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What is Content Strategy?

Alejandra Melara
Feb 11, 2019 9:12:51 AM

You’re looking to get the most reach for your marketing campaigns. And with everyone on the world wide web, what better way to do so than with digital marketing?

But you don’t want to focus all of your efforts on paid ads. Today’s consumers don’t want to be marketed to – and in fact, they’re pretty sick of it.

Instead, they’re looking to be educated on the things they care about so they can make informed decisions.

This is what makes content marketing a success.

When you compare content marketing with paid search, you’ll find it generates 3x the leads per dollar spent. And it also outperforms outbound marketing by the same amount, while also costing 62% less.

But even with all of these stats readily accessible, you’ll still find that only 39% of marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.

This is critical to have, especially since you need this to drive conversions.

Roughly 77% of internet users read blogs. And it’s not just big brands benefiting from this – small businesses with blogs are generating 126% more leads than those that don’t.

An astounding 61% of US online consumers made purchases based on the recommendations found in blogs. This shows how well content marketing can build consumer trust for brands.

If you want to generate more traffic and conversions for your business, then a content strategy is vital.

Let’s take a look at what a content strategy is and how you can create one.

An overview of a content strategy

In a nutshell, a content strategy is a plan designed for all of the media you create for your business. This includes blogs, ebooks, videos, infographics, images, and any other written, visual, or downloadable content.

The purpose of this content is to position your brand as an expert in your industry. It helps to build visibility, trust, and ultimately, earn the business of your target audience.

But knowing what type of content to create, how to distribute it, and how to generate awareness is key. This is where your content strategy comes in.

You need a plan for all of your content so it yields results. Simply writing content that no one wants to read and publishing it for no one to find is a waste of time (and money). With a strategy, you’re not just creating content – you’re designing it.

You’re researching your target audience to see what type of content they want to see and on which topics. Then promoting this content so that it’s found by its intended audience is also outlined in the strategy.

Let’s take a closer look at what a content strategy consists of.

Creating content specifically for your audienceaudience-crowd-fans-93490

But wait – who is your audience? If you don’t have a detailed profile for your target customers, then how can you create content that they’ll enjoy?

Taking wild guesses and making gut instincts aren’t going to cut it. For instance, the type of content you create for an audience of young mothers wouldn’t be the same as you would for an older CEO.

They consume content differently and they have different interests, concerns, and questions. So how you approach your content for each group is critical.

And all of this is carefully outlined in your strategy. This includes who exactly your target audience is, what problems they have that your product or service can resolve, and which mediums to distribute them on to reach them.

You may find you have more than one audience, which is normal for many businesses. You’ll just have to fit them into your strategy so you have content for everyone on the platforms they use most (email, blogs, social media, search engines, etc).

Resolving the problems of your target audience

Once you figure out who your target customers are, it’s time to learn more about them. Your content strategy will include important data that’ll make your content more effective.

In order to pull this off, you have to look at your product or service. How does it help your customers resolve a problem?

Is it helping them to save time, boost productivity, relax, get rid of an issue, or improve themselves? Knowing this will help in the content creation process.

A part of the content funnel is educating your audience on their issues and concerns. Being able to answer their questions and teach them how to overcome a hurdle will help them move down to the consideration phase.

At this point, they have more understanding of what they’re going through and how to fix it. So they’re now considering your product or service and will soon be ready to buy after doing a bit more research.

Now, the content you’re creating doesn’t just cater to the newcomers who are still trying to figure things out. It also resonates with your current customers.

Your educational pieces reinforce the solutions you’re providing to them, making them more qualified to use your product.

Setting yourself apart from competitorsacid-citric-citrus-997725

Without content, all businesses in the same industry look exactly that – the same. There’s nothing that sets one company apart from the other.

Everything from your logo to the copy you create for your ads and blogs is considered content. These all play a role in differentiating your business from the rest. In other words, it’s your branding.

This too requires a strategy to ensure your branded content matches the voice, theme, and goals of your company. Your content needs to demonstrate what makes your business and its products or services unique.

When done well, this can entice people to listen to you and even purchase from you over your competition.

