The first step in developing a content strategy is defining the heart of what you want the content to do for your business. These are your core business objectives.
The second step is to decide how you will approach those objectives.
For example, if you have to go to Atlanta next Thursday (ie: your objective with a bonus time parameter), you can get there one of several ways.
You could fly, walk, run, skip, ride a bike… all are viable approaches. (Although skipping might look a bit strange and be hard on your knees.)
The third step is to decide how you’ll measure the effectiveness of your approach.
Pro tip: Step four is to actually measure the strategy’s effectiveness. Don’t accidentally merge steps 3 and 4 together. Deciding how you’ll measure is just as distinctly important as the measurements themselves.
The focus of this article is steps 2 and 3… choosing the approach and defining the measurements.
Start With Your Business Goals in Mind
But before you choose the details of the approach, write down the business goals you want the content strategy to achieve.
Be specific. The more specific you are about the goal, the easier it is to measure and adjust, if necessary.
Make sure all team members understand the goal of this particular content strategy. It’s their clear understanding of the “why” that will solidify buy-in from the entire team.
Tip: The clearer you are about the goal, the easier it is for the team to think of innovative or streamlined ways to get the desired outcome. Once you know the team understands the vision, give them room to run with it. You’ll be amazed at the ideas they come up with.
How to Approach Your Content Strategy
Now that you and your team are clear on the business outcome, define your approach.
1. Outcome. Keeping the overall business goal in mind, what’s the ONE thing you want this content strategy to do for you?
2. Audience. Who is the target audience? Be very clear about this. Have ONE person that you focus on, even if they’re imaginary.
3. Raw Materials. What do you have for existing content? Does it serve the goal of this content strategy? Does it serve your bigger business goal? Can you fill in the gaps with new content or is this a complete teardown and do-over?
4. Ideas. Where will you get content ideas? Are you repurposing old content, creating brand new content, leaning into SEO research, or looking at our competitors for inspiration?
5. Voice and Consistency. Do you have a system in place for ensuring brand voice and messaging consistency? This could be as elaborate as having a copy chief who oversees every piece or as simple as having a brand voice document and rubric that every writer uses.
6. Team Skills. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the team for different content formats? If your team loves to blog but doesn’t create videos, you can outsource the videos or you can stick with a simple blog strategy.
Tip: I recommend you invest in script writing training for your team because video is an important part of capturing attention. From there, outsource the filming and editing until you’re ready to bring the whole process in-house.
7. Stakeholders. Who needs to be involved in the strategy? Get all stakeholders involved early on. Once the strategy is set, have a formal process for how other people can make suggestions and requests, if needed. Have a clear deadline, so people know you’re serious about moving on to creation and deployment.
8. Distribution. How are you going to share the content? If it’s a blog strategy, then you’ll need a traffic-driver strategy to get eyeballs on the blog. Traffic can be driven through email, social, or paid advertising.
Tip: To generate traffic, you’ll need custom-crafted copy that’s specifically written for the needs of each platform you plan to use. Get a direct response copywriter to create this for you, or use a content writer who’s cross-trained in direct response copy.
3 Important Content Strategy Measurements
1. KPIs. Choose the key performance indicators (KPIs) for each content piece, as well as, for the overall strategy. Don’t force each content piece to pull the weight of the whole campaign.
Tip: Build the strategy so you benefit from the synergy of all pieces working together. This takes the pressure off the team to make each piece perfect. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect to be effective.
2. Traffic. How much traffic are your emails, influencer outreach, and social media sending to each piece of content? Is one of your traffic methods working better than another?
Tip: Once you have a clear winner, lean into the traffic that’s getting you the best results. You don’t have to be everywhere at once. Just use what works.
3. Leverage. Which of your content pieces are converting the best? Strategically send your best traffic to the pieces that give you the best conversions.
Tip: You can take the underperforming pieces and rework them to be more effective, or you can create new content that better meets your audience’s needs.
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to building a content strategy. And you’ll build countless numbers of these strategies as your business grows.
Remember to keep your content strategy’s approach and measurements in line with your larger business goals to get the best outcomes. The most important thing is to keep an eye on the big picture, even while you’re working out the micro details.