There is no debate about the importance of content marketing for your business – good content is the lifeline of most successful digital marketing campaigns.
But what makes content “good”?
Simply put, focus on what your audience is searching for and create relevant content, because haphazard content without proper planning might result in loss of credibility & quality traffic.
What is Content Strategy?
Content strategy focuses on planning, creation, delivery, and governance of content. The goal of any business’ content strategy should be to create meaningful, cohesive, engaging, and sustainable content.
Some people might confuse Content Strategy with Content Marketing Strategy. Content marketing strategy is a strategic approach, which also includes content strategies. A content marketing strategy encompasses your resources, limitations and gives a sense of direction to your communicative approaches.
How to set up a successful Content Strategy for your business?
1. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure effectiveness of content
When formulating a strategy for your business, you need to first identify your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
A KPI quantifies the success of a goal or other qualitative measures you would want to track. E.g. you want people to sign up for an event by filling up a form. In this case, the number of forms filled up in a specific time period would be a relevant KPI.
When setting up your performance indicators, remember to follow the principles of simplicity, relevance, timeliness, and instant usefulness.
Keep in mind that performance indicators may also vary from business to business, or even change with time within the same business as well.
Follow this simple exercise when choosing your KPIs:
- Write down 5 major short term goals for your business.
- Write down 5 major long term goals for your business.
- Write down 10 actions you want your audience to take as a result of your content.
- Evaluate each of the actions against your goals.
- Choose actions that most directly support your goal and identify metrics that measure each of these actions.
With the metrics in hand, you are now ready to start measuring your content’s effectiveness.
2. Understand the audience consuming your content
Now that you know what you want from your audience, try to understand your audience. One way to do this is to create and analyze buyer personas for your target market.
The goal of this exercise is to figure out how you can connect with your customers by focusing on the content they are being delivered, and how they perceive those messages.
3. Analyze the content your competitors are putting up
Now that you have an understanding about your customers, the next step would be to closely analyze your competitors.
A thorough analysis involves reviewing your competitor’s target market, products, market shares, and strategies. The most common tool for this analysis is SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats).
In this digital age, this can be done easily by mapping their web pages and social media presence. There are also various instruments through which we can assess the performance of our webpages.
An indicator of how well your content is doing amongst competitors is your SERP (Search Engine Ranking Pages) ranking. Although some amount of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is required to achieve a higher ranking, ultimately it is dependent on your content.
You can analyze your competitor’s website by answering questions like:
- How long did it take for the site to load?
- How active are their CTAs? How responsive is their customer service?
- What are they offering? Do some of their offerings coincide with yours?
- What are their prices?
- What are the main messages and tones that they are using in their content?
- What strategy do they follow while structuring their content?
Once you have answered the above questions, ask the same questions for your website as well. It will give you a decent reflection on where you stand in regards to your competitors.
This analysis is not about imitating your competitors. It is about finding out what they have been doing, where they lack and what you can do better.
If you think your competitors are doing better than you, it’s time to ask yourself some really serious questions, like:
- What is my ultimate goal with this channel?
- What does my audience want to do when they use this channel?
- Is my target audience active on the channel I use?
- Am I using the right CTAs?
- Am I pushing my brand offering too much?
- Am I talking about interesting ideas?
4. Understand your business and the kind of content right for you
When creating content for your business, it is necessary to set a guideline for the voice and tone. The choices that you make in order to portray your ideas might affect how your brand communicates to its audiences now, and also in the future.
For identifying the tone and voice of your content, you can do an exercise where you list some statements on how you want your customers to perceive your brand, or what the intention of the brand that you have created is. After that, suggest a word that will best complete the following sentences.
You can start with statements like:
- My brand makes people feel…
- If my customers described my brand they would say…
- I want my brand to be…
Segregate the words generated and choose unique or similar ones. Now, you have a smaller pile of words that you actually want people to list when they come across your brands.
Your brand’s voice is one of the key factors that will differentiate you from your competitors. Having a distinct tone and voice in your content makes it easier to retain customer attention, and sets you apart from other business entities who only focus on product sales.
Companies also need to be consistent with what they deliver. E.g. if you are formal and highly descriptive in your product catalog but casual in your customer service, customers might lose trust in your brand.
Consistency is the key in content strategy. Being consistent will not only establish your brand identity, but also supports brand awareness and increases the trust in your brand.
5. Ideate and Prioritize your content
Now that you know how you should be delivering your content, the next step should focus on what you deliver. Plan out your content. You can do this in various ways, like keyword research, competition research, or even a simple walk-and-think session. There is no set way to ideate, since it is very subjective in nature.
If you have the luxury of having more brains than one, plan a brainstorming session. Sit down with others, and discuss ideas and avenues of content you can explore. You will be amazed at how well brainstorming sessions work, provided they are done properly, of course.
A successful brainstorming session requires trust, respect, encouragement, and equality.
After you’ve brainstormed, sort through the ideas and implement the best ones. All good ideas need not be implemented. Prioritization is important. Rank your ideas in order of pursuing ability and importance.
Now you have content ideas that are not only relevant and valuable to your audience, but also supports your business goals.
The aforementioned tips will help you boost the quality of content you put online or even offline. Remember that these are just basic exercises, and there are many other things you can do to really bring out the best in your content strategy.