In our previous post, we discussed why your business needs to spend time creating a content strategy. We looked at the importance of establishing measurable goals and working out who your audience is and should be. Now comes the next, all-important step: creating a content strategy. It requires, data, imagination, creativity and planning. Here we go!
Creating a Content Strategy: Which content suits which goal?
It’s time to look at your goals and audiences and find the best subjects and content types that will enable you to succeed. Here are a few examples.
Goal: Drive brand awareness in particular markets
Your content should have broad appeal, while also demonstrating your knowledge and expertise.
In this instance, tutorial videos would work well, as would case studies and stories from happy customers.
Goal: Increasing visitors to your website
If you’re after click-throughs to your site, you’ll need to create content that has strong links to your business, industry or expertise. Creating a content strategy will mean the content should also be optimised for search engines, so people can find it easily. Make sure the content is easily shared on social media as well – that means adding sharing buttons to your site and ensuring the social metadata is spot on, so it looks good when shared on Facebook and Twitter. We can help you if this is ringing competency alarm bells!
In terms of format, email newsletters and guest posts on influential industry blogs would work well. SEO-friendly blog posts on your site are also ideal. You can use targeted social media advertising to get this content into the right people’s news feeds.
Goal: Boosting sales, signups or registrations
If you want people to signup, your content needs a clear call to action and the benefits of your service, product or business should be crystal clear. Perhaps offer users a free trial or a money-back guarantee might work for you? If you are targeting a specific niche, then your content should be particularly focused. If you’re trying to reach a broader, more general audience, make sure that’s reflected in the content. Consider some of the key reasons behind social sharing if you want your readers to share your content.
Which content formats will work well? Video tutorials and product demonstrations are good places to begin. Thought-leadership pieces can help you steer and own certain conversations. If you can get a thought-leadership piece in a major publication or on an influential site, even better! Reach out to new audiences through targeted social media advertising and influencer outreach.
Goal: Pushing traffic to a particular landing page
As mentioned earlier, if you want people to sign up to a service, your content will need to include an offer that’s too good to refuse. There are plenty of advice out there on how to create effective landing pages that convert well. But there’s no substitute for a great offer. Think about unique content you can create in order to build your e-list, like webinars, competitions, white papers, how-to guides, toolkits or live events. It needs to be unmissable with a sense of urgency and appeal. It’s a tall order but it’s the essence of powerful marketing and a key driver when creating a content strategy..
Focus on what you’re good at
When it comes to the types of content you plan to create, it’s worth spending some time working out what your team is actually good at. If your marketing team doesn’t have a great graphic design resource, perhaps infographics aren’t the best things to focus on. Case studies might not be a good choice if you’re a brand new company and you don’t have any stories to tell just yet. You get the picture.
New versus existing clients
Remember, you’ll be putting content out into cyberspace and it will reach people who are at different places along your customer journey. Some will know who your business is, others will be hearing about you for the first time. Bear this in mind. Content should work at different stages for greatest impact. This is the cornerstone when creating a content strategy effectively.
So, if your content is all about reaching new customers and raising brand awareness, then your content should assume that the people reading it know nothing about you. Your content should educate and inspire them, make them want to discover more about you and what you can do for them. Have you highlighted what makes you different from your competitors?
Content that is aimed at existing customers should be all about enhancing the positive experience they’ve already had. How can you add more value? What additional services could they benefit from? Can you communicate with these clients in a more familiar way than you would a new customer? Remember it’s much more cost effective to sell to existing customers than prospect for new ones.
Stay organised by creating an execution plan
We’re all busy. It’s easy for some responsibilities to fall by the wayside. This is especially true when creating a content strategy.That’s why an execution plan is essential to ensuring content gets done on time. An effective plan will include the ideas themselves, the date they’re due and the people responsible for getting the job done. The buck has to stop somewhere.
You’ll need to work out how much content you will be creating. Will you blog daily or weekly? Do you have the resources to create an infographic a day or a video a week? These are the questions you’ll need to answer and refine as you go. Budget for the long term not just a quick fix this is important.
Make sure the deadlines in your schedule are realistic and that the people responsible for creating the content have agreed and are on board. Make time in your team meetings to check in on everyone’s progress. Don’t wait until the deadline lands before you realise there’s been a roadblock holding things up.
Where will your new ideas come from?
There should be a constant pipeline of ideas in your schedule and you’ll need to decide who is responsible for coming up with and approving these ideas. A regular brainstorming session is a good way to get buy-in and involvement from the whole team.
If more than one person is creating a piece of content, it may be a good idea to write a brief, so everyone is on the same page. A well-written brief will save you time in the long run.
It’s also worth remembering that an extra set of eyes is essential to ensure mistakes don’t slip through. Writers shouldn’t be editing their own work – that’s a sure-fire way to end up with blogs full of typos. At VKN Digital we always edit one another’s work for objectivity and a fresh viewpoint.
It can be a bit of a daunting prospect, but we assure you that creating a content strategy is thoroughly worthwhile. It makes a huge difference to have an experienced person working alongside you throughout the process. Please contact us for a free Skype consultation if you are thinking of creating content strategy.
Christian Taylor is a freelance writer and social media manager and occasionally part of the VKN Digital team. VKN Digital is a digital marketing agency in Doncaster, UK. We aim to help SMEs overcome marketing hurdles and create compelling digital content that drives results. If you need a leg-up with your content marketing or social media, get in touch via our contact page.