What is a Content Strategy?

If you’re familiar with content strategy, you probably also know something about content marketing. But perhaps you’re not as familiar with what content strategy is, or how it fits with content marketing.

In this article, we’ll talk about what a content strategy looks like and how it fits into your content marketing plan. By the end of the article, you should have enough information to decide whether you need a content strategy, and how valuable it would be for your company.

Before we go into the intricacies of content strategy, we should establish a simple definition. In the most basic sense, a content strategy is a plan that details specific action steps for your content marketing funnel. The basic strategy can be broken down into 5 parts. The first 3 of the 5 part strategy can be grouped into what I like to call content planning. The final 2 belong to content delivery planning. But all of these make up an important part of your strategy.

We’ll discuss the first three in this post, and finish it up in the next post. For your reference, here are the 5 pieces of a content strategy. And they probably look familiar.

  1. Who – know who you’re writing to
  2. What – know what you’re writing about
  3. Why – know why you’re producing content
  4. When – know when to introduce prospects to each piece of content
  5. How – know how your content is delivered to your customer/prospect

1 – Know Who You’re Writing To

This part of a content strategy is, unfortunately, the most often overlooked. Perhaps most people believe they already know who they’re writing to. Their  customer, right?

Well, of course your customer or your client is your audience. But who is that person? What do they like? What don’t they like? How do you make their lives better? Are they already aware that your services exist?

You have to be able to answer these questions if you want to create a good plan for releasing your content. Writing great content to the wrong audience will get you nowhere fast. In fact, it will end up alienating you from the very people you hope to attract. And that’s a lose-lose situation.

2 – Know What You’re Writing About

When planning a new content strategy, many people just skip straight to this step for content delivery. After all, content is the “what,” right?

However, when you take time to examine the “who,” you’ll often discover that the “what” isn’t the content you originally thought you should write. Nobody understands your product or service better than you. That’s a given. But you may find that the way other people perceive the need for your product differs from your ideas.

If that’s the case, as it often is, you end up producing a lot of content that doesn’t actually help your cause. Instead of engaging potential customers and pulling them in, it bores them and pushes them away. Or at best it serves as a long monologue to let Google know you’re still there.

But once you know who your customer is, you can find out what he’s searching for. Once you know that, you’ll know what to write about.

And this brings us to the third important part of your content strategy…

3 – Know Why You’re Producing Content

The why is simple, right? To increase your business, specifically in this case through digital connections and sales.

As simple as it is though, that end goal often ends up forgotten. Content writers get so into the SEO and scheduled content that they often forget the need to drive sales. As a result, too often content marketing fails to produce the way you believe it should.

Of course, search engine optimization, maintaining a steady stream of content, and analyzing response to content all play an important part in your content strategy. But without strategy, you’re left with a bunch of meaningless data. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind why you’re producing the content. You want to see a return on the time or monetary investment you’re putting in.

Content Plan Complete

Once you’ve finished these three points your content plan will be ready to go. In fact, I like to summarize this phase of content strategy into ‘what to write.’ Once you know what to write, you need to understand the next phase of content strategy. And that is when and how to deliver.

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