Defining Your Content Strategy

content writing

Once you know what type of content your target audience is hungry for and willing to share with their connections, then you can define this crucial element of your content strategy. In any case, the content should always be useful, of high quality and relevant to your target audience.

Having a well-defined content strategy will help you plan and write for your intended audience more effectively. It will also help you to differentiate yourself from the competition.

Following are important elements which you need to incorporate into your content strategy.

  • You need to establish the goals and more specific objectives you want to achieve through your content marketing strategy.
  • You need to know and understand your target audience so that you can publish valuable content that consistently communicates your brand promise, and is useful and relevant to their needs.
  • The content you produce needs to stimulate engagement, demonstrate knowledge and thought leadership, and be consistent with the mission and culture of your business. By producing high quality content that your target audience finds valuable, you will attract prospective customers to your brand rather than tracking them down and bombarding them with promotional messages that they would find annoying.
  • You need to know what your customers, audience or community want to talk about and be willing to engage in those conversations.
  • You need to speak the language of your target market in order to effectively engage with them.
  • You need to know when your audience is most engaged, and time your content delivery around those times.
  • You need to measure the results of your conversations to see which ones are most effective.
  • You need to understand what your followers are interested in by looking at your click stream data and creating more content around those topics.
  • You need to achieve a balance between informative and fun posts like images, videos, etc.

In order for your content to have the desired effect (shares and bookmarks), the content that you publish on your blog and share through your social media channels needs to have a focus in terms of the topics you plan to cover and the tone it will take.

Following are some pointers for determining that focus:

The content piece should be actionable, relevant and practical.

Web users are looking for actual solutions to their problems. They are looking for content that is relevant to them, actionable and practical. If you are producing content for your target audience, you need to provide clear and detailed instructions so that your readers can actually solve the problem with the information you provide. For example, if you are producing a how-to on assembling a computer system from scratch, it’s not enough to describe what the reader needs to do in a boring block of text using formal academic language that is more appropriate for a text book. That will not help the reader.

With this type of content, you’ll need to provide clear, detailed instructions using a friendly, conversational tone backed up with clear and high quality images and visuals so they can easily visualize each step.

It should be a complete solution to the reader’s problem.

The content that you produce for your target customer should have a purpose. If the reader is looking for a tutorial on how to build a network between Apple and Windows computers and you have written such a tutorial, the reader should be completely satisfied after reading the article. The user shouldn’t feel the need to go and seek out additional information.

If there are gaps in your content or the piece is full of inaccurate or misleading information, then the article is going to do more harm than good. Not only will it not get shared, users will not have any confidence in your brand as an expert or authority in the subject.

It should stimulate engagement.

The foundation of the content you share should be educational, informative, entertaining, inspirational, or promotional. It could also contain elements of all five. Depending on the specific medium you are using, the content could be delivered in the form of blog posts, screencasts, podcasts, images, quizzes, questions, infographics, videos, status images and tweets.

It should demonstrate knowledge and expertise.

One way to garner trust among your target audience is by sharing content that establishes you as a thought leader, authority or expert in your niche. It’s all about becoming a valuable source of information. Build a reputation for yourself that demonstrates your expertise. When you can dig up relevant, valuable and useful content your target audience is interested in, you will become widely respected and your content will be widely shared.

It should be consistent with the existing brand tone and culture of your business.

Some companies make the mistake of being overly informal in an attempt to fit the “perceived” culture of social media. Don’t fall into this trap. All of your posts,messages and activities must clearly and consistently communicate your brand image and promise, to avoid confusing your customers.

It should differentiate you from the competition.

Engaging content can set you apart from your competition and provide the leverage to keep your business top of mind with your customers and prospective customers.

It is essential that your content is relevant and beneficial to your target audience or else it will be ignored. It must be primarily designed to solve problems for your target customers. If your content is irrelevant, meaningless or full of inaccuracies, then you will be doing more harm than good to your brand as far as your target customers are concerned.

Furthermore, if the content is simply a rehash of information that is readily available elsewhere on the internet, it will not have the effect you are looking for.

Importance of Producing Quality Content

The type of content you produce should be based on your knowledge and understanding of the problems and challenges faced by your target customers. It is essential that the content you produce actually solves a problem for your customers. The content you produce should be relevant and centred on helping people in your target audience. Constantly be thinking about how you can help your customers and prospective customers when you are producing content.

The key is to build a reputation with your target customers as a resource of relevant and compelling content. Aim to get your content shared on the social Web. If your customers and prospects find your content relevant, compelling and powerful, it gets shared and bookmarked.

When your content is shared and recommended, you easily gain new customers without any extra work on your part. Do that consistently, and the sales will be a natural progression.

Be Consistent

Today, sales are the results of providing information that is meaningful and relevant to your target audience, and content marketing provides the opportunity to effectively inform, entertain or educate your customers and potential customers. You must commit to producing valuable content that your target audience is hungry for on a consistent basis.

Creating content once a month will not position you as an authority. If you want to build your brand as a thought leader or leading authority in your industry, you need to be more visible, and publish meaningful content on a more frequent basis.

Trust is Paramount

It would be a waste of your time trying to come up with the most awesome sales pitches. That will not get you anywhere today. Smart companies are building authentic and meaningful relationships with their customers. When you publish content that solves a problem for your target audience, people will trust you, and you’ll remain top of mind with them.

Over time, those prospects will turn into buying customers organically, without any effort or push from yourself. The relationships you build through your content are the most powerful, and can last a very long time because they are built upon trust.

The overall marketing strategy for your business should provide a clear direction with content marketing efforts playing a key role in that strategy. Although producing a content strategy may require more time and resources, your overall business objectives are much more likely to succeed with a solid content strategy.