You know that blog that you love, or that online magazine that keeps you coming back for more? If you’re craving more posts to read, there’s a reason. The content creators have a strategy in place to lure you in like a siren’s song.
If your brand is producing content, you need a strategy to guide it, too. A strategy is more than creating a set number of blog articles a week; it’s about having a goal-oriented, actionable plan that inspires readers to engage with your brand.
We’re here to help you start to form your content strategy and set you up with some of the resources you need to get started.
What is a content strategy?
A content strategy is a plan that outlines how you’ll create and manage content on your site.
Juan Davis Velasquez, a marketer for DoItWiser.com, defines it as a method to create the right kind of content that appeals to the right user at the right time.
First and foremost, you need to set a goal, Velasquez says. Do you want to be seen as an industry thought leader? Are you looking to boost conversion rates? Do you want to nurture new leads? Figure out what your goal is and then build on it.
The best advice on how to create a content strategy actually came from your elementary school teachers. The plan has to do with the Five Ws: who, what, where, when and why. A good content strategy should address all of these points. Using your defined goal, answer these five questions:
- Who is your audience? Define your target market to better serve them.
- What kind of content appeals to that market? Make a list of topics that are of interest to your audience; also consider what types of content are best. For example, are your readers looking for how-to articles, guides, or infographics?
- Where does your audience go for quality content now? Knowing your competitors is an important part of your content strategy. You have to know what’s out there if you want your content to stand out.
- When will you publish your work? Set up a content calendar and stick to it.
- Why should your audience care? There’s a lot of content out there. To attract and maintain an audience you have to create content that people care about.
A content strategy might start as a mental plan, but it should end up on paper. Create a written document that outlines your strategy, post it in your office and hand it out to your writers. Every once in awhile, pull out your strategy, review it and make sure it still fits your needs.
Resources to help execute your strategy
Once you have a strategy, it’s time for action. To get you started, here’s a list of online resources:
This is one of the most popular sites used to create content, and many companies run their blogs with WordPress. Several users can access the platform and content can be created, scheduled and tracked from the WordPress dashboard. On top of that, check out our list of WordPress plugins that can improve your content.
As your prepare your content, you’ll need images to support it. Finding images can be tricky, as the pool is deep and copyright issues can arise. iStock has a large collection of photos that you can buy; Shutterstock is another option. HubSpot also has a small library of free images you can use.
Have you seen a blog that features tweets in a post? It doesn’t require a ton of coding skills. All you need is Storify. Just search the topic you’re covering and select which tweets you want to include in your timeline. It’s a great tool for those days when you’re strapped for content and need to bolster an article quickly.
Here’s what it looks like. This example showcases tweets about the last presidential election.
In need of some well designed graphics but lack the skills to pull it off? No worries. Try Canva. Using pre-made templates, you can create an infographic, special logo or other graphics to spruce up your content.
Of course, you’ll want to share your content on social media channels. If you’re a Twitter user, you’ll want to check out ClickToTweet. This tool puts the words “click to tweet” in your post so readers can share your content with one simple click.
With a clear strategy in place and the right combination of writers and tools, you’ll be on your way to creating content with purpose, Velasquez says. Useful targeted content always trumps “unstrategized” content.