BRIEFCASE™ content marketing strategy, a 5-step process, will help you design both creative and educational content for your health and beauty brand. BRIEFCASE™ content marketing strategy will also help you achieve 10X awareness and engagement via any media-owned, earned, and paid, especially online, and consequently increase traffic, sales, and loyalty on owned as well as retail channels, both online and offline, without increasing your marketing budget.
Before the 5-step BRIEFCASE™ content marketing strategy, you need to create a powerful brand story. Your brand positioning statement, derived from the brand story and strategy process, will serve as a guide for the 5-step process.
You will learn
BRIEF: How to create a one-page BRIEF, content marketing strategy document?
C: Creative Idea-How to come up with a creative idea for the BRIEFCASE content marketing strategy and how to evaluate a creative idea on form and function?
A: AIM BIG Creative Content Creation Framework-How to create, repurpose and grow creative content campaign into a movement?
S: School-How to create an educational content campaign?
E: Effectiveness-How to measure the effectiveness of the content marketing strategy?
STEP 1: BRIEF-One Page, Content Marketing Strategy Document
The first step is a one-page document, which serves as a master BRIEF for the rest of the steps.
a. Content Marketing Strategy Goal that delivers on Annual Brand Goals
Goals and KPIs:
Target one specific goal for the year with relevant KPIs: Goal that both creative and educational content will help achieve. Choose one brand funnel goal out of awareness, interest, trial, purchase, repeat purchase, loyalty, advocacy: quantified and broken down into subsequent KPIs.
For example, a brand that lacks awareness in the target segment, which is the case with a new health and beauty brand, the yearly goal could be to create 10% awareness in the target segment.
Awareness would be measured by reach and frequency on social media, website traffic, and validated by consumer surveys (discussed in step 5). The target % awareness needs to be then broken down and justified by drivers of awareness (metrics) based on a benchmark.
To illustrate the process of justifying target % and coming up with KPIs for the goal of BRIEFCASE™ content marketing strategy,
Let’s say 30 Instagram posts over last month generated an organic reach of 20,000 people, out of which 10,000 were unique, and generated traffic of 500 people to your website. And unique traffic, google analytics will tell you, was 400.
If 10% awareness of your target segment means a reach of approx. 200,000 people with a minimum frequency of 6, for them to remember you, means your brand should generate 200,000*6=1.2 million impressions for 200,000 people.
So, you need to hit a reach*frequency of 20,000 unique people with a minimum frequency of 5 every month. The monthly reach*frequency could be achieved purely via organic or with a combination of organic and paid reach.
With creative content campaigns, you can target 3X-5X the usual “organic reach,” factoring higher engagement with the posts than usual, considering the novelty of the creatives for both brand tribes and prospects.
Also, the more creative the content, the fewer times they need to see your content. So, instead of 6 times, seeing your content once or twice will do.
So, for 200,000 people to be aware of your brand in a year, You need to show your creative content to approx. 20,000-40,000 people per month, which is possible organically with creative enough content.
So, if your content reached 10,000 unique people organically in a month and with creative content, you could target 3X-5X the number, means you could reach 30,000-50,000 unique people in a month far exceeding the goal of 20,000-40,000!
Not to mention, the opportunity to go viral!
Earning engagement through partnerships with influencers and your brand tribes could help you further increase organic reach.
Also, for creative campaigns, factor the paid reach that the social media platform estimates for you based on your budget. Identify derivative monthly KPIs out of the 20,000 people who saw the campaign at least 5 times, like 2,000 website visitors, 500 new subscribers, and 100 new consumers with a minimum purchase of $100 per consumer.
Remember, paid reach is tricky. You should never pay for it unless you get the highest return on investment as measured by engagement online and conversion to subscription and eventual sales and loyalty.
First, test the reach for creative content campaign organically to see the reach and engagement, visits to the site, subscribers, and conversion to sales and loyalty to decide on paid reach.
