Liv Griffiths – Content Executive
So you’ve got a blog, four social media accounts, a newsletter, and a YouTube channel. But how do you make sure all of these content types are singing from the same hymn sheet and helping you to reach your marketing goals?
You guessed it, a content strategy!
A content strategy helps to keep things consistent across your channels. This increases your brand voice, whilst also making the best use of each piece of content you spend your valuable time writing/designing/animating etc.
One of the main things people struggle with when creating a content strategy is that it’s not always all about sales or lead conversion. In fact, this can be something that damages your brand’s reputation in the long run!
It’s about re-thinking what conversion actually might mean. Is it someone engaging with your content by liking and sharing your post on Facebook? Is it someone returning to your website to read your next article? Or is it someone signing up to your monthly newsletter? (Check out the bottom of this page *hint hint*)
If you’re creating quality, informative and/or entertaining content for your audience, it’s likely you will convert on one (or even all!) of these.
A content strategy will help outline exactly how and why you’re doing this, and not only can you use it to justify and moderate your content in the future, you can refer back to your content strategy if you ever feel like you’re losing sight of your aims.
On top of this, once it’s done, it’s… not done. It’s important to keep on top your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and revisit your strategy, making adjustments according to the results you’ve seen.
Nobody said a content strategy was easy, but nothing worth doing ever is!
With all that in mind, here’s a starter for ten on how you can get going.
Here’s what your content strategy can include
Have a think about why your brand should be creating content and posting on social, and what kind of value it will have. This depends entirely on your business objectives, but the content you create and post online can support pretty much all of them. You also need to make sure your content reflects your brand purpose. Remember – people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
The obvious options are that you want to get more conversions, support your SEO strategy, or increase traffic to your website. However, the most common objective of content and social media is to increase brand awareness – people can’t get to that point of conversion without knowing who you are!
Social media is a great platform for growing your online presence, and it can be more cost-effective than other forms of advertising.
According to techjury.net, internet users in 2019 are spending a daily average of 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media, which means when you hop on there too, you’ll be meeting your audience where they already are, rather than hoping for them to come to you.
Whatever your reasoning, write it down. It’ll be so helpful for you (and your co-workers) to refer back to further down the line.
Now you’ve nailed why you should be creating content, it’s time to think about how you can tell whether it’s paying off.
Think about how you’re going to use KPIs to measure your content success!
The KPIs you choose will depend entirely on your overall goals but a lot of the time, a few can work together to tell you exactly what kind of content performs well on your channels #teamwork
If your overall goal is brand awareness, for example, you’re probably going to prioritise measuring reach and follower count, whereas if you’re more interested in conversions, engagement is where you’re going to be putting your £££. (Not actual money, we’re talking about organic stuff here).
Arguably one of the most important parts of your content strategy is outlining your target audience and thinking about what platforms they’re more likely to be using, and what kind of content they’d like to see.
You know your brand best, and you’ll know who you want to appeal to. The other parts (such as what content your target audience is interested in) is where you might need help. Third-party market research can help you here, and we might know someone who can do that 😇
Pick. Your. Platforms.
And when you do, remember it’s better to put your effort into doing well on fewer platforms, than it is to spread yourself too thin and create average content across more.
You also need to consider your business market and the target audience you’ve already defined. If your brand provides an automated invoicing service to freelancers, LinkedIn is going to suit you in the same way Instagram is going to work well for an independent florist.
One brand is all about connecting with other businesses, whereas the other focuses on the aesthetic appearance of hydrangeas and friends – much like the respective platforms.
What exactly is it that you’re going to be creating content and posting about? and what type of content is that going to be? In the past, ‘content’ may have been seen as just written articles but in reality, it could be anything from podcasts and videos to case studies and slideshares.
Is there a particular problem that what you’re selling can solve for your audience? Ideally, you’d want to be creating content for audiences on either side of your product or service. This way, once someone has moved from one side to the other (a.k.a. converted), they aren’t going to lose interest in your brand’s online presence and click that dreaded unfollow button.
For example, if you’re part of a company that makes cereal, there are going to be two types of people following you and looking at your content – people who have bought a box of your cereal (yay), and the people who haven’t (boo). That means you need to create content that’s going to appeal to those two different types of people.
For the people who are yet to buy, you might create an infographic listing the health benefits of your cereal, and for the people who have already bought a box, you could write a blog with a recipe that has your cereal as one of the ingredients. Kelloggs has a whole blog dedicated to the weird and wonderful meals you can make with cereal – apparently, people are putting All-Bran in chilli now.
Most of all, remember to focus on what makes your brand unique!
A part of this is also determining your brand’s tone of voice. Each business, depending on what it does, will have a different one. If your brand provides financial advisory services, your tone of voice is probably going to be a little more serious than, say, online streaming services like NOW TV.
It’s always refreshing to see brands rewriting the rules of content and we’re big fans of Innocent (as in the smoothie people) – there’s been some excellent content on its social media channels lately.
On top of the content you’re creating yourself, it’s important to make a case for curating content. This is when you find content online that fits your brand’s values and tone of voice, and repost it for your own audience to see. For a business-to-consumer brand (B2C) like our client Bio-D, this could be reposting your customers’ images on Instagram, but for business-to-business brands (B2B) it might be sharing news articles that are relevant to your sector.
Bonus tip: According to a study by Impulse Creative, one of the main reasons people unfollow brands on social media is because of too much self-promotion. Try and keep your content both entertaining and, most of all, valuable.
There are loads of different ways to determine exactly when, and how often, you should be posting content and generally, quality should be prioritised over quantity. As previously mentioned, your content needs to be entertaining and valuable, and these two important factors can be compromised if you focus too much on that three-posts-per-day-goal.
For example, if you’re already active on social media, delve into your accounts’ analytics and insights. Most of the big platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) can tell you exactly when your audience is likely to be online and engaging with your content.
According to sproutsocial best time to post on Facebook for engagement is at 11 am and 1 pm on a Wednesday. Saying that, it’s all subjective! The best way to find out is to test, learn and adjust.
You don’t have to place all your eggs in one basket, though! Social media isn’t the only place where you can distribute your content. It can be sent out via email, through PR activity, from employees’ own social media (where I personally suspect a lot of value will be placed in the next few years), and more. Plus, ideas don’t have to come from one person. To create the best content for your brand, getting everyone involved in the process will mean you end up with lots of varied suggestions.
While what’s been mentioned in this blog certainly doesn’t cover every aspect of creating a content strategy, they are all key details that shouldn’t be left out.
If you need help putting together a content strategy, click here to download our free content strategy worksheet! It’s a great starting point that will get your creative juices flowing 🧠