In recent years, content has rapidly climbed the ranks when it comes to the attention it receives and the priority it’s given by startups, small & medium businesses, and even the largest organisations across the globe. And it’s about flamin’ time. Content is one of the big hitters when it comes to creating a kick-ass digital experience, and having a content strategy is a must.
In this article, we look at how to plan and action your content strategy so that you can be one of those brands that nails their content marketing and reaps the rewards.
Don’t be one of those business owners who poo-poos the idea of a content strategy in the early days of launching your business. Content is not something to be left for later on, the sooner you start producing high quality content the quicker you’ll be building trust with your audience and getting your brand name out there.
Table of Contents
What is a content strategy?
A content strategy is basically a content plan of action used to outline exactly how you will use content to achieve your business goals, and more importantly, interact with your target audience.
The focus is on:
- What type of content is needed to appeal to your audience
- Where your content needs to be published for your audience to see it
- What result you want to see by getting your content out there
For example, if your key business goal right now is to boost brand awareness then you might build a content marketing strategy that involves a heavy focus on improving your SEO performance through content. That would include a plan to publish regular, high quality content on your business blog in order to increase organic traffic to your site – and hopefully generate revenue from that traffic.
According to a HubSpot Survey, 70% of marketers actively invest in content marketing. And no wonder. Having a clear, well-planned content strategy in place is like having Google Maps on the road – it’ll guide you straight to your destination: reaching your business goals.
How to plan your content marketing strategy in 6 steps
To help you put together a content plan and create a content strategy framework that works for you and your business, we’ve put together 6 key questions to ask yourself:
1. What problem are you solving?
This is a standard question for a business, and one you should be able to answer easily – especially if you did your homework for your business plan. Before you write a single word of content, you need to know why you’re here in the first place. Why should your audience care about your products and services? What problem are you solving for them?
The content you produce needs to help your future customers realise they have the problem you’re solving, educate them through the process, and eventually realise your business has the solution they’re looking for (or didn’t even know they needed).
2. What’s so special about your offering?
You might think your business is the best thing since sliced bread, but it’s likely you have competitors out there in the market and customers will want to know what makes your offering unique – or at least different to the rest.
Your content should clearly highlight why customers should choose you, and not the competitors. Not by mud-slinging and slagging off the competition, no need to play dirty. Instead, focus on the details of why your products/services really are the bees knees.
3. Who’s going to read your content?
Questions 1 and 2 are about what you’re going to say with your content. This question is about who you’re going to be talking to. Knowing your target audience is super important for any marketing activity, but it’s particularly crucial for producing content.
You’ll most likely have multiple types of customers, and that’s OK. Just make sure that your content strategy includes them all in the mix. And think about each customer type to help you choose the types of content and the channels you use to get your content out there.
4. What content formats will you create?
When we talk about content we don’t just mean words. You might want to use images, videos, infographics, as well as blog posts, user guides or other written content.
By answering questions 1-3, you’ll have a good idea of what you want to talk about and to whom – and that should help you determine what formats would work best.
Some of the most popular formats are:
- Blog posts
- Images and illustrations
- How to guides
- Case studies
5. Which channels will you use?
The next step, once you know what you’re going to say and have decided on the format(s) that will work best, is to choose where you’re going to publish your hot-off-the-press new content.
Deciding which channel(s) you want to use will depend on two things: 1) your audience and where they consume the majority of their content, and 2) the format of the content you’re creating.
Here are some of the main marketing channels to consider for your content:
- Your website and/or blog
- Social media posts (e.g. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, LinkedIn)
- Podcast platforms (e.g. Spotify, Google Play, Apple Podcasts, Castbox)
6. Who’s going to do what, and when?
The key to a successful content strategy is in the execution. You’ve taken the time to think about what you have to say, who you’re talking to and the way you’re going to create the content, and now it’s time to walk the walk.
The best way to do this is to create a content editorial calendar that details what content you’re going to create, who’s going to create it, where it’s going to be published and when. By mapping out your content and assigning responsibility to individual team members (or a content marketing agency like our good selves here at TJ Creative), you can break it down into manageable tasks to ensure you hit all the target dates.
Need help writing your content?
Hiring a professional copywriter can take away the hassle of having to create content yourself, so you can focus on your other priorities. Find out which type of copywriter you need for your business in our guide to the different types of copywriting.
6 popular types of content
Different types of content have their own goals that they’re trying to achieve, and it helps to understand the difference when you’re planning your content strategy.
SEO content – very popular right now!
As you might have guessed from the name, SEO content is created to help boost the SEO performance of a website. It’s written using the most appropriate and popular keywords for the topic in question, and structured in a way that helps Google understand what the important themes are in each piece of content.
