Content marketing is an important component to any company's marketing program, but if you don't have a content strategy, you could be spending a lot of time and resources on very little return.
Over the past few years, business owners have realized that their online presence is essential to their company's survival. They've learned that content marketing can help customers to find them more efficiently than their old marketing methods.
With proper SEO techniques, you can drive traffic to your site, but once your visitors have arrived, will they stay? Will your content bring long term results to your marketing strategy? A solid content strategy can give you positive answers to these questions.
What is Content Strategy?
Content strategy is planning for the creation, publication, and governance of useful and usable content. Of course there are other definitions out there, but this definition covers the basics. Without a plan, your content marketing could be sporadic and unpredictable, leading you to possible short-term spikes in traffic but no long term advantages.
Identify Key Themes and Messages
Before you start planning dates and topics for your content, it's important to stand back and think about the overall themes and messages you want to convey. What makes your brand stand out from the rest? What message do you want to consistently drive home with each piece of content you publish?
Once you identify your key themes and messages, it will be easier to brainstorm timely topics that you can cover in a variety of ways while still keeping with your overall mission and plan.
Identify Your Target Audience
After you've figured out your key themes and messages, it's time to determine your audience. Who do you want to reach with your content? It's usually not possible to reach everyone, so think about your products and services and the people who use them. The following questions can help you to hone in on your target audience:
- How old are your customers?
- What are their interests?
- What are their needs?
- Whom do they admire?
- Where do they live?
- How do they spend their time and money?
The answers to these questions can help you to shape your content and make it highly relevant to the people who are most likely to use your products or services.
Choose Your Platforms
Once you've identified your target audience, it will be easier to decide what platforms to use for your content. Where does your target audience hang out? Are they on LinkedIn? Facebook? Pinterest? Do they read mostly news, or do they read blogs? Do they search for educational content to help themselves with their work or hobbies?
A good content strategy generally uses more than one platform for long-term content publication. A combination of website, blog, and social media venues works well for most content strategies.
Clarify Processes and Resources
How will your company produce and publish its content? It's one thing to have a theoretical plan, and it's another thing entirely to have processes, systems, and resources in place to carry out the content strategy.
As you develop your strategy, consider who will actually write the content, who will edit and publish it, and who will maintain and govern the content as it grows. By putting reliable processes in place and backing the processes with adequate resources, your content strategy will run like a well-oiled machine, consistently driving valuable traffic your way.
You know you need content marketing, but the end goal can seem far away and very overwhelming if you don't have content strategy. With a solid strategy, however, you can consistently work toward developing a collection of content that is high-quality, brand-oriented, and valuable to our customers.