No matter what kind of online business you’re in, you know that you need a constant stream of fresh content to engage your audience. But, creating and publishing this content on a regular basis can be a challenging task for most content marketers. This is why you need a well thought-out content strategy.
Your overall strategy should be to brand yourself (and your company if applicable) as an expert source of information on your topic. In order to do this, all of your content needs to be relevant to that topic. Everything you publish must contribute to the overall story of you as the expert. It’s like fitting together the pieces of a puzzle, and it’s only possible to do this if you take the time to outline this key message in your content strategy.
Therefore, your content marketing goals should be in direct alignment with your overall marketing goals. For example, your broader goals may include driving more visitors from your social media profiles to your website. That may mean that you need to set goals for creating more content to post on your social media sites, or creating more content that will be shared across social media.
Your content strategy should start with your readers and focus on their needs and interests. As you begin producing and publishing content, pay attention to reader feedback and traffic metrics to help you decide how your strategy should be changed.
So what are the five action steps you need to take?
1. Choose which topics and formats of content to create for your niche.
Part of developing a content strategy is to identify your target market. You need to know who you’re creating content for. Only then can you identify what kind of content they need to help them solve their problems.
A good content strategy will outline as much detail as possible about your target market. That includes demographics, pain points, hopes, dreams, preferences, learning styles, personality, etc. The more information you can use to paint a portrait of your typical customer, the better. Then you’ll be able speak directly to that “person” when you’re creating content.
To do: Outline the key message you want to convey throughout your content marketing. Define your target market in as much detail as possible. Create an individual profile that represents your ideal reader.
2. Plan the creation of high quality content.
Your audience expects a steady flow of high-quality content. If you post on your blog each week, your readers will be expecting it. If you send emails daily, your subscribers will be looking for those. If you publish new videos weekly, your viewers will be checking in to watch them.
As part of your strategy, think about the type of content you’ll create early on so you can assess what resources you need before you need them. For example, if video is part of your strategy, you need video creation and editing software or a video expert on your staff. There may be areas where you need to outsource parts of your content creation. Weight the amount of time and money it will take you or your staff to create the content so you know how much to budget if you outsource.
To do: Make a list of the key types of content you want to create and where it will be published. Assess your skills and resources to decide what help you’ll need when you put your content strategy into action.
3. Distribute and promote your content to the right social channels.
In order to make sure your audience finds your content, you need to know where they get their information. Find out what social platforms they hang out on and what blogs they read.
To do: Participate as a reader of that material so you become accustomed to using their jargon and understanding their needs.
4. Analyze the audience response and figure out how to multiply its impact.
Your content strategy helps you to set goals and determine whether or not you’ve reached them. How do you know if your content marketing is getting results? Create specific goals that are achievable and measurable, and then tailor your strategy to meet those goals.
To do: Set your content marketing goals. Choose key metrics that will determine whether you’re reaching your goals or not.
5. Create more of the content that your audience has previously responded to.
Once you know what your audience wants you can begin to experiment with content that meets those needs. Don’t get stuck creating content that seems similar.
To do: Branch out and see what you can do to help your audience grow their knowledge and their businesses.
Want another great reason to create a strategy?
A solid content strategy helps you when you get stuck for ideas or if you have writer’s block. By including an idea bank and previously identifying sources of ideas and information, you can simply go to these sources when you don’t know what to write about.
All of your content, no matter where it’s published, needs to be interesting, unique, helpful, and informative in order for you to build a loyal base. It’s nearly impossible to create good content consistently without a content strategy that speaks to your own special niche.