How to Build a Content Strategy from Scratch
When it comes to creating regular, thought-provoking and useful content for your audience, having a strategy is crucial. A good content strategy is there to help you define your aims and goals, align your efforts and document progress along the way. It also keeps you on track with the type of content that you want to produce, ensuring this is always in line with what your audience is looking for.
In this article, we’re taking a look at the easiest and best way to build a comprehensive content strategy, completely from scratch.
What is a Content Strategy?
A content strategy is a plan that allows you to structure the type of content you use and what you create to help you achieve your business goals. The aim of the strategy is to outline how you will attract customers at different stages of their buying journey and engage with them, providing useful information at the right time to lead them through to a purchase.
With 70 percent of marketers investing in content marketing, it’s vital that you create a strong content strategy to keep up with others within your industry.
- Understand What Your Goals Are
While this may seem like quite an obvious question, outlining your goals and objectives from the start will be the best way to make sure your strategy stays on target and that you get the best results out of it. Your goals are completely up to you, but could be based on financials (e.g. the number of leads that come through your website or social pages), engagement (e.g. how many people interact with your content), brand awareness (e.g. the number of people who visit your website), or positioning (e.g. being seen as a thought leader within your industry).
- Find Out As Much as You Can About Your Audience
When it comes to content marketing, your audience and their interests are absolutely key to understanding what you should be writing about and the type of information you provide. Some of the questions that you should be asking include:
- What are their interests?
- Where do they spend their time online?
- What are their wants and needs?
- What problems do they have?
- How does your product or service solve these?
Having a firm grip on your audience personas will help you to produce more relevant content that they will want to read, encouraging more engagement and conversions.
- Understand More About Their Journey
As part of your customer research, it’s also useful to have a good understanding of what point in their journey they’re likely to be at when they see your content. Is this the first that they will have heard of you or the services you provide? Are they at a stage of being keen to purchase, but researching different options? Are they ready to buy, but just need a bit more information to be completely confident in their decision? Whichever stage they’re at, it’s important that your content is targeted towards them so that they have a more personal experience, making them more likely to trust the information you’re giving them. It may be that you decide to build out different content structures based on each different journey point to help move people through your funnel.
- Create Content Pillars
Content pillars are around 3 to 5 different topics that your brand consistently shares information and talks about. These are your specialities. By setting out your content pillars from the beginning, you help to define the type of topics that you will become known for, making it easier to flesh out your content plan.
Within your content pillars, you can also go into more detail about the types of content you will create, such as blog posts and articles, videos, social posts or podcasts.
- Audit The Content You Already Have
If you’ve already created some content in the past, it’s worth carrying out an audit to take a look at what performed well, what didn’t and how this can help you to develop your plan going forward. Content audits should be carried out at least once a year, even just to check that any statistics, figures and links still remain relevant or to update them with any new, relevant keywords.
It’s also a great opportunity to find content that can be repurposed, for example using a popular blog post and creating a video or podcast on the same topic.
- Be Consistent
There’s a couple of different angles to this point. Firstly, once you’ve created your content strategy - stick with it. Try and keep your content going out on a regular basis, in line with your content pillars and answering questions and problems that your audience has.
Secondly, remember that any information you publish will affect how your audience perceives you. Make sure that you stick with your brand and tone of voice guidelines at all times, talking about topics that are relevant to your business. Online content is often the first impression that your audience will have of who you are and what you do - make it count.
- Keep Sharing and Distributing Your Content
No matter how good your content is, people aren’t going to find it unless you promote it. In fact, the way you distribute your content is just as important as the content itself.
One of the best ways to get your information out there is to promote it on your social channels. If you write a blog, put the link on your Instagram, your Facebook, your LinkedIn. Explain what it’s about and why it’s useful to your audience, and encourage them to share it with other people who might find it useful. Try to create conversations around the content you create.
You can share your content as many times as you like, as long as it remains relevant.