What is a content strategy and why is it important?
Content strategy is planning, developing and managing content. Having a strategy allows for all content, including social media, blogs, video and beyond to be cohesive and aligned with your brand. With clearly defined goals you’re one step closer to running a successful content marketing program.
How to create a content strategy
1. Determine your goals and KPIs
The key to having a great content strategy is setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. This acronym stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound. Additionally, you’ll want to decide on key performance indicators (KPIs). Think about what you want to achieve with all the content you post. Do you want to lead more people to your website, increase brand awareness on social media or encourage customers to buy your product? KPIs help you measure the success of your goals. Here is an example that outlines the difference between a goal and a KPI:
Example Goal: Increase website traffic by 1,000 visitors per week by posting and promoting relevant blog posts two to three times per week to Facebook.
Example Key Performance Indicators: Follower growth and number of engagements.
2. Audience research
It’s important to know your audience. Research the demographics you want to target and understand their interests and lifestyle. How do they interact with social media? What do they want to read, watch, and learn about? Your audience research should be inclusive of more than one type of viewer or customer.
3. Choose the best channels to reach your audience
Not every target audience will be on every social platform. Decide which platforms your target audience uses, what type of content they want to see and if it is a match for what you plan to publish. Then decide the posting cadence for each platform.
4. Create brand guidelines
Set brand guidelines for your content creation. Ask yourself how you want to come across to your audience and how your content can develop that image. What’s your brand’s personality and aesthetic? Will your voice and tone be informative, conversational, technical or fun? Refer back to your audience research to help create your brand guidelines.
5. Content pillars
Content pillars are themes that align with your brand and communicate your values as a company to your audience. Each pillar should include a clear description and the goal for what it is communicating to your audience. When creating your content, each piece should directly align with a content pillar.
Example Content Pillar: A content pillar for a business like Etsy could be “Small Business Highlights,” which would include posts revolving around new businesses recently added to Etsy, small business success stories, and featured products etc.
6. Hashtag and SEO Strategy
Next consider how your audience will find your content in the sea of information online. For social media or blog posts, you should define a unique set of 10 – 15 hashtags or SEO Keywords for each content pillar. This ensures that each content topic reaches your audience and capitalizes on the way your audience discovers new content.
7. Brainstorm content ideas
This is where the fun comes in! Brainstorm ideas you want your audience to read, watch and learn about. Consider what you want to tell your audience, and you can create content that makes them want to engage with the brand. For example, you may be planning content for the holidays. Be sure to hold a brainstorm well ahead of time and incorporate your brand and content pillars to get those creative juices flowing.
8. Create your content calendar
Sort your content ideas into a content calendar to create a consistent content cadence. It’s important to remember that quality is more important than quantity, so aim to create a reasonable amount of content for your team’s bandwidth. Whether that’s one post a week or a robust editorial schedule, meet your audience where they are with the highest quality content you can create on a routine schedule.
How often should you review and revise your content strategy?
A good rule of thumb is to review your content strategy quarterly and revise it as necessary. Use monthly reporting to keep track of the goals you set for guidance about what needs tweaking and changing. If you are meeting the goals, you may not need to change anything. If you are not meeting the goals, dig deeper in platform analytics, channel strategy and quality of content to advise your next pivot.
Are you ready to start creating, but still looking for more guidance? The Workhorse team is ready to help you get started or scale up your content production. Let our team of seasoned marketing experts guide you through content strategies, content creation, and community management. Contact us to see all that we can do to help you succeed.