody likes a relationship where the other party is constantly hitting them over the head with how great they are and exhorting them to BUY, BUY, BUY. My motto for good content marketing is “show, don’t sell“.
And to show how content marketing works in the real world, here’s an example of content strategy in action from a large, global project I did for Samsung.
Yes, Samsung is a huge corporation. But substitute “blog post” or “LinkedIn activity” for “article” and the principles are the same for any-sized effort.
Strategy first, then content
Though Samsung sells its products through retailers — not directly to consumers — they wanted a way to engage consumers with their products across 70+ “regional” websites around the globe.
The solution was to develop content that would create a need for the product in the consumer’s view.
I was brought into the project as the first person on the content team, to create the strategy and bring the project into the real world, to develop a couple of dozen initial examples of exactly what the project would look like, to refine them, and to help create templates of how the project would look when globally scaled and executed by a larger team. I also was a member of the content strategy and social media team for more than three years.
Building the content strategy
After analysis and strategic thinking, it was determined that the content that accompanied that would actually be product agnostic. It would be useful, in a friendly brand voice.
- An article on better sleep habits made a strong point about room temperature. Among the many sleep hints and tips, the piece mentioned that room temperature was important and some air conditioners could automatically adjust room temperature when someone is sleeping. The Samsung A/C units with this capability appeared next to the article. Those products got a huge boost in clicks/conversion rates.
- The Samsung robotic vacuum cleaners (iRobot competitors) with the no-tangle pet hair brush when they were placed next to some tips for a cleaner home targeted to pet owners.
For because we worked with lots of divisions and products, for each piece of content, we created a strategic brief — a sort of strategy outline before we proceeded, in order to nail down the main take-away of the article and how the helpful would link to the product without being salesy. The brief included keywords, and other strategic SEO information.
The articles were translated into eight languages and used worldwide. Of course, to appropriately bring eyeballs to the excellent content…
Create content and social media strategically
In addition to creating a vast library, for each of the articles, the team members created strategic marketing campaigns for the content by creating marketing “modules” — text and graphics with links that teased and invited visitors to the content from other areas of the site.
In addition to being on-brand and adhered to great SEO practices, we made sure the posts were informative, useful, interesting, substantial and high-quality.
We also created teaser Facebook and Twitter posts some strategically designed to engage users, others to inform users, etc. In that way, we had the strategic social media program “at the ready” to deploy when an article was finally approved and posted.
For businesses and authors who want to engage their audiences with newsletter sign-ups or who (unlike Samsung) can sell directly to their audiences, these strategic social media pieces lead your readers back to the larger content and to the website (which you hopefully have crafted to draw them further into your work).
For Samsung, the social media assets were professionally proofread*, added to the masterlist of available content and to the content calendar for reuse / repurposing at appropriate promotional periods.
Proofread, post, and amplify your content
For smaller sites, I suggest that you proofread at strategically appointed posting time (there are great digital tools available), and add relevant inline links to keep people engaged with your site and offsite links to build authority.
Deploy the social media modules when the content is in place (you can reuse these when the content is repurposed, as well).
Measure the success metrics —
This strategically-developed, informational and product agnostic content created more consumer engagement than even Samsung’s video content — my NDA doesn’t allow me to share the actual figures — but if you and I ever talk in person, I’ll spill the tea 😉
But because the success metrics were so compelling, the initial content strategy turned into a 3+ year engagement (providing three years of a significant bottom line boost for my client, and for an international team of high-level content strategists, as I mentioned above, that included me).
While you don’t have to go into the deep-level success metrics that Samsung did, there are easy ways to track the performance of your content – so you can figure out what works for you and create more of it 😉
Yes, this content marketing will work for you
Again, no matter whether you’re a small business, a solopreneur, or an author — or a large corporation — follow these steps to create your content. Keep doing it — and that’s how you win at content strategy.