Building a content strategy isn’t easy. More brands would be better at it if it were. But the rewards are there for the marketers and companies willing to invest the time and money into doing it right.
We want you to get it right, so we’re dishing out some tips to help you get started, because the only thing worse than no content strategy is a bad content strategy.
Establish your audience’s motivations and behavior.
The best content strategies are crafted based on your brand’s audiences, not your products or services. The personas you identify should be backed with both data and anecdotal evidence. The more specific you can get, the better you can tailor each individual content piece to that audience’s needs.
Conduct an exercise with your sales, marketing and executive teams to identify the three to five challenges each of those audiences face. Better yet, hold a series of focus groups or conduct customer surveys to solicit feedback directly. That feedback becomes the foundation for the rest of your strategy.
Confirm your distribution channels
It should come as no surprise that your brand’s target audiences will consume content in different ways. Through the course of your persona research, you should also determine how your customers like to interact with your brand: Facebook, email, your website, whatever it is. You should have a set of core channels you use to engage with your customers or prospects. Some brands may have more, some less, but too many channels likely means you’re doing unnecessary work. Too few and you’re probably not maximizing your content strategy’s potential.
Identify your content pillars
What are the five or six broad categories that serve as the boundaries for your content strategy? Think of your brand as a newsroom with designated beats or sections: metro, sports, local, lifestyle, business. These should not be your products. Think of the challenges and problems your customers face. Use this as your starting point.
Establish your brand voice
Brand voice ensures continuity across your content over time. Write down three or four adjectives that describe your brand. Print out a banner for your marketing or content department that says, “Our brand is [insert adjectives here].” Slap it right next to your mission statement in your office so your content creators can always be reminded.
Document Steps 1-4.
You might be surprised at the number of marketers who don’t document or centralize their content strategies, and it can create a real mess as you scale. Create a simple spreadsheet or folder that outlines the above steps, and make sure anyone creating content for your brand can access it. As you grow, you can begin to implement more robust content management platforms that can address the additional complexity of a large content strategy.