What does your content strategy need to be successful in 2021?
Every business owner knows or should know that they need a content strategy to build their brand, generate leads and create high-value customer relationships.
What you might not know is what needs to be in your strategy and how to make it the most effective and easy to manage.
Of course, as a certified executive SEO copy and content creator myself, I have to take this second to plug using professional help if it is in your budget and you find value in saving time while achieving results.
But, hiring a writer isn’t for everyone. And even if it is in your pan to hire help in the future, having a clear strategy helps even the most experienced writers execute your messaging for max results.
So whether you, your marketing team or a freelancer will be actually writing the content, here are the steps that you need to include in your strategy now:
Be clear about who it is that will be reading your content. This is always the place to start. Your content and copy will be much more likely to be read and engaged with if you are talking to the right people. Make this happen with a clear ideal client or customer persona.
Once you have landed on who, decide where it is that they read the content. Is it on social media? If so, which platforms? Do they read blogs or articles? Maybe consider adding blogs to your website or posting articles on platforms like Medium. Don’t waste time on platforms where your ideal client isn’t hanging out.
A calendar is a great way to keep track of exactly what to talk about each time you post. It also helps you think about — on a longer-term plan — what your ideal client might want to know. At AOU, we create a 24-week calendar that lays out everything from blog topics, social media post headlines to backend info like meta descriptions and URLs. This effort gives us clarity for 6-months and helps a strategy stay on track.
Use the calendar and plan to stay on track so that your content strategy is consistent. The best results will come if you post regularly — no matter what type of content you decide to create (this is true for video and podcasts as well as written content). There is no “rule” as to how often you must create content, though the highest results come from weekly contact with your ideal client.
Offer value in what you create. Let’s face it, none of us want to be sold to any longer. For decades, marketing types would create ads or “articles” written to be little more than a sales sheet. Now, buyers are tired of this approach and the best way to connect with your ideal customer is to share information of value. Help people learn, be a thought leader..and they will see you as someone they can trust when they need you. No need to hard sell. It turns people off.
Consider not only human readers, but search engine crawlers as well. I know that it sounds weird when I write it that way, but the truth is that you also want search engines to “see” your work so that it is ranked in search results. This is the role of SEO (search engine optimization). Integrating even basic SEO into your work will help. Identify keywords, use them in your content and be sure to optimize on the backend. It helps.
Write/produce what makes you happy and what you might like to read. Your content doesn’t need to be Pulitzer Prize winning (though congrats if it is!) or gut-busting hilarious, but it needs to be interesting, entertaining, and/or educational. Ask yourself if you’d want to read it. If the answer is yes, then publish. If not, maybe spend some time editing.
There is so much to creating a good content strategy and for some, it can feel pretty overwhelming. Using these steps, you can make it fun to create and it can even be helpful to your readers.
When you stick to the plan, you’ll see that your engagement improves and you begin to create a reputation for thought leadership that improves your brand. This in turn creates customer relationships that lead to higher sales.
It’s a marathon, but one worth starting for your business.