A Beginner’s Guide to Content Strategy

Your website is up and running, so what’s next? For some, having a website to send current and potential customers to is good enough, but for those looking to build an even more influential online presence, you’re going to need a content game plan. So what is content, exactly?

“Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.”

—Kristina Halvorson, author of Content Strategy for the Web.

Key words: useful and usable. Without a doubt, content that is relevant to users is successful content. Otherwise, why would anyone care to read it? But before you begin with the content strategy basics, you first need to consider if you’re willing to put in the time and effort in maintaining regular content production. Whether it’s writing a new blog post every week, uploading a video tutorial to YouTube, or simply posting to Facebook/Instagram/Twitter regularly—make sure it’s something you can commit to do. It’s better to have minimal, “evergreen” content available always, than to have sporadic updates that can make your business seem inconsistent.

If you are ready to take the content marketing plunge, then congrats! A solid content strategy can elevate your brand and help you become a leader in your field. Here’s how to get started:

Come with a vision.

If you’re starting from scratch, a good way to shape your content strategy goals is to answer these three questions:

  1. What three adjectives describe your business?
  2. What three adjectives describe what your business is not?
  3. What three adjectives describe what you’d like your business to be?

Once you’ve narrowed down your answers, think about what else you’d like your users to gain from viewing your content. Need more ideas? Check out these additional tips on The Path to Effective Content Marketing.

Define your audience.

If you currently have a Facebook page for your business, the easiest way to get a snapshot of your current audience is via Facebook Insights. Click here for step-by-step instructions.

If you don’t already have a Facebook page or want to consider alternative demographics, do a quick competitive analysis similar to how you determined your vision above. Find examples of branded content that you like and dislike, and list your reasons why. Don’t forget to take voice and tone into consideration—click here for additional information.

Create a plan.

Before you begin producing content, there’s one last thing you need to do: create a content calendar. Grab a planner, calendar or a journal and sketch out a rough timeline for your posts. Take into account events and relevant holidays as well as repurposing existing content. Just remember to keep the topics useful and usable. Developing this outline in advance will help generate ideas and keep you on a regular schedule. For more ideas, take a look at our previous post on creating an effective content calendar.

Make it. Share it.

Now you may begin! The glory of content marketing is that as long as it’s consumable online, you’re free to create whatever you like. Blogs are a great place to start building thought leadership, but also try branching out beyond the written word. Check out this post for additional content ideas.

But remember, content creation doesn’t do anything for you if it’s not distributed to your viewers. Use a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite to automate your social media posts featuring your newly created content. In addition, there are many 1&1 MyWebsite Apps that you can utilize to help share content through social media. Read more about it here.

Refine and repeat.

There are many tools available for analyzing content success, but unless you have a team of people at the ready to decipher all of the data, you can use simple metrics to help analyze how well your posts are performing. This interview with social media expert Felix Beilharz offers some great insight for Facebook for Business. In addition, you can use custom link services like Bit.ly to see how your links are performing and if they’re driving increased traffic back to your website.

That’s it for our beginner’s guide to content marketing strategy! Have an additional tip that we missed? Leave them in the comments below.

Category: Tips
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