Content strategy shouldn't be a secret. So why do marketers keep their plans so hush-hush? Do they think someone will steal their ideas? Copy them?
I'd be flattered…because I came up with it first. And content strategies are only as good as the ideas and execution combined, so if the ideas are there but no one executes them, then they are a waste of time and effort. So let's start discussing those 9 secrets about content strategy!
Secret #1. Know who you are.
What? Know who I am? Yeah. Know who you are. This is my favorite:
If you don't know who you are–who your business is–then how can you possibly market yourself with a content strategy? This is one of the biggest mistakes I see businesses make–they know how they want to be known, but they forget that potential customers don't know that and aren't searching for them that way. So it's not about you or your business–it's about what you offer that potential customers and clients look for. Once you can say this (develop your elevator pitch!), then you can start thinking about your content strategy.
Secret #2. Know who your customers are.
Come on now…you're just playin'. Nope. I know you think you know who your clients are, but I want you to dig deeper. When I develop a content strategy with my clients, the next thing I do is have them identify 3 audiences. But not just any audiences–we look at their best 3 clients.
I have to put a disclaimer here: I love ALL my clients. 🙂
So I wrote down 3 of my clients. Why are they my ideal clients?
- The photography store: They trust me with their online presence. They trust my judgement. The have grown so much over the last 4 years I have worked with them…they value me and my ideas and what it brings to them.
- The lawn and landscape business: They are young and willing to take risks and know the value of online presence. They have someone in-house who can execute the plan we create. And they are successful!
- The realtor: He knows that the real estate market in the Omaha metro is tough. He recognizes the value and need of a successful online presence that not only attracts customers on social media but also moves his website up in search results rankings, too.
Now that I know who my ideal clients are, I can figure out ways to get more clients like them. Ask yourself: why do they like me? What do I offer that is attractive to them?
Secret #3. Know how people are looking for you.
They aren't just typing in “Content a la mode” in a search engine. They are finding me as content strategy, social media strategy, blogger, and more. How do I know that? Because I have Google and Bing analytics hooked up to my website. I follow trends on Twitter. But most importantly, I think like my potential clients. What products and services do I offer that are being searched by potential customers who don't know I exist…yet? In other words, develop a list of keywords and then use them in your content to drive more traffic to your website and your business.
Secret #4: Be prepared to give (some) things away.
I'm not asking you to give away the house. Do you have information that you already share with customers and clients? Package it up and give it away on your website. After someone has spent some time on your website, ask them if they'd like a free ebook on how to develop a mini-strategy…in exchange for their email. You're not giving away the house, but you're providing hot information potential buyers are interested in AND you're building your email list. Of course, you can hold a contest and give something away, too. But that takes some planning.
Secret #5: Plan, plan, and then plan some more.
You can't expect to hop on social media Monday morning at 9 a.m. with the intent of starting to post regularly. Because on Tuesday you'll be busy and not post until 11:30 a.m., and then Wednesday you post at 4 p.m. as you're heading out the door. The next thing you know it, a month has gone by and you've gone nowhere. So having a plan–even if it's for a month–is better than no plan at all. Pick a product you want to focus on for a month, and develop some social media posts surrounding it. Once you have that figured out, then you have to find the time to execute.
Secret #6: Make time.
What–out of thin air? Yup. 😉 Ok, not really, but you need to actually schedule time in to your schedule to execute any type of content strategy. Schedule the same time every week–even if it's just 1-2 hours. Write all your posts for the week and schedule them. Plan to write a blog post at least once a month to start with. Either way, literally schedule time in your calendar to work on it–and absolutely refuse to schedule over it.
Secret #7: Incorporate a blog.
No ifs, ands, or buts: you MUST incorporate a blog into your content strategy. Again–think back to those same things that you are telling your customers. What interesting questions are your customers asking that others might benefit from? Write about them in a blog post. Good blog posts are roughly 300+ words and, if written correctly, they tell search engines that you have legitimate content on your site that needs to be shown to potential customers.
Secret #8: Develop an email list.
Whether you already have one or don't know where to start, just know that you have to have one and use it. My favorites are MailChimp and Robly (disclaimer: I am an affiliate with these two platforms, but ONLY because I believe in them as reputable companies that are simple for business owners and marketers to use!), and both have gorgeous templates and wonderful WYSIWYG–what you see is what you get / drag-and-drop–interfaces).
Once you've established a list, decide on what you'll include in each eNewsletter. Here are some options that you can use in your eNewsletters:
- Tips & tricks
- Event, class, or workshop
- Product spotlight
- Blog post preview
- Giveaways, contests, special promotions, sales
Your email list should always follow your content strategy, too! And if you're just starting from scratch, share the sign-up link on social media. Make a counter card with a QR code customers can scan to sign up.
Secret #9: Share.
Don't be afraid to share what you're doing with the world. Wrote a blog post? Share it on social media. Send a preview in an email newsletter. Pin it on Pinterest. Whatever you do, don't let it just sit on your website! Each of your social channels can help to promote one another and your website. And there's nothing wrong with asking your employees to follow and share the company's posts. Why? Because it brings more business to your employees, too!
We know we didn't cover how to create a content strategy, but we did cover many items that are involved in one. If you're interested in learning how to create a content strategy, contact us. That's what we do!