A killer content strategy is one of the best strategies online businesses can create. A content strategy (a.k.a content roadmap) helps you see the big picture of your content. It ensures that the content you publish is actually fulfilling a set goal and furthering your business.
There are a lot of factors that go into creating a content strategy, but if you’re just getting started with your first one, focus on the following 4 factors to ensure your strategy works flawlessly for you.
It’s nearly impossible to create a killer content roadmap without ultra clear business goals. Your goals are what your content strategy should work towards. It’s like the heading on your compass. If you don’t know where you’re heading, how are you going to reach your destination?
Before you sit down to plan your content roadmap, take some time to look at your business goals, both long-term and short-term, and ensure that your content strategy is in line with them. How? Translate your goals into action steps that involve content.
If one of your long-term goals is to become an authority in your industry, you must create action steps for it. How do you become an authority? You can start by creating and sharing informative content that your potential clients and readers can’t find anywhere else. You can also hold live events including workshops or webinars that help your potential clients solve a specific problem.
Work those two steps – creating valuable content and hosting live events – into your content strategy. That may look something like publishing a great blog post and an awesome video weekly. To tackle the live events, you can plan to host one at least once a month.
The important thing to remember is that your content roadmap needs to work towards something. That something is your goal, so be sure you know exactly what you want your content strategy to do for you. Even if you feel you do not have enough experience to get started.
Another factor you need to know before you can start creating a content roadmap is your ideal client. Whilst your goals determine what your content moves you towards, your clients determine what content you create and share.
To really nail your content strategy, you need to know what your ideal clients want to see in your content. Creating a client avatar is a good place to start, but don’t stop there. Understanding your ideal clients’ struggles involves actually talking to them.
Schedule client calls and ask them to talk to you about what they’re frustrated with. Find your ideal clients online in forums, Facebook groups, or LinkedIn groups, and just observe them. Make notes of what they have problems with and how you can solve each one specifically with your content or services. This will make it easier for you to introduce them to your services should you follow an email marketing strategy.
Knowing what your ideal clients need help with enables you to create a content strategy that is perfectly tailored for them. They’ll feel like you’re reading their minds because you always seem to know what they’re struggling with. That will also help you achieve your goal of becoming an authority in your niche or industry.
Don’t underestimate the effect that your brand has on your content roadmap. If you don’t have a solid foundation for your brand and if you don’t know exactly what’s on-brand and off-brand, your content strategy will appear scattered and inconsistent.
While branding does include colours, typography, and other fun graphic design elements, it also includes less tangible things like your online behaviour and how you want your business to be perceived online.
If you want your business to be seen as sophisticated and more corporate in nature, you’ll likely steer away from content ideas and topics that are more casual in nature, like a laid-back workshop on your back porch.
Taking the time to lay a solid brand foundation now will save you the headache of trying to go through your content strategy after it’s been created and figure out what is and isn’t on-brand.
Content formats will play a huge part in your content strategy, so you need to have a clear idea of what you will and won’t do going into planning. There are approximately 2,000 (give or take 30) content formats available to you. If you don’t know which formats you’ll use and which you’ll put off until another time, you’ll probably be overwhelmed creating a content strategy.
Think about it – do you want to have a content strategy that has you creating one blog post, two videos, an email newsletter, one podcast episode, and two live workshops every week? If you do, you won’t have any time left for client work.
When it comes to choosing your content formats, take a look at your goals and consider which content formats would best help you reach your goals. A wise approach to take to content formats is to choose one primary format and then two secondary ones.
For example, you could primarily blog and then publish videos and hold live workshops occasionally. That way, you still diversify your content formats without creating an overwhelming content roadmap.
Do you know what your competition is doing? If you don’t, it’s time to get out your online binoculars and do some recon work. I’m not suggesting copying exactly what your competition is doing. You don’t want to be that business. But you do need to have your finger on what’s going on.
If your competition is on YouTube and seems to be enjoying some success there, you may want to consider working some video content into your content strategy. Likewise, if your competition seems to be struggling to build a following on YouTube, you may want to reconsider your plans to dive into the platform. There may not be an audience for your market there.
While your competition’s plans and actions shouldn’t become the only thing you follow online, keeping tabs on them can help you determine where you should invest your time and money online and where you should pass. Work those findings into your content strategy and adjust it accordingly.
Planning a content strategy takes time, but it has the potential to help you reach your business goals faster because you’re being laser focused on them. When you sit down to create your content roadmap, have your business goals, ideal client notes, branding documents, content formats, and your observations of your competition in front of you. Drawing from those five factors will help you create a content strategy that will be spot-on for your business.
About the author: Ardelia Lee is a content roadmap engineer and copywriter who helps small business owners create and strategically share goal-oriented content that supports long-term business growth.
When she’s not scheming with her clients, you can find her reading long fantasy novels and drinking warm coffee. Ready to streamline your blog post process?