No prizes for guessing what social content is. Yep, you got it. It’s content that will be shared on social media channels. One of the key elements of social content is creating engaging, shareable content that sparks emotions and encourages audiences to share, like and comment.
Traditionally PR content would have taken the shape of press releases, news articles and billboards. Nowadays, with social media and blogging having taken the world by storm, the term PR content can often be used to refer to pretty much any content produced by a business for public consumption.
Content for email campaigns often falls into two camps: a) functional emails, and b) marketing emails. Functional email content is often associated with automated emails, e.g. when a user creates an account or resets their password. Marketing emails, on the other hand, are generally more promotional or topical in their messaging – covering anything from a product launch to announcing seasonal discounts.
Google ads content
Paid advertising is big business these days and Google Ads is one of the top platforms of today. Google Ads content is short form content targeted at certain keywords and phrases to generate clicks. There’s an art to it, but when done right you can create a clicking frenzy and boost your online traffic (and sales).
UX, or ‘user experience’, is the term commonly used to describe the overall experience of using a website (although it can be applied to other platforms too). UX content refers to content that’s used to create the best possible experience for a website. Good UX content is clear, concise, avoids jargon, and provides helpful messaging to direct the user to the next step of the online journey.
Social media content strategy
Social media has blown up over the last 10 years and has become a staple in the marketing world. If your business isn’t on social media then you’re missing a trick. Probably ten tricks to be honest.
But with great social media potential comes great responsibility. Many a brand has imploded due to a thoughtless tweet or misworded post. The great thing about social media is great content spreads like wildfire. The bad thing is that scandalous content also spreads like wildfire – so you need to plan and execute your social media content carefully.
There’s no one ‘right way’ to make content for social media. What works for one brand might not work for yours. In fact, the best social media content needs to be original, completely relevant to your business, and appropriate for the audiences you’re targeting.
How to create a social media strategy
Let’s take a look at how you can create your own social media strategy that allows you to create great social content, measure its success, and optimise your profiles.
- Step 1 – Establish your business goals and objectives. Using the SMART framework each goal for your social content should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
- Step 2 – Get to know your audience. You want to know as much as you can about the folks who you’re going to be posting for, so create personas that include information such as their age, location, average income, typical jobs they do, and personal interests.
- Step 3 – Check out your competition. It’s pretty likely that your competitors are already active on social media, so have a gander at what they’re posting. Learn from what they’re doing (or not doing), and then do it better – but always aim to be unique.
- Step 4 – Carry out a social media audit. If you’ve already been sharing content on social media, it’s a good idea to take stock of what you’ve done so far and consider what’s working (or not), who’s engaging with you, and how your social media accounts compare to your competitors.
- Step 5 – Set up your account and/or update your profiles. Once you’ve decided which social media platforms you want to use, you need to create your profiles – or improve the ones you already have. Fill out all the fields, consider popular keywords for your business, and make sure everything is on brand (logo, images, tone of voice, etc).
- Step 6 – Get inspired and plan your content. Don’t just look at what competitors are doing, check other industries and other platforms to see which brands are kicking ass on social media. Be inspired by them and make notes on the best bits that you think will work for your business.
- Step 7 – Create a social content calendar. Having a social content plan in place is a must and should detail what content you plan to publish and when with a clear posting schedule. Don’t forget to build in time for engaging with your audience. After all, social media should be social! And beware, don’t just talk about your own business on social media – start with 80% educating or entertaining your audience and 20% promoting your brand.
- Step 8 – Measure performance and optimise. A social media strategy needs to evolve and react to what’s working, and what isn’t. Track how your social content is performing (based on the goals you set out at the beginning) and then do more of what goes down well, and less of the content that tanks. Social media trends and habits change like the wind, so you need to repeat this feedback loop regularly to stay on top of your social game.
Don’t have time to plan and create social content?
We don’t blame you, you’ve probably got lots of big fish to fry. That doesn’t mean you should ignore content, but you might want to think about outsourcing your content marketing.
What does a content strategist do?
Content strategists are experts in developing content strategies based on a businesses goals and their customers’ needs. It’s their job to figure out the priorities for the business, understand what the customers want and need, and then consider what content would be the best fit.
A content strategist will often conduct content audits to see what content has already been created, identify gaps to fill or improvements to be made, and then put together a content plan. Their main responsibilities include putting together and maintaining the editorial calendar(s), implementing style guides, and setting up content processes.
How much does a copywriter cost?
On average, you can expect the cost of an experienced freelance copywriter to be around £40 – £50 per hour, or £350 – £500 per day – depending on the copywriting work you need them for. Working with a decent copywriter can save you a lot of time and stress, especially when you have a lot on your plate trying to run your business.
Get help for your content strategy
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