Content strategy

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Content strategy is where contention creation, distribution, and business goals meet.

Content strategy is complimented by content marketing, which is the more granular plan to create, publish, and distribute any tangible media under your brand.

Think of content strategy as the overall grand scheme blueprint, whereas content marketing is the individual journey towards driving that brand success.

A good content strategy:

  • Distills your audience’s actual pain points.
  • Prioritizes content that attracts, engages, and intentionally converts readers into the next phase of your funnel.
  • Is competitive. It looks at the content gap and primary differentiators between your brand and its competitors.
  • Is defensive. Your content needs to be benchmarked against your competition.
strategy

There are several key considerations to consider when putting together a content strategy:

Who are you creating content for?

Who is your target audience? How many different audiences are you creating content for?

For example, let’s say you’re a time-tracking SaaS product. You find your target audience is owners or managers of companies with remote workers, freelancers, or people generally looking to optimize their time. Spoiler alert: this is an actual company.

What problem are you solving for that audience?

Every article should briefly touch on some problems your target audience has, which ideally ties in well to your brand’s value proposition.

Finding the problem to solve takes some grit and research. This means looking at content trends in your industry, testing hypotheses, and most importantly, getting out there and talking to your ideal customer and figuring out what makes them tick.

Continuing with our example, we find that the majority of our target audience feels like their big hairy audacious problem is their productivity. All across the board, every subsect of our audience wants to be more productive, so we create articles for tips and hacks on how to be more productive, such as “How Boxing Made Me A More Productive Professional”

Next, we focus on what makes us unique

The reality of modern entrepreneurship is that there is no such thing as a fully unique product. Every product comes with at least a handful of competitors, and business is gunning for a slice of the pie.

Your potential customers need to know why your product is better or different. Your content strategy accomplishes two big things here.

First, it refines the audiences you want to attract. For example, your strategy can target audiences based on their price sensitivity. An article such as “10 Best Productivity Hacks Under $10 or Free” is likely going to attract customers that are more price sensitive. This would be a solid article if we had a freemium or ad-based SaaS product, but not so great if we were a higher-ticket subscription-only service.

Second, your content can actually be your differentiator. If you’re in an industry where there are a lot of close substitutes, your voice can make all the difference. Content is an amazing tool to build rapport at scale– customers are much more willing to buy something from someone they like and trust.

Content is your opportunity to build a rapport and trust machine. Content strategy is your programming.

What content format will you focus on?

How your customers see your content is arguably more important than the substance itself. For example, a feel-good 30-second video and article embed of 10 cute dogs making messes once got 100x the views of an in-depth article that took our Head of Content 40 hours to write. But he’s not mad about it. Not one bit. Really, it’s fine. Let’s not talk about it.

Your content can take many different formats, ranging from infographics, blog posts, and videos. Once you find which topics you want to focus on, determine the best format for your content within the scope of your budget.

What channels will you use to distribute your content?

Content may be king, but it always bows down to its queen: distribution.

Content is essentially useless as an island, and if your audiences don’t have the means to find your content, it may as well not exist. Channels can include properties you own such as your website and social media accounts, as well as channels you “rent” such as sending traffic to your content via Facebook Ads.

How will you create the content?

Once you have the bulk of your content strategy in place, it’s time to build out the process of creating your content.

Put together a detailed roadmap of items such as: who is responsible for creating what piece of content, where it’s going to be published, when it’s going to go live.

Additionally, it’s useful to build an internal process of how you go about hiring (and firing) writers and editors, and how to ensure your content goes from idea to live product with as few (ideally zero) hiccups as possible.

Objectives

Start with a Clear Business Goal

Content strategy starts as soon as you have a clear and real business objective in mind. Most content strategy agencies seek to hone in on exactly what their clients look to accomplish, and then come up with the series of strategies to get there.

When in doubt about whether your content strategy business goal is clear, just get SMART about it: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Based.

Examples of clear SMART content objectives:

  • We want to increase the organic traffic to our landing pages by 200% by April 2022.
  • We want to be one of the first three results in SERPs for the terms “best NYC marketing agency,” “eCommerce PPC strategy” by December 2020.
  • We want to increase revenue by 50% by January 2023.

Many business owners get content wrong because they lead with vague and ineffective business objectives, making it nearly impossible to extract any sort of meaningful or actionable business data.

  • We want 100 new articles on our blog. ← Too many business owners create content with an “if you build it, they will come” mentality. There are over 4 million blog posts published every day, and many of them will never see the light of day because they lack the content strategies to drive traffic.
  • We want to write about topics in our niche for the sake of being in the conversation. ← Being “in the conversation” is only your ticket to the game. A good content strategy puts purpose behind your content, allowing it to directly drive business goals. Good content not only grabs new audiences, but it also converts them into warmer buckets of users.
  • We want to write to one general audience. ← A good content strategy takes into account the different steps your buyers are on during their buyer’s journey and creates a sequence of content that appeals to them at the best possible time.
Thoughts

Final Thoughts

For most businesses, content is just a means to an end, or a vehicle to achieve your business goals. Content creation is what determines whether your vehicle is a pristine masterpiece on wheels or a janky clunker that doesn’t make it down the block.

Think of content as a critical puzzle piece: it can plug into virtually any digital marketing strategy, but it’s only useful as the business goal and strategy it’s connected to. Thankfully, we’re in the digital world where almost everything is measurable with precise insights from Google Analytics, Ahrefs, Semrush, Facebook Ad Manager, and so on.

We’ll say it again because it’s that important: content strategy is the intersection of contention creation, distribution, and business goals. A strategy needs all three of these critical components to succeed, and it must be paired with accurate measurement and ruthless iteration.

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