What is content strategy?
Content strategy refers to the active planning and participation of the media content that you create, both internal and external. It is an extremely important part of your overall marketing strategy that pays dividends by demonstrating who you are and the expertise you bring to your business. If you have found this page then you probably already know how important content strategy is but also know that if you just take a run at it with no plan, then it is the equivalent of running into a burning building with no mask. Here we will give you the basic outline that you should follow when creating your content strategy for your business.
Who are you creating content for?
What does your industry look like? More importantly, what does the content that is already available look like? Who are your target customers? Are you focused on small, medium, large businesses? How are you currently reaching these customers?
The point here is not to bombard you with questions, but to really make you think about who your customers are and what type of information they are after. A theme that you will see throughout this guide is focus. Focusing on a specific customer-type, in this case, will allow you to say “no” to other content distractions and keep your content centered. Staying focused allows you to create content that is clear and will not confuse your target audience – this helps you stay in the front of their minds and not lose their attention.
Action Item: Define your target customer.
What problems are you going to solve for your customers?
Everyone on planet earth has problems and by extension every business has problems. The question that you are answering for your customers is why/how your business with solve their problems.
Every business is in a different stage and your goal should be to help your target customer through the different phases and come out on the other side successful. By helping these customers you will reinforce your expertise and build the relationships that you need in order for your business to succeed.
Action Item: Define the problem that you will solve for your customers.
What makes your company special?
Why are you better than the competition? Why are you the company that companies choose over all of the alternatives? At Spitfire Creative we know that we are the best at creating sustainable training and business practices through our successes at creating content at billion dollar companies. Is it bragging? Sort of, but if you aren’t talking about your companies achievements then who will?
Action Item: Define what your company does better than anyone else.
Does your company currently distribute content to customers? Are there approval processes for getting content out to the public eye? What platform are you using to publish your content on the internet?
Are you using WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix, or Medium to get your content out? Do you use your own proprietary software? In any case it is important to know and understand the strengths and weaknesses of each platform.
Action Item: Figure out what publishing platform you use – or want to use.
Creating content is one thing. Getting it out to your customers to consume is a whole other component of content management. Do you have a large following on social media? Do you have an established email list? Are you starting from scratch? Knowing where you are starting from is an important part of content strategy as it helps you tailor your expectations to realistic levels. If you are starting from square one then you may not see the same level of success as a business who has a well-established following.
When it comes to content distribution it is important to understand what you as a business want to get out of it. Are you trying to drum up some new leads? Are you building a new email list? Are you simply trying to establish yourself or your company as an industry leader? Whatever you motivation is, it is important to know beforehand.
Action Item: Find out and plan how you will distribute your content for your website.
In all of this content strategy talk we have yet to discuss the data. Being able to track your CTR’s (click-through-rates) and CTA’s (call-to-actions) is vital as a marketer in today’s environments. There are many tools from tracking available but the Google Analytics is about as industry standard as they come. Before publishing your content you should have your “event-trackers” set up and working properly in order to see what actions customers take that actually “move that needle.”
Action Item: Make sure you have analytics set up to track the relevant data.
Like that old Pringles jingle – “once you pop, you can’t stop.” Part of your content strategy needs to be consistent content creation. It is important, especially when first starting, to produce your content at regular intervals. This allows your customers to get more of a feel for you and your product.
Keep in mind that your content creation doesn’t have to be daily or even weekly. It needs to be something that is realistic for you and something that you think that you can sustainably continue.
Action Item: Come up with a consistent content schedule and commit to it.
You have options when it comes to content and you just need to find the content that works best for you and your organization.
The tried and true blog post. This form of marketing has been written off by many “internet marketing gurus” but blogging is still 100% a solid form of content. The key to blogging is blogging with a purpose. If you are simply writing for the sake of writing you won’t have a solid return on your investment and you will write it off just like the others. However, if you blog about a hot industry topic or about a subject that you know would be of interest to your customers then you will see the desired return you are looking for.
What are Whitepapers? A Whitepaper is a document written or commissioned by you to prove a point or sell a product. Typically speaking the content is 80% information with 20% sales copy sprinkled throughout. Whitepapers are a favorite here at Spitfire Creative as they are evergreen and can therefore be used over and over again. Outside of the initial investment it typically costs very little to maintain and can reach customers for years to come.
If you have the time or resources eBooks are another great way to get your message out there for years to come. If you have been producing content for a while you might have enough for an ebook without even realizing it. It might just take a bit of creativity and organization for you to put the ebook together and get it to a place that makes sense.
Podcasts are a newer form of content but it is a fantastic bit of content nonetheless. Podcasting will take a bit more work than some of the other content but can have an amazing ROI. There are tools out there that make this process a bit easier but like everything else, does take quite a bit of planning. Consistency becomes vital when running a podcast so keep that in mind as well.
At Spitfire Creative we are a bit partial to video work. We have recorded thousands of hours of footage and produced hundreds of videos for some very recognizable brands. Video is an extraordinarily effective way to reach and ultimately sell customers on your vision. By telling your story exactly the way you want you can reap the benefits of video in ways that you never thought were possible.
Do you have processes that your company uses that can be shared and help others outside of your organization? A great example of templates are contracts. With a simple Google search you can find all sorts of “fill in the blank” business contracts. Templates are great as they allow your organization to establish itself as other companies within your industry use your templates.
In the end your content strategy is just that – yours. Whether you are a marketing director or CEO it is up to you to decide how to tackle your strategy. Is there a copious amount of information to process? Yes. On the other hand it is too important to leave your strategy up to chance and “hope and pray” that something gets done and it all just works out. You need to be diligent and be direct with what you do as a person and as an organization when it comes to content strategy.