Mind The (Content Marketing Strategy) Gap!

With the new year fast approaching, you’re probably (hopefully…!) taking a look at your digital marketing and making sure you’re getting a decent bang for your buck. One area we’d really recommend focusing on is your content marketing strategy.

If you followed the advice from our ‘Content Marketing Checklist’ a couple of months ago, then you’ve likely seen an increase in traffic but as they say, there’s always room for improvement.

Did you know that 27 million pieces of content are shared online every day? And that figure is only growing. More and more brands are playing the role of publisher – producing blogs, GIFS, videos, podcasts and infographics – all with a core objective in mind. To deliver information, attract prospects and convert them into paying customers. Content marketing is rapidly gaining momentum here in the Middle East too. 69% of marketers in the region cite it as ‘very important’ and 74% plan on ramping up investment in the coming months.

As one of the most powerful ways to build relationships with your target audience, there’s no time like the now to make sure your standing out from the crowd. How? By identifying any gaps in your content marketing strategy and filling them – fast.

74% of marketing professionals predict a budget increase for content marketing in 2016

Why Find and Plug the Gaps?

As your business expands, it can become increasingly difficult to keep up one-to-one relationships with every current and potential customer. But engaging them at every critical stage of their journey with your brand is crucial. Consider this:

What aren’t you posting that can improve your audience’s buying decisions? Are you too focused on one subject? Is your content addressing each stage of the buyer’s journey? Is your competitors’ content strategy addressing issues that yours isn’t?

Without a gap analysis, you could be leaving out an entire audience or failing to understand what your current customers actually want. This can lead to missed opportunities for engagement and as a result – missed conversions. Leaving room for your competitors to swoop in. Disaster!

Fear not. If you’re serious about strengthening your content marketing efforts, the following four steps will help.

Step 1: Get internal insights

Ultimately you want to give your target market the information that they want and are actively looking for. What are your customers asking about? What are their key enquiries? Are there particular products that they’re consistently asking about?

Answers to these questions should be readily available via your account management, sales and customer support teams. Ask them for an overview of important elements, such as customer demographics, prospect types, FAQs and industry challenges. Better yet, bring them all together and run a workshop. This can start to give you a real-time sense of who your customers are and any frustrations that they’re facing.

Google can help here too. Type a keyword related to your company or industry into the search bar and check out the related terms that appear at the bottom of the dropdown. These are a good indication of the common keywords that people are using and can be used as a base to start tailoring your content.

Step 2: Talk to your audience

HubSpot says existing customers are the best place to start – and we couldn’t agree more. There’s nothing to be lost and everything to be gained by putting your customer at the centre of everything you do. What do they care about? What do they feel is missing from your brand online? What topics would they like you to cover on your company blog? And in what format? If you get the same feedback over and over, then hey presto! you’ve found a gap. Now it’s up to you to plug it.

91% of users in the UAE and 88% in KSA have taken action after seeing an online message

Step 3: Carry out a content audit

This will be an audit of your existing content, including web pages, articles, emails and social media. Consider your customer’s lifecycle with your company. At what points are you providing them with the information that they need? Does the majority of your content fall into the ‘research’ and ‘consideration’ stages of their path to purchase? Do you need to be creating more post-purchase content to develop loyalty? And are you paying enough attention to each of your different audience segments?

Look for aspects of the journey where your content might be lacking or even non-existent. This is where you risk losing customers to competitors, so look to roll out improvements as soon as possible. The path to purchase is no longer linear. you need to be providing value at every stage from every direction.

The path to purchase is no longer linear. you need to be providing value at every stage from every direction.

Ninety-one percent of users in the UAE and 88% in KSA have taken action after seeing a message (an online ad, video, or website content) from a brand that’s relevant to them. Communicate with your target market in the moments that matter and help them get what they want, when they want. This will not only provide a better experience, but will build trust and authority for your company – which will in turn lead to an increase in conversions.

Step 4: Finally, brainstorm

Work with your team to fill the gaps, craft quality content and determine the best platform for each specific type or format. Create an editorial calendar that considers these details, as well as the date that the content is due to be published, the audience pain points that it covers, the buying stage targeted and the call-to-action included.

Content marketing should be a strategic, company-wide effort designed to drive tangible business results. Analysing the gaps in your current approach and filling the voids may take time, but it can have a significant impact on your bottom line.

You’re spending money to create content. If you’re looking for a return on that investment, you have to make sure that each and every touchpoint benefits prospects and customers at all stages of their journey.

Mark Warman - Founder & Digital Consultant Administrator

With a background in design, technology and user experience, I help businesses adapt. Adapt to the changing needs and expectations of their digital audiences.