A content strategy acts as your roadmap. It tells you where you are with your content, where you want to be, and how you intend to get there. To understand what your content needs to be, you have to understand your audience. This means looking at what worked before, what didn’t, and the lessons you learned from it.
What do your metrics say? What feedback have you heard from your prospects and customers?
What data do you have on your audience? What it does it say about them?
Who are they? What do they want? What are their backgrounds and jobs? What business problems can you solve for them, and how can you let them know?
There is no standard way to create a content strategy. Businesses use whatever works best for them. Some will write a strategy out in a word document, a ppt, or software designed for that purpose. Also, different businesses have different needs and audiences and ways to reach them. Therefore, their content strategies are going to differ. However, most content strategies need to include several main components.
Who are you? What are your goals? Who is your audience? What are you trying to convey to them and why? You have to know who you and who you are seeking to connect and communicate to in order to get started Everything builds up on that foundation.
For example, a mission statement might go something like, “The Detective Software Marketing Team markets to fellow marketers. They offer a marketing automation solution that makes marketers’ lives and jobs easier. It also allows them to keep up with the competition.
Who is your audience? The general public? Fellow marketers? Higher education institutes? Financial institutions? Know whom you are trying to have a conversation with, and compile the necessary data to have a good idea of who they are and what they want. Marketers find that crafting marketing personas to represent different segments of their audience helps them better understand what business problems their prospects and customers have and how you are able to help them and to let them know that.
There are more types of content than almost anyone could name. Examples include websites, emails, podcasts, blogs, webinars, videos, demos, how-to guides, case studies, white papers, social media posts, infographics, surveys, questionnaires, and more.
What content do you work best with? And what does your audience respond better to? Are they more visual learners where an infographic or video would be better suited? Or do they like reading and storytelling, where then a written piece might work better? Where are they in the sales cycle? Are you putting out enough thought leadership and building up your brand? Do you have emails and landing pages that catch the eye and intrigue? What about case studies that help nudge an interested buyer into wanting to make a purchase?
You might want to audit your content to see what you have, what was working, what is missing, and what you might need more or less of.
Also put some thought into the channels you will be using. In this day and age, everyone has to take advantage of digital media, but maybe you could make use of print media as well. What social media platforms do you think would work best for you? What about radio and TV? Physical mail? Text messaging?
Define the specific milestones and goals you want to reach.
Decide what metrics and numbers will define your success. While the overall revenue your marketing helps generate will be the most important statistic, do not overlook other metrics that might give you insights into how you are doing. These might include:
You must also think about in what time frame are you measuring your success. By month? Quarter? Campaign by campaign? It depends on you.
To get to where you want to go be with your content, what do you need to do and what are you missing? Perhaps you might need to identity a list of subject matter experts to interview and utilize for blog posts and thought leadership articles. You might need more interactive content to catch prospects’ eyes or a stronger focus on SEO. Your needs will dictate what you have to do.
You have to decide who is in charge of what. Who writes the copy? Who edits it? Who does the design? Who publishes it? Everyone on your team needs to take a role and own responsibility for it. Clearly-defined roles will go a long way toward building better communication and collaboration. It will you create a process for crafting and distributing content that is both efficient and effective. Everybody needs to know how a project starts and each step that you take from there. Set aside the time to do so for everyone’s benefit
Keep track of all your projects and who is responsible for what with a calendar. It helps keep everybody on schedule and to see where you are at with your different projects and what they might need.
Ultimately, successful content is relevant and useful. It offers information your audience needs and solutions to problems that they encounter. The process in creating that content and distributing needs a framework to get your messaging aligned and everyone on board and in sync with your team’s goals.
Find out more, check out Two SMB Content Marketing Strategies the Fortune 500s Can’t Afford to Ignore in 2019.
Michael McNichols is a Senior Content Manager for Oracle Digital Marketing. He has over ten years of experience in professional writing and has been widely published.