Good marketing starts with an effective content strategy. Long gone are the days of shotgun advertising and staying on the minds of consumers by being omnipresent across multiple media channels. Consumers don’t routinely read newspaper ads, remember billboards or sit through television commercials. Instead, your clients are consuming interesting and relevant content, sharing it to their networks and engaging with their favorite brands through social media.
Content marketing is about creating content that’s relevant to your audience with the intention of guiding or enhancing consumer behavior. Modern clients are interested in engaging with the stories you share. They want to continuously be part of your successes and learn from your expertise. You need to provide ways to ask them to interact.
Developing a content strategy road map will help you consistently share your message and meet the expectations of an audience that is always plugged in.
If you currently run a business website, take a moment to look through the content you’ve already shared. The most important aspect of developing a new content plan is starting with what is already known. Figure out what’s working, what’s falling behind and how you can tweak what exists to fit your strategy moving forward.
Sit down with whoever writes your website content or regularly measures your web performance and have them answer these questions:
- What are the two or three most visited pages on my website? What do they say?
- What page on my website has the most incoming links from other websites? What’s the topic?
- What information is currently found on my homepage? Is it company information or something guiding people to click?
- Is boilerplate copy somewhere on my homepage or internal pages? If so, what does it say?
Go through the answers to these questions and pick out the topics or themes that are recurring. These are indicators of the types of content your current customers and potential clients are interested in.
For Roundpeg.biz, we’ve identified a few blog posts and webpages that consistently send us quality web traffic week after week. For example, our marketing position statement blog consistently sends new visitors to our site. There is a clear desire from our audience to learn more about this topic and it’s an important part of our future road map.
Crafting a Strategy
How You Say It (Voice)
What you say is important, but how you say it makes your content unique to you. Don’t stop building your content plan after you’ve discovered what your audience is most interested in. Read your blog posts out loud. Do they sound like you and your organization?
For example, if your company designs highly technical widgets for manufacturing processes, your content strategy should be focused around the intricate details of new parts or inventions. Your posts will need to be serious, straightforward and logical. In these more technical blog posts, it’s fine to use a little industry jargon because you aren’t writing for the average individual. The professional, clinical tone appeals to the engineers you’re trying to reach.
In contrast, a food blog written for busy moms will be more successful with a caring, encouraging tone. It lets the reader feel she can successfully make the recipe. Another approach for this audience might include a fun, tongue in cheek approach, laughing at the challenges of being a busy mom.
What won’t work? Trying to be both. You’ll confuse your readers. Pick a voice at the start of your strategy building and stick with it. Followers, prospects and customers should be attracted to your personality.
When you Say it (Planning)
Now that you have a good idea of the words, style and tone, it’s time to map out the content you’ll create throughout the time period you decide. Whether you’re looking ahead three weeks, six months or a year, you need to keep a growing list of things to write about and stories to share. These content pieces need start dates and deadlines attached to keep you on track.
Let’s create a simple spreadsheet for a business that wants to blog once a week for six months. The columns will look like:
- DUE DATE
- PUBLISH DATE
Keep in mind, this is only a road map for developing your content. Fill in each blank cell with information that follows what you already know about your clients’ preferences and your own personal voice and style. Be prepared to add in content around breaking news if it’s relevant to your business.
For our example company, there should be 24 rows, each representing a new content idea for each week. They might be creating one blog post a week. They may instead choose to supplement their content with a video during one of these weeks.
In the end, the type of content you create is up to you, so long as it stays true to your brand voice and serves the needs of your audience. Creating a content strategy road map will keep you on track, on time, and consistently in front of your customers.
Don’t want to create your own content calendar? Then download the one we use at the ‘Peg.