Content planning tips by content marketing agency Headstream for 2016

69179_headstream-logo-copyAs 2016 approaches, one thing that should certainly be at the heart of any robust marketing plan is content. If it is relevant, original and correctly targeted, content can help brands to stand out from the masses, create a meaningful relationship with consumers, and potentially influence a purchase decision.

“2016 is about brands refocusing their efforts on creating and refining good quality content that is relevant and visible to their audience” says Steve Sponder, Managing Director of Headstream. “Producing original content is vital to help differentiate you from your competitors and should be part of any overarching brand strategy.”

Here are our 4 recommendations to help plan, create and leverage the right content in 2016.

  1. Tell a story

Everyone loves a good story. The right story can leverage your brand message within the marketplace, establish a strong relationship with your target audience and even influence their decision to purchase. More than half of those surveyed in our own research (55%) said they were more likely to buy from a brand if they feel it tells good stories. So it’s worth putting some time and effort into getting it right.

When planning for the year ahead, consider what kind of story your brand would tell. What are its key values, and how can your content demonstrate these in a way that will excite, entertain or incite emotion in your target audience?

  1. Review your content distribution

Reaching the right people, at the right time, in the right place will be vital to differentiate your brand next year.

In 2016 we’re likely to see more ‘signal-driven’ content distribution. This means listening to your target audience, and sending them useful content when they need it. So you need to know your customers – where they are and when, what social networks they use and how often, what kind of content excites them, and what else they’re interested in.

And in 2016, if your content isn’t optimised for mobile, you will be missing out.

  1. Create a consistent brand experience

Consider your customer journey, and what content is served to your audience along the way. Consistent messages, branding and calls to action will help customers to establish trust in your brand, as well as increase the chance of conversions.

New tools such as Facebook’s Target Ratings Points system have been designed to help plan campaigns across TV and Facebook to optimise ads and measure their success effectively.

If you’re putting together a content strategy for 2016, try shifting your focus from looking at above and below the line separately, to viewing your customer experience as a whole.

  1. Rethink your SEO budget

As we’ve seen in their recent ‘Phantom 2’ update, Google is now rewarding publishers whose content is relevant and useful to people who have searched for it. This means that some of your budget currently set aside for investment in SEO, may, in truth, need to be reallocated to content creation.

It’s likely that we’ll see more of these kinds of changes in search result algorithms as we head into 2016.

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