If you are working in Marketing, then the phrase “content strategy” is not new to you. You can’t help but hear the Marketing Department people talk about it all the time. And that is for many real reasons. But before we drill into details about those reasons, let us clarify a few things for you.
Having content is not a content strategy.
Having original content is not a content strategy.
Having an original content that aims to promote your product is not a content strategy.
Well, you might think, if it is not a content strategy, then what is?
This is an honest question every marketer must ask himself before starting his first marketing strategy and putting it into action.
According to the Wikipedia, “Content strategy refers to the planning, development, and management of content—written or in other media.” They also state that “content strategy has been described as planning for “the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content… or a repeatable system that defines the entire editorial content development process for a website development project.”
As you understand, content strategy is undoubtedly an important aspect of marketing. Trying to reach the proper audience without the strategy is like trying to get to the destination point without a map: it is simply impossible.
Besides, when thinking about different reasons why content marketing is important, bear in mind that, according to the Content Marketing Institute, around 200 million online users have ad blockers. And even though emerging ad blockers are a huge blessing to users tired of annoying ads on their pages, marketers now have to switch from ads to content marketing. These days only a few people will learn about your product via paid ads, but content can raise your brand’s awareness and make all the difference for you.
So, the only question that remains is how can you build this content strategy and what landmarks should you keep in sight when trying to reach the destination point of your marketing campaign?
After drilling into many authoritative sources, we have gathered the most important aspects for you here, in this article. So, if you are looking for an answer, read on: we have got only the real juice for you!
10 QUESTIONS TO ASK WHEN BUILDING UP A GOOD CONTENT STRETEGY
- What are your company’s goals for the next year?
Just take a look at these numbers:
“56% of marketers believe that personalized content promotes higher engagement rates.”
“While content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, it generates more than three times as many leads.”
“Content marketing drives six times higher conversion rates than other strategies.”
They should give an idea of how great content strategy is, but there is no point in developing a strategy unless you know your company’s goals and priorities.
The main point of content strategy is in setting clear purposes for the campaign and establishing ways to achieve it.
So, what is it that you want to achieve with your content strategy? Do you want to gain more leads? Do you want to raise the brand’s awareness? Do you want to increase your conversion rate significantly?
Whichever of these answers you choose, bear in mind that content strategies for them will be different.
So, before anything else, you need to understand what your company wants and then specify how exactly you want to achieve these things.
You might need a brainstorming session for this task and make sure to create a list with all the goals. Once you do that, ask yourself the next question.
- Who is your target audience?
How well do you now whom you are going to reach out to? Do you know where to find these people, what they like and what they do, or are trying to move by touch only understanding whom you are reaching out to once you do that?
We hope you know what you are doing, otherwise, you are wasting just way too much of your precious time on something that might not even pay off.
So, our recommendation for you is as follows: take some time to research the question first. Even before you get your feet wet, you need to know the basics.
And before we get into details on their demographics and psychographics, consider these six questions suggested by the Exposure Ninja:
How old are the people you are targeting?
2. What countries do they come from?
3. What is their gender?
4. What is the best way to reach out to them?
5. Where do they spend the most time online?
6. What content should you use for them?
These answers will give you a general idea of what your audience looks like, but you should conduct a much deeper research to find a real answer. Just remember that the more time you spend on research here, the less time you will have to spend on changing your marketing campaign on the go.
- What do they do and read online?
As a part of an attempt to understand your potential customers, you need to get a clear understanding of what these people are doing online. Since you are willing to create content that is of a great interest to them, analyze their actions online first.
For example, if you are a company that offers writing services mostly to the students, then remember that Psych Central states that college students spend at least eight hours a day in their smartphones, and this number is growing.
Most of them spend much time sending emails, checking Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest as well as surfing the Internet and listening to music.
Thus, when creating an ad about easy argumentative essay topics, consider creating it on Facebook or other social networks so that they definitely notice it.
- What are your target audience’s psychographics and demographics?
Where do they search for inspiration? What do they consider interesting, boring or exciting? These are the questions that demonstrate what psychographics of your potential customers is.
