Content strategy: the cornerstone of inbound marketing

« The emergence of digital technology is leading the customer to become an active participant in the purchasing process ».

It is no longer a secret: the digital revolution we are facing today has a huge impact on the speed and efficiency with which people communicate, create, and share content or information. This is resulting in fundamental changes in consumer behavior, particularly in the way they think, act or interact with brands.

Facing more demanding and volatile customers, brands need to adapt their digital strategies. Traditional marketing techniques are becoming obsolete and consumers are much more involved and autonomous in the act of buying. Thus, traditional marketing campaigns, where the customer is contacted directly (e.g.: cold calling, emailing…), also known as PUSH campaigns, are losing effectiveness. Companies must therefore evolve to keep pace with the fundamental changes and to stand out in a more competitive environment. Inbound Marketing is the perfect way to achieve it.

Concretely, what is Inbound Marketing?

This is a consumer-centric digital strategy, in which a brand tries to attract customers by creating useful content and personalized experiences. The aim is to deliver the right content to the right customer, on the right channel, at the right time.

The foundation of Inbound Marketing: the content strategy

As you may have understood, Inbound Marketing is a content-based marketing. Indeed, the ability of a brand to bring consumers into its digital ecosystem and keep them there depends on the content strategy implemented upstream. Thus, the success of Inbound Marketing is closely linked to the brand’s capacity to set up an effective and relevant content strategy for a given target.

Before creating content, there are two important steps.

The first one is the definition of the audience. Indeed the brands need to define the personas ofthe audiences they want to address. Knowing the audience and its different segments is imperative to transform any identified prospect into a customer. It allows companies to know their customers and so make them able to deliver relevant content that matches customers’ expectations.

The second essential step upstream of content creation is to set clear objectives, and to define the KPIs to monitor. If you do not know where you are going, you are unlikely to get there. It is vital to identify quantifiable, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) objectives. It is also important to establish key performance indicators (number of visits, click-through rate, conversion rate, …) that are aligned with the defined objectives.

Defining SMART objectives and the associated KPIs enables companies to measure the effectiveness of their content strategy, in order to adapt it if necessary and optimize the conversion.

Steps to create quality content

Once these preliminary steps have been completed, the brand will then have to create quality content: video tutorials, case studies, blog articles, etc. The definition of the format and topics of the content developed should be linked to the interests of the brand’s targeted audience. In other words, the brand should create a content strategy that directly answers the most frequently asked questions by its targeted audience to increase engagement, traffic and, above all, conversion.

Other elements are also important to propose a tailored content to the audience. Companies must adapt the topics covered, the editorial style and the tone of voice to its audience. The choice of keywords will also play a key role in the success of the strategy as it will have a direct impact on Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Establishing a content calendar is then fundamental to ensure the effectiveness of a content strategy. This one must also be aligned with the audience’s needs. Having an editorial calendar allows companies to plan the topics and themes to be covered, following several milestones in the life of the customers, and, therefore, to ensure that companies cover the right topic at the right time.

Finally, promoting your content is essential to ensure that your targeted audience will see it. Indeed, you need to use the right communication channels to share it. The choice of the platform should be made according to the targeted audience.

Measuring the impact of your content strategy

Once the content has been published and distributed on the various communication channels, its performance must be monitored. It’s at this point that the objectives defined beforehand will allow for a concrete evaluation of the positive and/or negative outcomes of the content strategy. Measuring the impact of the content strategy, therefore, leads to a logic of optimizing the content to meet the expectations of the targeted audience. This will inevitably have an impact on the relevance of the content proposed to the audience. Thanks to the definition of precise KPIs (click rate, conversion rate…), a brand will be able to follow the progress of its content strategy.

Today, companies are undergoing a digital transformation that is bringing about profound changes in the way they conduct their business and interact with their customers. Inbound marketing enables companies to respond to new consumer expectations by creating interactive and visually engaging content. Between the amount of stimulus consumers receive every day and regulatory constraints (such as the European directive on data protection), companies are having to rethink their approaches. It is no longer the company that has to impose itself on customers, but the other way around. In this context of heightened competition, companies need a new approach, and inbound marketing is one of them. The content strategy must be customer-centric and adapted to his needs.

Do you want to optimize the use of quality content to develop your digital strategy? The experts at HeadMind Partners will be happy to support you on your projects. Don’t hesitate to contact us!