A content strategy is a plan that outlines how a business or individual will create, publish, and distribute content to achieve specific goals. The purpose of a content strategy is to ensure that the content being created is aligned with the business's overall objectives.
If you’re not sure where to begin with your Content Strategy - read on! And get it sorted in 7 simple steps.
Before your plans take shape, think about your content and your audience and how well they can be matched.
The more you know about your audience, the easier it will be to plan your content strategy. And the content itself must be engaging and relevant to your target audience, and optimised for the channels where it will be published.
A content strategy typically includes several key components. So, let’s break it down into seven simple steps.
Audience Who are you producing your content for? Before you write or film anything, you need to have a clear definition of the target audience, including their demographics, interests, and behaviours. Dig deep into where your audience hangs out online and at what time of day... after all, there is little point posting to LinkedIn at 9m if your audience are all switched off. But if you work across time zones or your customers often buy from Instagram at 9pm, these are insights ready for you to capitalise on.
Objectives What do you want your content strategy to achieve for your business? Start with a list of specific goals that the content strategy aims to achieve, such as increasing brand awareness, driving website traffic, or generating leads. Be specific as you set goals (I like to use the SMART framework) and check each one is achievable alongside other business plans already under way.
Brand messaging: A clear and consistent message that reflects the brand's personality and values, and that resonates with the target audience. This is the area most often overlooked when content strategies are mapped. But, if there is even the slightest confusion about message or if there are obvious inconsistencies in the way you talk about your business across your marketing channels and website - take a look and make fixes before you go any further with your content strategy.
Content types: Make a list of the different types of content that you will create, such as blogs, videos, social media posts, infographics, or podcasts. Be sure to include the types of content you don't want to create (TikTok, anyone?) or content your competitor pushes out but which you don't think you have space for. If your competitors are all doing something that you're not, it might be time to revisit the strategy before it's been signed off.
Content calendar: This is the tool that keeps you from overwhelm and your content strategy on track for results. Your schedule outlines when content will be created, published, and promoted, and by creating it, you're guaranteed a steady stream of content that aligns with the overall strategy.
Channel strategy: Take the time to consider what is happening across your marketing channels, where people hang out and chat - and where the tumbleweed sometimes drifts. Build a plan that outlines how the content will be distributed and promoted across different channels, mark your social media platforms, don't forget email, and if you spend on Google Ads or Meta Ads, absolutely include your paid advertising schedules.
Analytics and measurement: Data is more than results. Your analytics are a system for tracking and analysing the performance of your content, and understanding trends and how to measure performance will help you make adjustments to your strategy as needed.
Overall, a content strategy is a roadmap. Content is a tool that talks to customers easily and your content strategy helps you distribute and align content that meets objectives and resonates with your audience. Thinking strategically allows for a more systematic, focused approach to content creation and can help you achieve your goals more effectively.