Content is any text, graphics, videos or photos you produce.
The goal of your digital content is to promote your business – whether that’s on your website, by email marketing, on social media, or via a press release.
But is your digital content marketing efficient? Are you targeting the right audience? And are you producing content that people really care about?
While high-quality content can be an extremely powerful marketing tool, it’s difficult to get the most out of your content without a good content strategy.
So grab a pen and paper, and get your thinking cap on – I’m going to give you a rundown of the content strategy basics, and show you how you can get started building your own digital content strategy.
Content strategy: the basics
There are infinite ways to go about content marketing, but with a bit of planning early on, you’ll stand a better chance of building successful campaigns down the line.
Don’t worry too much about the actual content at this stage – that’ll come later.
The goal here is to come up with a general plan so that in future – whenever you write a blog, plan an email campaign or even just send a tweet – you’ll have a go-to reference.
A basic digital content strategy usually includes the following:
- Your target audience
- Your tone of voice
- Your marketing channels
- The general types of content you’ll produce
Let’s look in a little more detail at each of these points.
1. Target audience
Your business is all about your audience. So is your content strategy.
Before you do any content marketing, you need to know who it is you’re trying to target.
It’s likely that by the time you come to marketing your business, you’ll have a fairly clear idea who it’s aimed at.
For the purposes of your digital content strategy, you’ll want to think about your audience in terms of:
- Professional background
It’s a good idea to imagine your target audience as two or three specific people and write a profile for each. When describing these ‘user personas’, include plenty of detail – even names.
Your user personas will help focus your tone of voice, digital marketing channels, as well as your actual content later on.
2. Tone of voice
Once you have your user personas, you’ll need to think about your tone of voice.
Your tone of voice is basically what your business would sound like if it were speaking.
It needs to be relatable, so think about how your audience might expect your business to sound.
Are you imagining your business talking? What does it sound like? Is it formal, friendly, casual, brash, silly?
Your tone of voice should reflect your business and encourage your target audience to sit up and listen.
There’s room to be creative here and the more detail, the better.
That’s because your tone of voice should be used across your whole website, and anywhere else you produce content for your target audience.
3. Marketing channels
Have you identified your tone of voice? Great, now it’s time to decide where the best places are to connect with your audience.
Choosing your marketing channels can take a lot of research but it’s worth taking the time to get this part right.
For small businesses, it’s now common to focus on digital marketing first, with physical marketing taking a back seat. So your website is often the most important marketing channel to focus on.
With your website as your focus, you can then choose other digital marketing channels to drive traffic to your site. Social media, blogging, press releases, emails and link building are all great ways to encourage people to your site.
But it’s always better to focus on fewer channels to begin with and do a really good job – perhaps start with your website and one or two social media profiles.
Take on seven social media profiles, a weekly newsletter, and a daily blog from the get-go, and chances are it’ll be too difficult to keep up with everything.
It’s also best to focus on channels you know will work for your business. There’s no point producing amazing content on Facebook, if your target audience will only interact with you on Twitter.
Remember you can always grow your content strategy later on – so pick a few of the most important digital channels to begin with and go from there.
4. Types of content
Once you’ve figured out your target audience, tone of voice and marketing channels, it’s finally time to focus on the content.
What type of content do you want to produce and how will you go about producing that content? Can you produce it yourself or do you need someone to help you out?
Building a blog following is the example I’ll use:
If you’re going to have a blog, you’ll need to decide what the general theme will be. You’ll also need to decide how often you’ll post. Do you need to plan content for your other marketing channels to guide people to your blog, e.g. social media posts? And what are the best topics to write about so that your blog converts to sales?
If you’re producing content that matters to your target audience, it’ll ensure you’re attracting people who are genuinely interested in your business.
Again, this can take some serious research, so give it time.
Content is king
When you’re ready to produce your content, there’s one golden rule: always focus on quality.
“Content is king” is a slightly overused phrase, but that’s for good reason.
While there are plenty of tips and tricks you’ll pick up over time, producing high-quality, targeted content is how you’ll get the best results.
Do this and your content will be searchable, shared and appreciated by your audience. That in turn means you have a better chance of engaging with your audience, and ultimately improving your bottom line.
It can take time, but a well-designed content strategy and brilliant content will get results.
While this post only scratches the surface of building a digital content strategy, I hope it’s got you thinking about yours.
So had you thought about your content strategy already? What are the parts you enjoy the most? What do you struggle with? Let us know in the comments below.