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A content strategy encompasses everything involved in content marketing, from ideation to creation to manifestation. It may seem simple, like anyone can just think up an idea and make a graphic to go with it to post on their social media accounts, but this is not a strategy and it won’t create lasting effects.
A lasting content strategy takes creating a sustainable process into account that will produce results to grow your business. It is the way that you deliberately plan content that will serve a purpose, rather than just erratically creating whatever comes to mind. Here are 5 steps to creating a long lasting content strategy that will help expand your business prospects.
Clarify your mission and goals
Before you start coming up with content ideas, you need to be clear on what your mission and goals are. Start broadly, with the company as a whole. Think about who you are and what you want to accomplish.
Once you have that figured out, consider why you are creating content. What results do you hope to achieve through content marketing? How is it going to benefit your audience? You should design your goals to include both long term and short term goals that will help you stay focused. By setting up a clear outline of where you want to go, you can then move on to the next step.
Decide what metrics you can use to measure success
Now that you have the end in mind, consider how you can measure your progress. Digital marketing has the advantage of providing you with live updates on how your goals are coming along. On social media, you have access to many different insights, and Google Analytics offers an in-depth look at your website’s metrics.
For example, if you are trying to increase brand awareness, you should focus on increasing your reach on social media and your website’s unique visitors. However, if you are focused on increasing purchase rates, you should focus on link clicks on your social media and transactions on your website.
Stay connected with your audience
The next step in creating a content strategy that lasts is by recognizing what your audience wants and expects to see from you. You can discover this by conducting audience analysis research, such as asking them on your social media accounts what they want to see from you. You can also experiment with different types of content to see which ones get the most attention from your ideal customers.
One thing that is sure to interest your audience and bring value to them is answering any questions that they have. Including content based on your FAQ’s might be a good way to continually build your community of loyal customers.
Decide on 3-5 content pillars
Next, it’s time to choose your content pillars. This refers to the categories that you will focus your content on. Remember that each pillar should also fit under one of the following umbrellas: educational, promotional, motivational, or entertaining.
Let’s say you are a hotel looking to increase awareness of your offerings. The metrics that you are watching include reach and unique website visitors. The content pillars that you might choose to focus on could include hotel photography, a blog, customer reviews, and showing fun things to do around the hotel. You can then use your content pillars to guide your content ideas, which brings us to the next step.
Come up with content ideas
In the beginning, coming up with content ideas will probably be easy. You might feel inspired and have a seemingly endless supply of ideas. However, there will come a time in every business when you start to run dry on content ideas. It’s important to find a source for new ideas that will be reliable when your creative juices are running low.
One way to create a sustainable content source is by using a series. You could do Fun Fridays on your social media, where you post memes, jokes, or other entertaining content. For example, a hotel could post a “where’s waldo” post using photos from around the hotel every Friday. Just make sure that whatever you come up with fits into one of your pillars. The game that the hotel posts every Friday would fit under the “fun around the hotel” pillar.
Finding a system that inspires you and helps you create new content will ensure that you never run out of ideas. You can get inspiration from competitors, other industries, your customers, and many other places. Another tip is to repurpose your best performing content every few months to a new format, updated info, or put a spin on the design. If it worked once, chances are it will work again.
A lasting content strategy doesn’t have to be a mystery. Consider creating your content ahead of time so that you don’t have to be creative every single day. Planning ahead will give you time to come up with new ideas. Creating a workflow like this and getting a process down will help you become an expert in content strategy, and make your life a lot easier. If you follow these steps, and continue to adapt, you can find success in your digital marketing efforts and grow your business.