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What is Content Strategy: And How To Create One For Your Business

It’s never been cheaper to start a business.

For example, if you want to style hair or train dogs, you can get in contact with potential customers right away through any social network.

Although starting a business is cheap, it’s arguably more complicated than it used to be.

Back in the day, to market your business, you’d find a bus stop bench or billboard along a road and plaster it with your brand.

In today’s world, there’s constant talk about algorithms and virality, two words that were historically found in science labs.

This article will help make content marketing simple again.

So, let’s get started on putting together a content strategy that will help customers find your business.

What is Content Strategy?

Think of your content strategy or content marketing plan as your internal source of truth and guidance.

Your content strategy should tell you and your team who your target audience is and how you are going to make their lives easier. (We will get deeper into this later)

Content Strategy Definition

The plan you put in place to deliver educational value to your target audience.

Bad Advice You Will Find on The Internet 

Remember when I said it’s never been easier to create content and get it in front of your target audience?

Well, unfortunately, that also means there is a lot of bad advice circling the internet. 

Here’s the content marketing advice that does more harm than good: 

  1. You should post on all channels: blogs, social networks, youtube. 

    This is good advice if you have a team of people who are capable enough to manage multiple channels.

    Forcing yourself to spread what little resources you have is a losing game.

    Every channel (SEO, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Youtube) favors content creators that are very active on their platform.

    Spreading yourself across 3 platforms means your putting yourself at a disadvantage on each one.

    However, focusing all of your marketing efforts on 1 channel has lots of benefits:
  • You’ll master that channel.

  • You’ll spend less time recreating the same content for different channels and focus on actually growing your audience.

  • That 1 channel will recognize the work your putting in and favor you. Showing your content to more people.
  1. You should be creating tons of content.

    Time and time again people ask me, “I post on social every day” or “I put out a blog post a day, sometimes 2” and follow it up with “Why isn’t my audience growing?”

    This is a double-edged sword, as we will get into in the next section.

    Yes, you do need to create consistent content to keep your audience engaged on any marketing channel.

    However, putting in the extra time to promote your content is just as, if not more, important.

    If you create a piece of content with no intention to promote that piece of content, no one will know your content exists and it won’t change your bottom line.

    The secret here is to create content that you can promote for a long time coming.

The 2 Pillars of Content Strategy

Being that growth & marketing is my craft, I’ve been privileged to speak with tons of business owners and marketers. 

Some of them have been able to get results that make them look like geniuses to their peers.

Others create a ton of content and most of it flops, never driving customers to their business.

What’s the secret sauce for the ultra-performers?

You might have already picked it up from the last section.

Ultra-performers spend a ton of time promoting their content.

Most people creating content use a ‘publish & pray’ thought process. (That’s a term I learned from an amazing blogger and SEO expert Brian Dean)

Understanding that leaves us with our 2 pillars:

  1. Content Creation
  2. Content Promotion

One is useless without the other.

Let’s jump into creating your content strategy and circle back around to content promotion.

Understanding Your Target Audience: What, Who, When, Where, & How

 Early in my digital marketing career, I took a digital marketing course from Udacity.

The course was pretty basic and doesn’t go very deep into any channel, but they gave me a framework for documenting my target audience that I still use years later.

 What

This one is pretty simple. What are you selling? 

A little trick here, what you sell is not the item or service, it’s the result of the product or service.

For example, Volvo sells cars, yet all of their marketing shows that they really sell peace of mind that you’re buying the safest vehicle on the market.

Who

Who are you selling to? What do they believe? What is their position at their company? Are they married? Parents? Surfers? Bikers? Car enthusiasts? Mountain climbers?

Focus on their demographics (age, marital status, political affiliation, job position, etc.), geographics (where do they live?), and Pshychograpghics (what are their beliefs, what are their values?).

When

When reflects the target audiences’ position in their journey. 

Ask yourself what ‘stage’ your audience is in. For example, this blog post is written for someone that is a novice or intermediate marketer/blogger.

If I was writing for someone farther along in their journey this would be a much more technical article.

Where

Where is your target audience, and where will they see your message? Remember my reference to the old days?

The where for them was a billboard or a bus stop.

This is the medium and the channel that you share your message on.

For you, it’s likely to be a social network or a blog.

How

The What is about what you’re offering. The how is all about how you get them there.

What is all about a feeling. The feeling of safety (in our Volvo example). The how uses logic to explain how you obtain that feeling.

Volvo’s how would be extra airbags, automatic braking in the face of danger, and rear view sensors that tell you when not to change lanes.

