Creating top-quality content is a lot of work. Perhaps it goes without saying that you want that content to bring your clients more traffic and more sales, but are you doing everything you can to make sure that happens?
If you don’t think and execute strategically, you’re probably wasting your time. And time is money, no matter what business you’re in. So: do you have a deliberate content strategy?
“Publish or perish” has taken on new meaning with the advent of digital marketing. But madly cranking out content and distributing it wherever you can doesn’t necessarily get to where you want to go. Publishing is a vehicle, not the destination.
On the other hand, strategy is what makes winners, whether you’re an Olympic racer or an entrepreneur. Content strategy focuses your clients' marketing efforts so they can get the best return on their efforts.
They don’t leave the rest of their businesses to chance – churning out new products whether or not anyone wants to buy them. To grow and thrive, they have to create and sell what their customers want. It’s the same for content strategy. Strategy guides what content you create and how you share it with your various audiences.
In order to that, here’s what you need to know to help:
- Your overall business goals, plus your marketing goals. Are you trying to achieve more or better leads? More sales? More social media conversation? Goals determine the tactics you’ll use.
- Your audience. Personas are your “litmus,” with a face and personality. Understanding what each of your key targets wants, how they search for it, where they are in the buying cycle, their potential objections or other barriers to buying from you helps you create meaningful, timely content. What questions do they ask? What’s in it for them if they do buy from you? Each of your personas requires a strategically different approach.
Who, what, when, where, how are all questions you need to answer for yourself as you develop your content strategy. Why is the question you need to answer for your audience. Strategy ties it all together. Chris Moritz suggests focusing on your prospects’ main pain points, using each them as a pillar to build your content strategy. How will you address each one?
Here’s what you need to do:
- Study your analytics. Include your staff in content strategy planning, too -- everyone that has public contact – to get their customer perspective. Make sure they understand the resulting strategy, too, because consistency is critical. You can’t have your sales or customer service people posting messages that don’t jibe with the overall plan.
- Create an editorial calendar – How will you promote your content? Consistency is vital, but so is variety. A calendar helps you prioritize your content, establish timing that makes sense and keep track of what you’re doing. It also ensures you’re using every appropriate format and channel to boost reach and encourage response. You can make the most of specific marketing campaigns as well as authority-building content.
- Create irresistible calls to action. This is the whole point. Disseminating interesting information is nice, but building credibility and authority aren’t enough. CTAs pull people farther into your sales funnel and help you stay engaged with them.
- Stay on top of your SEO. People have to find your content, quickly and easily.
- Consider your budget. Should your strategy include paid advertising?
If strategy development is new for you, Jason deMers has some excellent, detailed advice for you.
Perhaps you’ve deliberately avoided developing a content strategy because:
- It stifles creativity. While stream-of-consciousness content creation may give you a thrill, flying by the seat of your pants isn’t a particularly successful business plan long term. And, truth is, having a content strategy actually requires greater creativity because you’re working toward specific goals and talking to specific audiences
- It stifles spontaneity. That’s why you build flexibility into your editorial calendar. You can grab opportunity immediately when it shows itself, but you also don’t “spontaneously combust” by overlooking opportunities to repurpose and cross-promote your content.
Sure, planning can be tedious for your clients. But think of the rewards. It's all about more traffic, better engagement and more sales. And isn't that what they really want?