Meanwhile, there is another thing you need to take into account when writing a content strategy. This thing is your customers’ demographics. To put it short, when talking about demographics, we mean everything about the person including his or her age, level of income, education, and so on.
Look at it this way: you will definitely speak to a teenager differently than to a middle-aged businessperson. That is why, you need to know the demographics to know that difference and apply it when creating a content strategy.
- Which content works best on your site?
You will need to conduct a series of tests before you can answer this question, as there are many factors to take into account.
Thus, you need to understand how much time users spend on your page when reading one or the other type of content, what they do during or after reading a post, as well as what conversion rate is this page’s average. All of these aspects together will tell you how effective your content is and will guide you to what you should be writing instead.
- How can you talk specifically to your target audience?
Choosing a proper language must be your first priority.
The person reading the message must realize that the words are addressing him personally, and that is why, you need to choose the most appropriate tone for this matter.
You should sound confident, but also remain friendly and sincere. People want to work with businesses that have “faces,” so build up yours carefully.
Do not sound any discriminatory ideas at any point and be sensitive to cultural differences. Learn how to sound professional and yet friendly. It is really an art, and you can only master it once you figure out who your target audience is and what they expect from you.
- What can you learn from your competitors?
Competition can be a good thing for you, as it helps you grow in two ways: first, you get to learn from the mistakes of your business rivals, and second, you get to learn from their achievements.
So, analyze the niche and see who are currently at the top. Then analyze how they got there, what their history is and see whether their content is in any way better than yours.
Make sure to squeeze as much information about their performance as possible: to win this competition, you need to know the battle field very well.
Besides, keep up with the latest trends in your niche by following the content your business rivals post.
- What set of tools do you need to implement this content strategy?
Make sure to prepare all the essential tools before you launch the content marketing strategy.
Among many other tools you will need along this way, here is a list of the most common ones you should have prepared from the beginning:
Google Analytics account;
2. Webtrends account;
5. Squeeze CMM;
6. Raven Tools;
8. 40 Nuggets;
9. Campaign Monitor;
24. Google Drive;
You need to check out what each of these tools do in order to realize whether you want to find an analogue or use the system we suggested. However, be sure that you need each one of these components for an effective content marketing strategy.
- Who else is involved and does he have all the access needed?
Content marketing strategy is a task that implies team work. Therefore, you should ensure that every team member understands his tasks, the expectations behind them, and ways to achieve the desired results within the shortest time possible.
It might be even better if every responsibility is described in all the details in a shared document to increase team’s effectiveness and stimulate a better understanding of what they are to do and what they should stay out of.
Moreover, considering a great list of tools needed for this task, you should not forget to provide access to them to all the other team members.
- What does my budget think about it?
The question might sound funny, but it is extremely important.
Sometimes your ideas will go way beyond your financial reality, and so before you launch the project and get yourself into a serious debt, stop and analyze how well your plans fit into the existing budget. If you stay within the limits, then you are good to go. If not, consider revising the plan and adding changes to it. You might want to cut the number of team members involved in the content strategy or search for free content strategy tools instead of some expensive instruments and platforms. It is your decision, but make sure to stay within the budget by all means.
Content is the king, they say. And we couldn’t agree more! It is thanks to the content that we know some brands, love them, buy them and support.
Besides, given how much the market changes these days, content marketing is your only best choice. It might work wonders for your business, but only if you do it right. Creating content is like building up relationships: one wrong word might ruin it all for you.
That is why we have created an extensive list of questions to find answers to when building up your content strategy. Everything here matters: your tone, language, timing, topicality of your message, and your product, of course.
And if you feel overwhelmed with the number of things you need to take into account when working on a proper content marketing strategy, consider taking our plan and going through it step by step. It will save you tons of time and prevent many possible mistakes that might later affect the overall campaign cycle.
Do not underestimate how much proper content makes sense for the success of your business, and launch your own unique content marketing strategy with our simple tips today!
Blogger from LA. I am a graduate of the University of Southern California. Currently, I write for various sites. I am interested in topics about education, motivation, writing, etc. As a trained writer, I love discovering new ways to use my writing as a tool to further the education of others. You can connect with me through the LinkedIn profile. I’ll be happy to hear you, just drop me a line!