Typically, paid advertising works on pulsing. Couple that with exceptional creativity and you get, what I call, a multiplier effect. Instead of spreading your budget over a month, you should guerilla your budget in pockets of intensity for creative content campaigns that stand apart. Creative campaigns could be used for both organic and paid reach, depending on your budget.
b. Consumer Insight: How they frame their needs
Everybody is looking for solutions to their problems but worded in a way that they define the problem as. Insights help in defining the need in the consumer’s language. How a consumer thinks and frames her needs is critical to creating both creative and educational content that resonates.
c. Consumer Pain Point: Emotional+Functional
Consumer need framed to an emotional extreme is the enemy that haunts them.
d. Who: Persona
Your target consumer’s demographic, psychographic, and shopping behavior described as part of her persona.
The above will also include her likes, dislikes, books she reads, tv programs she watches, her beliefs and values, etc.
e. Core Emotional Promise: Singular message
The unique emotional benefit of your brand helps the consumer overcome their emotional enemy.
All of the above combined helps in choosing the creative idea and then later, the specific content type: visuals, language, etc.
f. Brand Values and Personality
Never contradict the core values of the brand.
Personality is your brand’s look and feel, tone, and tenor. Usually, a brand personality is on one of these traits: sophisticated, rugged, competent, exciting, sincere.
You could also decide to be aspirational for, self-expressive of, or have a relationship with the identified consumer persona.
g. Reason To Believe-Why should the consumer believe you could provide the benefit
Points b to g are not chosen during the BRIEFCASE™ Content Marketing Strategy process, but the brand story creation. They serve as a part of the BRIEF for the rest of the content marketing strategy.
h. Action: What do you want the consumer to do-Focus on one
It depends on where there is a leak in your funnel. For example, if awareness is 50%, and 40% of people have the brand in their consideration set, but trials are less than 10%, it means the leak is happening between consideration and trials. Your creative campaign and educational content should drive actions that lead to trials.
For example, the singular message of the narrative should induce a low investment action like, “See the difference it makes” or “Notice the immediate difference” etc.
For low awareness, the creative content should instigate experiencing the whole story on the site.
Please note, the objective of your BRIEFCASE™ content marketing strategy is not the action that you want to ask your consumer to take.
It is the desired outcome(for the brand) of the action they undertake as a result of the singular message.
i. Media-Fit with the desired action, content objective, media budget, and creative idea
Decide media in the following order: Where is our consumer most likely to take the desired action with the least distraction.
For example, if you are targeting millennial women, and you are a new beauty brand, Instagram helps you get awareness because of the faster scrolling and visual nature. For storytelling, social media is heavily suited because of the innate feature of shareability.
Primary media is for the long-form content and storytelling video.
Secondary media is where you repurpose and customize your content via media.
Refine the BRIEF with at least three edits. Make it tighter and more precise.
Check: Needs to fit on one page without cluttering it.
Creative content targets prospects as well as current consumers and brand tribes via both organic (earned) and paid reach.
Educational content mainly targets current followers, subscribers, consumers, and tribes but will also bring prospects organically, especially for the DTC (online channel) via search engine optimization.
This one-page document serves as an internal and external guide for the BRIEFCASE™ Content Marketing Strategy.
Step 2-C: Creative Idea for BRIEFCASE™ Content Marketing Strategy
For this step, you could take the help of a creative agency, not just an operational digital marketing agency, or could brainstorm with your team/your team does it for you, depending upon your budget.
a. Present- The BRIEF of the content marketing strategy to the creative team/agency
Request multiple, at least three creative ideas for storytelling with hand-drawn storyboards or on PowerPoint. Creative ideas should flow out of the “core emotional promise” and should align with the rest of the one-page BRIEF, described in step 1.
b. Evaluate- The creative ideas on both Form and Function.
Form is to be unique enough to break the clutter and brand to be perceived as a champion at that.
Function means communicating the message clearly to elicit the desired action and achieve the goal of the BRIEFCASE™ content marketing strategy.
Score the three creative ideas on form and function. Use your core team or a few trusted consumers and tribes to score these creative ideas.
