What is a content strategy? Content now comes in a plethora of forms, ranging from the copy that populates your website and defines your brand, to the videos that showcase what you do, to the multimedia campaigns that earn you press coverage and links. Your content strategy refers to the ways in which you harness these communications to achieve your business objectives. It includes everything from planning the types of content you will create to producing this content and getting it out to your target audience in the best possible ways.
Devising a content strategy involves asking questions such as why are you creating content, who are you targeting with it, and how will it benefit your business?
What is the difference between content strategy and content marketing? So, if content strategy is a broad term that describes the various ways you can use high quality content to achieve business objectives, how does this concept differ from ‘content marketing’- another commonly used phrase?
Content marketing is narrower in scope and is specifically focused on creating and sharing content to attract, engage with and retain an audience. It can include various types of online material, ranging from user focused blogs and social media posts, to eBooks, whitepapers, videos, podcasts and more.
It’s an inbound technique centred on providing content that educates, entertains and inspires. The emphasis is on offering unique, relevant content that meets consumers’ needs and empowers them to make their own decisions. When done successfully, content marketing can help you gain authoritative backlinks to your site through social sharing and outreach, and it can engage your target audience – as well as prominent influencers. It can also enhance your SEO performance by signalling to Google that your site is relevant, trustworthy and authoritative. Through this, it can increase traffic to your site and boost conversions, as well as enhancing your brand profile.
For these reasons, content marketing plays a critical role in many businesses’ overall content strategies.
Why is a content strategy important? There are two masters you need to serve with your online content today: search engines and your target audience. A well-planned and executed content strategy will help you to do both of these things as effectively as possible.
Creating a content strategy The importance of a solid content strategy may be clear, but how can you go about creating one? The following pointers will help you to nail this element of your marketing.
Set clear goals Set measurable goals for your content so that you have a clear idea of how well it’s serving your needs. For example, if you’re running a social media campaign, you could set targets in terms of how many new followers you want to attract and how many organic engagements you’re looking for over a set period of time.
Know your target audience Knowing your target audience, from their age to their spending habits, desires, lifestyles and more, will help you to create content that appeals to the right people. So, if you haven’t already done so, it’s useful to create buyer personas that outline the key traits of your ideal customers. To help build an accurate picture, you can collect information and feedback through customer surveys and interviews. You can also use information from customer journey maps and carry out competitor research to see how other businesses are engaging with consumers.
Once you’ve created detailed customer profiles, you should find it easier to tailor your content.
Keep your content on-brand Consumers want brands to be consistent wherever and however they interact with them. This means you need to make sure each touchpoint people have with your business is coherent in terms of messaging. Your brand should speak with one clear voice across all mediums, from your website and ecommerce storefront to blog posts, social media messages and so on.
Particularly if multiple people within your business and/or outside contributors create content on your behalf, it helps to have clear tone of voice and brand guidelines. This will make it easier to stay consistent across your communications.
Create a content calendar Creating an editorial calendar will help you to plan and manage your content. Advanced scheduling makes it easier for you to arrange your time and can help ensure you’re engaging with your audience on a regular basis. When planning content, you could use tools like Google Trends to help you spot seasons and cycles that may affect your business. You should also pay attention to when and how frequently your competitors tend to publish content.
Be responsive Planning is important when it comes to content strategy, but it’s also vital to leave some space for spontaneous content that reacts to newsworthy developments in your industry. Consumers are always on the lookout for trends and the next big thing. This means that as a brand, you need to be serving up content that taps into these developments and positions you as an expert and a thought leader.
Try a variety of content types With so much content to engage with online, people’s attention spans can be short. To keep them focused on your messaging, you’ll need to create unique, appealing experiences. So, while content marketing has traditionally focused predominantly on written posts, to harness its full potential you may want to try using more varied mediums, including everything from infographics to short and long-form videos.
Video is proving particularly popular, with 90% of marketers using short-form videos saying they plan to maintain or increase their investment next year, and 21% revealing they plan to use this type of content for the first time in 2023.
Mix and match different types of content according to the performance they bring. For example, video marketing might work particularly well for some products and services, while blog posts, eBooks and infographics may be better suited to others.