I write about content strategy a lot. One of the reasons I do that is because I want to bust some myths around it. Just the term itself can be pretty intimidating to someone who might have just started out in business or to someone who is trying to make it on their own and are a one woman/man band. Heck, even many seasoned entrepreneurs get chills at the mention of it.
Savvy biz peeps understand the importance of creating a content strategy for their business and outsource many of the elements involved in the execution of it. Sounds very serious, doesn’t it.
You don’t have to be big business with hundreds of dedicated employees to have a killer content strategy that works for your business every single day. Reaching your business goals through a well thought out strategy is not exclusive to a marketing plan. In fact, great marketing plans nowadays include plenty of content that doesn’t look like advertising or hard selling.
This is the type of content you can create through your own marketing strategy.
I have broken the process down to 5 stages for easy understanding and follow.
5 Practical Steps To A Powerful Content Strategy That Works
Stage 1 – Planning
You can’t really embark on a journey if you don’t really know where you’re going. I know this sounds very unspiritual and unhip at the moment. With content, however, it needs this thing that we content strategists call “the flow” that will connect whatever content you create back to your core content.
Having an idea where you want to take your business in the foreseeable future helps planning out what content you will need to get there. So, start with your business goals. If your plan is to become the world’s biggest seller of Vegemite ice-cream, you will not be creating content about how to assemble office chairs in fancy yoga positions. You will be creating content about ice cream.
Advice, be realistic with your planning.
Stage 2 – Creating
Planning is one thing, and a lot of people luuurve the planning stage but when it comes to actually start getting down and getting their hands dirty with blogging (yeah, that happens!) or produce some videos or even audio content, they stall.
Sometimes for lack of ideas, sometimes it’s because of some mindset blocks (I know those very well and that is a topic for a whole other blog or even blogs, OK, maybe even an ebook). If you created a solid plan you love you should not encounter the problems I just mentioned. If you do stall, maybe it’s time to review your plan.
Create on the platform you love.
If you fancy yourself a writer, write like there’s no tomorrow.
Love doing Facebook lives and getting goofy with your audience? Do that!
If doing interviews with other people sets your world on fire, do those interviews.
Advice, enjoy creating content the most natural way it works for you.
Stage 3 – Scheduling
Once you have a whole bunch of content created, you will not release it all at once. It’s good to have a cache of content stashed away in your Dropbox or Google Drive, ready to go but to make the most of it, I suggest you stagger it and not hit your audience with all at once. (Have you read my blog on how to avoid content fatigue in your audience?)
Find a platform that works for you. Most content scheduling platforms have a free version so definitely try before you buy. Look at the features you’re getting for your buck (or not getting) and find one that best suits your needs.
This is probably the most tedious, time sucking and unenjoyable part of the whole content strategy cycle.
Advice, look at outsourcing this part. It’s worth it!
Stage 4 – Deploying
This is where you make sure that you have all your content connected. Cross-links between posts, backlinks to your website and freebies peppered into your content will lead your audience right where you want them to go. I’m going to introduce a new term here, “content upgrade”. Now, don’t let that scare you away.
This is where you strategically place your content upgrades to channel people into your mailing list or sales funnel. Even those are part of your content plan!
Advice, everything you put online is content!
Stage 5 – Monitoring
Once your content is out there, unleashed, flying etc, you want to know how it’s doing. You want to know:
- what kind of content your audience likes the most because you want to produce more of that type of content.
- which type of content brings in more people to your mailing list and your lead generation process.
- the content that is not working for you as much as what platform is not working for you.
You might absolutely love posting beach-loving dog pics on Instagram, for example, but if your business is about selling accounting software, you may not get the right customer traffic through your Instagram account.
Advice, once you’re done with this stage, go back to Stage 1 and plan any adjustments that need to be made to your strategy, and the cycle starts again.
To sum it all up, the content strategy cycle has 5 stages:
- Planning to create a short or long-term plan based on your business goal
- Creating content that will support your business reaching those goals
- Scheduling on a platform that suits your needs
- Deploying with your content upgrades to grow your reach
- Monitoring your content to see what is working and what isn’t