Fill out your What, Who, When, Where, & How and keep it handy as a reminder of your marketing objectives. 

Now, let’s get to the good stuff, knowing what content to create.

RELATED: Understanding The Customer Journey.

Topic Clusters 

In mid-2017 Hubspot came out with an article about the next evolution of SEO. 

In short, they say that Google now favors content that covers an entire topic, using multiple blog posts that link together.

For example, let’s say I have a blog about dogs, and one of my topics is dog training.

My pillar content might be a general blog post that briefly talks about the different aspects of dog training.

Leash training

Crate training

Behavioral adjustment training

Etc… 

In that blog post, the section on leash training would link to another blog post that goes over leash training in much more depth.

And so on with the other subtopics.

If you create content for Instagram (or any other platform), this is still relevant.

Google’s goal is always to deliver the best experience for the end-user. 

If Google thinks it’s best to create content using the topic cluster model, it’s also how the consumer wants their content delivered to them.

This makes knowing what content to produce a lot easier.

Just go through these 3 steps: 

  1. Identify what your topics are.

  2. Find 3-5 subtopics for each topic

  3. Find 3-5 subtopics for each subtopic 

By the time you get 2 levels down, you’ve found enough topics to keep creating content for a long time. 

Promoting Your Content

If you’ve created a lot of content, you’ve probably realized the “build it and they will come” philosophy doesn’t apply to young online businesses.

Eventually, when you have an organic traffic base, the philosophy will apply. 

For now, you need to focus on promoting your content.

Hint: When deciding what content to create, check what content has already performed well.  If it has performed well for someone else, it can perform well for you too.

Through the internet, there are millions of ways to promote your content. Nailing down a strategy that works for your business can be tough.

Fortunately, through my own trial and error, I have discovered some guidelines that you should follow to see some early success.

  1. Stay away from ads.

    Advertising online can be extremely profitable. However, I don’t recommend you use ads to promote your content.

    Here’s why: If you’re not experienced in online advertising. It’s probably the easiest way to lose money fast.

    Also, with ads, you don’t get any of the long term benefits you get by promoting your content organically.

    For example, if your writing for your blog, promoting your blog post with Facebook ads might drive traffic to your site, but it won’t help you with your SEO.

    If you spent those resources on promoting your article on other people’s blogs, Google will recognize the organic marketing and start driving search traffic to your website.

  2. Promote your content on the same channel.

    This one might be obvious, yet I see a lot of people find interesting ways to promote their content that just end up wasting time.

    If you post your content on Instagram, promote your content on Instagram. If you write blogs, promote your content on other blogs.

    This is how you will get the full benefit of whatever channel you post content on.

  3. Networking with other content creators is key.

    Imagine you put $100 on a busy street in New York City for anyone to grab. It’ll take a few seconds for someone to snag that $100.

    Now Imagine you put that same $100 on the ground in a desert. No one will find it.

    Think of your content like that $100. Your job is to place it somewhere someone is going to pick it up.

    Now, $100 is universally valuable, and your content is only valuable to your target audience. So, your goal is to place it somewhere the traffic is made up of your target audience.

    Most of the time, that somewhere is another content creator’s audience.

    Building a network of content creators in your niche pays huge dividends for your business and theirs.

What To Do With Your Traffic.

Now that you have traffic. You need to turn that traffic into sales.

One way is to drive traffic directly to your product page.

If you’ve done all the previous steps, you can expect to see some sales assuming you have driven enough traffic.

A more popular strategy is to offer an exclusive piece of content in exchange for your prospect’s email. 

Getting into their inbox is much more personal.

You can announce new product launches, new content, or just about anything really.

In fact, some bloggers (Including Brian Dean from backlinko) have taken their products off of their website completely and only offer them to their email subscribers because the conversion rate is that much higher.

If you want to learn more about email marketing, I recommend checking out the email section on Smart Passive Income.

What’s Next

There it is! Our take on content strategy. 

It’s important to note that is not how content strategy is taught in college courses. 

At The Kidd Group, we focus on delivering content that doesn’t have the extra fluff.

There’s certainly more to learn when it comes to content marketing. This article is meant to get you started working on what actually matters.

Looking for more education on content marketing & strategy? 

Check out these articles:

The Content Pyramid - Smart Passive Income

The Beginners Guide To Content Marketing - Moz

What is Content Marketing? - Content Marketing Institute

Instagram For Business: How to Blow Up Your Brand [Guide]

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