In this article, we will be delving into the second-most important aspect of the planning stage, which is your content strategy. Without a cohesive, clearly measured content strategy your performance will almost certainly falter. This is why this first stage is just as crucial as outlining and implementing your brand strategy.
Our previous blog discussed the importance of getting your brand as refined and clear as possible to ensure the long-term success of your business.
When you think of brands like Innocent Smoothies, Dollar Shave Club, and Slack, you’re almost certain to envisage their unique personalities. This is partly owed to their branding. But, more importantly, it’s their tone-of-voice and the way in which they choose to present content on their website.
If you want to reap the rewards of a well-developed content strategy, you should follow these following steps. And, of course, we’re on hand to help!
The first thing you want to understand are your marketing goals.
- What purpose will your content serve?
- Do you want to build brand awareness by increasing reach, traffic, or engagement?
Depending on your answer, the outcome of your content strategy will vary greatly, so it’s important to be honest and realistic.
Similar to your marketing goals, it’s important to know what your objectives are in the form of the marketing channels you wish to use to achieve your goals.
Do you want to increase reach through:
- social media,
- or all three?
You will also need to think about how your budget will affect the outcomes of your goals?
Once you’ve established what your marketing goals and objectives are, you can begin to flesh out the specifics by means of the tactics you wish to deploy in these campaigns.
What will your call-to-action be for each piece of content?
Social media tends to funnel traffic directly to your website and blogs, whereas email marketing can direct users to purchase a specific product or sign up to events.
It’s also worth bearing in mind who your target audience is, and how your product meets their wants and needs. If your target audience is the B2B industry, then churning out lots of organic content on Facebook is unlikely to yield the same results as LinkedIn.
Tone Of Voice
Arguably the most important stage in the entire process, and certainly one that will require the most careful consideration. This is because once you’ve locked down your Tone of Voice (TOV), it can be hard to make drastic changes, especially if you’ve received recognition in your user-base.
Do some market research into similar companies to see how their content reads;
- Do they focus on the positive or negative?
- Are you trying to empower, inform, or excite?
Your answers to these will greatly influence the tone of your content, and must be used consistently across all platforms and channels.
Key Performance Indicators
Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will be your guiding light in the process of building and reworking your content strategy.
Users’ wants and needs change over time, so it’s important to be consistent in checking the data to ensure you’re on the right path.
There are a few types of KPIs you’ll want to refer to, and it’s important to set realistic benchmarks in your initial strategy, which can be refined later.
If you’re measuring brand awareness, then you will want to check stats like the number of referrals, back-links to your site, and new website visitors (whilst comparing the acquisition metrics. This is especially important if you’re running a social media campaign in parallel to a PPC campaign).
For increased engagement, then the most important indicators are time spent on site vs the bounce rate, likes/shares on social media, and product sales.
Customer leads focus on things like form completions (e.g. signing up to a workshop, contact us forms, and newsletter sign ups), and subscriptions. In the B2B industry, customer leads will be one of the most important kpis to measure as you will need to
Customer retention is all about returning users and existing customers engaging with your content and the company. You can check new vs returning customer metrics on Google Analytics to help you understand if you’re not retaining customers. This will allow you to pivot and change your content strategy accordingly.
The final stage of your strategy is how you choose to distribute your content.
It’s always a good idea to begin by doing some SEO/keyword research, especially if you’re writing organic blog posts and PPC campaigns. This research will help you establish what competitors are doing as well as inform how easy or difficult it is to compete for certain keywords.
Ensuring you have the appropriate meta-titles and descriptions for images will also help your cause when it comes to organic SEO. Good meta data makes it easier for bot crawlers to identify the content, especially if it’s a media-heavy page.
Owned media, meaning your website, mobile apps, and social media channels, are great for serving as information channels. Earned media (social media mentions, reviews, and likes & shares) act as referral traffic helping to increase brand awareness and engagement.
Finally paid vs. organic content involves all of the above e.g. PPC, retargeting, display ads vs. blog posts, videos, infographics. It is recommended you have a mix of both paid and organic content, with an emphasis on consistently auditing your website to enhance organic SERPs (you can read our blog on SEO for beginners to find out more).
You’ve laid out your marketing goals and objectives, spent time researching and creating tone of voice guidelines, set kpi benchmarks to measure success, and have an understanding of how distributing your content will have differing results depending on what you’re hoping to achieve.
The next step is creating your content. The best advice we can give is ‘don’t be afraid to fail’ and admit when things aren’t performing well. This will allow you to adapt much faster than if you continue churning out the same content expecting different results.
We know there’s a lot to digest here! For help on your content strategy, as well as producing the content itself, contact us and we’d be happy to guide you on your journey to becoming a well-known brand!