Selecting the formats used for content

There are a number of different formats you can use for your content. You can do traditional written text in a blog or article format.

Or you can opt for something more visual, such as infographics and videos. Many brands combine different content formats into their strategy because it helps keep things fresh.

Plus, it enables them to connect with audiences that prefer to consume different types of content. Some people are more visual than others, while many still like to read blog posts.

The key is to research what your audience prefers so you can take the guesswork out of deciding which formats to use.

Deciding which channels to publish to

What makes the web attractive to a wide range of people is the versatility it offers. Besides being able to consume content in any format you choose, you can also find channels you prefer to consume them on.

Businesses that limit themselves by only publishing content to their blog are leaving money on the table. You can guarantee your competitors are in all the right places, gathering visitors that could otherwise be yours.

Social media has taken the world by storm, giving consumers a way to interact with each other and their favorite brands. It’s the ideal place for businesses to communicate with their audience.

However, finding the platforms that best suit your brand and its audience is key. For instance, it wouldn’t make sense to use Pinterest if you’re in an industry that’s not highly visual.

It’s also essential to find the channels your audience is using.

Planning content management

Guidelines must be set for the creation of your business’s content. A content strategy will outline who will be responsible for all areas of content development.

For example, who will do the keyword research, topics creation, content writing, content publishing, and content promotion. It will also detail how often content will go live and on which channels.

This organization is necessary to keep the flow of content consistent, which is vital to keeping your audience engaged. By publishing content regularly that your audience enjoys, you can establish yourself as a go-to thought leader and authority.

Creating your brand storyaction-adult-analog-1043512

A brand that doesn’t have a distinct story, mission, and voice will eventually fail in any and all of its communications with its target audience. This is because you risk coming off as unauthentic.

If your message and voice aren’t consistent, it’ll rub consumers the wrong way.

For instance, if in your blog posts you maintain a serious tone and then in your ads, it’s overly silly, then it won’t match up. It’ll appear off brand and misaligned with your brand’s personality.

Those who see your ads first will be turned off by your blog posts and vice versa.

A content strategy will delve into your business, its mission, what it stands for, and the personality it’ll portray to the world. This way, every piece of content created for the company will be aligned.

Understanding your company vision

Where is your business trying to go? Where will it be 20 years from now? How will the world perceive your brand?

Your brand vision will answer all of these questions. But why is this important?

Because this is what will direct your content. For example, if you’re looking to become an influencer that your audience will come to for answers, then your content strategy should reflect this.

A lot of focus should be placed on creating authoritative content. This can include crafting in-depth articles, appearing on podcasts, interviews with industry leaders, and hosting live Q&A events online with your audience.

As a rule of thumb, you should create milestones. First, think of where you want to be in three to five years, then five to ten years, and so on. This will be your road map to achieving your goals.

How to create your content strategybookcase-books-bookshelves-1181569

It’s a lot easier to come up with a content strategy with the help of digital marketing experts. However, it’s still good to know what the process consists of.

Here’s a quick rundown of what you can expect during the creation of your content plan:

  • Defining your goals as a brand. It’s essential to know why you’re creating content in the first place. Is it to attract more subscribers, website traffic, or customers? Your goal will be the aim of your overall strategy.
  • Identifying your customer personas. You’ll have to conduct research to learn all you can about your prospects. The more you know, the easier it’ll be to attract, engage, and convert them.
  • Conducting an audit of your content. If you already own content on your blog, social media, and other channels, then you’ll need to go through it. See which ones performed well and what hasn’t. Use this as a guide to see what you need to do to upgrade your content efforts.
  • Deciding on a CMS (content management system). This will allow you to quickly upload content to your blog and social media accounts. This is good to have to streamline your content publishing.
  • Coming up with content ideas. It’s important to have a calendar in place with the topics, dates, and channels for your content.

Developing your content strategy

It’s time to put together a strategy for your business – but where do you begin? Not to worry, this is where many businesses struggle.

Thankfully, there are experts out there who can help you organize it all. At Gray Group International, we have a team of dedicated professionals who can both develop and execute your content strategy.

If you’d like to learn more, then reach out to us today!

 

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