content-strategy-2Content strategy? Sounds complicated. What in the world is that anyways?
Those are just a few of the thoughts I had in my head when I first heard the term content strategy. So what is it exactly? Everyone has different definitions, but the best one I have found is:

A content strategy is the high-level vision guiding future content development to deliver against a specific business objective.

Ok, what the heck does that mean? I interpret it as taking a specific objective or goal for your business, and planning your content, social media and email marketing to help you achieve that goal. Hopefully that makes a little more sense. We’ll discuss it more throughout, so let’s get to it.

Let’s start with the basics.

“It’s not the beauty of a building you should look at; it’s the construction of the foundation that will stand the test of time.” — David Allan Co

Even good ole David Allan Coe agrees we should start with the basics. After all, the basics are the building blocks of a solid foundation to almost everything, including content strategies.

YOU

Yes, you. Your talent is one of the basics. I know you have talent. It may be something you find insignificant, but I know there’s something inside of you that’s pure, gold talent. Think about what people tell you that you’re good at. Writing? Talking? Listening? All three? Maybe you’re having a hard time channeling your inner talent or creativity? Learn how to be more creative, even if you don’t think you are. Whatever your talent is, take it and put it into your content.

If you’re a good writer, start a blog. If you’re great at talking, create videos. Listening can come in handy with podcasting. Stay true to who you are and the talents you have, and put them to use in your content.

Purpose

You have a company for a reason. Why? Your company’s core message or purpose is another basic. Your business should be a reflection of you, your values and your life experience, not just another business. Make it personal; your business is a huge part of your life.

Resonate

In today’s world everyone wants to be loved and showered with attention. It happens naturally when you use the first two basics in your content, but you can strengthen those interactions with being open, honest and vulnerable. Make your content resonate with consumers, and they’ll engage with your company. Your goal is to make your audience trust your judgements and opinions about topics you’re already knowledgeable about. But it can only happen when your personality, values and purpose transfer over into your content.

Get to know your audience.

You have to 100% know who you’re talking to. If you don’t know who you’re talking to, there will be no connection or resonation, and your efforts are wasted. That’s just time and money being poured down the drain. When trying to pinpoint your audience, think about the following things and write them down if you have to:

  • What are my audience’s interests?
    • Can I speak their language?
  • What are my audience’s dreams?
    • Can I help bring them closer to what they want?
  • What are my audience’s needs?
    • Can I meet their needs?
  • What are my audience’s problems?
    • Can I help solve some of their problems?
  • What are my audience’s fears?
    • Can I alleviate their fears?

Once you can figure out these things, you’ll realize you already know a lot about the audience you want and need to be writing towards. Naturally, most of the content you produce will touch on those key points, because the reader will find them useful. If your content can resonate and help the reader, they’ll come back to you for more advice and you’ll build trust as an authority.

Also note your audience’s stage in business. Are they just starting out? Have they been around awhile, are the struggling? Do they need to change up their business? Knowing the stage where your audience is within their own business will allow you to create content that will best serve them.

Content: What is it and how do I make it?

First off, what is this word content you keep hearing? By content, I mean anything; blogging, podcasting, videos, infographics, gif’s. Whatever makes your brand stronger.

For example, MayeCreate has a blog (clearly), and within the blog we utilize everyone’s talents. My talents include writing and editing, so I am usually put in charge of running our blog and creating most of the posts. We also have an intern on staff who is a great graphic artist, Rebecca, and another intern who likes to design, Kylee. Rebecca will create comics for the blog, and Kylee usually makes fun infographics. We put our individual talents to use, and coordinate them in our blog. Those are just a couple examples of the way we create content.

Channels for your content strategy.

The channels of your content strategy include: content, social media and email marketing.

Your strategy needs two kinds of content: regular and one-off content.

  1. Figure out what content you want to produce regularly. Remember to utilize your talents. Do you want to blog, create podcasts or videos every week?
  2. Then think about the different one-offs you want to create. This can be holiday posts, contests, product announcements; really, anything you wouldn’t normally post all the time.

Now that you know what you’re going to create, how are you going to use social media in cooperation with it?

  1. I suggest sharing your blog posts regularly on your social media accounts; Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Instagram, LinkedIn, Periscope and whatever else your company may use. It’s important to keep your social media active with content you’re creating to keep your company on the timelines of your social media followers.
  2. Don’t forget you still have to post one-offs.
  3. Create a contest to get people involved with your page and give away a free t-shirt or something. Hello, free walking billboard!

It’s time to figure out what type of content you want to give out regularly in your email marketing.

  1. Are you going to send out a biweekly newsletter? Maybe a weekly email promoting the blog posts you posted that week? It’s really up to what you think your email subscribers want to know.
  2. Don’t forget to send a couple one-off emails too. Usually we’ll send one-offs whenever we have a new e-book available for download or sending out birthday card invitations for when we celebrate MayeCreate’s birthday.

Mix it all together.

Okay, so you know all of the components to creating a comprehensive and creative content strategy, it’s time to put them all together. Put your personality, talents and expertise into your content, and people will trust your authority over the topic you decide to talk about. Create your content to achieve your company’s goal or purpose. Get to know your audience, and learn to speak their language. It will resonate with them better. Lastly, choose which talent you want to pursue and use it across your content, social media and email marketing.

It may sound like a lot, but I promise it’s not so bad. If anything, we can help you out with your content strategy. We’ve helped many customers with their blogs, and it’s made their marketing numbers skyrocket. Just give us a call, and we can discuss how to make your content strategy work for your business.

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