A content strategy is vital to the success of your content marketing campaign. It helps you remain organized and provides your content with direction; This allows you to stay on-brand and relevant with your intended audience. Before you develop your content strategy, however, you must understand your target audience; This is just as important as generating quality content. The more time you spend learning who your audience is, the better.
Set Content Strategy Goals
Your creative content strategy needs a purpose – a specific and measurable goal you can strive toward. Otherwise, why spend time developing a content strategy at all? By establishing a set of goals during the first stage of development, you can tailor-fit your strategy to the business’s mission and goals.
When establishing your marketing goals, adopt the SMART approach by ensuring each goal is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound. Goals should be specific and detailed so they are easy to understand, and their progress should be easily measurable with key performance indicators (KPIs). They must also be attainable with your team and available resources. Finally, they must be relevant to the company’s goals and have a clear timeline. However, regardless of your reasons for needing to develop a content strategy, establishing and writing out clear, measurable and attainable goals gives you something definitive to work towards.
Create a Buyer Persona
Your target audience is the other half of any marketing relationship. If you want your content to resonate with them, you need to understand them. One of the ways you can do this is by creating a buyer persona. Buyer personas are a detailed description of your audience’s interests, hobbies, motivations, pain points and goals, written in their voice. A well-written and researched persona feels real.
As you put together a buyer persona, consider both personal and work-related questions. Think about your target audience’s age, the region in which they live, their hobbies, the media they consume, their preferred social media platforms, their pain points, their careers and any other question that may be relevant to your business and your goals. According to Single Grain, you can ask these questions through customer surveys, one-on-one interviews, analytics and by talking to employees.
Gather your research and use it to create one or more personas by uncovering patterns in your data. Write the buyer persona as if they were writing about themselves – don’t be afraid to include details! The more detailed and fleshed out your buyer persona is, the more useful the persona will be.
Assess the Current Situation
If you have already been producing content, consider performing a content audit. According to Coschedule, a content audit dissects a company’s content efforts and performance by analyzing all individual metrics, channels and content to determine what worked and what did not.
Once you’re armed with a new set of goals and buyer personas, you may reexamine your previous efforts’ progress with these new metrics in mind to determine which practices you should carry over to your new strategy, which you can build upon and which you can leave behind.
Measure your KPIs, check your analytics and analyze your website traffic and bounce rate. Don’t forget to check on backlinks as well. Backlinks are one of Google’s top-ranking factors, so look for the effective ones and take note. To help yourself even further, consider creating a chart to house and track the data you acquire from the audit.
Type of Content and Their Channels
When determining what type of content to create and where to post it, consider your target audience, budget and how the new content will connect to the old. Content matters! Determine which type of content your customers already respond to and what they’re interested in. Notice the areas they pay most attention to, such as your social media presence or website and start producing more content down those avenues.
Apply what you’ve learned from your research. Do you have a young demographic that is interested in podcasts? Consider your budget and whether a podcast is something you can reasonably afford. Will you need to hire more talent to make that type of creative content? Will you need more equipment? All of this will have to factor into your budget. Lastly, consider how your new content can connect to your old. According to Upland Software, adopting a holistic distribution approach may help build off of old successful campaigns.
Don’t be afraid of cross-platform distribution, either. Promote content on social media, embed video content in blog posts, post podcast highlights to YouTube or transcripts to your blog. Cross-platform distribution is the easiest way to reach a wider audience. Brainstorm evergreen and niche content ideas that take advantage of your chosen medium and platform. Create a document of ideas you can pull from for the future.
Create a Content Calendar
The last step in developing your content strategy is creating a calendar dedicated to your content; How you make this calendar is up to you. It can be a simple spreadsheet, a shared calendar or even a whiteboard in your office.
Determine the type of creative content you want to include. Do you want to add social media posts, or would you rather those be on a separate calendar? Do you want to include progress deadlines? Consider color-coding your calendar to differentiate the content by type.
Include the content title, content type, platform, and post date and time on your calendar. Everyone’s calendar will be different! Consider what information you need to know and track and find the best way to deliver that information to your team.
One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Everyone’s content strategy will be different; Content strategies are unique to each producer and depend on their goals and resources. Don’t stress about reaching a standard. Instead, develop a content strategy that best suits your needs and skills. After all, the most successful content strategy is one that achieves your goals!