Creating a Content Strategy: 10 Tips to Help You Get Started
When it comes to social media marketing, do you have a clearly defined content strategy? When marketing your brand on social media, your job is to create content that not only entertains but educates and keeps your followers coming back for more. Your content needs to be so engaging that someone who views your post once or twice then turns into a lifelong supporter of your brand. It’s not an easy task, but you can make it a whole lot easier on yourself by having a clearly defined strategy that aligns with your long-term marketing goals.
Posting here and there is sometimes easier than sitting down and crafting a complete content strategy. It can be a daunting and intimidating task. But it can also be the most important work that you do when it comes to your marketing plan – no matter how big or small your brand is.
What is a content strategy?
Ultimately, a content strategy is a plan that outlines your content marketing goals. It’s the process of setting goals, researching your audience, and figuring out what content will help target your ideal customer, so that you can get your brand out into the online world! A successful content strategy will work to attract your target audience and keep them engaged even after a purchase.
Why do I need a content strategy?
Well, let’s think of it this way – without a content strategy, you’re basically taking a shot in the dark every time you post something to social media, with the hopes that it will target your ideal audience and build their trust in your brand. A well-crafted strategy can help you to make better decisions, keep everyone in your business on the same page and help you to stay accountable. It can also help you improve your resource and budget allocation, as you can plan ahead of time and determine the best way to make the most out of your resources.
Plus, your content strategy won’t just help to attract leads, it will also help to educate your audience and generate awareness around your brand. So, are you ready to build your content strategy? Here are our top ten tips to help you get started.
Tip 1: Set your mission, goals and KPIs
Your mission and goals should align with your brand’s overall vision and products/services. One of the most important reasons any brand creates great content is to become more visible on their chosen social media platform. If this sounds like you, then your content strategy should align with this mission and should include content that increases awareness of your brand.
When it comes to KPIs (key performance indicators), they should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART). SMART KPIs will help you to commit to your goals so that you can consistently work towards them over time. KPIs can include things like social engagement, reach, or conversions.
Tip 2: Know your audience (and know them well!)
Before you can even think about what kind of content you want to create, you need to really think about who you’re creating it for and why. A buyer persona can form the base for your content strategy, but it’s important to remember that your audience isn’t solely made up of buyers. You also want to build trust in your audience, so that long time followers eventually turn into dedicated buyers.
Delivering content that attracts your potential customers/clients will draw them into your brand and will then encourage them to take action. You can also become a valuable source of information for your audience by providing industry tips.
Tip 3: Analyze historical content performance
Sometimes you need to investigate the past to know what to create in the future. Look at the content you’ve created in the past and do a deep dive into the metrics. Look at how your content has been doing, who has been engaging with it and when. Things like likes, comments and shares are important pieces of information that can help you see what content works for your audience and what doesn’t.
Tip 3: Look at your existing content
As much as it’s important to look at how your content has performed in the past, it’s also important to look at what you’ve been posting. Take some time to audit your content, and see where you can make some changes, without a complete overhaul. Maybe your content just needs to be more consistent, or maybe you need to adjust your graphics or captions.
Tip 4: Create a content calendar
Creating a content strategy doesn’t just involve setting goals and looking at data, it also involves planning your content out ahead of time to stay organized and on top of your game. By planning your content out ahead of time, you can allocate your resources appropriately, and see where you need to make adjustments.
Schedule the content you’ll create into a monthly calendar, and include the type of graphic, caption, and content you’ll be posting. Create the calendar at least 1 month ahead to give you enough time to allocate resources, create graphics and schedule your posts. The content calendar can then act as a blueprint for your content strategy and help keep you focused.
Tip 5: Set your priorities
Effective planning includes setting priorities. If you plan your actions, you can identify the most critical tasks. Prioritizing your actions can also protect your strategy from major failures. It can also allow you to prioritize your resources so you can put your best people on the most important tasks.
Tip 6: Find relevant topics
Before you start weeding out the individual topics you want to focus on, look at the big picture instead. What big themes do you want to cover this year? You may end up wanting to develop a large, integrated campaign or you may want to focus on several different topics – the choice is yours!
Try generating a list of topics that you want to focus on for both the short and long term. To decide if a topic is worth pursuing, think about 2 things – if it’s useful for your target audience and if it will make a difference on your bottom line. Once you have a list of potential topics, narrow them down into 3 to 5 content pillars. These will serve as the themes that your brand can use to create posts.
Tip 7: Research your competitors
Imitation is often the greatest form of flattery and it’s no different when it comes to content. Know what your competition is doing and what is working for them. You don’t have to copy exactly what they do but try to follow some of the topics that seem to work well for them.
Choose 1-3 competitors and look at their social media accounts. What is their tone of voice and target audience? What kinds of content formats are they using? What main topics or categories do they cover? What are their top performing pieces of content? It’s also important to look beyond your direct competitors. Also look at others within your industry or even industries like yours to get a bigger picture of your potential content.
Tip 8: Map the buyer’s journey
Before you start creating your content strategy, think about the purpose of each piece of content you’re going produce. Make sure that your content covers every part of the customer journey since your audience may look slightly different depending on which part of the journey they’re in.
Consider creating content for each stage of the buying process, from awareness to consideration to decision and retention. Brand awareness is by far the most important stage of the journey, as it helps to build trust with your customers/clients.
Tip 9: Develop your content
When it comes to content, quality should come before everything else, including your desire to increase your number of followers or reach. When developing your content, think of your customer’s pain points first, not your own wants and needs. Try to develop content that resonates with your audience with a focus on original ideas, and diverse content formats.
Tip 10: Conduct a gap analysis
To really stand out in the crowd, it’s important to know what your audience wants against what they’re already getting. The gap between the two forms your sweet spot for content creation. If your content isn’t original or different from what’s already out there, then it’s not going to stand out from the crowd. Be unique in your content creation and show your audience what you have to offer that others may not.
A formal gap analysis can be done manually in a spreadsheet, with the goal of tracking the content produced by competitors, including how it performs. After you’ve compiled the data, take a look and see where there are opportunities for you to stand out.
A clearly defined content strategy can be the difference between a successful marketing campaign and a mediocre one. Outlining your goals, coming up with a plan and creating content geared towards those goals will ensure your content marketing efforts are well received by your audience. However, if creating a content strategy just seems like too much work, reach out to a digital marketing company like Trilogy Solutions. We can not only create a content strategy for you, we can also manage your social media so you can get back to running your business and hitting those goals!