A dream without a plan is just a wish. – Katherine Paterson
Content Strategy is the process of figuring out, at a high level, the types of content, subject areas, and content platforms are most likely to engage your audience. It’s essential to have a solid content strategy in place from the start, so you can make informed decisions.
Step one in creating your content marketing strategy is to gather ideas for your content. It’s important to follow a structured thought process to help get you to the ideas you’re looking for.
- Prepare ideas – The foundation for a great piece of content starts with days, even weeks to months of planning. You must have a grasp on the pulse of your audience. To learn the pulse of your audience? Follow thought leaders, keep track of the latest news and trends, and follow conversations across the web.
- Draft ideas – Make lists of ideas that are perfect for coming up with content to fill the needs of your audience.
- Curate ideas – You’ve got a good list of ideas for content, now is the time to determine which of those ideas will be great.
- Finalize ideas – After curating, you’ll be left with a handful of the best ideas. Pick one to work on now and save the others in your ideas bank for future reference.
Tap into as many resources as you can until you have a firm understanding of the subject. This way, you’ll be able to support any claim you make in your content and you’ll come across as more informed. Surveys, infographics, podcasts, eBooks, videos, forums, news sites are all great sources for research.
Now is the time to define the format and structure of your content. This will help you maximize the potential of your content ideas. It might be smart to consider the format that your audience prefers best and stick to that.
Whether it’s a blog post, an infographic, a video or something else, you should come up with attention-getting headlines for your content. Your titles must be click-worthy and searchable, but don’t make them click-bait. Short, focused titles work great and they must lay out the content’s deliverables clearly. Once the title is locked down, start the actual process of creating the content.
Learn more about the inner workings of creating content.
Once you’ve created it, you’ll only know how well it performs and is received by your audience by testing your content. It’s important to gather feedback and make suggested improvements.
You’ll want to answer these questions:
- Is the content readable?
- Is the user flow clear?
- Did they understand the key points you made?
- Did the content remain consistent to the story?
- Did the content add value?
- Did they share the content with their friends and followers?
- Was there something about the content they didn’t like?
The best advice anyone can give you is to always look at your content with fresh eyes. At this point in the content strategy phase, you’ll want to take a step back. Look away from your content piece for a day or two. When you return to it, can you improve it? Remember, you’ve already made changes to it recommended by others, but that doesn’t mean it’s a finished product. The best strategy is always adapting and molding into what it has to be in order to be successful.