If you're wondering if your business really needs a content strategy, or what exactly a content strategy is—you've come to the right place.
I've been creating content strategies for brands for a few years now and I can tell you, the short answer is ... yes, you need one. A well executed content strategy will help you create more targeted, effective marketing messages and tell a brand story that consistently resonates with your customers.
The problem is that "content strategy" is basically two ambiguous words that have come together to create an even more ambiguous phrase that confuses and scares most DIY marketers.
No worries—I'll walk you through it all here. Then, over a few quick and simple posts in this series, I'll get you started on an effective content strategy that you can scale to your business.
So, What is a content strategy?
Let's start with the basics. What is content? Yeah, we're getting that basic. I know you're a smartypants, but it helps to start at the beginning. Fundamentally, content is information. In the context of marketing, content is the copy, video, images and audio that you use in your marketing, including your website, blog, social and ads.
A content strategy is a plan for your content. It really is that simple. And as a small business owner you can start small—focusing on what's important to you—and grow your strategy as you grow as a business. Easy-peasy.
A plan for your content
In broad terms, content strategy is the plan for all your content throughout its lifecycle — from planning and creation to distribution, measurement and governance (guidelines for each phase). We'll be covering each phase in later post.
Why content strategy?
In order to be effective, your content must meet the needs of both your business and your target audience. It must:
- Fulfill business objectives to help your organization meet its goals
- Be valuable and relevant to your target audience in order to attract and influence them
Content strategy is what guides your team through each stage of the content lifecycle to ensure it will effectively meet both of these needs.
Without a plan in place, your marketing content is more likely to be ineffective and inconsistent, and you'll waste time and money on marketing with a "throw it against the wall and see what sticks" approach.
With a content strategy, you're focused on the bottom line while creating an experience for your target audience that they'll want to engage with, because it's answering their needs when they need it, wherever they are.
In the next post in this series, we'll start with tools for the planning phase, like personas and customer journeys, and how—with just a few easy steps—they can help you more effectively reach your target audience.