When it comes to developing a good content strategy, you can’t just wing it. A good content strategy is something that takes a lot of planning and re-planning.
This involves researching and adapting to the product market, constantly trying to stay a step ahead of your competitors and remaining in tune with what your customers are doing, what their problems are and, as a result, what their needs are.
It’s a lot to take in.
The easiest way to start developing a content strategy is to break it down into steps (and never ever panic).
Step 1: Ask “why?”
Your first step should be understanding why you need a strategy in the first place: think about your end goal and develop objectives accordingly.
These could be as simple as increasing your site traffic by 10 per cent by the end of the month, or designing a new look for your website.
Step 2: Write your content strategy down
Everything becomes more legit when you write it down. That, and it will really help provide a clear picture of where you’re headed or where your gaps might be.
Think about it as form of brand positioning or mission statement: What sort of content to you promise to deliver? How do you want your customers to think about your content? What sort of reputation do you want for your business?
Step 3: Step into your customers’ shoes
Content marketing isn’t just about pushing a product: being noisy and flashy will only get you so far. You need to solve problems for your customers. And that involves understanding them.
This is easily done through the development of buyer personas: creating very specific customer profiles to help guide your approach.
A 45-year-old mother of three teenagers will have different concerns and needs than a 21-year-old student. These are all things you need to consider.
Painting by numbers
This is what I like to describe as painting by numbers: it’s easy to paint a picture of something you can research or measure.
A company already knows its mission statement. It already has a good understanding of its customers from having developed a target audience. Developing those into personas is straightforward enough.
The hard part comes when you go beyond the research and the planning and start developing content.
The hard part
Everyone is producing content nowadays. A lot of it is rubbish, some of it is good, and all of it is overwhelming. Which is why you need to create content that is consistently unique, valuable to your audience and, most importantly, is shareable.
But, don’t expect to get it right the first time: it’s all about trial and error.
In the olden days when we were publishing newsstand magazines, you never launched a magazine and got it right from issue one. You’re forever having those feedback loops through copy sales and research and focus groups. You continually need to be evolving what you’re doing.
Don’t be afraid to fail
And, through it all, you need to hold your nerve. It’s unlikely, when it comes to content strategy, that you’ll make such a big mistake that you’ll damage your brand or offend people. So don’t be afraid to take risks. And if something doesn’t work, you just tweak and adapt.
The more you try, the more likely you are to succeed.
Whether this means your database grows from X number of people, you have more people subscribing than unsubscribing or your site traffic increases.
Develop a good strategy, create good content, and only good will follow.