Five steps to a killer content strategy

Blog by August 31, 2013

We all know the saying content is king, right?  But what does this mean for your business?  And why should a content strategy be a business priority?

In today’s marketing world, it’s becoming increasingly clear that content — whether it’s a funny meme on Facebook, a blog post, an article in an enewsletter or an instructional video — can help you find new customers, boost your credibility and reputation with existing ones, and ultimately improve your bottom line.

Big name companies like Red Bull epitomise what can happen when you develop a content strategy that meets audience needs, delivers on your brand promise and isn’t just about selling the product or service in question.  In fact, most of Red Bull’s content — whether it’s generated by a space jump or BMX stunts — appears to have little to do with the beverage itself.   And yet, it works ….

So if you want to develop a killer content strategy — one which raises your profile, increases engagement and results in more sales — then read on for top five steps to help you get started.

1.        Find out what your audiences need

Whilst it’s tempting to use content and your own channels to ‘sell, sell, sell’, it is vital it meets a NEED — it needs to either teach them something they didn’t know, or give them something beneficial (a laugh, a sense of wonder etc).  Find out what matters to your various audiences, and use this to develop your content pillars.

2.       Define your content pillars and brainstorm story ideas

Your content pillars are the categories of content to address the audience need, and within each pillar are the stories.  For example, if you run an accommodation property, it is fairly safe to assume your customers would want to know about nearby facilities, such as restaurants, transport and entertainment. Within this content pillar, there exists a range of potential stories such as ‘Eating out’ and ‘Top things to see and do for business travellers’.

3.       Examine your platforms

For each story idea, it’s important to consider them in the context of the different platforms you have available to publish.  Do you have a blog or YouTube channel?  Do you have a Facebook page, or a Twitter account?  Depending on the content, your story might work better as a blog post, a video, an enewsletter article or a tweet.   Ideally, stories span multiple platforms, helping generate traffic to your website to facilitate conversion (e.g. a Facebook post which links back to a blog on your website).

4.       Create a content calendar

Once you know the stories to be created, and their format, then it’s time to put some dates around them and assign content creators.  Create a content culture so it’s doesn’t all fall on one person.  And don’t forget flexible content: the things you can’t plan for but can make quite an impact.  Think about potential subjects — an election campaign, unseasonable weather, an off-the-chart dance craze — and assess if there’s any synergy with your business.  If there is, you might want to think about how you can jump in with a quip, an image or an insight.

5.        Rinse and repeat

Not all content will get the same response.  Some will hit the mark, others might not gain as much traction.  It’s important to look at what worked — the type of content, the platform, the audience — and doing it again, and looking at what didn’t and changing the approach.

Content marketing is an increasingly important art for marketers and businesses alike, and it’s not just for the big boys like Red Bull.  Businesses big and small are a treasure trove of stories and insights that can meet the needs of their audiences.  Developing a content strategy is the first step to bringing this content to life and to help meet broader business objectives.

Who do you think are the businesses that are doing content marketing well in Australia?  Let me know your thoughts below, or if you have any other tips I’d love to hear them — Fleur Charlton