Somehow, the term “content strategy” has become synonymous with SEO strategy. But SEO is only a tiny part of content strategy. Without getting the rest right, traffic may be plentiful but demo requests will be few (and the requests that do come through probably won’t be from best-fit prospects).
Let’s look at four crucial components of content strategy to see exactly why this distinction matters.
If a company’s content looks and sounds like everything else online, no one is going to sit up and take notice. Sure, prospects might find the answer to a question they were Googling, but they won’t remember the brand associated with the insight, and they won’t be highly motivated to share it.
To make ideal-fit prospects love your brand, you need standout points of view that are connected with what your prospects care about most. Your POVs could include a contrarian stance on the industry status quo, a commitment to fight against a shared enemy, or an action-backed position on a social issue.
If your POVs are truly aligned with your ideal-fit buyers and woven into your content strategically, they will not only differentiate your content from everyone else’s but also spark word-of-mouth.
Value Prop Alignment
Effective content — even top-of-funnel content — will lead prospects to conclude that your solution is uniquely qualified to meet their needs. The way you structure your content and the points you make can create a clear connection between your value props and your prospects’ pain points and priorities.
Where your brand POVs engage prospects on an emotional level, your value prop alignment engages prospects’ logical side and helps them to understand the ways your product will make their working lives better.
Of course, this logical journey should be an enjoyable one for your prospects. There’s no need for content to be dry as you’re leading them down this path of thinking. But prospects must be taken on this thought journey to grasp why they should choose your solution over your competitors’.
Status Quo Risks
It’s easy to overlook the status quo as a killer of deals, but it often is exactly that. Buying a new solution is a risk — we’ve probably all experienced a nightmare rollout of software that was a bad fit. No one wants to be the person who championed that hated software (and worry about the impact to their career as a result!). To overcome this resistance, the risks of the status quo must outweigh the risk of buying a new solution in the minds of your ideal-fit prospects.
A good content strategy will identify the risks involved in the ICP’s status quo and the specific impacts that it will have if it doesn’t change. Digging into the dangers involved in the status quo (when appropriate) in your content will help motivate prospects to take action.
Finally, we get to channels — SEO, paid search, organic social, paid social, email, etc. Channel strategy includes pinpointing which channels ideal-fit prospects prefer for their work-related activities (i.e. sure, you can capture prospects’ attention when they’re trying to relax and forget about work, but it’s probably counter-productive). It also includes how to best approach each channel for maximum results.
Content must, of course, get in front of prospects before it can engage them. Channel strategy is vitally important, but it’s not worth much without the prior three components. And SEO is only one channel!
Take a Holistic View for Effective Content Strategy
Content strategy can’t be siloed from the rest of a marketing strategy — it should be just as driven by ICP research, positioning, brand messaging, and product messaging as everything else. Content can be incredibly powerful if it’s created and distributed with a holistic perspective. You can rank content high in search and generate high-quality demo requests at the same time.
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