Our content marketing strategy and framework revolves around the concept of ‘content streams’.
At BeKonstructive Marketing, our content marketing services always start with a strategy session to plan out the goals, KPIs, channels, mediums and most importantly ‘content streams’.
Content streams – also often also referred to as ‘content pillars’, ‘content topics’ or ‘content themes’ – are the different categories that your content falls into. Each content stream should represent a different element of your overall marketing message.
A great way to figure out what your content streams are is to pull apart your marketing message, and the different pieces of information that a consumer may want to gather before making their purchasing decision.
In order to explain why the concept of content streams is important for your content marketing strategy, we must first look at why content marketing is important for your digital marketing or wider marketing strategy.
Why do we do content marketing?
Content marketing fills a number of different roles – it is a key form of communicating with audiences to educate them, announce product updates and lead them through the different pathways or “funnels” to purchase. It is also used to keep existing and repeat customers updated and engaged.
There is one common role that almost every single brand or business relies on content marketing to perform. And that is customer research. If a customer is considering purchasing from you, one of the first things they will do is research your brand, your products and your reputation.
How far in advance they research will depend largely on your industry and products. For example, in the wedding industry it is not uncommon for users to start following/subscribing to wedding dress designers 3-4 months before they purchase. On the other hand, if they are making an impulse purchase of a $50 dress, they might just jump on for a quick squizz through your Instagram feed and browse a few testimonials to make sure that you’re a legitimate website/brand and that the quality of the garments is decent.
So, what does that mean for your content marketing strategy? Well, it means that you have to identify the different information that someone needs to convert (buy, book, order, subscribe etc) and craft your content streams to match. If you have a full marketing strategy, then a lot of this information will already be covered in the marketing message.
Example Customer Journey Using Content Marketing:
As an example of the importance of content marketing and why it is important, I’ve outlined a customer journey and how they might interact with content each step of the way. In each of the steps below, a piece of content has helped drive them to the next step, slowly building up their product knowledge, brand awareness and brand trust until they are ready to commit to a purchase.
- Customer: Types query into YouTube “How do I stop wrinkles?” Company: Your optimised video “How Retinol Reduces Wrinkles & Other Signs of Aging” appears on the first page. The customer watches it and is convinced that retinol is the golden ticket that will fix all of their ageing woes.
- Customer: Types “Best Retinol Creams” into Google. Company: Your SEO article appears: “10 Reasons Why Company XYZ Makes the Best Retinol Creams” appears on the first page. The customer reads it and is intrigued.
- Customer: Clicks through to Company XYZ website and browses case studies showing before and after and is starting to think this is too good to be true.
- Customer: Searches for Company XYZ on Instagram to see what “real” people are saying about their products. They are greeted with videos, photos and user generated content from Instagram influencers exclaiming how amazing the results are.
- Consumer: Is convinced – they click back to Company XYZ website ready to purchase and discover that there is a 10% off with first purchase promo – all they have to do is provide their email address to be emailed the discount code. Customer signs up.
- Customer: Receives email with code and uses it to purchase the product and check-out.
- Company: Sends customer weekly emails with their latest product releases, beauty blogs and tutorial videos. Fast forward 3 months and customer is a loyal repeat customer who now uses multiple products from Company XYZ’s range and has also converted several of her friends to the brand as well.
This is obviously a very condensed and simplified customer journey, but straight away we can see some different types of content – or themes – emerging. Educational to teach the customer, proof in the form of before-and-after and testimonials to convince the customer, and then promotional in the form of a discount code to get the customer to convert.
Crafting Your Content Streams:
There are a few different steps that go into crafting your content streams for your content strategy, and there are a number of different methods for doing so. Below I’ve outlined our basic step-by-step process, but this might vary depending on your goals, your target audiences, the platforms and mediums you’re using in your content marketing, your industry, the standard customer journey and many more variables.
This is a simple ‘beginners guide’ that you can use to start building out your content streams.
- Identify your goals. What are your goals for your content marketing activities? Is it brand awareness and accessing new audiences? Is it driving more sales, leads and enquiries? Or is it for keeping your existing customers engaged and loyal, resulting in a higher rate of repeat customers? Most likely it is a combination of all of the above, but one of those goals probably stands out as being stronger than the others.
- Based on your top goal, who is your target audience? Cold audiences who have never heard of your brand before? Warm audiences who know who you are and what you do, but who have not converted yet? Or hot audiences who have purchased from you at least once previously? Once again, it is probably a combination of all, but with one standing out amongst the others.
- What do they want? Based on the two answers above, what content do they want to receive? What messages and information do they need to get them from A to B? For example, a cold audience member is probably going to need to be educated about your brand and product range – who are you, what do you do, why is it different and why should they take notice? Someone who knows who you are on the other hand is probably ready to be educated about the specific features and benefits of your products. Why is your product better than your competitors, and what do some previous customers have to say about the price, quality and functionality? And your existing customers probably want to be kept up to date with new product launches or sales as well as educational content relating to how to use the product, how to care for the product or how to extend the product’s lifespan.
So just at looking at this *very simplistic* breakdown, we can already start to see several different content streams develop:
- You’re going to want a content stream that talks about your brand, your brand values and who you are. Show stories about your staff and team to personalise your brand; show stories about how you source your materials and manufacture your product to build trust; and share stories around your values like sustainability, innovation, being organic, social issues etc. to gain love.
- You’re going to want a content stream that talks about your product/service features and benefits. What do they actually get when they buy from you? What does your product do differently? What makes it special, and why can’t they live without it?
- You’re going to want a content stream that provides ‘proof’ – testimonials, reviews, results, before-and-after photos, case studies, portfolio, influencer marketing and scientific trials/tests all fall into this category.
- You’re going to want a promotional content stream that talks about new products, sales and discounts, brand collaborations, add-ons or accessories and more.
- You’re going to want a content stream that looks at post-purchasing education – how do I use the product? How do I look after it? What are some additional uses/applications I might not have thought about?
Already we have 5 different content streams, and we haven’t even started to look at concepts like establishing yourself as an industry thought-leader, content that addresses FAQs, content designed to entertain, free value-add content (like whitepapers etc.), event-related content etc. So, you can see how a content marketing strategy can quickly add up to have 6-10 different content streams. And how each individual content stream plays a very important role in the customer journey.
Content Marketing Workshops:
BeKonstructive Marketing’s content marketing workshops are a series of one-on-one sessions where we work through your marketing goals and marketing message to develop a content marketing strategy featuring the different content streams, content mediums and content channels for your brand to be present on.
We show you how to create and curate content, how to find new topics to talk about, and how to engage with your audience. We then show you how to use tools like Canva, Unsplash and Later to build out a content calendar, develop content and schedule the content for auto-publish.
The workshops are run over a number of weeks and are ideal for small businesses that understand the importance of content marketing and are happy to DIY their content… but are not quite sure where to start.
Please head to our online form and submit an enquiry if you would like to find out more about our content marketing workshops and our availability.