How to Market Your Business Online Fourth Tip: Content Strategy
4. Make Every Post Count with a Content Strategy
What’s a content strategy? Why should my business have one? How do I create a content strategy?
Creating content seems pretty cut and dry. You post something and wait for people to share it and follow your brand.
But consider this: Every post you make is part of a larger conversation about your business. If you have a bunch of musings that don’t fit together, what are you really saying to people?
Each of your individual posts should be like individual chapters in your entire brand story
Let’s explore this by choosing some social media updates and blog posts for an imaginary shoe company.
All of your content should fit into an overarching story, AKA a strategy. It keeps your content on track and helps share your brand values with people.
A good content strategy also gives your posts, updates, and other activity online a way to reach your business goals.
As we mentioned, having no strategy can lead to all-over-the-place content, which can confuse your audience and hurt your brand credibility
It can also lead to generic content. And you know what hurts? Search engine optimization. Yup, your bland content might get buried in search results.
Having a strategy makes sure your content:
SUPPORTS BRAND VALUES
Each post can help people understand what your brand stands for.
A strategy cuts down on pointless posts that your audience might ignore.
content can help you stand out from your competitors.
What if you’re not a content strategist? Good news: You don’t need to be, and your content strategy doesn’t need to be really formal or official.
It’s all about giving yourself enough time to figure out what your goals are, how you’ll manage creating content or getting others to create it for you, and what your measures of success will be.
A great content strategy can also fit any budget. It starts with the big picture (or big goals) and then scales down to fit whatever your budget allows for.
For example, a good idea can be expressed in a video that has high production values or in a quick and easy Vine video.
You can even use a strong content strategy to rebrand yourself. Let’s see how this worked for the app Buffer.
Buffer started as a tool that helped people schedule their Twitter posts. The content updates on their blog consisted mainly of helpful Tweet tips.
The app evolved into a multiplatform social media manager and analytics tool. And it had a new business goal: Raise brand awareness. All of Buffer’s content needed to focus on that objective.
Their new content strategy focused on creating aspirational, “big thinking” blog posts that would cover a wider range of social media topics and advice – like the science behind what fonts and colors make posted images more shareable.
This in-depth, educational, and valuable content inspired more shares than the old Twitter how-to’s, and helped Buffer’s name and brand become more well-known.
With the shares on Buffer’s posts quadrupling, the app also got a nice side benefit: Their content helped spread the word that they were now a multiplatform tool.
Buffer’s success is a great example of why it’s worth taking the time to craft a strong content strategy. This, of course, doesn’t happen overnight.
A content strategy involves a variety of steps – from prep work to content creation to measuring and testing. Let’s take a look at each piece.
Do your research. Explore the interests and concerns of your target audience and customers. Look at your brand values, objectives, core strengths, and current content, and compare them to what your competitors are doing.
Set some starter goals. Nail down your business objective and figure out what metrics you’ll use to measure your content’s success. Do you care more about community growth, engagement, conversions, etc.?
Map out a content inventory. Make a spreadsheet of your existing content (everything from blog posts to social media updates to videos). Include variables that relate to your business goals, like content type, tone of voice, topic, etc.
Look for content gaps. Using your content inventory, check for strengths and weaknesses. Does your content help you reach business goals? Which posts does your audience like more? What isn’t working? Can you see any trends?
Create your content. Pick themes, set a tone of voice, choose the format(s), and then publish your content. Look for what your audience wants and needs, as well as for special occasions (like holidays) you can create unique content around.
Test and measure your content. Remember when you chose your starter goals and metrics? Now’s the time to use them. Make sure your content is actually helping you reach your goals.