- Set clear goals;
- Identify your target audience;
- Study your competitors;
- Select communication channels;
- Create a content plan;
- Continuously improve.
Set clear goals
Before creating a content strategy, it’s important to understand exactly why you need one. That way, each blog post, video, or article will fulfill a clear purpose, rather than just serving as filler for a website or social media. To test the viability of a goal, use SMART technology and ask five questions.
- Is the goal achievable?
- Is the goal meaningful?
- Is the goal specific?
- Is the goal measurable?
- Is the goal time-bound?
In addition to the basic goals we mentioned above (increasing brand awareness, attracting traffic to the website, turning potential customers into actual customers), you can set your own goals. For example, recruiting new employees, improving customer service, or rebranding your company. Whatever goals you set, make sure the content strategy you choose helps you achieve them.
As you implement your strategy, your goals may change – and that’s okay. For example, you might start with building brand awareness and then focus on attracting new customers. The main thing is to adapt the content following the changed goal.
Identify the target audience
Knowing exactly who the content is for makes it easier to make it more accurate and effective. When analyzing your audience, ask the following questions:
- Who is likely to purchase my products and services?
- What are these people interested in?
- What kind of content do they consume?
- What is their “pain” (a problem the business can solve)?
Once you’ve answered these questions, build a customer portrait. To do this, gather information about potential customers: their gender, age, workplace, and habits. If you already have a working online store, check this and other information in Google Analytics. If not, use other methods: conduct surveys, give discount cards for filling out questionnaires and analyze customer profiles in social networks. Identifying your target audience is a very important step, because sometimes the real target audience is not the same as the one you envisioned when you created your business.
Research your competitors
If a competitor’s business is ranking higher than yours in Google queries, analyze the keywords on their website and try to understand the source of traffic. Use SimilarWeb to gather data and analyze the differences between your site and your competitor’s site.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
Make a purchase on a competitor’s website, leave contact information, contact tech support and write a social media review – this way you will understand what kind of content they use in a particular situation.
Identify strengths and weaknesses
Take the successful ideas of your competitors and don’t repeat their mistakes. Perhaps a rival company produces awesome blog posts but barely uses social media. Knowing this will help you create a content strategy that utilizes Facebook and Instagram posts to your advantage and help you stand out from similar brands.
Choose your communication channels
When creating a content strategy, don’t try to cover all communication channels at once – this will take up all your free time and quickly drain your marketing budget. Instead, focus on a couple of promising venues and gradually expand your presence if the strategy proves effective. For example, you could start with a blog and a Facebook page: this way you’ll have platforms for both serious content and short posts, where you can quickly build an audience. When choosing communication channels, keep in mind your budget and team resources. For example, it takes a lot more time and money to create a video than it does to write posts or design checklists. Start with simpler, more budget-friendly content that you can keep producing on a regular basis.
Create a content plan
A content plan is the final step in creating a content strategy. Bring together all planned publications, advertising campaigns and projects to launch new communication channels into it – and add clear deadlines and instructions for the team. Not only does a content plan make communication cohesive and consistent, but it also makes marketers’ jobs much easier. Creating new posts, articles, and videos every day is a stressful process that can lead to burnout. By coming up with and scheduling content ahead of time, you’ll make the team’s work more measured and predictable, and you can provide them with additional resources during particularly challenging projects.
Once you’ve created a content strategy and put it into action, it’s time to test its effectiveness. First of all, look at bounce rates, average time spent on page, and other Google Analytics metrics. These will help you determine how users are interacting with the content on the site. Check also the main characteristics of users (gender, age, ability to pay, etc.) to understand how real customers coincide with the consumer portrait you have created. In addition, analyze the social networks. Platforms like Facebook, Youtube and Instagram offer their own built-in analytics tools where you can see engagement and reach levels. This way, you can track whether posts are generating positive engagement and adjust your strategy if the results aren’t satisfactory.
Listen to your customers
Customers’ opinions can help better than the most perfect metrics. Pay attention to how they interact with posts and articles, and scrutinize reviews and comments. Customers often tell you directly what they want – and it’s in your business’s best interest to listen to that.