‘Content is King’, these words have been propagated and taken very seriously within the marketing world. What exactly does it mean? What is content? Content is anything kind of media you generate as a brand to serve the function of generating sales or informing your target audience. Now, we have content marketing and content strategy, and many people use the terms interchangeably, but they are very different things. Well, not very different, it’s just each serves their own purpose. There is a middle ground in which they both coincide, and that is called content marketing strategy. Refer to the diagram below to get a better idea about what we are saying.
The main difference between the two being that content marketing focuses on the execution and actual creation of content and content strategy focuses on the why and how you will be creating that content in accordance to your brand guidelines. Now that this is clear, we must understand that for a brand to stay on its feet and move forward, both these teams/ ideologies need to go hand in hand. Here are a few steps you can take as a beginner who is learning how to develop a content strategy.
- Ask the Right Questions:
Part of starting a new business or revamping an old business knows exactly where you are going. Sometimes with large teams and various verticals to develop it becomes easy to get lost and ask the question ‘what are we doing?’ or ‘why are we doing this?’. At a time like this, the importance of having asked and answered the right questions at the start shines bright. Your strategy must be specific enough to your audience, circumstances and company to answer those questions when they arise, yet flexible enough to fit your goals or direction 5 years in the future. Having intelligent foresight is important at this point.
- Define Target Audience:
This step is important in all marketing efforts, not just during content strategy development. One must understand the audience if you would like to reach them and improve their lives somehow. Demographics such as age, gender, and location can help you understand the psyche of your audience and in what tone to set your content. Figuring out who their influencers are is also crucial since you can then reach out to them and collaborate to tap into their already well-established reach. Figuring out where they spend most of their time online is another aspect to keep in mind when researching about your target audience. This way you can understand where best to focus your content distribution efforts.
- Content Analysis:
If you are revamping an already existing brand, you must take a deep look into the previous content already shared. If you are looking for an in-depth guide, check out what Distilled has to say about it. If you need some SEO focused content auditing guides, check out this guide from Everett Sizemore. Below we’ve listed down the basic steps to follow.
- Inventory content- go through all the content you have and pull the URL’s and add them to an excel sheet.
- Organize- tag and organize all your content based on topic, length, relevance, date, features and relevance.
- Metrics- add metrics such as traffic, engagement, social shares and conversions to each piece of content.
- Analysis- now that everything is in a chronological organized manner, you can evaluate it for trends and find gaps to be filled. This will allow you to access whether you are spending too much time in one area rather than another. Also, types of media are important, and in today’s day it’s crucial to have a balance of mixed media.
Now that you’ve figured out your vision and put your past under a microscope, it’s time to create some processes to fill the gaps you’ve discovered. Each brand has its own focus, whether it’s getting more leads or increasing brand awareness, you must mold your content marketing strategy to help you achieve them.
- Brand Guidelines:
Once you’ve gone through all this trouble, it’s best to create an official document about the brands preferences, tone, and goals. This way, if the team were to be changed, you wouldn’t have to re-do all of it, you’d just need to share the content guidelines with the new team.
Now you are ready to go out there and create content strategy.