Is Your Content an Afterthought in Your Marketing? How to Step It Up

Posted by: Mike White Monday, January 06, 2014

Are you maximizing the potential of your marketing content?

Is Your Content an Afterthought

If I asked you to think of the content in your marketing, what would you think of? The text on your website? Your blog or social media posts? Would you even think of the text in your ads?

We've said before that the content is one of the most overlooked aspects of a website, but it's also one of the most overlooked aspects of marketing in general. Yet, if you're using inbound marketing techniques as part of your overall digital marketing, you need to have really high-quality content in order to win over potential customers.

Really, whether it's for an inbound or outbound marketing effort, you need to have really high-quality content.

So what counts as content anyway, and how can you ensure that you're maximizing every piece of content in your marketing?

What's Included in "Content"

Once you start looking for it, content pervades your entire marketing. Content includes:

  • The text on your website
  • Blogs
  • Emails
  • Videos
  • Social media posts
  • E-books
  • Infographics
  • Online presentations
  • Your ads (radio, TV, print, display)
  • Catalogues/magazines
  • Print brochures or rack cards

In other words, "content" is any kind of media that you create for potential customers. Whether it's a short web video you want them to watch, a radio ad you want them to listen to, or a brochure you want them to read, you're creating content.

The thing is, many businesses treat each of these items separately, working on them one at a time or letting completely different people handle each of them.

However, as we know, digital marketing as a whole is much more effective when your efforts are coordinated. This holds true with your content.

Imagine that you are a heating and air conditioning company. You've got a spot for a TV commercial, a blog post on your website, and a brochure at your office. It's August, which is the prime time for air conditioning repair. Which collection of content sounds like it will be more effective?

  • A. A commercial about your air conditioning repair services, a blog post about solar panels, and a brochure that lists all of your services.
  • B. A commercial about your air conditioning repair services, a blog post about troubleshooting common problems with an air conditioning unit (and when to call in the experts), and a brochure that explains all that goes into air conditioning repair (with information on your special preventative maintenance subscription).

The answer, of course, is B. See how each piece of content revolves around the same theme (air conditioning repair)? When your content is coordinated, even though each piece has its own individual goal, they are all as a whole working toward the same goal - in this case, getting people to call you when their air conditioning breaks down.

So how do you get this kind of coordination? Simple: through a content strategy.

Content Strategy: The Value of Planning Ahead

If your content isn't coordinated, it's probably not a purposeful decision you've made. Many businesses tackle their marketing one step at a time. That can work, but it's not as effective as strategizing beforehand.

What you want to do is sit down and come up with a plan. Do particular products or services do better in some months as opposed to others? Do you need to prepare for a new product launch or announcement at one point in the year?

Outline general themes and topics that you want your content to address for the whole year, breaking it down into exactly what you'll be focusing on per quarter, month, or week. Then identify what kinds of content you want to use in that quarter/month/week. Do you want to do radio ads? Several blog posts? An email blast?

Now, when it comes to creating each piece of content, you'll know the larger context in which it will go. Need to write a blog post? Look at that month's theme - now you will know what to write about, and you may even include a link to that web video that you're uploading earlier that week.

As a result, you are not only maximizing the value of your marketing content as a whole; you're maximizing the value of every individual piece of content, because it is not trying to stand alone.

You will also see more opportunities for intersecting content (such as sharing your new web video on a blog post, or referencing an ebook in your radio ad). Not to mention, you will minimize your chances of writing the same things over and over.

In short, a content strategy doesn't just make your life easier when it comes to creating content - it helps take your marketing from "getting it done" to "knocking it out of the park".