You’ve probably gone digging, trying to understand exactly what a social media content strategy is, and how to get the right pieces in place.
Not so easy! You’ve scoured the Internet for answers and have probably come back more confused than before you started.
A content strategy is actually a very simple concept. The strategies however seem to be cloaked in many layers of complexities. The definitions and methods are convoluted at best, and are not very practical.
To illustrate, two definitions of a Content Strategy, one by Wikipedia and the second by an exceptionally bright Content Strategist, Kristina Halvorson.
Wikipedia’s: “…the planning, development, and management of informational content – written or in other media.”
Kristina’s: “…content strategy [is] planning for the creation, delivery, and governance of useful, usable content”
There are many more Content Strategy definitions similar (and not similar) to Kristina’s and Wikipedia. Again, in my opinion many serve no practical purpose, and I suggest you take a totally different approach.
The Practical Ingredients Of A Content Strategy
From my perspective it’s easier to grasp the necessary ingredients of a practical content strategy if you ask yourself the following questions:
1. Who exactly is my audience?
2. What exactly does my audience want to learn?
3. In what format does my audience prefer to consume content ?
4. Which platforms are best suited for my audience?
5. How often should I be publishing content for my audience?
6. How am I supporting my business objective with my content?
You’ll notice that 5 of the 6 questions are centered around your audience. The 1 remaining questions is focused on you and your business. This is important to remember as you construct your own social media content strategy. Forget the formal definitions of a Content Strategy. Just focus on what’s right for your audience, with an eye to support your own business objective.
If your business has a unique selling proposition (which it should), then by definition your service offering is unique too. It’s the combination of the uniqueness and your potential customer who will dictate your unique content strategy – no two strategies should be the same.
As soon as you’re able to answer the above 6 questions your content strategy should become obvious.
Let’s dig in a little bit deeper.
Who Exactly Is My Audience and What Do They Want To Learn
It’s exceptionally important to understand exactly who your audience is. Each audience is unique and the same content will resonate differently amongst different audiences.
If your audience, for example, are highly technical in nature, it then makes sense to feed them the technical content that they are expecting. If you feed anything but, then you will probably lose them.
By losing them you may as well deem that your content strategy as not aligned with your audience correctly. Basically a content strategy that does not work.
In my situation I have a Standard Poodle. His name is Texas, by the way. For me to groom Texas I need content that should clearly explain how to groom Standard Poodles. I wouldn’t be interested in content that shows how to groom Toy Poodles. Nor would I be interested in understanding how the grooming equipment works.
The content needs to be correctly aligned with your audiences expectations. Otherwise you run the risk of losing your audience.
Step number 1: You need to construct content that speaks directly to your audience.
What Format and Which Platform Do My Audience Prefer
The format in which you deliver your content is important too. Different people have different format preference. Your audience, for example, may consume your content in a video format, while another audiences may prefer reading or listening to to exact same content. Different people learn differently! Then the content itself may be appropriate on one medium and not another.
There are many unique scenarios, each with its own unique outcome. So depending on your audience and the content, you need to carefully select the right format to deliver your content.
Step 2: What ever the scenario, you need intersect your audiences expectations and the content type to establish the perfect delivery format for your audience.
How Often Should I Be Publishing Content?
Content publishing frequency is a heavily debated topic. Frequency is really a combination of your audiences’ expectations and your search engine results objectives.
The more content you publish the better the chance you have of appearing in the search engine results.
When you include quality content with the quantity, then you have an even greater chance of rising to the top of the search engine results.
If your audience says they only want your content on a weekly basis then you should only publish weekly. Not bi-weekly and not monthly! Weekly! Produce a publishing schedule and try stick to it.
Again you need to judge what your audiences is expecting. Better yet, just ask them. A quick poll should give you the information you need to choose your frequency.
Step number 3: Understand what your viewers are expecting in terms of content frequency, and plan your content publishing agenda.
How Am I Supporting My Business Objective With My Content?
Do not forget your business. You can dish up content, but if your strategy does not support your business objective then your efforts will be for nothing. Absolutely nothing!
To avoid this scenario you need to ask, answer and understand a single question: “What are my business objectives?” This is a very important question, and until you understand your business objectives you can not put an effective content strategy in place.
Every business is unique (remember USP), but building a customer list seems to be a common denominator. If, for example, one of your business objectives is to build a list of prospective customers then make sure your content supports that objective. Structure your content with links to supporting articles or forms that eventually lead to your list building initiative.
Step 4: Make sure you understand your business objectives.
Step 5: Build your content strategy to support your community’s and your objectives.
Your Take Away
Having a content strategy is like having an 800 pound gorilla in your back pocket. It will help focus you on your major business objectives, and help you deliver only what is important to your community.
Your content strategy can actually be distilled down to these 5 points:
- You need to listen to your audience;
- You need to understand what content your audience is expecting;
- You need to get a sense of the platforms and format your audience prefers;
- You need to find out how often your audience wants the content delivered;
- You need to know, understand, and make sure your content strategy supports your business objective.
Understanding these pieces will help you build an effective content strategy.
Need more help with your online digital marketing strategy, implementation and execution. Please reach out and contact me.