The final score= Form* Function. Use a scale of 1-5 for each form and function, making the maximum possible total of 25.
At this stage, Form has to be scored on “potential” to break the clutter and on how it feels even if the creative idea is not storyboarded in full detail. For an idea to qualify on form, it should score a minimum of 4 with a clear potential to be a 5.
Also, Form vetoes Function at this stage, especially for health and beauty brands with limited resources and consequently, low awareness.
The intent is not to go into details of the creative content but to relatively evaluate the storyboarded creative ideas.
c. Overall Storytelling Theme(Optional)
Post finalizing the creative idea for BRIEFCASE™ content marketing strategy, you could also choose an “overall” theme of the creative storytelling campaign.
The theme could be, but not limited to, one of the below types:
- Treasure Hunt
- David Vs. Goliath
- Rags to Riches
Post choosing one “creative idea” based on form and function and deciding on the theme for storytelling (not mandatory), provide guidance and feedback, to team or agency, in line with the one-page BRIEF.
One creative idea should have longevity of at least 2-3 years, with at least one campaign/year and with multiple content campaigns/ads within each campaign as well as 30-60 social media posts for each of those content campaigns/ads for every type of social media.
Step 3-A: AIM BIG Creative Content Creation Framework-BRIEFCASE™ Content Marketing Strategy
With the chosen creative idea & overall storytelling theme, the creative agency/your team/yourself starts working on the Creative Content Campaign for the year (Master Storytelling Video).
This serves as the master content/ad campaign for the year.
As a marketer, your job is to check the alignment of the creative content campaign with the BRIEF content marketing strategy document, Step 1, and AIM BIG framework explained below.
AIM BIG CREATIVE CONTENT CREATION
Creative content campaigns could be used for both earned and paid campaigns.
A: Attention: (Form)-This is what the creative content campaign video/long-form creative (and subsequent repurposed content) should begin with
Our brain focuses on anything that is out of line or extraordinary because of evolutionary instincts, and maybe the laziness makes it focus on what is most salient along with anything humorous.
Any deviation from the normal garners attention.
Examples of attention-grabbing content:
Superlative visuals-Ten Tree
Humour-Dollar Shave Club
Mash-Ups(Incongruent)- Two contrasting images or words or background context: Anything that is incongruent with our commonplace understanding of the world:
Incongruent-Dove Beauty Ad starts with New York Detective
I: Interest (Form)
Post attention, the consumer will stay interested if the storytelling relates to her in an extremely salient way.
Insights about the consumer should surface next as she starts “feeling” consciously or subconsciously; what’s in it for me?
Dove Real Beauty campaign
Women start describing their physical features when prompted, in critical terms, something every woman identifies with, and this insight connects strongly with Dove’s Mission.
M: Message (Function)
Singular Message is the key.
Deliver a singular message since the consumer is aware of their emotional enemy, and the mind is looking for a solution.
The singular message should be heard or built towards, throughout the storytelling video, or towards the climax of storytelling.
VICE DUH? framework comes in handy here.
The singular message of Dove Real Beauty Campaign: You are more beautiful than you think.
This message is elaborated on by women citing how their perception of their beauty ends up impacting their whole lives: careers, raising children, marriage, etc.
B: Brand- The driving force, a partner who shares/celebrates the values-(Form+Function)
The brand should play the role of the champion driver or a partner in purpose to help the consumer overcome their emotional enemy.
The best partnerships are where you let the consumer be the hero but be present all along the way, supporting the endeavor, with shared beliefs, values, and purpose.
Dove Real Beauty Campaign:
The brand is introduced right at the climax after the emotional surge, coinciding with the core message. Throughout the ad, you could feel someone directing the story, organizing and bringing the artist and the women together, asking questions of the women, and driving the whole storytelling.
The brand is introduced very nonchalantly in the end but resonates very strongly with our emotions.
I: Intersect- Across more than one media channel and your website-(Form & Function)
Customize the creative idea across channels by media.
