Why is content strategy so important?
Have you ever wondered why you hear so much about content these days?
Relevant, considered content can help your business in many ways. It can attract new customers to your business, establish you as a thought leader and even set preference for your brand.
So how do you know what content to create? And when? And how are you going to find the time, the budget and/or the staff members to do this?
This is where a content strategy becomes key. It confirms who you’re producing content for, ensures you’re focusing on their needs and enables you to become crystal clear on what you want to achieve. It should also confirm how you’re going to measure the success of your content.
Essentially, a content strategy should help you plan your content based on the needs of both your organisation and your target prospects and customers.
A well-thought-out content strategy can:
1. Ensure you’re clear on your content goals
A content strategy should first answer what you’re trying to achieve through your content production efforts.
You need to ensure that you’re clear on your overall goal for your content efforts and that content is the best way to achieve this.
Setting a SMART goal is a good place to start when developing a content strategy. It will keep you focused on the bigger picture and helps you ensure that you align all of your content development efforts to this goal.
2. Attract new customers to your business
If you want people to find you online, you need to be in the right place at the right time. And most often, this means featuring in the organic search results.
If you want your content to be found on a search engine results page you need to consider which search terms are likely to be relevant to your target audience.
Once you’ve done this, you need to verify what search engine users are actually searching for. Moz has a good overview on how to do this.
Ask yourself: what type of content would be useful for these prospects as they conduct their online research? There are many different types of content that could be appropriate for your audience (here are 12 outlined by Hubspot).
Most importantly, try to put yourself in the shoes of one of your prospects. What content would be most useful at the various stages of their research and interaction with your brand?
3. You can set preference for your business
Content can be particularly useful to help set preference for your business as it can showcase your expertise on selected subject matter.
Generally, each piece of content should focus on one part of the buyer journey and your content as a whole should reach across all of the buyer journey stages.
This way, no matter what content your customers or prospects are looking for, your content will be there, ready to help them.
And when your content is helpful, prospects are more likely to remember you and consider you a subject matter expert. So you’ve already started setting preference for your brand.
This is why a content strategy is so important. You need to consider your content across the buyer journey – from prospect education to customer retention.
You can find a good example of content across the buyer journey here.
4. You can add genuine value to your customers and prospects
Your content is also a chance for you and your team to showcase your skills. It’s the perfect chance to show your professional expertise.
If you can share this generously, you can add real value to the lives of your prospects and customers, particularly by providing solutions to genuine business challenges.
A good content strategy could even enable you to become a thought leader in your field. It could also enable your prospects and customers to solve real business problems if you do it well.
5. Know where to spend your time, resources and budget
Creating a content strategy will let you become clear on where to spend your time.
Whether you choose to spend time creating content in-house, or you outsource it, you need to be clear on what’s possible and the relevant costs.
You may decide that you have time to publish new content once a week through a blog post, or to make a video post on YouTube once a month.
Whatever you do, you need to consider what will help you achieve your business goals and what’s realistic given your available time and that of your team.
A content strategy will help you map this out and decide on a publishing cadence that makes sense for your business and goals.
It can also help you find opportunities to re-use and recycle content, such as re-purposing or expanding on existing snippets of content. You don’t need to start everything from scratch, nor should you.
You may even decide to share content from other brands which could help both your business and theirs.
It can also help you decide where to promote your content to get it in front of the relevant prospects and customers.
6. Generate leads
Gated content can help you generate leads for your business. But if you gate (place forms in front of) all content, it can create a terrible user experience and prevent your content being found on search engines.
A content strategy can help you decide which pieces of content are most relevant to gate, as not all pieces of content will generate leads for you.
Generally speaking, the further along the buyer the journey the content is focused, the more likely it is to generate actual leads, rather than just general information from people who aren’t yet ready to buy your products or services.
A content strategy can record your decisions as to what should be gated and what should be accessible without first gathering the contact details of the person who wants to engage with it.
It can also help you decide how to gate your content, whether at the start, middle, end or other section of your content.
7. You can be clear on what works and what doesn’t
Set targets per piece of content. What do you want to happen to each? What do you think will happen?
You may have some past data that you could use to estimate what will happen with current and future content.
If you don’t have any past data to go on, don’t be afraid to make your best guess and see how close you can get. You could also consider basing your expectations on industry benchmarks.
Consider tracking the views, time on page, shares, form fills and any other relevant metrics you can to help you determine whether the content you have developed and shared is being effective.
These metrics will differ according to your content aims and type, but some ideas can be found here.
Record these metrics and re-evaluate them over time. Consider what appears to be working, and what doesn’t.
Adjust your content strategy over time based on these learnings.
Why content strategy is important
A content strategy should act as the blueprint for your content marketing approach. Thinking through your content approach and documenting your plans and results is key to learning and improving over time.
Keen to learn more?
Keen to set up a content strategy for your business?
Contact us for more information or a free quote.