How To Craft a Compelling Content Strategy for Your Small Business
Small Business September 25, 2017 Kristie Holden
The world of content was revolutionized by the arrival of the Internet. Now the content stays alive forever, and you can keep your best content on your site. With the advent of the Internet the competition for public attention has become even more fierce.
Nowadays it is not enough to offer interesting content, you should also take into account your audience and do your best so that your readers can find your content and share it.
What is a content strategy?
Content strategy is responsible for sharing valuable online materials to attract and build relationships with the brand’s target audience. The focus here is not on promoting your products, but on creating value content, which manages to attract and engage your audience. Content strategy helps strengthen relationships with potential customers, generate sales, attract leads, establish your authority in the market, improve your brand credibility, and even improve your rankings. An effective content strategy should identify what goals you intend to achieve and how you want to do it.
To create a fantastic strategy that can reach your audience and achieve the desired results, check out this step-by-step guide that will help you create content that converts and can be easily found by your audience.
Step 1. Analyze your market
The most important thing here is to understand where you stand in the market. This means taking into account your strengths and weaknesses and the value you bring to the market. This can be done with SWOT analysis. To make the analysis, evaluate factors such as bounce rate, number of new visits, and user behavior on your website – all this will help you find opportunities for improvement.
Another important point is to analyze the content of your competitors. On one hand, their social media profiles can provide important information about their audience, helping to define which social channels are the most popular and discovering the most engaged content in their market. These profiles also help you better understand your competitor’s content strategy. There are tools that help you analyze the performance of your content and your competitors’ content. It’s always good to compare yourself to competitors and understand how you position yourself in relation to them.
Step 2. Set your goals
Your content strategy must be focused on a specific result that you want to achieve. For this you need to set clear goals. What result do you want to achieve? Increase sales of a specific product, improve the visibility of your brand or get more leads? As soon as you choose your goals define the KPIs. For example, if your goal is to get more leads, you can measure how many people subscribe to your newsletter monthly. When defining your goals and KPIs always use the SMART methodology. It consists of choosing objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Based.
Remember, your goals should be measurable. “I want my readers to like my content” is not a specific goal, since it cannot be measured. Instead you can say “I want to increase my brand visibility by 250% in the next 6 months.” This is a specific goal with measurable metrics (shares in social networks) that have a defined time frame (six months).
Step 3. Determine your audience
Meeting your goals requires creating content for each audience segment. To better define the content types required for each target segment, it is good to focus on demographics, needs, interests, and geography, and take advantage of your sales team’s suggestions – they deal with customers directly and are better acquainted with their needs.
As soon as you set your audience persona, check the people with whom you are connected in social networks and who is currently consuming your content. You can also analyze the social interactions of your competitors to understand whether you have taken into account all segments.
Step 4. Create a content plan
In this step you will take advantage of the results of your research done in the previous steps to create a tangible plan. Analyze the trends in your area, discover the main interests of your audience, and think how to integrate that information with your goals. For example, how can you use infographics, blog posts and YouTube videos to sell more by teaching your audience?
In this step you will also have to analyze what types of content your audience prefers – do they respond better to long posts or infographics? You can also check the contents of your competitors to understand what kind of content works best for them.
Your content plan can be done in an editorial calendar format that takes into account market events (conferences, events and holidays). This calendar can help you set the frequency and the best post hours. If you’ve noticed that your content performs best on Mondays and Tuesdays, it ensures weekly content for those days. Editorial calendar also helps you formulate post series, since with this tool it is easier to see how the posts are related and interconnected.
Step 5. Develop the SEO-friendly content structure
How many Google results do you get when you’re looking for some content? Most people rarely get past the first page of results. If your content is not optimized for search engines, the chances of presenting your content to your target audience are minimal. SEO and content strategy go hand in hand, helping each other. SEO can significantly increase the reach and visibility of your content. The keywords you choose for your content can help determine the position of the article in the search results. It’s important to use the words your visitors use to search, focus on the interests of the audience, keyword popularity, and keywords used by your competitors.
Step 6. Create and deploy your content
It’s finally time to create your content based on the 5 previous steps, considering your target audience and your chosen keywords. Your content must be optimized to achieve your goals. If you are looking for more sales it includes small product descriptions in the post.
Step 7. Plan your distribution
With over millions of blog posts being published daily you need a distribution plan so your audience can find your content. Your distribution plan will determine how and where to share your content to reach your audience. The main distribution methods include:
- Shares on social networks, PPC campaigns
- Monthly or weekly newsletters with their best content
- Other distribution and publishing sites
If you want to create effective content that is in accordance with your business goals, a well-made content strategy is indispensable. When executing your strategy remember that patience is a virtue. Content strategy is a tactic that brings long term results, so it will often take you to see the first results. Evaluate your metrics monthly and if you do not find significant changes after six months reevaluate your strategy by looking for its strengths and weaknesses.
About The Author:
Sarah Feldman is an experienced digital marketing professional who is currently working with Digital Express, a Digital Marketing Agency in Dubai. She loves to learn and share about latest digital marketing updates and trends.