Kristen Geil is a Digital Content Writer/Blogger at Digital Third Coast, a digital content marketing agency based in Chicago. Connect with Kristen on LinkedIn.
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“Content is king.” Raise your hand if you’ve heard that phrase sometime in the past year. Spoiler alert: everyone’s hands should be raised.
With the continued rise of content marketing (a recent study from Content Marketing Institute found that 58% of businesses plan to increase their content marketing budget in 2014), businesses have had to adjust their digital marketing strategies. It’s no longer enough to send a press release in an e-mail blast, hoping that a journalist will bite and write a little something up. Digital marketing has become much more detailed and multi-faceted. As a result, digital marketers are becoming more creative in the way they develop and market content, and it’s impacting the way we do business on social media.
A More Sophisticated Approach
With the new school of thought around content marketing, creators rely on buyer personas to drive content creation, rather than creating a piece of content first and then shopping it around to anyone who’s interested.
Digital marketers borrow this strategy by keeping the audience at the forefront of all marketing strategies, asking themselves questions like, “Which digital channel would most effectively reach our marketing manager persona?” Keeping content and marketing strategies closely aligned with personas ensures that the marketing message stays on-brand and targeted towards a specific, segmented audience.
Similarly, content marketing strategists plan content for different stages along the buyer journey; an e-book in exchange for an email capture might be designed with a new customer in mind, while an email call-to-action encouraging the reader to call for a consultation would be more effective to a lead who has visited the site several times but has yet to fill out a contact form.
68% of marketers recognize the importance of aligning content with the buyer’s journey, and digital marketers have adopted this mindset when determining the best ways to reach potential customers.
Finally, content marketing has revolutionized the way digital marketers interact with their audience. Where companies used to devote time and energy to build out customer service departments, now social media managers exist, creating content designed to increase engagement with their audience AND quickly address customers’ concerns.
Sales calls used to be the norm for generating leads – now, company blogs allows potential clients to peek into a company’s day-to-day work, with bonus points gained in the lead’s eyes if the company blog also acts as a resource, answers common questions, and gives the reader new information without even requiring the reader to leave an e-mail address.
Content provides a foundation on which companies can build trust and authority within their industry while also engaging with current and future customers.
Where Social Becomes Crucial
Social media, then, is the next wave of digital marketing strategy revolution. Social media has evolved from just being a megaphone used to inform your customers of a new service to being a vehicle for sharing content, interacting with (and defining) your personas, answering their questions, positioning yourself as an industry expert, and more.
Social media doesn’t exist as a digital marketing strategy in isolation. Instead, it’s used as an interactive tool, connecting content marketing with an overall digital marketing strategy.
Content may be king, but social bridges the gap between the king and his court. Now, raise your hand if that’s a digital marketing strategy you can support.