Six steps to developing a content strategy
For me, content marketing IS marketing these days. People no longer respond to one-way advertising. They want rich, varied content that fills their emotional cup. From detailed written content and interest-based niche articles to engaging video and inspiring imagery – the consumer demands so much more variety these days.
Before you start creating content for alllll the channels, you need to create a content strategy. I’m not one for massive, 100-page strategies that get put in a drawer and forgotten about, but I am a fan of succinct and flexible strategies. Things are constantly changing and adapting (hello, COVID) but as long as you understand your content pillars, audience and customer journey well, you can adapt to fit the environment.
Here are my top 6 tips for creating a content strategy.
What results do you want to achieve?
Sounds counterintuitive, but think about what you want to achieve before you set out. What is your goal? What’s the KPI? How are you going to measure it? Once you know what you want to achieve, you can decide which form of content will help you achieve that goal.
For example, if you want to create a niche group of loyal customers, you may need to create a range of in-depth content like e-books, feature articles or podcasts. If you want to increase brand awareness and reach new people, you may need to invest in high-quality imagery and video to help capture people’s attention.
Who do you want to reach?
I recently attended a webinar by Kate Toon and one of the things she said really stuck with me. Your audience is not just who you want it to be, it’s also the people that are drawn to you. Before you map out your ideal audience, think about your own USP. What makes you and your product unique, and who would this appeal to? If you’ve got a dry sense of humour and like to have a laugh, think about the type of person this will appeal to. Think about your existing audience, and your desired audience when creating content. Whilst different content may help people at different parts of the customer journey – be true to your brand and yourself throughout. This ensures the content is authentic and showcases your brand at all times.
Look at your current followers on social media, your Google Analytics, your customer reviews and really dig into who your customers are. If you want to go further with this, you can build customer personas within this audience so you can really start to imagine who you’re making content for and who you’re talking to.
What do you already have?
Now you know who you’re talking to and what you want to achieve, you can think about how you’re going to do it. Before you delve into creating new content, it always pays to audit your existing content. I like to create a spreadsheet and have columns for every type of content – images, videos, blogs, articles, media coverage, audio etc. List down everything you currently have, and then you can spot the content gaps. You’ll soon start to see what content is missing and where you need to focus your attention. Think about the areas you’d most like to fill and focus on those. Are there gaps in the market you could fill? Or are there areas you’d like to excel in?
What are your content themes?
Now we’re into the fun part. It’s time to bring your passion and brand to life through content! To help categorise your content, I’d suggest creating content themes or pillars. Some people call these pain points, but I prefer to think of them as themes – whatever works!
Use what you know about your audience to set themes. What does your audience currently like? What performs best? What part of your story can you not tell without this new content?
Then think about your brand. What are you passionate about and what do you align yourself with? What can you bring to those themes and how can you be a useful voice?
What’s your customer journey?
The customer journey is a well-versed theory that people move through various stages before converting. This details 5 main stages - awareness, consideration, purchase, usage, and advocacy. There are various versions, and a travel one also exists which is a bit more detailed.
I find it useful to overlay your content pillars and types onto the customer journey. This will help you clearly see which content will appeal to the customer at each stage of the journey. This also helps you spot which parts of the funnel are empty, and where you need to create more content.
For example, your product imagery may be part of your brand awareness / top of funnel activity and will reach potential customers. Your website and blogs may appeal to people in the consideration phase, helping them learn more about you and build more trust. Your advertising or sales pages will catch people in the purchasing stage, so these need to be as efficient as possible.
What are you waiting for?
Now you’ve mapped out your content strategy it’s time to get creative! Let your personality and brand shine through everything you create. Keep the tone of voice and messaging the same throughout, but make sure each piece of content fits into your pillars and serves a purpose in the funnel. Good luck and have fun!
We’ve helped many brands create and execute their content marketing strategy. We can work with you to create a strategy, nail those content pillars and help create your content. We’d love to chat, so feel free to get in touch if you think we can help!