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Content strategy has become an indispensable addition to any company’s marketing and the smartest businesses rely on it to generate results. A blog or social media post that isn’t well-crafted will miss the mark and waste your time and resources.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to devising an effective strategy for your brand and the approach will differ depending on your industry or scale.
Content versus content strategy
Content is a catch-all term that comprises written and visual media.
It can include blogs, print, social media posts, emails or graphic elements of your website.
(MarketMuse, an AI-powered content marketing company, excels at breaking down goals that you can map those aforementioned elements to and highlights the importance of developing a strategy that works with SEO.)
It is also important to remember that while content, at its heart, is about communication? Content strategy is about doing so effectively. The latter provides well-crafted information that a particular audience wants so that you can grow your relationship with them.
Some features of great content
Useful content could include entertainment if that is within the scope of your brand. Valuable content might mean that you are offering a solution to a problem, or it might simply be a helpful personal or professional guide.
First, your content should be approachable. Make your sentences logical and use easy-to-digest language. Even complicated concepts can be communicated simply. Ensure your graphics follow logical design principles and are clear and easy to grasp. If you make your audience work to untangle information, you’ll lose their attention.
Know your viewers and design for that audience. If you’re just getting started with your strategy, this might require a little homework. Whom do you want to talk to, and why?
A helpful exercise to ensure you’re talking to the right audience might be a model reader based on the composite qualities of your target group. For example, you might talk to a 30-year marketing professional named Anna about your new digital SEO course.
Use people-first language (e.g. “a person with a disability” rather than “a disabled person”), avoid fluff or unnecessary phrases and keep your written content as simple and short as possible. Let your audience find themselves in your work.
You don’t create content to sell a product. Instead, you create content to build relationships. Apple doesn’t sell its offerings or talk about features in advertisements. Instead, they show you how much simpler your life will be when you’re using their items.
Set clear goals and understand your audience
Answering some questions upfront about what you want to accomplish and who you’re talking to will help ensure you’re not howling into the digital void. Offer something of value and scale according to your mission.
A social media personality might offer entertainment or encouragement for their viewers. An effective TikTok star could center their strategy on reassuring others that their flaws are normal and lovable. This is a simple and relatable message that can be communicated in many forms. The influencer’s ultimate goal might be to attract millions of viewers and make a living through sponsorships or merchandise, but if they talk about that, they’ll bore their audience.
If you have a finance company, offer helpful and approachable guides that help your audience untangle the ins and outs of common but complex products like life insurance. If what you’re offering is easy to understand, accurate and solves a problem for your leaders, you will build trust. Your audience will return and that means opportunity for you to grow.
Use SEO effectively
The technical aspects of content, like search engine optimization, can be intimidating for anyone beginning to learn about content strategy. It’s valuable to take a little time to understand how it works and how to make digital tools work for you, even if you plan to hire someone to handle the details.
If you’re putting information out into the digital world, you want to make sure people see it, right? And with a staggering amount of information available online on virtually any topic, it’s essential that you do a little work to make that happen. But you also want to do it right.
Use keywords, but don’t shoehorn them into your content or use them as a starting point. Remember that you want to offer your readers value, not simply get clicks. You want them to come back. Help your audience out by making your site simple and easy to navigate. Include a search feature and a sidebar menu that tracks down the page so readers can jump to relevant information.
Use multiple channels and repurpose
Have an article with useful information about 2022 health insurance options and subsidies? Don’t just create it and forget it—take a few steps to let readers know you’ve got the information they need.
Link to your article on social media sites. Facebook and Twitter are great general interest spaces. LinkedIn is a great place to attract eyes in business topics. TikTok and Instagram can help you with your travel or entertainment brand. Don’t just link your content. Stick around and have conversations with your audience, invite them to participate and don’t just link once. You can share one link multiple times with different comments to interest different readers.
You can also design content so that it can be refreshed or updated periodically. That health insurance guide will be out of date by 2023, with new insurers and new laws on the horizon. Don’t just let the page sit: Research changes, update the content with new data and create an updated version. Build trust in your audience that they can come to you to get accurate information.
Remember that algorithms are constantly evolving, so the most important thing you can do for your brand is to make sure you are offering useful, clear information. Whether you are creating a guide, solving a problem for your readers or entertaining your audience, take the time to do it well and you will be rewarded with deepening relationships.