For example, Dove Real Beauty TV video campaign was translated into various social media posts with messages aligned with the real beauty campaign.
G: Grow- The creative idea sequentially for longevity and memorability-(Form & Function)
How? As opposed to a one-off creative campaign or creating campaigns in isolation, choose a creative idea for at least 2-3 years and roll out a campaign per year, within the larger creative idea.
Launch a series of content campaigns/ads within those campaigns, and then repurpose posts/videos for a quarter for those ads.
Grow the first content campaign into a new campaign next year with the same creative idea to continue the movement.
Example of various content campaigns/ads within the Real Beauty creative idea:
Campaign 1: Evolution
Campaign 2: Sketches( Shown earlier)
Campaign 3: The Mannequin Challenge
Creative Content Campaign Pyramid
For each content campaign, that would run for 12 months, introduce storytelling in the form of a master video campaign, a couple of content campaigns/ ads for 3-6 months, and 40-60 social media posts derived from the video ads and repurposed as gifs, shorter videos, images, and carousels, quotes, etc. and customized by social media type.
Use the master video, best performing video content, and shorter videos and posts for sponsored content.
Create repurposed PR and Influencer content out of the above master video campaign and social media posts and blogs, like a ready to share the content kit with images, videos, text, contests, gifs, etc.
Calls to action, for creative campaigns, would depend on the action you want the consumer to take. Make sure you keep the calls to action as creative as the campaign.
STEP 4- S: School-BRIEFCASE™ Content Marketing Strategy
Ideally, educational content is bound to do better for consumers who live a lifestyle of health and sustainability.
And for highly motivated consumers with extreme or pressing functional need such as severe allergies, irritation, health issues, or tough skin challenges.
However, it is not a content type that is shared by masses.
The difference between a creative content campaign and the educational content campaign is that they offer two different routes to take the consumer to the next step on the funnel.-summary
For highly motivated consumers, educational content will also help you acquire new consumers via google ranking and SEO.
Creative content ensures higher organic and paid reach/engagement with a segment beyond the highly motivated and offers higher loyalty with those who end up buying, all things equal.
In contrast, educational content is a fit for trials and purchases for highly motivated and high involvement consumers.
Also, creative content, because of constraints on time, money, and ideas, should not be customized by the consumer stage on funnel but should target one big objective identified on the BRIEF Content Strategy Document.
Long-form educational content would be used mainly for creating awareness and traffic for the online channel via SEO-google search and content distribution as well as customized by DTC, Trade Shows, Consumer Shows, and Brand Education or demos at the store, social media posts targeting the current audience.
For your online, DTC business, educational content should be customized by subscribers(followers), buyers, loyal, and advocates. Educational content is not a very cost-effective tool for reaching new audiences via paid media.
Use Skyscraper technique to write one master blog post/quarter aligned with/derived from the creative campaign storytelling video with a singular objective and singular message (as identified in master brief of the BRIEFCASE Content Marketing Strategy.
Skyscraper technique will help you identify the structure and type of content that has the highest probability of being shared and engagement with influencers and your target audience.
It will also help in ranking on google and will help you reach out to influencers for the distribution of content.
The Master blog post for the quarter would be 5,000-6,000 words long. Every blog post should be rich with summaries, images, videos, and gifs, etc. Target keywords, both short and long-tail keywords, aligned with your brand story.
In line with and elaborating/building on the master blog for the quarter, write one blog post/month with around 2,500-3,000 words. These are shorter than master blogs but pick a few ideas from the master blog and elaborate those in detail while linking to the master blog.
Again, building on the monthly blog, write 4 weekly blogs around 1,500-2,000 words each, picking a few ideas mentioned in the monthly blog, and linking internally to the same.
Share the before mentioned blog posts with influencers, for backlinks to your blogs, and distribution of content. Use content marketing portals like buzzsumo for identifying the type of content and influencers.
Repurpose blog posts into content for PR and Influencers and your newsletter, depending upon the audience of the influencers and segment of your subscribers or consumers.
