Before diving head-first into the world of social media, blogging, paid search and optimisation, there’s something you’ll need to do first (if you haven’t already): formulate a content strategy.
As the name suggests, a content strategy is a plan that maps content to business goals. In other words, it is a blueprint setting out the method for creating, executing and promoting a calendar of content that sets out to achieve your business goals.
It’s a vital piece of the marketing puzzle – frankly, any campaign is incomplete without one. While many businesses engage the help of an external agency (hi there!), it is very possible to put together your own, if you have the time and resources to do it.
And so, here’s a top-level guide to help you put together a content strategy for your business.
1. Determine your goals & your audience
A digital content strategy starts with your business goals, and what those goals will look like in a digital marketing space, whether that means a series of EDMs, optimised web copy, social media content and more.
So, before you start with the ‘how?’, you need to start with the ‘why?’
- What are your business goals? What are you trying to achieve with digital content? Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Do you want more sales? Do you want to build your customer database? All three? Knowing what you want to do will make it far easier to map out how you plan to achieve it.
- Who is your target audience? Include as much information as you can, including age group, online habits, interests, what they look for in your business.
2. Do a content audit
This is probably one of the more exhaustive and time-consuming steps, which is why many businesses turn to agencies like ours (hi there!) for support. A content audit involves looking at all the existing marketing content for your business – from the optimisation and readability of the webcopy and user experience on your website, to the existing social media channels you have, and the types of content produced. Based on your audience behaviours, you’ll have a better idea of what channels you’ll need to focus on primarily, and what sort of content you’ll look to produce. For example, if your business is targeting young teens and early twenties audiences, it’s likely you’ll turn to TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat as your main content channels.
Identifying any gaps sets up a to-do list for your content production. Also, look for what your audience is engaging with the most, and at what times. If you look at Facebook insights for your business page, for example, you can see what times your audience are most active, as well as the types of posts that have generated the most engagement. That will help you inform when to publish content and what sort of content works best.
3. Generate your content
With the ‘why?’ locked in, the question is then ‘how?’
When it comes to generating content ideas, it’s best to work in a top-down method, focusing on key themes (also known as ‘content pillars’) that you’d like to focus on, and mapping your content ideas up to those. As you brainstorm your content ideas, consider format as well, such as video, infographics, blogs, or feature articles. The format is often informed by the sorts of channels you plan to publish content to. For example, graphics, animations and videos will work really well on Instagram and Facebook, while wordier articles and reports are best left to sit on your website.
Some ideas to get your content brainstorming going:
- Public holidays and national observances
- Company events
- Stats about your product, service or industry
- Behind-the-scenes look at your day-to-day operations
- Staff profiles
This doesn’t mean you need to think of unique ideas for each channel. In fact, it’s ideal to have an idea that works well across multiple mediums. For example, if your business is selling home decor, you could have a blog about ‘5 interior design ideas for the new season’, which could also work as a picture-based Reel or slideshow, or a video involving an influencer or or member of your team actually demonstrating how to create certain looks in the home. Aim to work smarter, rather than harder!
4. Publish & amplify your content
With your content ready, it’s a matter of publishing and managing content on your chosen channels. During your content audit you would’ve had an idea of what content already resonates with your audience and (in the case of social media) what sorts of times of day they are most active, which will inform your publishing schedule. To help you amplify content on social media, have a look at using hashtags that are popular in your industry, or if you’re posting Reels or TikTok videos, choosing trending music where appropriate to accompany your videos.
5. Focus on audience listening & tweak your strategy
A content strategy is 100% agile, and should be reviewed at least every six months or so to ensure you’re on track with your business goals, which may evolve over time too. There’s no set rule as to how much time you should spend on audience engagement and data analytics, but aiming for 35% of your time is a good starting point.
Chatting to customers online, responding to queries, posing questions in comment threads and looking at what content resonates gives you plenty of opportunities to tweak your strategy to address audience demands. If you find that customers are always asking about materials or manufacturing processes, consider doing a behind-the-scenes content piece demonstrating how your product comes together. If there are questions that require technical or specialist responses, you could get an expert to help you on a live stream so that they can directly address customer queries.
There’s a lot to unpack in a content marketing strategy, but hopefully this guide serves as a good starting point. It does seem like a lot of effort, but being thorough at every stage of the process will best set you up for success. If there are any more questions you have about any stage of the process, let us know and we’re happy to help!