Guide to develop your content strategy
When it comes to marketing, advice doesn’t seem to be in short supply. Everybody has their take on it; however, it’s worth a shot to revisit your content strategy plan along with the basics of content marketing once in a while. If you could use some help planning for the second half of the year or some fresh ideas to incorporate in your plan, stick with us! We’ll cover what a content strategy is, what kind of content you can create and what exact steps you can take to build your plan.
We examined what content strategy is and why you need it, as well as defined a few of its essential elements in one of our previous articles. Let’s do a quick recap! Your content strategy refers to the management of all media you create: written, visual, downloadable – you name it. It is part of your marketing plan that expresses who you are, what your goal and mission are, what you do, who your customers are and what demand you will satisfy. To create an effective content strategy, you need to complete six steps and answer the questions below.
1. Define your long-term goal.
What would you like to achieve? What are the most crucial needs of your business? What are your customers after and into?
2. Conduct persona research.
Who are your customers? What kind of issues do they need solutions for? When and where do they buy? Why do they decide to buy? How do they prefer to shop? Dive deep into demographics and psychographics: personality, values, interests, lifestyles, age, gender, race, location and employment status.
3. Choose a content management system.
A few fundamental parts of content management include creation, storage, approval, publication, and analytics. There are plenty of management systems out there; however, if you’re on a tight budget, you can start with a basic content management calendar in an Excel sheet and built-in social media analytics.
4. Brainstorm content ideas.
Have a creative meeting with all staff involved in marketing and collect concepts, thoughts, opinions. If you have the means for it, use market research tools, analyze ideas and find trending content.
5. Determine which types of content you want to create.
There is a wide array of content options out you can create. According to Content Marketing Institute “companies who are most successful at content marketing use a wider variety of content approaches - an average of 15 different approaches”. You certainly don’t have to start with over ten different approaches – pick your favorites and get the hangs of them. Combine
6. Publish and manage your content.
A content strategy goes beyond the types of content you create – it also includes the way you organize your content. Stay on track with the help of an editorial calendar (which is more of a guiding framework with general outlines and broad themes established in advance) and use a more granular and specific content calendar for day-to-day management.
(+1 tip: Run a content audit. If you've been in business for a while, it’s worth reviewing your content marketing efforts from the last year and find a way to spice things up a bit.)
The most common types of content
Now that you know how to create a content strategy let’s see the most common types of content and what the difference is between them.
Social media is just unavoidable. While you don’t have to be present on all these platforms, you unquestionably need to be available at least on a few – on the ones your customers hang out, of course. (Remember? Persona research.) Keep in mind that your followers (a.k.a. prospective customers) expect to see different kinds of content on each platform so be sure to tailor your content not only to your audience but to the platform as well.
Recent research found that videos are not only a highly engaging medium, but they are the most preferred form of content as well. They work on almost all social media platforms, websites, and blogs. Even though they require a more significant investment, we encourage you to use this opportunity to increase your chances to get clicked by 40 times.
Blog posts are (or should be) regularly published on a website to attract new and returning visitors. They provide valuable and, just as importantly, shareable content to the audience. Blog posts can be anywhere from 500 to 2000 words in length; however, with just about everything, it’s best to experiment and feel out what works for your business.
Ebooks, generally longer and more in-depth than blog posts, are downloadable after visitors (a.k.a. potential customers) submit a lead form with their contact information, usually their email address.
Infographics are a visually compelling way of displaying data. They work well when you need to share heaps of data without overburdening your audience with a bunch of numbers. If you don’t have a graphic designer or you’re working with a small budget, you can find free template tools out there.
Podcasts are a different kind of animal. Nearly one-third of the U.S. population listens to at least one podcast a month, so there is potential there; however, you need interesting people to interview or conversations to host. If you do have them, starting your own podcast can help you reach audiences that don’t have time to read written content every day.
Newsletters are regularly occurring emails that are less about direct sales and more about furthering your relationship with your readers and potential customers. There are several email software options you can choose from, even if you’re on a budget.
The list could go on with mobile apps, PR articles, magazines, webinars and more, but to cover the basics and to get you started with your content strategy, the seven types mentioned above will be plenty. We understand that this is already lots of information but don’t worry! It takes time, creativity, good management to create and maintain a content strategy.