Whether that includes blogging and email marketing, or white papers and annual reports - it's all content and it all needs to be built out strategically in order for it to communicate key information to the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
A few weeks ago, our Director of Strategy, Matt Sams and Content Strategist, Kelly Prince (me) joined a panel discussion at the Roanoke Regional Chamber’s annual Business Summit. Along with panelists, Laura Sams of GE Digital and Jennifer Eddy of Eddy Communications, we discussed how to develop a strategic content plan to develop your brand presence and demonstrate thought leadership in your industry.
Through a few brainstorm sessions, we were able to break down the process into 5 high-level concepts that would guide any marketing novice through the steps needed to build their own strategy in under 50 minutes! The resulting steps? Identify, Plan, Create, Execute, and Measure. But before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about why having a goal-oriented, measurable strategy is so important to building a successful brand presence.
Why Content is So Important
We sing the praises of “Content is King” all day, but you won’t necessarily be convinced until you see it in action. Your content strategy should sit as the central hub of any and all external communication efforts for your organization; and in some cases, internal efforts too! Whether that includes blogging and email marketing, or white papers and annual reports – it’s all content and it all needs to be built out strategically in order for it to communicate key information to the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
Content marketing is the most cost-effective, highly efficient way to break through the digital noise and is proven to be vital to the sales process. A solid content strategy should do the following things for you:
1. Positions you as a thought leader in your industry
2. Provides avenues for business development
3. Boosts SEO
4. Gives your brand authority
5. Makes your brand seem more human
6. Exemplifies your “Care Factor”
How To Create Your Content Strategy
There’s a wide range of considerations you’ll need to explore before building your content strategy because every business has different needs, a different sales model, and a different brand position. That being said, there are steps in the process of building that strategy that fits every business.
Step One: Identify
This is where you explore the initial considerations that will lay the foundation of the who, what, when, and where of your strategy. You’ll want to think about your business goals and goals for the content, the audiences you’d like to reach, and resources you have to do so.
Step Two: Plan
Before you dive into building out the content, you’ll want to set a plan for how you’ll go about it. You’ll want to decide what medium you’ll be using because this will greatly dictate how the content is structured and scheduled. Also consider the timing of the content, who will do be building the content, and what tools they’ll use.
Step Three: Create
Once you have a plan in play, it’s finally time to let the creative juices flow! Lay out a workflow that will allow you to hit checkpoints to make sure your content is aligned with your goals. Throughout the process, you’ll have to create a cohesive brand voice across all of your different content types.
Step Four: Execute
Once you have given your content a goal check and have edited and approved all of the elements of the strategy, it’s time to push it out! In this part of the process, you’ll place your media, continue engaging with your audience and seek opportunities to repurpose content.
Step Five: Measure
Measurement should be a consideration throughout the entire timeframe that your content is being pushed out, not just at the end. Pay attention to the key performance indicators (KPIs) that you identified in step one to align with your goals. If you are halfway through a campaign and your content isn’t performing, consider making adjustments. Nothing is set in stone! When all is said and done, it’s important to collect your data to measure your ROI and more importantly, learn what works and what doesn’t for your next content cycle.
So there you have it! We laid the groundwork for building a killer content strategy! But after a session of only 50 minutes, it’s hard to get into the details of how you go about all of these steps and sub-tasks. I know, you’re thinking, wow they gave me all the high-level information I need, but not details on how to apply it? Well, this wouldn’t be strategic content if we didn’t have a reason behind it. Subscribe to our Journal to keep up with the rest of our series on Content Strategy!
Next up? A deep dive into the “Identify” stage. Get a preview of the whole process with our handy infographic.