How to Develop a Content Strategy Plan for Your Small Business: A Start-to-Finish Guide
Content strategy involves a lot more than writing blogs and articles and posting them somewhere online. It takes more than just a grammar checker and some cursory research to create content that will help make your company more successful.
Instead, you need to develop a complete content strategy that addresses all aspects of what it takes for content to generate traffic and revenue for your business. We’ve created a brief start to finish guide so you can create a killer content strategy that will help your business flourish.
DEFINE YOUR GOALS
If you’re going to reach your goals, you will first need to understand exactly what your goals are. Before you begin any content strategy plan, you should always clearly define what you aim to achieve from your campaign. For example, if you’re a financial services company looking to get more people enquiring about a particular product, defining that goal will help you craft your content in a way that helps you to reach your desired objectives.
If you don’t clearly define your goals then you could easily find yourself aimlessly creating content without a specific purpose in mind. Clearly defining your goals will also make it easier for you to identify when your goals are not being achieved, and what you need to do to get your campaign headed in the right direction. With a goal clearly defined, you will know just what metrics you need to be following to see whether or not your campaign is going well.
DEFINE YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Whenever you are creating content, it’s important to keep your target in mind. In order to tailor your content to a particular audience, you first need to determine who the audience is:
- Which age group does your audience belong to?
- What are their income groups and their professional backgrounds?
- What are their pain points, their objections, and what are their wants and needs?
All these questions and more are important in helping you define just who your audience is, and how to create content aimed at them.
Defining your audience will also help you to know which type of language you should use. Should it be fun and outgoing, or maybe more reserved and formal? Using the right words at the right time can make all the difference and help you push the right buttons and resonate with your audience.
DEFINE WHICH PROBLEMS YOU ARE SOLVING
Your content should be created with solving your potential customers’ problems in mind. To do this, you first need to define what their problems are. With your audiences’ problems defined, it is then easier for you to make sure your content gets the attention of people who may be interested in what you are selling.
Not only do you need to define which problems you’re solving but also how you’re solving them. You need to be able to explain to potential customers how you have the solution that makes their life easier. This gives you a focus on value selling that makes it a lot easier for your potential customers to see that your product is a good deal for them.
DO YOUR KEYWORD RESEARCH
You need to make sure your content reaches the right people, and this means keyword research. Find out what search terms your audience is using to find solutions to their problems. Not only will keyword research help ensure your content is seen, but it will also give you more insights into what your audience is looking for, and why.
Fortunately, keyword research is very easy to do, and free tools like Google Keyword Planner will allow you to see what people are looking for. These keywords will also help you create your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy as well as your other marketing strategies.
CHECK OUT THE COMPETITION
Have a look at what your competitors are doing.
- What types of content are they creating that get a lot of traffic, and what hasn’t been so successful for them?
- What keywords are they using?
- Where and how are they advertising?
There is a wide selection of tools available that will give you insights into your competitors’ campaigns that could help you steer your own campaign.
Not only should you look at what they are doing, but also look for what they are not doing. You may be able to identify a gap that is open to be exploited, helping you fill that gap with little or no competition.
CHOOSE YOUR PUBLISHING CHANNELS
Decide where you are going to publish your content, and how people will find it. Two of the most likely options are SEO and pay-per-click (PPC). SEO can be very powerful at driving large volumes of high-quality traffic your way, but it can take months before you begin to see results. Can you wait that long?
Another option is PPC marketing, which can help you get results quickly, but it doesn’t have the longevity that SEO does. Which one works best for you depends on your requirements, and you could consider using both.
CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR
It’s important to make sure that your content is published at a consistent and steady pace. With this in mind, you should create an editorial calendar. An editorial calendar will help you plan out your content publishing in advance so you know you are publishing at the right rate and in the right places.
Even better – content publishing software is available that helps you schedule the automatic publication of your content at given times and over a variety of channels.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The above guide is just a brief outline of what it takes to create a winning content strategy, but it covers the basics that will help set you in the right direction. Remember that you need your content to be created with a purpose in mind, and it should be aimed toward the right people. Define who your audience is, what their problems are, and how your solution will solve their problems. Also, do your research into the competition and plan out how and when you are going to publish your content.
A well-planned content strategy could make a considerable positive difference to your bottom line, so it’s good to invest time and effort in getting yours just right.