The online community thrives on content from informative articles to sales pitches, Facebook statuses to tweets, and entertainment to breaking news. It is available in many different forms including videos, images, live streaming and eBooks. No doubt you are already using multiple types of content in your marketing campaign. The question, then, isn’t if you are using content, but how are you using it and is it effective at meeting your goals? Even the highest quality content can be ineffective if it’s not incorporated into a solid content strategy.
What is a content strategy?
A content strategy is a way to organize the various types of content to reach a particular audience. Even though this sounds simple, it’s actually quite complex and can be a time consuming endeavor. Content without a strategy can just sit online and simply be present; however, with a well implemented strategy, it can provide meaning and value to the intended audience and be beneficial to the business as well. It is relatable, relevant and sharable to the online community. A content strategy will involve planning and developing relevant content and managing its placement so it achieves the desired outcomes.
Developing a Content Strategy
A content strategy is the combination of an outline which details the primary needs of both your business and your customers, and a detailed plan describing how your content is going to meet these needs. There is not a single template that will work for every situation, since each is unique, but there are five common components typically included:
- A clear-cut reason for creating your content including your intended outcome
- A business plan for your content including the value you want the content to provide your audience, and the pluses and minuses of the plan
- A predetermined, Intended audience including who you want to reach and what message you want to reach them with, and how this will meet their needs
- A distinct brand including the ideas you want to communicate and how you are different from competitors
- A plan including the platforms you will use to communicate your messages and the process you will use to carry it out
Implementing a Content Strategy
Now that you have determined the type of content you need to create, publish and distribute, it’s important to develop a time schedule for getting it all out there. How frequently you publish fresh content will depend largely on desired outcomes and the nature of your audience. Publishing content is just the start of the implementation process. It’s also important that evaluating and measuring the effectiveness of your content be ongoing. Continual monitoring is the key to success.
Evaluating the reach and effect of your content will include qualitative data such as user comments and user generated content; and quantitative data like the number of site visitors, social shares and conversions. You will also need to keep a strategy functional and effective by evaluating the strategy itself and making adjustments to ensure you meet your goals. Adaptability is an essential element as you continue to develop and change your strategy based on the results you see. It’s an on-going process which allows you to try new ideas, forms of distribution, or any other new tactics you learn about. Only by trying them out will you be satisfied by the results you find.