When we refer to content, it includes anything and everything you use to connect and engage with your target audience, to let them know who you are, and to get more clients. It could mean social media posts, websites, blogs, guest blogs, whitepapers, webinars, newsletters, and so on. However, you need to think properly as to how, when, and what content to use with a clear goal in mind. Content Strategy is the key to answering all these questions and getting the most out of your content marketing efforts. The blog talks about what content strategy is and how important it is for a business. It then discusses in detail the five aspects important for creating a successful content strategy.
For any brand, connecting with its target audience consistently is inevitable. It is a way of establishing your brand image, presence, and expertise in the minds of your existing as well as potential customers. Creating engaging and relevant content is one of the best ways to do this. In fact, with the influx of social media channels and information platforms, reaching the audience and conveying the message the right way has become very easy.
But what kind of content to create?
Where to post it?
How to know which content is effective and which is not?
These are just some of the questions that overwhelm a company when it sits to think about content creation. To avoid this perplexity, it is advisable to create a content strategy specific to your brand objectives. A documented content strategy is proven to have augmented a company’s marketing RoI. It converts your visitors into potential leads by creating a roadmap to produce valuable and engaging content that attracts the right visitors.
That’s what this blog is all about – understanding what content strategy is and critically important factors you must ponder upon while creating one for yourself.
Content Strategy: What Is It and Why Do You Need One
Content Strategy is a vision of your content marketing efforts which includes deciding how your content will be created and managed to achieve your business goals. These goals could be anything. Maybe you wish to create brand awareness, or you want to generate more leads. With a good strategy, you can let your content speak for itself and get measurable results.
According to Shekhar Jitkar, marketing director at Quadrant Knowledge Solutions, customers always look for high-quality, updated, consistent content from businesses and their brands. So, it’s very important for businesses to have an effective content strategy that helps them answer their audience’s questions, build trust, and develop relationships, finally impacting their decision-making. Not just that, it offers you more benefits than you think. We have highlighted just a few of them below:
- It gives your content a direction. With a clear goal, you know what you want your content to achieve. Hence, you can plan your content in a way that strategically suits your business goals.
- It keeps you consistent. With a proper schedule, you can use all the potential channels to engage with your audience regularly and establish your brand’s presence.
- You will look for what people are searching for and produce your content around those keywords. This drives organic traffic to your page/website, which is the most effective way to boost your brand’s visibility.
- It also helps create a good word about your brand’s expertise and knowledge. This is because you are giving relevant content that answers what they are looking for. Hence, it builds a primitive relationship of credibility with your audience which can prove very fruitful to convert them into customers.
- Well-planned content helps in generating potential leads for the business. It eases the job of your marketing efforts of converting them into customers.
Now that you know how beneficial a content strategy can be for your business, you may be thinking of forming one for yourself. However, before you do it, here are the five key factors to keep in mind when thinking of a content strategy.
Five things you must consider about a content strategy
- Target Audience
A smart content strategy begins with knowing your target audience. This is because you want to connect with the right people. Developing buyer personas based on the demographic and psychographic traits of the people you want to engage with and categorizing them is what you need to do. Understanding their traits will help to answer questions such as –
What do they care about?
What problems do they need answers to?
What are they looking for?
Which platform do they use the most?
Once you know the answers to such questions, you will understand your target audience. It will empower you to understand their unique needs, create content that resonates with them, and generate more value for you and your audience.
Another dimension to add here is the customer journey. From being a stranger to your brand to being your loyal customer, a buyer passes through many stages in the customer journey. At each stage, their questions and needs are different. You can categorize these expectations with the buyer personas and cater to their needs with your creative content, making it relatable and engaging.
Whether it is an enthusiast who is interested in the industry you serve, someone looking for the solution to a problem, a potential customer looking for the product you sell, or your existing customer with a recurring need for a product or service you offer; your effective content will tell exactly what they want to hear. This results in a better user experience. In short, knowing and understanding your target audience will give your content a clear purpose, giving your brand an advantage of expertise and resonance with its audience.
2. Brand Voice
Once a clear purpose for your content is established, you should spend some time deciding how you will speak to your audience. We call it Brand Voice, meaning the personality of your brand which will be conveyed with the voice and tone of your content. For example, you may choose to be casual, witty, and humorous; or formal, academic, and serious depending on how you want your audience to think of your brand. In any case, a strong confident voice and tone create a powerful unforgettable brand image that your audience will connect to.
This is a minute, yet critical point to consider when you are creating a content strategy. It keeps your purposeful content on-topic and in-tone. It ensures content consistent with not only what the audience wants to hear, but also with what the business/brand wants to convey and in what manner. In a way, it gives them an experience of your brand before they come in contact with you personally. This sense can profoundly impact their perception of your business as a brand. Hence, a good content strategy should take care of it.
