How to formulate one yourself?
Do you ever go traveling without a goal or destination? Probably not. That is also how we look at developing content. To stand out in the vast ocean of online content, it’s important to have a strategic starting point: a content strategy.
After reading this article, you will have learned:
- What is a content strategy
- Why a content strategy is important
- Which steps to take in order to develop a good content strategy
After that, it’s time to shine! It would of course be a shame if you don’t make the most of your valuable content.
What is content strategy?
A content strategy is a framework for the creation and distribution of content. It forces you to ask yourself: “What content are we creating, and why?” If you can answer this question, you can also create content that has value to your audience. Valuable content spurs users into action, which helps you reach your business goals.
Content strategy is often confused with content marketing. And that’s no surprise, because these two concepts go hand in hand. But they are not the same. Let’s discuss.
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is working on, and with, your content. This includes the complete process of creation, publication and distribution. The type of content is not important. Everything that can deliver your message is considered content, from an informative text to a webinar broadcast. Nothing is impossible! Do you want to know more? We’ll explain more in our article about content marketing.
This easy overview indicates the differences between content strategy and content marketing:
A framework for the creation and distribution of your content.
The creation, publication and distribution of content.
Answers the question: why and how are we publishing our content?
Answers the question: what are we publishing, and how?
The first step towards fulfilling your audience’s information needs and wants.
Content marketing comes after the formulation of your content strategy.
But what about a ‘content marketing strategy’? That one exists too! Content strategy is the foundation for all content you make, whether it’s intended for SEO, paid ads or content marketing. A content marketing strategy is therefore a specific type of content strategy, focusing on a company’s marketing. With this strategy, you determine what content you are going to create and how you are going to distribute it, in order to reach your marketing goals.
Why do you need a content strategy?
You need a content strategy to discover your audience’s information needs and how to fulfil those. That way, you are not only providing information, you are also helping your audience advance in the customer journey. That journey consists of all moments of contact between the customer and the brand. The right strategy helps you turn customers into loyal ambassadors.
Besides that, a content strategy is also valuable for internal organization. By formulating a good content strategy, you:
- Prove your added value for the organization.
- Involve your manager in your work.
- Help create a more efficient cooperation between colleagues, because everyone is always up-to-date about the to-do list.
How do you formulate a good content strategy?
The way you map the parts of a content strategy makes or breaks the formulation of a quality strategy. If you can answer the following questions after drafting up a strategy, it’s rock solid:
- What do we want to achieve with our content strategy?
- Who is our audience?
- How does this audience currently gather information?
- How can we provide our audience with relevant content?
- Which medium is the most effective for reaching and activating our audience?
- How do we make sure that the actions keep delivering results?
Content strategy in 8 steps
To help you answer the questions above, we’ve made you a step-by-step plan. If you follow these steps, you’re sure nothing is lacking from your content strategy:
- Determine the business goal to which the strategy should contribute.
- Define what is currently in the way of reaching this goal.
- Define the success factors for reaching the goal.
- Determine your audience.
- Determine what information they want to consume.
- Research how they currently gather that information.
- Determine which type of content you are going to develop.
- Determine how you are going to distribute your content.
- Brainstorm about the balance between push and pull strategies.
- Let’s get going!
- Measure the effects of your activities.
Step 1-3: the goal of your content strategy
Just like with all strategic plans, you start with determining your goal. You have to know exactly what you’re working on. That will help you further work out the plan. If the goal you picked has been around longer than today, find out why it has not been reached so far. Lessons from the past might just be able to make a difference in the future. You can also use these learnings as a basis for formulating your success factors. We should know when we’re allowed to cheer!
Step 4: getting to know your audience
Take the time to get to know your audience. By discovering their wants and needs, you can spot exact opportunities for you and your brand. How? Meet up and discuss, look for reference works or conduct your own market research.
Don’t know who your audience is yet? Then create a few personas first. A persona is a profile description of your audience. Maybe it’s only one, but there can also be several! The more specific you make the personas, the more well-aimed you can work. If there is more than one persona involved, it might be useful to formulate a separate content strategy for each persona. With which one should you start? That depends on your own priorities!
Step 5 : type of content
If you have been able to answer the question: ‘Where lies my audience’s problem?’, you know which opportunities to seize. To do that, you map out which types of content you need, but also which means or channels you’re going to use.
Examples of content types are:
- Text for blogs
- White papers
Nothing is impossible! Everything you use to convey information is content. So be creative and distinguish yourself from your competition.
You can do that by checking out what your competitors are doing. Observe and consider your own past results too. What content did well, and what did not? These insights can help you make your future content even better and richer.
Step 6: distribution of push and pull content
When brainstorming about content distribution, we suggest that you consider both push and pull strategies. The trick is having them cooperate. The following outline should give you a clear understanding of the differences between the two strategies.
This content motivates your audience to actively go and look for your brand. The audience is finding you. Examples are:
This content is actively promoted. You are finding the audience. Examples are:
Search engine marketing
Links to your website on social media
Photo and video content
When you have mapped this out, you know which content you are distributing and how you’re going to do that. Right now, it’s essential to know when you are going to do that. In order to do so, you need to develop a content calendar or a content planning.
Step 7-8: let’s get going!
After following these steps, you know what’s your goal, who’s your audience, which content to distribute, and how and when to do that. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Create that content. Measure the results. Don’t be afraid to go back to the drawing board to finetune your strategy. It will only improve your results and help you reach those goals.
& a bonus lifehack from us:
We recommend presenting your newly-made content to a test group. A trial run can help you understand what interaction or emotion the content is triggering in the users. And that input can be used to improve the strategy!
Need help with your content strategy?
OAK helps you grow organically by making the best use of your content. We conduct market research, discover the wants and needs of your potential customers, determine the content gap, spot opportunities for your company, formulate a plan and implement it while we’re at it. Want to know what we can do for you? Request a content marketing audit!