- Hilary Young
How To Approach Content Strategy For Your Business
When I first started my business in 2015, content was not the highest marketing priority for most businesses. Many were focused on improving SEO and knew, tangentially, that they'd have to increase their content production, but the content was almost an afterthought for them. Getting brands to see the value in a content strategy was an uphill battle.
Fast-forward to today, and it's not just a whole different playing field, it's a different game. I don't have to do much convincing, many potential clients see the inherent value in creating compelling, high-quality content, and they are ready to make the investment.
What exactly are they ready to make an investment in? Content strategy.
A content strategy is a road map to digital marketing success. It lays out clear goals you want to achieve with your content efforts (and the metrics for which to judge their success), defines the audiences you're creating content for, provides clear lines of messaging to talk to those audiences through content efforts, and determines the exact channels where you're planning on starting the conversation with them. In short: a content strategy is an essential component of building your digital business.
Why You Need A Content Strategy For Your Business
While content marketing is trending right now within the marketing industry, it doesn't serve you to create content unless you've already established a strategy behind it. Otherwise, it's like jumping into the deep end without really knowing how to swim. It should go without saying that you need to have a plan in place when it comes to how you approach your content, otherwise you're going to waste time, money, and resources on producing it.
Content strategy requires you to look at the bigger picture and take a practical approach to achieving your objectives. Whether you want to increase your qualified sales leads, boost your SEO, improve overall brand awareness, or any other business goal you can think of, every content strategy is built upon these three parts:
#1: Identify Your Goals
Content, no matter how well-written, will only be effective if you've identified the purpose it is going to serve.
Do you want to boost your SEO? If so, then your content has to take search intent into account. That means you should focus on topics that people are looking for when they do a Google search for your business.
Are you trying to build your email list? Then you should create gated content that requires an email address for access. And it's not enough to simply send them one email with the item they are downloading; you have to create email automations that continue the conversation and keep them engaged...they might even convert to sales this way (double goal achieved!)
Do you want to boost your brand awareness? Perhaps you should consider partnering with influencers on social media to create content.
There are many different types of content you can create, but without having goals in mind as you go through the creation process, it can be easy to lose your way. Concrete goals will keep your content focused and also help you track how successful your efforts are down the line.
#2: Do A Deep-Dive Into Your Audience
Creating content without taking the time to understand who you are talking to and what they need to hear from you is a lot like screaming into an abyss. You have so much digital competition out there on the internet, that if you don't know who you're speaking to, you'll never be able to create content that cuts through the noise.
Creating demographic profiles for the different segments of your audience can help bring that audience to life, which, in turn, helps to add greater depth to your content. Many of the clients I work with have more than one target demographic that they are trying to reach, and it gets very confusing to create one piece of content that speaks to all of those audiences. Instead, use the different segments to your advantage and create different pieces of content that suits each of them, especially if they might be at different stages of life, or have different pain points that they're dealing with. Humans are more prone to engage with content that seems personal to their experience, and creating content with this in mind will allow you to forge a greater connection with a stranger.
#3: Become Known For Something
If you ever hear experts on the internet talk about consistency, they're not (or at least they shouldn't be) talking about how often you're posting content. Consistency actually relates to brand consistency: the tone of voice you use, the content topics you're covering, the overall brand messaging.
When you regularly put content out across a variety of mediums and channels, having a consistent brand voice and message is imperative. When you don't take the time to define your brand's voice, you run the risk of sending mixed messages and confusing your audience. This is where pillars of content come into play. Content pillars exist to be your north star when it comes to creating content. They help keep you "on brand" and allow you to easily figure out whether or not a new idea is worth pursuing.
Pillars of content also set you up for becoming a thought leader in your area of expertise. When you're consistently showcasing your knowledge on the same few topics, people will start to associate you with them. If you don't have these pillars guiding you, you end up running the risk of becoming a very scattered master of none.
Bring In Help For Your Content Strategy
Whether you have a great in-house marketing team that has the ability to execute content, but lack direction because there's no centralized strategy to their approach, or are a team of one spinning your wheels to figure out what will yield a return on your investment, working with a content strategist will allow you to achieve greater goals.
From auditing your existing content strategy (and content itself), to implementing a content strategy from scratch, I can help you work smarter instead of harder when it comes to creating content for your business. I also work with a wonderful team of writers, social media managers, and video content producers that can execute on any content needs we identify as being important to your marketing program.
If you're ready to get started on a content strategy for your business, contact me to get started.