We already established that content creation can be hard, but that doesn't mean that it still isn't a vital part of a successful digital business. Developing and executing a strong content strategy can help you find new customers and grow your business.
What Is A Content Strategy?
Traditionally, content strategy refers to the planning, development, and management of content – written, recorded, etc. Think of it as the "who, why, and how". Who you are creating content for, why you are creating that content, and how that content can help them.
Not only does your content strategy answer those questions, but your strategy also helps guide and manage the content you have.
When developing your strategy, be sure to consider the following pieces of the puzzle.
- Who You Create Content For: Simply put, you should create content for your target audience. If you have multiple targets, consider how you can cater to each of them. Do they consume content differently?
- The Problems Your Content Can Solve: Your customers come to you to solve a problem, whether that is with a product you sell or a service you offer. Whether it helps your audience identify potential solutions to their problem or solve additional challenges, you content can help position you as an expert and trusted resource on those problems.
- What Type of Content You Produce: Using insights about your audience can help you determine what type of content resonates with them. Are they traditional consumers that read blogs and long form content? Does something more visual like an infographic help them consume content? What if they're always on the go? A podcast or video series may benefit them.
- Where That Content Lives: Using different types of media channels can help you spread your content effectively. Utilizing your owned media like your company website, blog, and social channels is a great start. But you can build on that distribution with paid media like Google PPC or Facebook Ads. Earned media channels, like third-party sources or guest blogs, are also extremely beneficial for sharing content.
- When and How Your Content Is Created and Shared: At the end of all of these considerations, the largest is how in the heck you're planning, producing, and publishing all of this content. It is imperative for your content strategy to know who's creating what, what they're creating, where it's being published, and when it's going live.
How Do You Create A Successful Content Strategy?
Now that you have all of the important pieces of what goes into it, you need to put them into action by actually developing your content strategy.
Use these steps to develop your plan:
Research Your Audience
To develop a successful content strategy, start with the first "piece" in the above section: your audience. By knowing your target audience, or persona, you can create content that is relevant to them that they will want to read and convert on.
Even if you are an experienced marketer, it is important to evaluate if your target audience has changed or if you want to target a new audience.
Audit Your Existing Content
Similar to evaluating your target audience, it's important to take a look at what content you already have floating out there that can be capitalized on.
If you've been blogging for awhile, can you turn those blogs into an ebook or resource page to repurpose them? Do you have a mass of content that can be reorganized or restructured to be more effective on your site?
Auditing your existing content is especially important with the evolution of search engines and the new "topic" model of SEO that is emerging.
This video from HubSpot does a good job of explaining the shift:
Set Your Goals
Knowing your audience and what existing content you have to work with will help you with this next step.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – Michael Scott
A plan without a goal is pointless. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want more traffic, conversions, customers? Maybe you want to be seen as a trusted advisor for your audience.
Knowing your goals and why you want to produce content will help guide your strategy.
Find A Content Management System To Help
All of your planning is going to be really hard to manage without an effective content management system to help you create, organize, and analyze what you're producing.
Get Out There And Work!
Use the above steps to get started with your content strategy.
One final piece of advice: analyze and adapt. Having a CMS in place gives you the ability to track the performance of your content (and your strategy as a whole). So make sure you take time, whether quarterly, bi-annually, or annually, to see what is working and what isn't.
This is a lot of information, and we already told you that content can be hard, but you can get there. It takes time, organization, flexibility, and creativity to grow a successful content marketing strategy.