Developing a content strategy is the process of planning, creating, distributing and measuring content in all its online forms to achieve predefined business and marketing goals.
Why is that important? It’s one thing to create content, it’s quite another to create value-added content that serves your business or brand. Whether you want to generate leads, increase your sales or raise awareness, a well-defined strategy will close the gap between your content marketing goals and your results. It will help you get the most from your content.
The very thought of creating a content strategy may seem overwhelming. But think of your content strategy as a working game plan for your content marketing goals, processes and expectations. It’s really that simple.
A good content strategy always requires good planning. So we’ve narrowed it down to the five essential steps that form the foundation for any successful content strategy:
- Know your business
- Know your audience
- Find your original voice
- Write. It. Down.
- Measure, measure, measure
1. Know your business
The first step to building a content strategy is defining your business: Who are we? What do we do? Why do we do it? What customer pains are we trying to solve? How do we solve it better or differently? What are our short- and long-term goals? How will content marketing help us?
Your content strategy will only ever be as solid as your answers to these kinds of questions. So, create a list and start brainstorming.
2. Know your audience
Content is meant to be consumed, so it’s important to know who you are creating it for. Define your target audiences: What are their interests? What are their problems? Where do they spend time online?
The best way to know your audiences is to research and create a generalized profile for each customer type you are targeting. These are called “buyer personas.” Check out this helpful starter guide for creating effective personas.
3. Find your original voice
Chances are your product or service is not the only one of its kind. And there’s probably already loads of relevant content online. How can you can make your content original, different and valuable? By connecting to the authentic heart of your brand, and sharing your unique knowledge and perspective.
And we know that authenticity works. According to the 2017 Authentic Brands Study by global PR firm Cohen & Wolf, 91% of consumers say they are willing to purchase from or endorse a brand that they regard as authentic. So don’t delay—find your voice today!
4. Write. It. Down.
A content strategy won’t go far if it’s floating in the air. According to a 2017 joint study by the Content Marketing Institute and Intelligent Content Conference, 44% of companies have not documented their content strategy.
Don’t become a statistic—record your content strategy now. Not only will it help you make sense of your content marketing, but it will also be much easier to adjust and refine as needed. And you can use it to align your team so you’re all working toward the same goals.
5. Measure, measure, measure
For a content strategy to work, it must be measurable. Content marketing metrics are loosely divided into four categories: consumption, sharing, lead generation and sales.
First, you’ll need to define your KPIs, so you’ll have a clear map of your content goals. Then, via a range of analytics tools and software, you can track the success of your content and get a deeper understanding of how it’s performing for you. Finally, you can use these metrics to modify your strategy and reach your goals.
Content marketing can be a confusing business. With so many variables at play, it may seem that the bridge between content and conversions is a bridge too far.
But with proper content strategy in place, you can make your content marketing more effective and powerful.