Content strategy is the process of creating a strategic plan that uses content marketing to achieve business goals.
It involves all the activities that revolves around content marketing, from planning to creating, publishing and promoting the content.
In fact, the overall goal of content strategy is to set out a framework that co-ordinates the activities that drives content marketing, in order to achieve expected outcomes.
As a small business owner, you may be wondering, how exactly does content strategy work?
Well, this is how it does…
At every given point, effective content strategy revolves around 3 factors. That is; your goals, marketing plans and content.
Now, let me break it down…
For your content strategy to work, you need to have a set business goal, a clear marketing plan and the right kind of content.
Your goals are the things you want to achieve at that point in time…
Your plan covers how you want to achieve these things while using the right kind of content.
For example, if your goal at a specific point is to increase your website visit, your content strategy will have to revolve around the following:
- Building the kind of content that’ll rake in your expected kind of traffic.
- Using a particular promotional strategy that’ll yield that result.
- And promoting to a set of audience that will like to get over to your website.
Without these things in place, your strategy is as good as nothing.
But creating a content strategy is not really a necessity right?
As a new content marketer, the question above might be going through your mind right now but follow me closely let’s find out below..
Is Content Strategy important in Small Business Content Marketing?
Having a content marketing strategy is not only important, it is the heart beat of content marketing, whether for a small or large business.
As a matter of fact, your content strategy is one key factor that can make or mar your career as a content creator.
Why is this so?
Because without creating a realistic content strategy, your business is existing on guess work.
What I mean here is that; without a clear content strategy, you’ll end up creating content that doesn’t serve you as a business or your audience.
And this wont get you any results.
Done over time, you get fed up then your business folds up because you don’t get returns on investment.
This is the sad story of many content creators. It’s happened to me many years ago, during my early days as a content marketer. And frankly, the failure was massive.
But you can stop yours before it happens right? That’s why you’re reading this!
Steps to set up a Content Strategy
Now that you’ve found out the need for a pragmatic content strategy, its time to get started with your first strategy.
And in the following paragraph, I’ll be sharing with you the important steps you must use to set up your content strategy…
Define your Expected Outcomes
What exactly are your overall expected outcomes as a business?
And what do you want to achieve with this particular content marketing campaign you’re about to make?
The specific goal you want to achieve with your content marketing effort at any given point is one of the core dynamics that will set the tone for your content marketing strategy.
It’s so important that it’ll determine your target audience and almost every other aspects of content marketing steps you want to take.
For this reason, it’s important to be clear on what you want to achieve before setting out to evolve a strategy.
Identify your Target Market
Now, that you know what you want to achieve with your content marketing effort, who are the people that can help you to achieve these things?
As per the rule book, content is one of the most important tools for lead generation whether online or offline.
It attracts the right target audience to your website and blogs while you do the rest.
For you to be successful with your content strategy, you have to know the kind of audience that’ll help you achieve your set goal.
As soon as you’ve figured this, find out what works for them, the kind of content they prefer and every other important details that will.
Build a Content Calendar
Building a content calendar as one of the critical aspects of your content strategy does not only save you from writer’s block, it will streamline your content creation over a certain period of time.
A workable content calendar gives you an idea about the right kind of content to create at specific period, when to create it and how to create it.
It should also contain other details including when and where to promote your content. As well as the processes you want to use to do that.
To get started on this, divide your expected outcomes into content ideas that will spread over a certain period, based on your overall marketing goals.
It can be monthly, half yearly, or yearly. Whatever it is, be sure to create a content calendar that presets content ideas that’s consistent with your marketing goals.
Create the right Content
The right content is the kind of content that appeals to your target audience.
So, here’s where you want to ask the question, “what kind of content appeals to my target audience?”
Remember while answering this, whatever content you create must also be able to achieve your expected outcomes, as laid out in step one and five.
So, if your audience are millenials between age 25-45 for instance and the kind of content that appeals to them is quite diverse…
To stay on the safe side, you need to create not only the content that works for them, but one that’s also in line with your business goals.
You need to find that common ground between your business goals and the content you create for your target audience. Both should be mutually inclusive.
Set Strategic Goals and KPIs
In a very busy and competitive internet space, you may get too focused on creating content without setting out expected outcomes or key performance indicators for your content.
This is very wrong. And failure to set out specific outcomes for your content might reduce the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy.
You want to avoid this by all means. So, before creating your content, evolve strategic goals and KPIs as your content strategy.
You’ll need this to measure your content performance in the next two steps.
Make Plans for Promotion
When it comes to content strategy, content promotion is one of biggest drivers of your expected outcomes.
As a creator you need to understand that content strategy does not just start and end with creating content. Content promotion is also a big part of it.
After creating your content, find out, which platform will create the most impact with your content?
The easiest way to figure this is to look through the platforms that has the largest number of your target audience. Promoting on platforms like this will be far more effective.
PS: There’s nothing wrong with testing out platforms too. As part of your content strategy, you can measure up your outcomes on specific platforms over time and switch platforms, where the result is not adequate.
Measure your Outcomes
Using the above strategies might get you the right outcomes but there’s still need to measure your outcomes from time to time.
It doesn’t matter what results you get in the end, take out time to find out approaches that worked and the ones that didn’t.
Evaluate the platforms you used to promote your content. Which of them delivered the right or wrong results?
Find out, what exactly was responsible for the results earned?
Overall, at the end of each marketing calendar, measure the effectiveness of your strategy, identify the weak links and remove or replace them completely.
In a conclusion, while Content Marketing is crucial for your small business growth, without the right content strategy, you might be throwing your content down the drain without even realizing it.
That’s why there’s need to put the right strategy in place at all times, if you want to see the best results for your content marketing effort.
This is exactly what you’ve just learned in this guide.
Want to learn more about how to drive better results for your business using content marketing, join our Content Masterclass at the Smart Content Colllege.
I hope you’ll take the step to evolve a content marketing strategy that will drive better results for your business today?
It’s over to you now! What’s your biggest drawback when it comes to creating an effective content marketing strategy?