You can be the best at what you do and still not be successful if you don’t have an audience that can turn into a new customer, refer you to your next client or partner with you.
Customers and profit are the blood of a business, so it’s essential to focus on both. Even the best product or service won’t bring profit if the proper marketing is not in place!
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the game for a while and want to improve your business marketing, creating an effective and efficient content strategy is important if you want to create value for your customers and engage with them regularly.
Follow the next steps and get your content marketing sorted.
Step 1: Get clear on your target audience
To create engaging and valuable content for your audience, you need to understand who they are and what they need from you. While all audiences are different, they usually have a few common traits you can use to define your target audience.
When you have all the info, you can create brand personas (or “Ideal Clients”) like in the workbook above. These become specific personas you need to keep in mind when you make your content.
It’s like being able to see someone and speak directly to them; it’s going to become evident to you that different circumstances, stages in life and other traits will result in different needs when communicating with them. You will learn to speak directly to them. Otherwise, if you try to speak to everyone, you risk being heard by no one.
And that’s the way it should be if you want to connect with them and provide real value that translates into sales for your business.
Step 2: Check in on your business goals
What do you aim to achieve with your content strategy? Look at your business areas, sales, marketing, service, etc. and the goals you have for each area to maximise the effectiveness of your content strategy.
If you forget your goals, you will struggle with consistency in your strategy, which is vital when building a relationship with customers.
You need to choose a few core focus areas and set goals for each one based on the outcomes you want to achieve.
Let’s take marketing as an example: you probably use your marketing channels to attract new potential customers, essentially using it as a lead generator for your business.
A goal for this could be making sure you are framing the problem so people can relate and connect.
Or what about your business sales area: it’s the moment when your potential customer understands you could help them solve their problems and wants to know all about your offering and services.
When it comes to sales, a goal could be that your content explains clearly the offering and outlines your process so that potential customers will get to know how you work and can prepare when they decide to go forward and buy from you.
Now that your objectives are clear, you can proceed with the following steps.
Step 3: Outline your content pillars
What is the objective of the content you will produce?
Are you going to sell, inform, entertain or is there another goal?
Here are six content categories (often referred to as “content pillars”) you can use as the foundation for your content strategy:
- Providing value
These are just some pillars you can define in your content strategy, depending on your business goals. But, again, we suggest mixing these and tailoring them to your audience.
Add these pillars to your content creation software to have them a hand.
In Yocory, we have provided you with a tool to set these pillars inside our Editorial Calendar so that when you enter content creation mode, you have them available, and it’s clear what type of content you are creating.
There is a big difference between an educational piece and a promotional one; the copy/caption and even the format could change.
You could decide to use videos to entertain while using more text-heavy pieces to give your audience some helpful information. Or you could go with infographics to inspire and engage your readers.
Step 4: Choose your topics & brainstorm ideas
These topics are business and industry-specific. You can define your core topics to ensure your audience clearly understands the nature of your business, so you will attract the people looking for the exact solution you are providing.
How to define these?
This step should be simple as it relates to your business offering and your area of expertise.
Take the solutions you offer and think of topics related to this. Make sure to include the ones you think will be popular in your and your competitors’ industries.
At Yocory, our content topics are all related to our product. For example, our topic categories are business management, sales, project management, marketing, and more. Then we dive deeper and try to pick topics to help our users and community members manage their businesses efficiently.
You can also use tools to help you understand what people are searching for in your industry; this will help you quickly compile a list of topics you can discuss.
Step 5: Define your channels & frequency
Time to choose your marketing channels and define your publishing frequency. This choice depends on where your target audience is more likely to hang out, especially when defining which social media channels to prioritise.
Social media channels will change and evolve, and if they stop performing you still want to have an audience you can control. Therefore, setting up also marketing channels that don’t rely on these channels performance is a must.
An example of these marketing channels are:
- Email Marketing > create your own digital magazine or newsletter to send out your best articles regularly.
- Blog > a dedicated space on your website where you can create great long-form content for your audience to learn, grow with your content, and engage with your brand (good for SEO too).
- Events > you can host and create online or in-person events (make sure to gather participants and ask them to opt-in to receive your communications).
There are many more marketing channels outside social media, make sure to do your research in your industry.
Regular posting on your channels is essential to ensure your brand is visible and keeps your audience engaged. So they know what and when to expect it. You can clearly state when you will publish; for this to happen, you need to check your business resources.
Depending on the type of content, you could decide to focus on quantity or quality.
In both cases, we mainly recommend publishing content consistently; the number of posts and content distributed depends on your ambition/resources/budget.
In Yocory, you can define your channels and frequencies to ensure your editorial calendar shows clearly when you are missing a piece of content. As a result, it makes your life easier when preparing new content ideas.
Step 6: Monitor key marketing dates
Next up: adding key dates for your business will help you spot missed opportunities to communicate or advertise your business. In addition, key dates are great for building content following a critical path, depending on the date.
Examples of key dates could be:
- Business Anniversary
- Promotional campaigns
- New releases and launches
An editorial calendar, like in Yocory, will help you go from brainstorming the content to turning that idea into a piece of content, downloading it and scheduling/publishing it.
Step 7: Use a calendar to plan your content and
Choose a software or use a spreadsheet to help create and manage an Editorial Calendar.
You will need to organise and plan your content, and using a calendar will help you track and schedule all of your content in one place. In addition, it will allow you to get an overview and easily see what is due next and what is left to do.
It will help create a unified content strategy across teams and ensure consistency in branding, as every piece of content will be in the correct format and published on the right channel at the right time.
Having a clear view of both social media channels and owned channels is a must.
Ready to try our Editorial Calendar?
Step 8: Analyse & adapt
Your content strategy isn’t fixed; you should constantly be reviewing your results to understand what works best and what doesn’t. Try to gather data and use it to refine and improve your strategy over time.
Here is where numbers come into play. Gather numeric data, which will tell you objectively what’s working and what isn’t. This way of working will also help you compare previous data to the results you’re seeing now and help you spot new opportunities to improve.
Analytics will also help you refine your understanding of your audience and identify trends you can take advantage of in the future. Keep and use this info to review your buyer persona, as that is the avatar you have as a base when you create all of your content.
Always ask yourself the question ‘Why?’ when analysing your strategy and the outcomes of your content campaigns to determine why certain content is performing better than others and how you can improve in the future.
If you see a performance trend, double down on that, while taking your less-performing content off the table, and testing a new channel, format, topic or idea.
Don’t forget to run surveys and get feedback from users to learn what they like and don’t like about your content.
Consistency, paired with focus while not being afraid to test, learn and improve, is the recipe for success.
Start without fear of creating the perfect plan.
You will not be perfect from the start, but you’ll learn along the way.
Check out Yocory and our marketing tools, as we continue to build and add features to our tools and resources in our community. You can sign up here for a free trial to test them out