What is a content strategy? In our business, we get this question a lot.
In short, a content strategy manages any media that you create and publish for the world to see, including written, visual, audio, and downloadable forms of media. We believe it to be the most important piece of your marketing plan, existing to tell your unique business story to current and potential customers in an intentional way.
When creating a content strategy, there are three overarching themes to follow: Surface, Explore, and Define.
Before outlining your content strategy, you must first do research to surface who your audiences are, what problem you are solving, and what makes you unique.
Ask yourself who the target audience is for your content. How many audiences would be interested in consuming your content? Your business may have multiple audiences, and that’s okay. It’s important to hone in on them and create buyer personas, which describe the demographics on your audiences, and how they consume information. Buyer personas allow you to create more relevant and valuable content.
Ideally, you’ve already identified the unique value proposition of your business. Use this information to focus on what topics you may dig into for your content marketing strategy, in order to coach and educate your audience. A good content strategy targets both of your customers: (1) those who are already using your product and (2) those who are still thinking about using your product.
Use content marketing to show these potential customers how your company can help solve their problem, and why you’re worth the purchase.
Each business looks different and therefore requires research specific to your product, services, audience and goals in order to create a content marketing strategy.
If you’ve been in business for a while and have already been producing some content, start by reviewing your current efforts over the past year or two. Look at what did and didn’t work, which blog posts received the most page views, and which social media posts saw the most engagement. Decide which parts of your current efforts you want to bring into your new strategy, and what you can leave behind.
Now that you know your audience and the problem, you can start to identify which content formats are best for your business, whether it be videos, blog posts, infographics, etc. From there, you can determine which channels are best for your content.
It’s important to research all of your options when creating and publishing your content. For small businesses, we recommend creating an editorial calendar in order to organize your content around various topics. You can also explore using various online paid publishing tools like Sprout Social or Hubspot.
Now that you’ve brought your brand story to the surface and explored various content channels and methods for publication, you are ready to put your ideas into action and define your content strategy.
Ask yourself, “What’s your reason for developing a content marketing plan?” Are you trying to attract more customers, gain more social media followers, increase email subscribers? Write down your goals before starting to plan, as they will determine what you can realistically achieve with your content marketing strategy.
Pro Tip: Work with your team to align your content marketing goals with your overall business goals in order to achieve maximum results for your company.
Give yourself and your team the time and space to create an exhaustive list of content ideas to include in your overall strategy. Here are 30 social media content topics to use as inspiration for generating content ideas.
Strive to come up with a balance of timely and evergreen topics. Evergreen content can stay relevant for many years after initially writing it, with some edits required to keep the content up-to-date over time.
It’s important to remember that a strong content marketing strategy doesn’t publish every type of content, but only the most relevant forms to your target audience. Using your buyer personas, analyze these various types of content and choose which ones work best for your business and align with your team’s talents:
A good content marketing plan not only includes the types of content you will be producing, but also the ways in which you can organize your content. Using an editorial calendar, as mentioned above, you’ll be able to track and manage your content marketing efforts, and save time in the long-run. We also recommend creating a social media calendar so you can build an online audience and promote all of this new content.
Building the foundation of a solid content marketing strategy can seem like an overwhelming task. While it will take time, organization and creativity to do it right, your life will become easier and your business will start reaping the benefits once it is up and running.
If you’re seeking additional guidance in creating a content strategy for your business, please reach out to us! We’d love to hear your story and help in any way that we can.