How to get started with your content strategy

22 October 2018 • Content strategy

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Talk to many marketing experts nowadays and they’ll tell you that ‘content is king’. It’s a well-worn phrase but an important one. Unfortunately, it is also one which many businesses and organisations find difficult to come to grips with.

Great content is designed to keep your existing customers focused on your brand, improve loyalty, generate leads and direct sales, as well as create awareness in new, potential customers. It’s cheaper and more effective than other forms of advertising:

  • Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional advertising and creates 3 times as many leads.
  • 77% of internet users read blogs and it is one of the proven ways that marketers utilise nowadays to improve SEO.

Creating a strong strategy for great content, therefore, is vital to success. Too many businesses get into the habit of throwing as much content as they can at their digital wall, hoping it has the desired effect.

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A well-thought out strategy is required if you want to increase the power of your content, reduce the time you spend on producing it, and send out the right messages to your audience.

We’d be delighted to help with your content, so please feel free to contact us for a chat. But to get you started, here are 6 things to think about as you put together your first content strategy:

  1. Nail your brand and goals

First of all, you can’t run before you learn to walk. In the world of content management, a firm understanding of your brand and understanding what your specific goals are is vital.

Start asking yourself the questions that count, such as why you exist in the first place. Explore your core values and, more importantly, how these translate into your goals:

  • How do you want to engage with potential customers?
  • What is the message you are trying to get across about your company and your product or service?
See also →  How to create better website content by getting your users involved

Your brand and goals are the compass that will guide your content creation and set the standards for everything from blog posts and video advertising to social media engagement. In short, they will help you keep on track.

  1. Understanding your audience

Effective marketing is all about understanding who your buyer is. There’s been a lot written online in the last decade or so about buyer/audience personas and a lot of it can seem pretty complicated.

Unless you have a particular audience in mind, however, it can be nigh-on impossible to produce good content for them.

Of course, most businesses don’t have just one persona that matches to their product or service. They’ll have several. Building up your audience profile can take a lot of hard work and thought but those focus groups and surveys are all well worth the effort. The deeper you can drill down into your audience personas, the clearer the path will be for creating content tailored for them. Creating a profile includes:

  • What are the challenges your customer faces and what are their needs?
  • What are they really interested in and what do they care deeply about?
  • Where do they hang out and spend their time online and what sort of content do they prefer?
  1. Mapping your buyers journey

This can be a difficult area, particularly for starter businesses where the buyer profile isn’t that well fleshed out. The type of content you will need to produce will depend on what stage of the buyer journey someone is on. Creating awareness about your product or service on social media is going to be different to sealing the deal when someone is taking a closer look at what you have to offer on your website.

What you produce will depend on where you are posting content. You will undoubtedly write or produce content specific to your website but you may be producing something more generic if you are posting on another site. You need also to look at usability for each piece of content – how it looks on mobile, for example, compared to a laptop.

  1. Developing a content plan

A good content plan requires you to think ahead. It also requires bringing the right team together in the first place. That can include UX experts as well as talented copywriters, SEO professionals and video producers.

For each piece of content you need to know:

  • Why are you producing this content?
  • Who are you creating it for?
  • What message are you sending?
  • Where is it going to be posted?
  • How is it going to be presented?
  • When is the best time to post it?
See also →  How to connect with customers through your brand story

Developing a content calendar is important and sets out the road map ahead for the next 6 months to a year. You can plan content for new product releases, to pair up with annual holidays such as Christmas or Easter, sporting events or a whole host of other things that are happening in the world.

In some instances you can be proactive and plan campaigns in great detail in advance. Some of your other content might be reactive, however, produced in response to a recent news item that impacts on your product or service, for example.

  1. Measure your performance and be prepared to change

Any marketing activity, including your content, will need to be measured. The good news is there are plenty of analytic tools around nowadays to give you a strong insight into how everything is performing.

The data is all-important and will enable you to discover what is working and what isn’t – but you need to be willing and prepared to change when the evidence is there.

This is one of areas that businesses (both B2B and B2C) have trouble dealing with. Having too many measurements can lead to confusion. Make sure that you get sensible KPIs together and choose the appropriate metrics to support these.

  1. Don’t produce content for content’s sake

Finally, it might seem obvious but you should only look to produce meaningful content.

It can be easy to throw things into the mix especially when we have so many platforms to post content onto. That leads many businesses to take a devil may care attitude without understanding how sloppy content can affect perception of their brand.

They may have a spur of the moment idea and write something down without really going through the checklist of how that content is going to be perceived and where it fits into the global content strategy. Others panic that they have to produce content on a regular basis, run out of ideas and settle for any old content that dilutes their brand message rather than enhances it.

Always go for quality over quantity and don’t be afraid to put off posting something if you don’t think it’s quite up to the mark.

If you’d like to have a conversation about your content strategy, please feel free to contact us.

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