There are several articles on your LinkedIn feed about it. Forbes is talking about why you need it. Maybe your leadership team is even requesting one for 2014. What is it?
A content strategy.
But just what is it, and how will it benefit your business? I’ll answer these questions by hearkening back to the age-old journalistic five W’s.
What is content strategy?
Content strategy is about consistently delivering engaging, relevant information – whether written, audio, video or a combination of all of these. It’s about building trust and a rapport with your audience as they come to respect you as an expert in your field.
Eventually, your site may become a go-to for them, no searching necessary. When they want to know about something, they come straight to you.
Who is my content strategy for?
Often, companies take too broad a brush to their target audience: “This is for everyone who will visit our site!” But it’s not. As we’re known to say here at Flying Cork, we don’t create a site for everyone, we create a site for one person – your user.
Chances are there are four or five main types of people who will visit your site. Define their demographic, psychographic and lifestyle profiles. Why are they interested in your industry overall, and your brand, specifically? Then focus on the messages that will resonate with them.
Where do I post my content?
An ideal place for content to live is on your website. Create a regularly updated company blog and feature it prominently in your site’s navigation. As a bonus, when users are there to read what you’ve posted, they’re in the prime position to explore the rest of your site to learn more about what you do.
Once you’ve created your blog, share and share alike. Post a 50,000-foot overview of your blog post across your social media profiles, with a link to read the full article, and invite your fans and followers to engage with the story. But don’t forget, engagement is a two-way street. It’s not enough just to push content out. Actively monitor the comments, and contribute when discussions are sparked.
When do I update my content strategy?
The short answer: constantly.
By monitoring metrics on your content, you can determine what’s resonating and what’s falling flat. You can then tailor your strategy accordingly. Remember that agility is key. Carving an editorial calendar in stone six months in advance doesn’t allow you to react to what’s exciting your audience, or to important industry news.
Unsure if you’ll have the expertise to write insightful commentary on new topics that come up? Ask your in-house experts to contribute! Give them opportunity to talk about what they do every day. They love it, they live it, they breathe it, and that will all come through in their words (Just be willing to do a little clean-up to ensure that the blog posts maintain a consistent voice and are free of grammatical errors).
Why do I need to do this again?
I could give you a litany of reasons; linking to articles all over the internet and citing how content plays a critical role in SEO success. But in the end, it all comes down to one crucial point: Your audience wants relevant, engaging content. And if you’re not going to deliver it, someone else will.
So as you’re wrapping up 2013 and planning for 2014, refer back to these five tips for making next year the year you launch a content strategy.
Betsy Piasente is the Digital Account Supervisor at Flying Cork.