This is the reaction you want when you put out the content into the world. Your content should be so clear at solving a problem that it creates a connection that’s so strong that your audience feels as if you are talking directly to them (and only them); this is how you get people to make decisions that involve swiping their credit card.
In this article, we’ll tackle how to use your content to move your audience from followers to customers. I’ll help you to better understand what a content strategy is and how to craft a winning, converting one plus I’ll share some insights on developing your brand and how it all ties in with your content strategy.
So what is a content strategy?
“ Content strategy lays out the goals you want your content to achieve, what type of content is best suited to achieve those goals, and how you’re going to create, distribute, and measure the performance of it” This quote from blog.alexia.com perfectly articulates what content strategy is and shows the necessary steps for crafting a lasting and effective content strategy.
In order to create a lasting and effective content strategy here’s my winning formula of things to consider:
- Set clear goals and objectives
- Clearly define your target audience
- Analyze your current and past content
- Create content buckets and themes
- Utilize the right platforms for content distribution
- Clarify your unique selling proposition
Set Content Goals and Objectives
The first step to creating your content strategy is to clearly define what are the outcomes you want to achieve from creating content for your audience. These goals help you to focus on the type of content that will meet those objectives and eliminate you blindly creating content that gets ignored.
Your content goals may vary and you are not limited to choosing one or sticking to them indefinitely. Depending on the growth stage of your business, your goal may be to drive a specific action like sign-ups, clicks, likes, shares or comments etc, or it may be to build authority or to establish yourself as an expert. It may also be to grow your business by attracting new eyes or to illustrate solutions to your audience pain points. Whatever it is, it is important that every piece of content published is working towards an established goal.
Check out more on goal setting in the blog post “Setting Goals for your Social Media Strategy“
Define Your Target Audience
Defining your target audience goes deeper than knowing just their basic demography; you want to hone in on what they like, what their interests are and their biggest difficulties and problems. This will help you to create content that they enjoy, that shows knowledge of their issues and how your brand solves these issues.
Next, you want to also identify the communication channels your target audience uses to find answers to their issues and how they enjoy consuming content. Do they prefer images on Instagram or is it via emails to their inbox? Do they like long-form content like blogs or do they like shorter threads via Twitter. Once again, understanding your target audience allows you to position your brand on the right platforms with the necessary answers.
All this is achieved through market research – which could be as simple as observing who interacts with your content or by conducting surveys or short polls. The more you know about your target audience, the more you are able to create content that will resonate with them on a personal level. Remember the goal is for them to feel as if this content was made specifically for them and them only. The more personalized your content is will increase attractiveness to your target audience. While generic content may draw more traffic, personalized content lets your audience draw for their wallets.
Now that you have established your content goals and have a deeper understanding of who your audience is, you’re ready to create your content. Start first by analyzing your current content to see if they align with the goals and your target audience.
Analyze your current and past content
Starting with an analysis of your content gives you a snapshot of how your content is currently resonating with your audience and also helps to inform your strategy. It helps you to identify which content succeeds in engaging your audience, driving traffic and converting leads as well as, to identify which platforms and time frames work best with your target audience.
In order to understand what exactly drives traffic or engagement, it is important to track individual pieces of content rather than total website visits or total following growth. Analysis of your content can be as simple as tracking your views to see how often your content was read, watched, saved or downloaded (depending on the platform) or by tracking the total engagement by examining the number of likes, shares, comments or click-throughs an individual content receives.
The most important metric to track is lead conversion. Our primary reason for publishing content is to attract new business, so it is very valuable to know what content was critical in winning over your audience and driving lead generation and conversion. This is vital to determining your content strategy’s success in achieving your goals and objectives
Content buckets are categories or themes used to divide your brand message into smaller, related topics and guide your overall content creation process. They help you to create consistent content for your social channels. The number of buckets used may vary, as a personal brand I suggest 5-7 content buckets while a small business may extend to up to 15. Try not to use too many buckets as this may confuse your audience as to what your message really is.
Choose your buckets based on your brand goals, for example, if you are a new brand trying to increase brand awareness then use buckets that’ll introduce your brand and differentiate yourself from the crowd. An established brand may be interested in establishing authority and may focus on topics that’ll show knowledge and expertise. Personally, my content buckets include – general marketing, online business tips, social media, digital marketing and motherhood. These are the topics that will always stand out when you engage with my brand, whether it be emails, Instagram or blog posts, these topics form my overarching brand message.
Utilize the right platform for content distribution
For optimal content performance, your content must be placed in front of your target audience, that is, on the right platform at the right time. Knowing your audience’s preferred platforms and the times that they are most likely to be present to connect with your content is important. It’s arguable that the platform for content distribution is more important than creating the content itself. It makes no sense to have great content but on the wrong platforms and away from your audience.
Though the process of distributing your content begins after creating your content, you actually need to know where you will be distributing your content before beginning your creation process. Why? Not all content is created equally and the platform where your content will be housed determines the format your content will take. For example, videos for TikTok are different from videos for Youtube, your IG story post size is different from your IG timeline post etc. Also, different content performs better on different platforms, for example, infographics may perform better on Pinterest versus on IG stories. This requires research on both the platform and your target audience preferences.
Clarify your Unique Selling Proposition
What makes your brand and your offerings stand out from your competitors? That’s your unique selling proposition (USP)! It’s what quickly separates your brand from others and what makes you stand out as the best in your industry. The more you clearly define this attribute for your brand and your audience the more attractive your service and offerings will be.
Your USP helps to focus your content strategy on that core differentiating factor that allows your business to stand out amongst other brands. It influences your messages, your branding and all marketing decisions. Instead of trying to be known for everything great, your content (messaging) should clearly portray that one “unique” and beneficial feature of your service that makes you the best to fulfil your audience’s needs.
Think about your business’ qualities or processes in comparison to your competitors and identify your strengths. Next, narrow it down to that single strength that other brand’s lack or do not focus on. This is how you find your USP and begin your process for clearly articulating this every chance that you get.
Now that you have the basics, you can begin your own content strategy plan.