10 Steps To A Winning Content Strategy

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” -Sun Tzu

The stats are mind-blowing. Some 329 million people read blogs each month, and 27 million pieces of content are shared each day. People spend more than 50% of their time online reading content and an additional 30% of their time on social media, where the content is being shared. Additionally, over 60% of people are more likely to trust a company that delivers custom content.

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Source: Entrepreneur

If you want your content to do well on social media, you’ve got to be strategic about what you publish and when you publish it. To steal a line from Kathi Kruse, “the ability to recognize the difference between a random, useless post and a quality piece of content is rooted in strategy.”

What you post is governed by WHY you post — Kathi Kruse.

You need to create content that aligns with your audience’s expectations on each social channel. Follow these 10 steps to start creating a winning formula for your content marketing strategy.

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Content Marketing Strategy from Marcin Kloc (NewsCred, Inc.)

Step #1 Define Your Purpose

It’s easy to get caught up in all the tactics of content marketing, but without a unifying strategy — a strong why, no matter what you create, it will fall flat. — Jeff Haden

Creating great content begins with having a clear purpose in mind. What do you want to achieve with your content marketing? Are you looking to build brand awareness, drive leads, or increase user engagement? Spend time determining your USP (unique selling proposition). How will you convey this in your content marketing? Don’t create content just for the sake of it. Make sure that content is aligned with your business goals and ethos. If it’s not relevant, it won’t be authentic to your readers.

Take Action: Get specific by setting SMART goals that are clear and actionable.

Step #2 Identify Your Audience’s Needs

Once you have a clear why, your next step is to identify exactly who is going to consume the content you create. Every piece of content that you create should have an intended audience. As you think about creating content to support your social media marketing, focus your strategy around your audience’s needs and interests.

What kind of information is your audience looking for? What problems can you solve for them? Will they be wiser for having read your content?

Focusing more clearly on your audience will help you to create tailored content as well as help you structure your writing for the people you are trying to help. You can then tailor your content more specifically to match their needs. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to attract and engage different members of your audience. The key here is to really know your audience and their pain-points and write content that specifically answers their particular needs.

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Take Action: Identify where your audience gets its information from. What blogs are they reading? What type of content are they looking for? Then start reading the sites they read, and start writing about the same content. Follow Twitter #hashtags related to your topics to find out what people are talking about. Keep an eye on Twitter’s trending topics and use Google Trends to identify current trends in your industry.

Step #3 Determine Your Content Format

This is a two-part strategy. Firstly, you need to go where your audience is consuming content (many social media platforms lend themselves more naturally to specific types of content). Identify how, when, and where they like to engage with content, and then start to create content on your audience’s preferred platform and preferred way of consuming content.

Secondly, you need to take stock of your own resources. What internal and external resources will you need to run your content marketing engine? Do you have time to write regularly for a blog? Would it be better for you to create video blogs (vlogs) for your website or communicate through a livestream broadcast? What assets do you already have that you can leverage for your content strategy? For example, do you have access to a graphic designer who can create infographics? Use your in-house talent to create unique content and publish it in a format that will attract and retain your audience’s attention.

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Source: Whisk Data

Take Action: Live events build engagement and real community. Hold live Q&As, give people a peek inside your business, and show them the people who work behind the scenes. For a comparison of live streaming options read Which is the Best Social Network for Live Video — Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram?

Step #4 Keep Content Ideas Flowing

Whether it’s an excel spread sheet, Google Docs, or another note-taking system, create a place to add links to interesting articles, studies or ideas for content to share.

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Take Action: Evernote is my go-to tool to store notes and ideas. You can add tags and create folders for easy retrieval. Evernote’s in-browser Web clipping tool allows you to save the full text of PDFs, Web content and other materials. It will also alert you if you’ve already clipped an item or show content that’s related to what you’re saving. You can also email notes to your account and the content will be automatically stored and organized for you, allowing you to quickly reference it in the future.

Step #5 Write Captivating Headlines

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If content is king, then the headline is queen. Your headline is the first impression you make on a prospective reader. No matter how awesome your content is, few people are going to click through to read it if they’re not immediately captivated by your headline.

According to CoSchedule how to, list, and question headlines tend to get the most engagement.

  1. How To {Do Something} That Will {Help You Experience Desired Result}
  2. {#} Ways To {Do Something} To {Produce Desired Result}
  3. What Is The Best {Topic} That Will {Do Something Desirable}?

Take Action: Read 15 Ways To Crack Captivating Headlines for tips on creating headlines that attract attention.

Step #6 Add Images To Your Content

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Attention Spans Are Changing (Infographic by WebDAM)

People connect more emotionally with images than text, and in an increasingly crowded digital landscape, when our minds are attracted more readily to content that draws our eye, images can break through the online content clutter to quickly communicate your marketing messages.

Take Action: Check out this list of fifteen of my favorite free-to-use digital design tools.

Step #7 Add A Sizzling Call-To-Action

Each time you write a new piece of content, go back to Step#1 to clarify your purpose. Whether that goal is for a reader to share or comment on your latest blog, subscribe to your RSS feed, or purchase a product, adding a call to action increases the likelihood the reader will take the desired action and engage with you further.

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Take Action: Don’t assume that readers will know what to do next. Make it clear and unambiguous what the next step is after reading your content.

Step #8 Use Keywords Strategically

It’s important to include keywords in your content if you want to rank higher for particular search terms.

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Take Action: Brainstorm a list of important, relevant topics related to your business. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest to find relevant keywords.

Step #9 Promote Your Content

Content has no value unless it’s shared. You need to determine how you will connect your content with the right audience at the right time. Instead of treating content amplification as something you only do after the content is created and published, you should incorporate promotion strategies into the content planning and creation process. Rand Fishkin, co-author of Art of SEO and Wizard of Moz, goes so far as to say: “Before you ever create content, I urge you to ask the critical question: Who will help amplify this and why? If you don’t have a great answer, a specific list of people, don’t create it.”

Take Action: Leverage hashtags, create high-quality, relevant content that people will want to share, maintain a consistent posting schedule, post when your audience are online, write better headlines, add more images, and boost your best performing posts with a paid promotion strategy.

Step #10 Measure Results

How do you know if all the time you’re investing in social media marketing is paying off? You don’t know unless you put a system in place to measure and analyse your efforts.

  • Traffic. How many blog or website visitors did you receive from social media?
  • Engagement. How many likes, clicks, and shares are your posts receiving?
  • Conversions. How many blog or website visitors are completing conversion steps?
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Take Action: Use built-in tools such as Facebook Insights and Twitter Analytics, third-party tools, and measurement of social traffic and conversion with Google Analytics to track and measure your progress.

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Written by

Social Media Consultant. Keynote Speaker. Digital Storyteller. https://hcsmmonitor.com

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