Also, create 20-30 social media posts, out of 4 blog posts, for each month, and then repurpose into gifs, short videos, images, carousels, quotes, etc., customized later by every social media type.
Create customized educational content by brand funnel segment.
Subscribers, but who have not purchased
The objective is generating trials. The usual challenge to trials are unsure about effectiveness, compatibility with particular skin issues or not moved emotionally by the story.
Following type of educational content helps-type: user-generated reviews around skin issues, elaborating on quality drivers of effectiveness.
You could also elaborate on how the product technically works to take care of extreme skin issues and focus on benefits vs. features.
Inactive Consumers, those who stopped buying
You don’t want to offer discounts to get back these consumers.
But, speak to those who could not get the desired results because of the reasons such as not using the right product, incorrect application, etc.
Through a survey, you will understand the reason for them being inactive.
Share product improvement information and let them know about new products that could solve the problems better, along with sharing your creative content to appeal to their emotions.
Sharing education on products not bought by the regular consumers, education on how to use on more than one occasion, and education to gain a higher share of an occasion.
In-depth education manuals and books as a part of the brand tribe reward program for increasing bonding with the highest tier brand tribe consumer.
Top-down educational content would target existing followers, buyers, and fans. In contrast, the creative campaign would be for achieving the content objective for the year, targeting prospects for increasing awareness, interest, consideration, or purchase.
The creative campaign will also be shared with fans for amplifying organic reach.
Go Guerilla with paid creative campaigns concentrated during a particular week, days, and hours of a month, and rest of the month use content derived from blog posts.
STEP 5- E: Effectiveness-BRIEFCASE™ Content Marketing Strategy
This measurement is essential to achieve the consumer funnel objective identified in the one-page BRIEF of the briefcase content marketing strategy and also move further on the rest of the stages of the brand funnel.
(NOTE: I always advocate using brand diffusion leveraging brand tribes vs. top-down marketing funnel. Creative content campaigns will help you recruit potential tribe members faster in the absence of/along with a highly differentiated and engaging brand tribe program.
Creative campaigns can be leveraged with guerilla marketing to achieve 10X returns on investment.
Also, even without any paid marketing, AIM BIG creative content campaigns have the potential to go viral, in which case they are justified.
Ultimately, creative campaigns, driven via an organic brand tribe program, would also increase loyalty and advocacy for the brand.
Brand Funnel measurement will tell you where the leak is happening between the entire range of awareness and advocacy. Is there insufficient awareness, or interest, or consideration, or trial, or purchase, or repeat purchase, or loyalty or advocacy?
Divide the forward-looking metrics into two categories: For Prospects and For Consumers.
For prospects, brand funnel runs from awareness to purchase, whereas, for consumers, the funnel runs from purchase to advocacy.
Does not harm: $500 budget, once in a year, for the targeted audience to see where you are on the brand funnel as well as to check the effectiveness of the yearly content campaign. You must co-relate the metric that social media gives you with the voice of consumer uncovered through consumer surveys.
Forward-looking for prospects -Once a year or after a major campaign
Conduct a consumer survey of your current target audience by location, with a sample size of a maximum of 300 respondents for a target segment population of 500k.
Check for the below:
a. Unaided Recall: Check for unprompted familiarity with natural skincare brands?
b. Aided Recall: Prompt and check which natural skincare brands have they heard of?
c. Brand Recognition: (Affected by the slogan, identity, packaging, advertisement): Ability to recall a brand from assets. For example, you could show packaging without the logo and ask them to recognize the brand.
d. Message Recall: To check if the campaign was effective on function or not? Survey those people who saw your creative campaign and check how many remember the message?
e. Purchase intent: Survey post a campaign: Find out brand preference and the intent to purchase in the next 30 days post a campaign.
Forward-Looking for consumers, including tribe members, (Action Zone) Predicts consumer lifetime value and advocacy: Once a quarter to once a year
You could choose to survey only your online consumers via a newsletter, who are part of your brand tribe program.
