Welcome to this new series on creating a content strategy for your business. This is the first post in the series.
One of the best things you can do for your business is create a content strategy for growth. Understanding what that entails and recognizing that you need it is the first step to creating a content strategy that works.
What is a Content Strategy?
A content strategy is an overall plan that sets out how you will create, publish, and manage your content.
It should include:
- Short- and long-term goals for your content
- A plan for who will create it
- Types of content you will create
- When and where you will publish it
- How you will monetize it
- How you will promote it
The main goal of your content strategy itself is to ensure that all of your content has a purpose. It also works to keep your message and your branding consistent and keeps you from chasing squirrels and creating content that is not going to help you meet your goals.
I get that it might sound overwhelming when you think about it. It was for me, when I first embraced the idea. After all, it’s not just as easy as thinking “What do I want to create today?”
At the same time, it relieves the stress of asking that question and wondering what you’re going to do every day. And once you have your strategy in place, your content creation and promotion because as easy as just doing the next thing on the list.
Here are 6 steps for creating a content strategy for growing your business:
Step 1: Set goals for your content
The first question to ask yourself when creating your content strategy is “What do I want my content to do?”
Examples of goals you might set for your content could be:
- I want to increase my brand awareness
- I want to drive more traffic to my products and services
- I want to build my mailing list
The caveat here is that each piece of content should only focus on one goal.
Knowing what you want the results from each piece of content in your strategy to be makes it much easier to create a complete plan that will see you achieve your goals.
Step 2: Know your audience
I can not overstate how important it is to know your audience. It is vital that you know who you want to reach, what their needs are and their preferred ways to consume your content.
When you have all of this information, compile it into an avatar of your ideal customer and it will be much easier to develop content with them in mind.
Step 3: Create content that provides value
The last thing you want to do is waste your audience’s time.
Everything you create in your content strategy should add value for your audience. Make it interesting and information and ask yourself if it’s something that people actually want spend their time on.
A good question to ask yourself is if you were the customer, would you want to spend your time on this content?
Step 4: Promote the heck out of your content
This is where I see so many content strategies start to come apart. People stick a post up on a blog and leave it there. And then wonder why no one is reading, commenting, or buying their stuff.
You have to promote the content you create!
Email your list, post on your social channels, and find other creative ways to get the word out about your content.
The more eyes you get on it, the more effective your content becomes at achieving those goals you set way back in Step 1.
Step 5: Analyze and adapt
This is another under-utilized step that I see. Pay attention to your numbers, analyze them, and see how your content is performing for you. Metrics to keep an eye on include:
- Website traffic
- Social media engagement
- Conversion rates
Once you have some base numbers to go by, don’t be afraid to tweak and adapt your content and delivery in order to improve your results.
Step 6: Make content creation a routine
Once you have created your content strategy, keep it working for you by developing a routine for creating fresh content.
Figure out a publishing schedule that works for you and stick to it. By giving your customers new content on a regular basis provided that you’re giving them value and creating content that they enjoy, they’ll keep coming back to see what you have for them.
As I mentioned in a previous step, the best way to achieve the goals you set for your content strategy is to give your audience a reason to keep reading, listening to, and watching your content.
The older I get and the longer I publish, the more I realize how important it is to be consistent in both your content creation and promotion. Having a routine is not a bad thing!
As you can see from this quick overview of our six steps, creating a content strategy does not have to be overwhelming.
When you follow the steps outlined here, it makes it much easier to grow your business with consistent messaging and branding and helps keep you focused on your goals.
This is part 1 in our series on creating a content strategy. Read the rest of the series here:
Part 1: A 6-Step Formula for Creating a Content Strategy (You are here)