Welcome to my second instalment about content strategy, following the inspiring training I undertook with Triiiple.
I mentioned in my last post that following the training, I felt there were 5 key messages, or action points that are important to implement for a good content strategy. Below, I have given a little more explanation of what these are and what to do.
5 recommendations for a cracking content strategy
Do a content audit
I admit I still feel a little daunted by this, but I think for most businesses a content audit is the only place to start. You have to take some time out to critically analyse the content you have been putting out already, via all sources and platforms. This includes your website, newsletters, emails, and social media posts, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, and also any print materials. I know I need to take the time to look at some data on which posts received the most engagement, or which pages are visited most on my website, but I also need to actually evaluate what I have written about and whether I am offering a consistent message. It is important to decide whether that message is one I actually want to convey and whether am I offering the ‘best version of my business’.
Identify your target audience
From my years in publishing, I know everyone is terrified of doing this. Authors often believed their book was ‘relevant for all’. Most people are worried about having to identify a niche group to aim at, as they somehow believe this means no other person outside of this target group will find out about, buy from or engage with them. My argument is always J K Rowling and the Harry Potter books. Let me explain… I am sure that J K had a very specific age group of children in mind when writing her first Hogwarts story. It was probably 10 year olds who were familiar with the UK education system. So many of the book’s references, the level of language used and the situations faced by Harry revolve around this sphere of influence. However, her books have appealed to millions of people – all shapes and sizes! If she had tried to achieve this, however, aiming to make her books appeal to absolutely everyone whilst writing them, I can guarantee they would have failed.
So, I hope I have made my point about the importance of choosing (and sticking to) a target audience when writing. Keep them in mind and naturally your content will be more consistent and stronger. You will stop having to be ‘all things’ to ‘all people’ and will not ‘fall between stools’…and I promise, you will still be surprised by the number of people outside of your chosen audience who are still interested and attracted to your business.
Articulate your passion
Our trainer, Lizzie, did her absolute best to convince us that we should all be confident business people. She said that our passion for what we do gave us all the qualifications we needed to prove that we were good enough to have an opinion, to share our ideas and articulate clearly (and often!) about our business and its services and products.
I think it can be hard to ‘share’ a passion without sounding gushing or even pushy. However, the training certainly taught me that by communicating about what interests me will naturally pique the interest of those discovering and learning more about me and my business. It is that darn ‘having confidence’ thing again!
Schedule and plan all output
I think there was a meeting of minds when our trainer, Lizzie, got out a spreadsheet! 😉
I love a good bit of planning and so much of my blog workshop revolves around not only coming up with topics but scheduling them in, so that the ‘what am I going to write about this time?’ question (followed by a groan!) never comes up. You know exactly what needs to be written and when, as it’s there listed in front of you.
Lizzie’s spreadsheet was on a whole other level, with plans for social media posts, blogs, website updates and uploads on a WEEK BY WEEK BASIS! It was brilliant and something I totally aspire to! Setting aside time to plan your content output is worth it. Whether it is an hour or a whole day, depending on your business needs, give yourself time and headspace to plan and prepare. It is much more effective than trying to squeeze in a little here and there…when you remember!
COPE – create once, publish everywhere
Finally, this is the mantra I came away with. I have already posted about it on my Facebook page and I plan to COPE with this very blog post.
As small business owners, we beat ourselves up constantly about not having enough to say and wonder how other people always seem to have lots of content across lots of mediums. So it seems that this might be the secret…COPE…create once, publish everywhere! For example, you can take a quote or short passage from your blog and use as a teaser on a Facebook post or tweet, with a link back to the whole post. You can feature a blog or series of blogs in a newsletter. You can add a link to a blog post to your email signature. You can place a blog post, not only on your own website, but on Medium (which a blogging platform, Lizzie told us about), as well as on LinkedIn.
This is truly a tiny snapshot of information, considering what we were able to learn and discuss during the training day itself. If you are considering relaunching your business or starting up ‘more seriously’, then I would highly recommend this training before redoing or setting up your website and social media profiles.