When I first started my business in 2015, content was something that many businesses knew was becoming important, but didn't understand why, or how. For that reason, it was tough for me to sell my services; businesses simply didn't see the full value in the investment. Fast-forward to 2019, and you'll see that I don't have to do much convincing these days. Clients now see the inherent value in creating compelling, high-quality content, and they are ready to make the investment.
But that poses the question of where to begin? Which types of content do you need? Who is the audience that you're talking to? Where are you planning on talking to that audience? Content strategy is at the heart of all of the answers to these questions.
How to Approach Your Content Strategy
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. Strategy is an essential part of any marketing or business goal, so it should go without saying that you need to have a strategy in place when it comes to how you approach your content.
Content strategy requires you to look at the bigger picture and take a practical approach to achieving your objectives. Whether you want to grow your business with content, boost your SEO, or improve overall brand awareness, every content strategy is built upon these three pillars:
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 should focus on topics that people are looking for when they do a Google search for your business. Are you trying to generate more leads? Then you should create gated content that requires an email address for access. 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.
Deep-Dive Into Your Audience
Creating content without taking the time to build out the demographic profile of your target audience is a lot like screaming into the 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 for them. It will personalize their experience and help you forge a greater connection with them, which typically inspires a purchasing decision.
Find Your Voice
When you are planning to 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 confusing your audience. You may come off witty on your website, but dry and boring in a whitepaper. Or, you could be very straight-forward and informative on your website, but have a witty persona on Facebook, and a casual tone in your email marketing. By creating one voice, you create cohesion as opposed to confusion, which will yield in greater results from your target audience so that you can achieve those goals you put in place.
Bring In Help For Your Content Strategy
Lately, I've been working with clients who have great in-house marketing teams that have the ability to execute content, but lack direction because there's no centralized strategy to their approach. And other clients don't have a big marketing department that's capable of taking on volumes of content, so they not only need direction in terms of content strategy, but they also need help executing that strategy.
Luckily, I handle both of these things.
I love helping businesses and brands identify or refine their strategy when it comes to content, and as a writer, well...I love writing! If your business is struggling to figure out how to make content work for you, contact me today to discuss how HYC can help you.