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Content Strategy 101: Getting Started

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When you approach how you communicate online—whether on your website, through email, in social media, via videos—it’s important to have a strategy. And not just any old strategy; you need a content strategy. Like that popular saying goes, “Content is King” (and we don’t mean Jimmy Fallon, in this case). It’ll be what drives engagement with your viewers, readers, subscribers, and visitors. Here’s an overview to help you get started with your content strategy.

1. Be Right About What You Write

Before you begin churning out content, make sure you look into who your company or brand is. What do you stand for? What are your values? What are your inherent goals through the delivery of content?

People can tell when you’re passionate about something, and it comes through in your content. If you are a gardener, don’t write about figure skating. Unless you are a figure skating gardener, which is pretty awesome, and I applaud you.

Focus on staying true to the values you set for your brand to establish content creation.

2. Know Your Audience

Once you’ve established who YOU want to be, it’s important to figure out what your audience is looking for. What do they care about?

To go back to the figure skating gardener example, if your website focuses primarily on seasonal gardening, don’t throw in a piece about the upcoming Olympic figure skating trials. Unless you can tie it back to gardening and flowers, but then it probably wouldn’t resonate with your audience. Testing would help you figure this out, too.

Understand your audiences needs as well as your area of expertise and and own it.

3. Know Who You’re Up Against

Everyone has competition, especially online. You might be a small business, a DIY blogger, or a large ecommerce site but they all have one thing in common: there is someone else out there doing what you do. Understand who they are and how you are different. There are a lot of lessons to learn from your competition, and having a healthy rivalry often times drives you to stay focused.

Embrace your differences while keeping yourself open to change and education from the competition.

4. Timing is Everything

When putting together a strategy, keep in mind that seasonality, trending news, and other events can have a large impact on your business. Plan for things you know will happen like holidays, trending events, seasons, etc. You should also be prepared for the things you cannot expect like breaking news. On that same note, know when you need to serve up a call-to-action, and when it might not be the best time depending on your content’s focus.

Be flexible and stay ahead of the game when it comes to serving up timely content and calls to action that could impact your business.

All in all, when creating your content strategy, ask yourself the following questions and you really can’t go wrong:

  • What are your visitors looking for and are you engaging with them enough to deliver it to them?
  • Is your content valuable and relevant dependent on what’s trending or popular at the time?
  • Is your competition already delivering this to them, and if so, how is your’s similar or different?
  • If not, is this an opportunity for you capitalize on? And in doing so, will it align with your brand values?

What other tips would you add to the list?