Building Content Strategy
Creating and publishing content can feel like an incredibly daunting task, especially when considering the thousands of articles, phone applications, websites and tutorial videos available. In reality, there are only a few basic parts to building a content strategy. Firstly, you need to figure out what your content and the content in your given field looks and feels like. Secondly, you have to show some foresight and see the content for what it should be and what it needs to get there. Finally, you need to be knowledgeable and understanding of the context in which the content is being published.
Often times, you’ll hear slogans from brands that echo something to the effect of, “Grow with us.” The sentiment that is being communicated here is at the very heart of building your content strategy. According to the highly reputable SEO consulting website Moz.com, you want to approach your content strategy as, “A brand’s journey to land a customer or…a customer’s journey and how the brand can help.” In order to tell the story properly, you first have to know where you are coming from and where you are going. By following the process in the steps below, you can easily build a strong outline for a great story:
- Take stock of your current content.
- Analyze your competition’s content.
- Discern questions, ideas and solutions from analysis.
- Put together infrastructure to implement and use the best practices, tools and people for your solutions.
While there are many ways to rate success in the realm of content creation, most would likely say that the ultimate goal of your strategy is to convince your customer/client/viewer to trust you enough to share your message. To do so, you’ll want to use the solutions and insights gained from your exploration into your current content and your competition’s content strategy to first build a trust between the brand and consumer. This would generally consist of providing the consumer with some type of product or information with no intent to sell them anything at that point. Only after consumers indicate their interest should you even supply information as to the product you provide.
By using the content strategy to slowly disseminate the parts of the story that interested consumers will want to buy into, you ensure that you do not waste resources trying to gain the attention of people who are not interested and better serve the people who have traveled far enough to hear your story from you.
The two main problems that seem to face those looking to take up the endeavor of content strategy are a) a lack of clarity concerning the goals and b) the tough middle ground between solely-to-sell or doing it “just to keep up” or “to stay consistent.” If you regard your content strategy as a story, then you know that having a few funny traits for your characters is great, but hopefully, you know exactly where your plot is going and how you would get there.
In the same way, building content solely to build SEO or create links for yourself and your brand is awesome, but the real test is being able to use your content to communicate your brand’s story and involve your consumers over an extended period of time. It’s also beneficial to differentiate goals that are more business-oriented from your goals for content. They can blur easily at times, and hiring details or accounting set-up isn’t necessarily helping in meeting the goals set for your content plan.
Time also plays a big part in the execution of a content strategy. If the strategy is made with good content and thoughtful research, then it will eventually bear fruit. The “eventually” is the devil in the details for a good number of people who are not involved in the trade of content creation and publishing. Clients can become frustrated when they do not see results immediately. Consistency is absolutely pivotal and, in addition to keeping a calendar, seeing the execution of your strategy plan is the only way to know how you are actually reaching your consumers and how you can precipitate a connection the next time they recognize your brand.