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The web is alive with articles about creating a content strategy and what elements to include, but we want to take a deeper look at why it is important. Why will a content strategy help to drive sales for your business?

In the same way that you have a business plan, your content strategy is the foundation that defines how you are going to draw customers to your business using good quality content.

Unfortunately we still see so many businesses that do not have anything concrete in place and continue to churn out blog after blog, with no clear idea of what they want to achieve and, more importantly, how that piece of content is going to drive leads and sales.

“Just 5% of [that] branded content garners 90% of total consumer engagements.” Beckon,Marketing Truth or Marketing Hype

The amount of content being produced is increasing astronomically, but, according to the same report, “the proliferation of content does not appear to be creating incrementally more brand engagement”. This means that a staggering amount of content that brands/businesses are producing is getting no interaction (the number of clicks, views, likes, shares, mentions etc) from consumers and is therefore just wasting money. [tweetthis]Say Goodbye to #content that’s never read[/tweetthis]

Without a strategy it’s just content production for content production’s sake

[tweetthis]Content without a strategy it’s just content production for content production’s sake[/tweetthis]
With no real sense of why you are producing content and no mechanisms in place to drive traffic to it, how can you ever hope to increase sales?

When you have completed your planning and research into your customers, you know more clearly what makes them tick, what information that are looking for and when. We went into more detail about this topic in our ‘Why an avatar will boost sales’.

Help your customers through the buying process

A clear content strategy will ensure that every piece of content you produce has a detailed plan that will lead customers through the buying process: [tweetthis]#GoodContent should help your customers through the #buyingprocess[/tweetthis]

  • A targeted distribution list or clear idea of who you want to reach
  • The channels you will use to distribute it
  • Automated email campaigns to encourage the purchase
  • A sales landing page (or similar) that provides all the information they need
  • An easy and clear purchasing process
  • Information for your sales team and customer service
  • A way to capture buyer data
  • On-boarding (for app or service) or purchase communications to keep customers informed
  • Feedback and product reviews

This list isn’t complete, but it gives you a sense of what needs to be considered to secure that sale. You can’t post a blog and hope that someone reads it, not when there is so much content produced on a daily basis.

One tone of voice

In addition to the sales process, a good content strategy will help you to consistently write on-brand – anyone who is creating content is developing it in the same tone of voice and portraying the right image for your business. It’s not uncommon to have multiple contributors, but what is important is to make sure they have the guidelines to work to.

Resources to deliver your strategy

Many businesses are spending money on generating content, whether that’s employing copywriters for blogs and whitepapers or design agencies for infographics. With a well-thought out strategy you will understand what additional resources or support you may need in order to deliver your sales targets. A strategic approach that links with your financial planning and forecasting means you will have a much clearer understanding of how much you have to spend on content marketing and what you can realistically achieve with that budget.

Data-driven content

Generating good quality, targeted content has many other benefits in today’s marketing landscape:

  • Better search rankings
  • Data collection
  • Targeted and personalised content

These are very closely linked to each other and a great way of getting more insights about your customers, what content is working for you and, when you make that all-important sale, how your customer came to buy from you.

Be patient and persevere

People don’t buy immediately; they need time to do their research, make comparisons, talk to relatives and friends. What you need to do is to help your buyer through these phases – be there with relevant content that proves you are the right choice for them.

Results may not come immediately but if you set realistic timeframes as part of your strategy, you won’t feel dejected and this will keep you motivated to continue. It’s important not to ditch your strategy because you’ve not seen results in the first month – your content strategy is a living, breathing document that needs regular attention and will keep you focused so the sales come through in a steady stream. With all the parts of the jigsaw puzzle in place, a strong content strategy that is targeted and specific will help to increase sales.