3. Content and Channels
The next important thing to think about is what and where. You need to decide in what form will you create your content and where will you float it to make it reach the right people, at the right time, and in the right manner. Deciding this is necessary to get the most out of your content creation and marketing efforts. The goal is to develop content that boosts brand awareness, solves problems, and influences decisions.
Types of content could include blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, webinars, guest articles, newsletters, case studies, testimonials, whitepapers, research papers, and many more. And potential platforms where you may find your target audience could include social media, professional connection platforms like LinkedIn, your website, engagement platforms like Quora, and many others.
Customer journey mapping is again an important factor to keep in mind here. You need to map your content depending on the target audience’s characteristics and how they will consume your content. All that should be mapped to the stage at which it will fit the most.
For example, in the initial stages of consideration and research, the content they come across should be attention-grabbing, user-centric, engaging, and visually pleasing. However, when they move closer to the later stages of becoming your loyal customer, it should become more solution-centric, and more specific than generalized, detailed, and educational. So, content types like infographics, images, and audio-visuals generally appear at the beginning of the customer journey, and whitepapers, evaluations, comparisons, data sheets, research papers, and case studies appear at the later stages.
Content atomization where you develop multiple content pieces from a single source of content is a good trick you can employ. For example, you can create multiple infographics posts, quotes, images, and articles from a single blog post or video. Considering these aspects will help you produce the most fitting content and float it in the right channel at the right time to create the most impact.
Merely writing well is not enough. You want to create content that your target audience is looking for. That is what will drive the most organic traffic to your website. Understanding this is important because your target audience is not looking for your company. They are searching for a solution to their specific problems, and they stumble upon you in the process as you happen to be answering what they were searching for. Hence, this is what generates their interest in your company and makes them your potential customer.
With proper SEO practices, reaching the right audience is not difficult. A smart content strategy also makes sure that you create content with Effective keyword optimization and make it SEO-optimized with proper meta tags and text. However, it is not enough.
This is because the rules of ranking high on the results page continue to evolve. The emphasis is shifting from ranking for specific keywords to demonstrating your unquestionable expertise on subjects that your target keywords are related to. This is achieved through consistency. It is important to produce effective and valuable content regularly that covers the subjects you want to establish your expertise on. Hence, SEO is a critical factor in ensuring the success of the content that you create and should not be ignored.
5. Measuring Results with KPIs
After you have established a well-thought content strategy keeping in mind all the critical factors, you would naturally want to know whether it works for you or not. The goal is to achieve success you can iterate and make it better. Hence, your content strategy must also have relevant KPIs to measure results and track its effectiveness.
You cannot just keep on creating content. Analyzing user feedback is important. Knowing what your audience liked and did not like will give you an opportunity to improve the quality and relevance of your content.
The KPIs can be based on your objectives. If your goal is lead generation, you may want to measure the success through conversion rate. If the goal is thought leadership, social shares and engagement are what you should be aiming for. For an in-depth understanding of the success or failure of your strategy, you can choose to decide on KPIs at each stage of the customer journey. At the initial stages of awareness and consideration, you could look into reach through views, organic traffic, and impressions along with engagement through lead generation. At the later stages of decision-making, your KPIs could be based on conversion and reviews, followers, renewals, etc. You will choose your KPIs from whichever perspective you find suitable to your needs and objectives. The point here is that you need it to keep your strategy sharp and effective.
Not only do these critical factors increase your chances of success, but they also save you wasted time on wrong promotion strategies and ineffective efforts. Shekhar Jitkar strongly recommends creating a content strategy as an outline of your key business and customer needs, with a focussed plan for how you will use content to address them, because content marketing with a targeted, well-defined strategy, supported by SEO best practices, is an effective way to attract and engage audiences with your brand.
Interesting so far?
We are sure at this point you are seriously considering making a content strategy for your brand and reaping its benefits. Unfortunately, many businesses ignore its importance because they find it too intimidating, or they are too focused on other things.
As Kiran Kondhalkar, Vice President at Quadrant Knowledge Solutions expresses, the organizations spend a lot of resources on media, events, and other activities to effectively reach the right audience, but they struggle to hit the bull’s eye. QKS’ has been successfully delivering content strategy services to help our clients engage and connect with their audience. Strategic content insights supported by the expert minds of our analysts and clairvoyance are the key to leadership establishment.
You don’t have to do it alone. We can help you create a successful content strategy based on your unique objective and needs that will drive measurable success for your business. Connect with us to find out more about how we can add value to your business transformation goals with our bespoke Content Strategy Service (CSS). Be bold and take the next leap forward with us.
About the author
Vaishnavi Dave, Content Writer, Quadrant Knowledge Solutions