In the absence of a brand tribe database, let consumers self-select themselves into brand advocates, during the consumer survey mentioned above, and have subsequent questions for those who identify themselves.
a. Do check for Net Promoter Score for your brand
b. Also, evaluate Brand Tribe metrics such as current opportunities to recommend the brand online, growth in love for the brand over last year,
c. Satisfaction with core brand promise on a Likert scale & qualitative feedback to elaborate
d. And satisfaction with additional brand benefit claims on a Likert scale.
Backward Looking Metrics
To be tracked for every post and content campaign. Check for subscriptions on the website, sales, and NMC=Net Marketing Contribution and EBITDA, both offline and online.
Segment your tracking by educational content performance versus creative content campaigns for metrics provided by the media.
BRIEFCASE™ Content Marketing Strategy helps a health and beauty brand leverage a scalable and cohesive, creative, and educational content for achieving 10X growth, whether through organic or combining with paid.
Most of the content, for health and beauty brands, is all over the place and is talking only about ingredients of the product and is merely educational and sporadic at that, unlike chapters of the same book driving home one singular idea and message.
A beauty brand needs disproportionate awareness and engagement returns on any content via any media, and that’s why they need to start leveraging creative content campaigns along with educational content.
You need a focused creative and educational campaign strategy with a horizon of 1-3 years and which evolves every year.
1. The Brief Case Content Marketing Strategy starts with a one-page master BRIEF, with one clear objective.
The BRIEF defines consumer pain paint and persona, a unique offering of the brand, a singular message, a desired response from the consumer, and the best fit media for eliciting the desired response.
2. The above master BRIEF for the year should be shared with the creative agency/internal team and asked to submit 3 creative ideas in the form of rough storyboards. Choose one creative idea based on form + function evaluation.
3. Within the chosen creative idea, launch a creative content campaign for the year, beginning with one creative long video 1-2 mins in length.
Review the creative content campaign video on Master BRIEF and AIM BIG content creation framework.
From the creative campaign/video, create shorter videos, posts, gifs, and carousels for social media targeting around 20-30 posts every month. The creative content campaign could also be leveraged for paid campaigns.
Grow and build on the creative content campaign by customizing for different media types along with launching subsequent content campaigns every 4-6 months to increase longevity and memorability of the creative idea and brand.
4. The second piece of your BRIEFCASE content marketing strategy is SCHOOL: educational content marketing. Leverage the Skyscraper technique for creating content that will help you rank higher, generate traffic, and is shared by the key influencers.
Aligned with the creative idea and campaign, begin with a 5,000-6,000 words piece master blog for a quarter. Also, write one blog/ month elaborating on specific topics within the master blog with around 2,500-3,000 words for each.
Finally, create one blog/week with around 1,500-2,000 words each. Make the blogs rich with images, videos, gifs, summaries, charts, etc. All Blog Posts to be shared with influencers, for backlinks on-site, and distribution of content online.
The next step is to repurpose blog posts into social media posts, around 20-30/month, to educate followers and current DTC subscribers and consumers and to increase engagement, bonding, and sales.
Educational content should also be repurposed and customized for different DTC funnel segments: subscribers, buyers, loyal, and advocates (brand tribe).
5. Finally, make it a point to measure the effectiveness of the creative content campaigns shared on media and educational content effectiveness shared on media and website. Use both forward-looking and backward-looking metrics, which will inform the subsequent month/quarter and yearly content and creatives.
BRIEFCASE™ Content Marketing Strategy guarantees unique and coherent content to achieve 10X returns on owned, earned, and paid media, to stay on brand, and achieve disproportionate returns for a chosen objective.
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ROHIT BANOTA, FOUNDER of STORYSAVES, has created, transformed and grown dozens of health and beauty CPG companies brands across North America using proprietary Brand Story, Innovation Strategy and Brand Tribe frameworks and processes.
He has over 15 years of brand, marketing, innovation and business experience growing consumer packaged brands including startups and MNCs like P&G and AB InBev.