Creating a content strategy shouldn’t induce a headache, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy.
An effective content strategy will show you how to align your content – social media posts, newsletters, blog posts, and otherwise – with your company vision.
Today, we’ll guide you through the six-step process that Soulheart uses to generate and evaluate content. After you’ve completed these six steps, you’ll have a content strategy with the flexibility to evolve as your audience does.
It’s essential to have a crystal-clear vision of what you’re trying to achieve when you are creating a content strategy. A concrete vision gives you a measure to evaluate your ideas and determine if what you’re doing is working. You can change your vision over time, but you’ll be able to identify exactly what you can change more quickly if you begin with a specific and clear vision.
There are two steps in this stage:
1. Define your goal
When you’re first defining your goal, you should start broad. Your company’s mission might be a good place to start. For example, Soulheart’s mission is to have a positive impact on the lives of others by building + hosting beautiful websites and creating + implementing effective online marketing and content strategies.
We can pull goals out of that mission statement pretty easily because we need clients to build websites and create strategies for. So, our overarching goal would be to attract web and strategy clients and make a positive difference on their lives and others.
2. Define the role of content in achieving that goal
To figure out how content will help you achieve that goal, start with thinking about the purpose of content in general. What’s the goal of content, in general? The Content Marketing Institute says that the goal of content is:
…to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action
Next, we should make that goal more specific, tailoring it to your company’s specific mission. For Soulheart, it would look something like this:
The goal of all Soulheart content is to provide interesting, helpful, and occasionally inspiring information about web and marketing to help others reach their goals as well as drive profitable customer action.
You should be able to explain how every piece of content plays a role in achieving this goal. That begins with having a plan which takes the goal down from the theoretical and into the practical.
3. Think about the avenues you want to use
There are lots of different avenues for content. A slightly different audience is accessible through each. It’s a good idea to go through the avenues and see which ones are the best for generating leads.
Here are several content avenues and the types of audiences that they will reach.
- Website blogs – perhaps the broadest audience, including everyone from casual browsers to potential customers making a judgment on the quality of your products/services
- Newsletters – people who have specifically expressed interest in your services or company in general
- Email Workflows – people who very interested in a specific product or services that you offer
- Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter Accounts – general browsers as well as potential leads who want to be abreast of specials as well as happenings in the company; an excellent way to show the “human” side of your brand
- Instagram Accounts – browsers who are interested in the aesthetics of your brand
4. Think about the types of content you want to use
Those different types of avenues can contain a variety of types of content. It’s a good idea to diversify the types of content that you share across avenues to keep audiences engages. Don’t assume that your audiences cross over into different platforms or are checking your website. Instead, think about saying similar things in different ways to match the platform (i.e. what you say in an Instagram caption might be condensed to a single sentence on Twitter). When posting on social media, keep a strong focus on being entertaining and interesting. For a blog, you can focus on giving useful information and then you can share your blog posts across other platforms to promote it!
Here are some types of content and avenues across which they work that you can consider using:
- Testimonials – good for social platforms because they connect with other users
- Articles – for the blog as well as featured in the newsletter
- Infographics – can cross-pollinate between a blog and social platforms; can feature in a newsletter
- Case Studies and White papers – work well as a first follow-up in an email workflow
- Ebooks – should have a corresponding blog post, newsletter features, and social posts
- Checklists – go well with an article on the blog, can also be used in email workflows as assets
- Video interviews with staff or happy clients – excellent for social posts
A plan can only go so far. As our CEO Joshua Brown likes to say, there comes a point when we have to start building our dreams.
5. Create and Follow a Content Calendar
Now that you’ve gotten an idea for the types of content you want to feature and the avenues that you will use for them, you’ve probably realized that’s it’s a lot to keep up with!
That’s OK and completely normal – and it’s why we’ve created a sample content calendar for businesses. We will send it to your email for free:
When you follow the calendar, it will help you plan out all of your content in advance so that you are able to avoid the last-minute rush before a newsletter comes out. You can even use tools like Buffer to schedule out social posts in advance so you don’t have to worry about getting your posts out at exactly the right time for maximum engagement.
Once you have gone through these five steps, you will have created a robust content strategy that will begin to help you maximize engagement and grow your audience. However – the work doesn’t stop there!
6. Always be looking for ways to improve
This is the late step in creating a content strategy! Your audience is always evolving. It’s important that you tap into analytics to make sure that your content is getting the attention that the work you put into it warrants. Keeping an eye on analytics will help you see which posts tend to resonate with your audience especially well.
Always remember the 80/20 rule. 80% of your website traffic is driven by 20% of your content. Try to discover that 20%, and then keep narrowing your focus until your posts are getting consistent traffic.
Putting it All Together
While creating a content strategy may seem like a time-consuming or difficult task upfront, it’s much easier once you get into the flow of a schedule. The effort that you invest in upfront by creating a specific vision and then a clear and detailed plan will be rewarded as your brand recognition increases and your content starts to produce serious leads. If you want help as you create an overarching marketing strategy that includes content, reach out to us. After having a brief consultation, we will create a custom package for you.
© Joshua Brown 2019, all rights reserved