Content is considered to be the core of any marketing effort. It is what is used to tell a brand’s message. For it to be effective, the content must be created and managed the right way. This is when having a detailed content strategy comes in handy. Read on to find out how you can craft a strategy that will work best for your goals.
Why you need a content strategy
Too many new brands move forward with no strategy. Here’s why you need one:
- Your strategy will ensure cohesiveness: Having a single direction for all the content you send out to various platforms guarantees that your message is heard clearly by the audience.
- It increases your campaign’s productivity: With your content given direction you know exactly what you need to create and how much of it.
- A content strategy can help in defining your brand identity: The way that you write, the photos you take, the videos you shoot, and everything you do starts to identify your brand. The more consistent they are with one another, the easier it’ll be for people to identify your brand.
- Your content strategy can be used for analysis: By comparing the results of several different strategies, you can determine which techniques work for your brand and refine them.
- Having a content strategy maximizes your ROI: All the points above come together to make your content creation process more cost-effective, resulting in a higher return on the initial investment you made.
Note that these reasons are not only there to convince you of the importance of a content strategy. They also can help you in fleshing it out.
Setting up your content strategy goals
When defining the goals for your strategy, remember that these need to be in line with your overall marketing goal. For instance, your overall goal might be to attract more traffic to a new website. Ask yourself how your content strategy is going to contribute to that goal:
- Is it going to be the main driving force for the goal?
- Is it just going to be a support for the main campaign?
- Will it be connecting with a variety of other content?
Once you answer these questions, you can begin to fill in the specific goals you want to achieve for the strategy. The SMART method is one of the popular strategies employed for this.
Assessing your current situation
Once you have defined the goals you want to achieve for your content strategy, it is time for you to assess your current marketing efforts and determine how much of it can be realigned for the new strategy. This is important, as it will save you a lot of resources when implementing the new strategy.
In particular, if you already have social media accounts set up from a previous campaign, it would help to conduct a thorough audit. Take into account the relevant content that might have already been covered, as well as how the audience responded to it. You may also want to decide which of these accounts to keep for the new strategy and which ones to discard.
Studying your target audience
For your content to do its job in accordance to the goals you have set, it must be read by the right people. As such, you need to identify your target audience. Go beyond the usual indicators like age and gender, and take into account other aspects of their persona like consumer behavior. This information will help you craft content that they are more likely to respond to.
If your target audience is the same one as previous campaigns, start your study with your previous content. Consider why they were liked or not to create a better profile of the audience for the new strategy.
Choosing the type of content to create
One of the most challenging parts of developing your content strategy is deciding on the kind of content you need. Marketer Dayna Rothman lists several factors to consider when choosing the content types to include in your strategy.
- Brand look and feel: Brands should opt for content that reinforces the image that they are trying to project.
- Content topic: Keep in mind that a certain topic might be easier to tackle with a specific kind of content than another.
- Content goals: Think about not only the general goals that have been set for the entire strategy, but also the specific ones for each piece of content you send out. Do you want to make someone laugh and share, or think and click?
- Promotional channels: The kind of promotional channels you decide to use will put limitations on the types of content you can use.
Use these pointers to determine multiple content types that will best suit the entire strategy.
Types of content
Some of the most common content types you can consider for your strategy are:
- Written blog posts: Blog posts are a great way to engage your website visitors by providing them with valuable information that they can share.
- Ebooks: These let you provide more in-depth coverage of a topic that your audience can read at their own pace.
- Infographics: These are great if you are looking to present a large amount of data in an easy to understand format.
- Videos: Videos are very engaging and can be used on a variety of platforms. They do require more investment and effort to create than other content.
- Social media: Social media content varies greatly depending on the platform you are using. They can also be closely tied to the other content types you have chosen.
These content types can be used by themselves or in any combination to cover the goals of your content strategy.
Repurposing published content
One great way to expand the library of your content strategy is to repurpose whatever content you might have already published. This also has the added benefit of lessening brainstorming work, since you already have the content prepared for you.
For instance, Case Swarm uses repurposed content in creating the modules it provides for its students.
— Case Swarm (@CaseSwarm) May 30, 2017
The most common means of repurposing content is to simply turn it from one format to another. For example, you can transcribe the content of a previous video and turn it into a blog post. Do not just reuse the content, find a way to improve upon it.
Another way to repurpose older content is by syndicating it for other networks. LinkedIn’s Publishing Platform is great for this purpose as it allows your content to reach more followers. When planning to syndicate your work, think about how such a move will line up with the goals of the content strategy and choose the content that would best fit the purpose.
Identifying the key platforms for distribution
The biggest deciding factor when choosing the platforms to distribute your content is, of course, the audience. Based on the profile you have drawn earlier, you can determine the platforms that they are most likely to be in. Are you more likely to reach your audience on Twitter, or YouTube?
This can be determined largely by the type of content you are going to produce. If you want to be up to the current pace news you want to use Twitter. Pizza Hut wants people to think about buying their pizza while they’re watching the NBA finals. Twitter is the easiest way for them to reach their audience right in the moment:
Fuel the finals. pic.twitter.com/1c7Ip0CKdU
— Pizza Hut (@pizzahut) June 1, 2017
You also need to consider the various supporting tools you might need when releasing your content on these platforms. These tools will help you attract audience attention by making your content more prominent. In the case above, our Twitter Retweet Service will do a lot to bring attention to the tweet immediately. This will help cut down on the amount of time you spend trying to get your content worth viewing by those scrolling by.
Creating a content calendar
For you to properly manage how your content is being released, a content calendar is going to be a useful tool. The content calendar typically contains not only the titles of the content to be published, but also how often the various types of content you have are to be put out.
Putting it in a table format makes it easier to use for your team.
Choosing your success metrics
Having the right kind of metrics is important for you to better assess the success of the content strategy you created. Note that the metrics you choose should be based on the goals that you have set up for the whole content strategy.
If the main goal is to generate leads or sales, then your main metrics would be the number of leads and sales generated. There are many tools that you can use to track quantity-based online metrics. Popular examples include Google Analytics, and LinkedIn Analytics.
Another important metric is quality based ones. These are the commentaries made by those who have read your content. Quite simply, it is the actual responses from people who read your content and reply to you in some way.
Have a content strategy for your marketing efforts
A content strategy is a useful way for you to plan out the content you need for marketing your brand. For the strategy itself to be effective it should be well-laid out.
- Set clear goals: Identify both the general and specific goals you want for a particular campaign. To better flesh these out, do an extensive review of your target audience and the content you already published for them.
- Choose your content wisely: Consider your target audience’s behaviors and interests. Choose both the types of content, and topics, based on these findings.
- Establish an effective distribution network: Identify the platforms where your audience will most likely read your content. It would also be helpful to create a support system to ensure that your content is delivered correctly.
- Track the results of the strategy accordingly: Take into account both quantitative and qualitative data to get a clearer picture of the effectiveness of your content.
Follow these pointers and you will have a content strategy that is guaranteed to attract interest.