Let’s talk strategy
I’m obsessed with ensuring that people only spend time creating content because they want to.
The reason behind having to do it is likely that you own a business and feel you “have to” – but do you truly know your reasons why and, importantly, do you know what you are trying to achieve?
This is why a content strategy is so important – if you don’t know what you are doing or why you are doing it, then it can be difficult to motivate yourself. It is also incredibly hard to measure what is working and what is not.
I love putting together a content strategy for a client. We can identify leads and ways to increase sales. We give the time you spend creating content a true purpose. Importantly, we have goals and reasons that can be evaluated.
In this blog, I’m going to cover five areas that you should consider to form the basis of a strategy. Take a read and then start writing down your: Mission, Aims, Purpose, Goals and Tools – and you’ll be on the right path for coming up with a strong content strategy of your own.
Write down a one line mission about what you want to achieve with your content. It may be that you have a series of reasons. You may just have one: i.e. “to make more sales”! Whatever it is, it needs to be emotive. It needs to drive you. It needs to make you want to plan your content each month; be inventive and keep going, even when you are busy…or, unfortunately, when business is slow. Make it clear and make it mean something to you.
You now have to set some aims for your content marketing.
This isn’t about numbers (yet!). I discuss ‘goals’ below – this is more general than that.
Your aims are about what your content marketing is going to help you achieve. So, for example, my aim is to be consistent, to help visibility and engagement with my business. Consistency is really important to me. I make a commitment to creating regular content because it is important and I want to be visible to my clients and customer. I guess one way to think about it is that your Mission is your personal reason for remaining on the content treadmill, whilst your aim is your business reason.
If you sign up to my mailing list (see sign up form in footer), you’ll see all of the different purposes you can consider when creating content. Take a look at the 15 I recommend and consider 5 that you want to do the most of and ‘in general’. Which ones do you enjoy most? Do you like sales or do you find sales hard but like educating or offering extra value through your content? It is about what drives you.
To clarify, rather than thinking about a purpose for an individual piece of content, this is about your overall purpose. So once you have chosen 5, now rank them.
Your top one (or two, if you really can’t choose) is the ‘flavour’ of your strategy. It should sort of become ‘what you are known for’.
I love sharing information, offering guidance and educating my audience. It’s really important to me and there is nothing better than receiving a comment or message to say “wow – I didn’t know that!” or “this is so useful!” – it gives me a buzz.
Now we return to the more ‘quantatitive’ element of your strategy – something that can be measured. Personally, I need this in my life! I need to analyse whether something is working or not. I need to prove my methods and approaches. Without goalsthere is nothing to measure against.
Write down 5 goals – I would recommend at least two short term and two long term. For example, I want to increase my followers on Facebook by 100 per month vs I want to have written 12 blogs over the next year, so that you have a great collection of content to draw on for the following year.
If you can add a ‘so that…’ to your goal, even better – it’s your why! …and will probably link to your mission and aims above.
You can set goals which relate to outcomes, as well as a commitment to what you will do (i.e. I will post a video every week, so that I can be visible and my followers can get to know me, as well as my business).
Finally, let’s finish with nice ‘concrete’ elements of your strategy and make a note about which digital marketing tools you are going to use to publish or ‘showcase’ your content. You cannot be on every single social media platform. You can not commit to more forms than you can physically manage, alongside actually running your business. So, think carefully (and strategically!) about which tools you like, as well as what works best for you.
Taking the video example, which platform will work best for you to publish video content on? Facebook, Instagram or YouTube? Perhaps you have excellent website traffic, so are videos there a good idea?
Map out exactly which tools you have at your disposal and include all of their elements. For example, on Instagram, you have posts, reels and IGTV (as well as shopping functionality and paying for sponsored posts).
Importantly map these to your goals. Which ‘tools’ will get you to where you want to be most effectively.
I love this quote, by Greg Reid:
“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal.
A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan.
A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”
So, get writing. Turn your content and engagement dreams in to goals and a plan. Make even the most simple of rough notes and ensure that you start to have a strategy (some good background thinking) behind the content you create on a regular basis. Test it – see what’s working – revise and set more goals. Remember content marketing is essentially about ‘increase’ – whether its leads, engagement, visibility or sales (or all of them!). Make sure you are heading in the right direction and making your content work hard for your business.
If you want more support, just let me know. Email firstname.lastname@example.org