Planning and implementing a content strategy is the best way to ensure that your business can be competitive and successful for the attention of customers. However, many businesses are unfamiliar with the benefits of content strategy and missing a vital tool to help grow their business—even if their company already well-established.
The key benefits of content strategy
No matter how strong your business is, content strategy is a way to enhance your relationship with current customers and potential leads. Although some businesses may have a newsletter, blog and a social media presence, a content strategy could still help by utilising those channels to distribute content with a purpose.
Is it too late to develop a content strategy?
Let’s say you already have that connected network of channels; it’s never too late to employ a content strategy. Of course in a perfect world, you would prepare your strategy first to thoroughly understand your personas and the channels they use so that then you could build those channels up. But, we don’t live in a perfect world. Most businesses are already going to have those outlets, but they may not know how to use them properly. Although developing a content strategy at this stage can be challenging, you can make adjustments—which is a great way to find out what aspects of your strategy are worth investing in and which are not.
The key components of a working content strategy
When forging your content strategy, it’s helpful to follow a similar approach to that of a publisher.
The first thing you should do is craft an editorial statement, or a promise that you’re making to your audience. If you develop personas, you already understand what your customers’ problems are, and an editorial statement should be a promise that you’re going to solve those issues. Often, you can work with a company’s positioning statement and turn that into a strong editorial statement. This statement is a great benchmark which you can reflect on and use to test each piece of your content.
Furthermore, make clear, SMART objectives. Ask yourself, ‘What do I want my content strategy to accomplish?’. Sometimes, the obvious answer is, “Because I want to sell more stuff,” but sales might not be your primary motivator. Perhaps you need to grow your audience, which would require a completely different approach.
SMART goals are another essential part of creating a functional content strategy. The acronym keeps your objectives specific, measurable, achievable, responsible and timely. These parameters ensure that the aim of your content strategy is on course and effective. An excellent example of utilizing SMART goals to grow your business’s database is to begin by stating, “We want to expand our database, so we’re going to plan to grow the database by a certain number”. Then, make sure that your there is a way to measure your specified growth and that it is realistically possible. Next, you should clarify who is responsible for achieving that goal. Finally, your goals should be finished in a timely manner. One way to do this is by setting a timeline and deadline for your project on a sharable publishing calendar.
Once you have developed your content strategy and began working on your SMART objectives, there is a great opportunity to test your content. By testing, you will improve it for the future. You can do this by reviewing the interactions between your current content and audience. Then use that information to tweak your customer personas.
Is your content strategy wrong?
To determine if your strategy could be improved, the first thing you should refer to is your objectives. If you’re struggling to meet your goals, understanding what is going wrong and why is essential to refine your strategy.
For instance, say your objective was to grow your business’s database by a certain number. Testing each piece of content back against your personas could help you understand where the problem lies. Does your content fit your developed personas and answer a pain point of theirs? If it’s still not working, perhaps you should ask if you’re distributing the content on the correct channels. Are you using the best format or layout for the devices that your content is available on? Or are you targeting your audience within the right place of the buyer’s journey.
Continuing to ask these questions about your content strategy along with many others helps you assess and upgrade your business’s relationship with your customers. Likewise, if a part of your strategy is working really well then reverse engineering your process to understand what aspect is working, how you can replicate it and come up with similar ideas.