Independent Thinking Blog

Content Strategy Starts With 5 Key Elements

I heard someone state recently that only about one-third of companies have a documented content strategy. Even if that number is a little low, it means a lot of organizations are either (a) pushing out content with no discernible strategy or (b) doing very little if any content marketing.

In a digital-first world, neither approach is going to cut it.

You need content. And you need a strategy for the who, where, why, what, and when of content marketing to get started.

Know your audience.

Content Strategy: Know Your Audience

You might have heard some marketers talking about buyer personas. That’s just fancy pants talk for understanding your audience and defining who you are trying to reach. If you’re a trade association, for example, perhaps your audience includes members, potential members, and lawmakers at the federal and state levels. If you’re a physician, your audience is likely patients and potential patients who need the type of care you provide. If you’re a retailer, who is walking into your store or buying from you online? (And, no, everyone is not your audience.)

Learn where to find them in their element.

Learn Where to Find Them

I’ve said this before: there’s no point in having a Facebook page if your audience isn’t on Facebook. Ditto for every other social media platform. There’s a reason that e-mail marketing remains very effective. Text messaging is becoming more valuable too for reaching people and getting a response. The easier you make it for people to connect with your brand, the more likely you are to achieve success.

Tell me why I should care.

Why Should I Care?

At the heart of your content strategy is one simple little word: Why. Before you can craft content, it’s important to reframe all your marketing messages so that you are giving your audience information that’s valuable to them. That means your content strategy should be to educate, inform, and engage. A content strategy isn’t about selling, it’s about nurturing your audience and staying top of mind for when it’s time for the “sale.”

Plan out what you want to say.

Know What to Say

It’s a content strategy, so every piece of content you produce should have a purpose. As you may have noticed, there’s a lot of content out there. Why should I read, watch, listen, or like what you have to say? Make every post, picture, or podcast count.

Know when to post.

Know When To Post

Years ago, ABC’s late, late night World News Now billed itself as the news show for insomniacs. Which made perfect sense to me, because who else is watching the news at 3:00 a.m.? (Mercifully, we have more options now.) The point is, they knew their audience and how to reach them. Unless you’re hawking an insomnia drug, chances are you probably aren’t looking to post in the middle of the night. The key is to time your content for the audience you have.

Content strategy is not rocket science.

Hopefully this mini-primer on how to get started has convinced you of the need to step back and build a strategy to guide your content creation efforts. There are lots of platforms and lots of content options, so it can feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be. And, if you need help, just let me know.


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