Content is king, but even a king has supporters. Content marketing for the web creates organic traffic, but it requires a sound strategy. An experienced content strategist will develop a content strategy which ensures your content will drive traffic effectively. Content strategy shares the following:
- user experience (UX)
- interface design
- information architecture
- web development
- content marketing
- public relations
- traditional “offline” marketing
To employ an effective content strategy for websites, you must know two things: your goal and your audience. Use these creative solutions to get a better feel for your purpose and your client base.
Content Strategy Requires Teamwork
A well-developed content strategy requires collaboration from all areas listed above. By ensuring each team is focused on the end-goal, you can prevent the “too many chiefs” analogy from becoming a problem. The user’s experience should be foremost in the content strategy plan. Your content should be written with your reader and their needs in mind. Your content writer must keep their language simple and clear to keep all readers engaged.
Writing for the Reader
Filling your website with content is great, except if it is not developed using a content strategy. Your content writer needs to know your audience as well as your business goals. Each piece of content should portray your business goal and keep your reader engaged. Well-written content is also important for search engines.
When Google and other search engines crawl your content pages and find relevant information, it will rank your page where it belongs. Using search engine optimization tools and research will help you know what content is relevant to the keywords you are writing around. This is the foundation for your content strategy.
Industry Specific Content
It can be easy to get in a rut when writing and consistently write about the same topics. Staying within your industry can also get tough. Enabling RSS readers such as Feedly or Flipboard on your website will keep you up-to-date with current topics. RSS readers will pull information from other industry-specific websites, blogs, and thought leaders. This information will help in choosing your content topics to implement on your website.
Maintain a Content Schedule
Following a schedule for publishing content will ensure no gaps in content being published. A content schedule will keep your team on task. A schedule also makes your website look organized and responsive. While keeping to a schedule is key, you still must allow for some flexibility. There will be times when you have content that will need to be published sooner than your scheduled date if you want to stay current within your industry topics.
Your content should not be based only on what your business offers. You should be focusing on what your target audience wants to hear, what they want to know, how you can help them. Solving their problem will portray to readers that your website is real and keep them coming back on a regular basis.
All of these points will weigh heavily on the direction your content marketing strategy will go. Keeping your team on track using these points will ensure you have developed an effective content marketing strategy.
Content Development Through Storytelling
It helps to think of your marketing strategy as a work of fiction. Every good story has at least five elements: the hero, the setting, a central desire, an antagonist to overcome, and a plot that ties all the elements together. Each of these elements of fiction has a counterpart in creating a content strategy.
The heroes of our story are the brand and customers. One approach to content marketing strategy is through the tale of a brand’s journey to form a relationship with their customer. Another angle might tell the story of a customer’s search for the right brand to meet their needs.
A good story does not have much going for it without a good background. Background encompasses more than a physical setting; it is also the situation the hero is in when the story begins. Whether you are conducting audits, content inventories, or stakeholder interviews, understanding your brand’s landscape is vital to your web management content strategy.
The Central Desire
Every hero has a driving purpose that motivates them throughout the journey. Knowing your brand’s mission opens up a world of opportunities to implement strategies. You should have an idea of overarching goals for the brand as well as content-specific goals. The former helps shape the latter.
For content marketing purposes, the antagonists are your competitors. A word of advice: do not try to slay the dragon. Instead, visualize yourself and your competitors as running a race. You do not have to tear down another brand to excel.
Now that you have defined the central elements, the only objective that remains is tying them together with a sound strategy. Consider how your heroes will interact, what obstacles they face, and how your brand will rise above the competition to craft your website content strategy.
Developing a Content Strategy with Character Sketches
Every good story needs solid, dimensional characters. It is the same with content strategy for the web. You may know everything there is to know about your brand, but how well do you know your customers?
Buyer personas are a creative way to visualize your target market. Use this basic outline to build one or more personas that represents your ideal customer.
Shakespeare once famously asked, “What’s in a name?” It may be tempting to overlook this detail but giving your persona a name makes it easier to see them as a real person. Avoid generic names like John Smith in favor of a name with more character.
Essential details such as the personas life role(s), their company, education level, hobbies, and interests all help develop a marketing strategy that will attract this type of individual.
Decide the personas gender and age range. Note household income, including spousal income if applicable. Also, consider geographical location. Does this persona live out in the country, in the heart of a bustling city, or in idyllic suburbia?
Every individual has quirks and habits that make them unique. What catchphrases does this persona use? What mannerisms help define them?
Using Personas to Create Content Strategy
Now that you are acquainted with the persona think about what terms they regularly use for online searches. Use these keywords to create longer keyword phrases and web content that immediately sparks the interest of your persona. Build social media and blog posts around these long tail keywords. Since the subject is something that lights up this persona, you can afford to spend time fully exploring options that center around it.
Once you know the direction your content will follow, put yourself in the personas shoes. Is this a busy person who appreciates the brevity of Twitter, or an adventurous shutterbug who prefers Instagram? Focus on two or three platforms this persona is most likely to use rather than attempting to cover all bases at once.
A fresh perspective can give new life to routine tasks. Use these creative ideas to write your brand’s story and live an adventure through the process.
CEO, Flying Cow Design
Attended University of Auckland
Lives in San Francisco Bay Area