Have you ever heard of content strategy? It’s not something exclusive to huge companies producing hundreds of various content pieces each month. It might seem discouraging, as it sounds a bit sophisticated and time-consuming. But it’s a beneficial method that can bring numerous upsides for every digital publisher out there, making their performance more effective and well organized. Let’s take a closer look at how to develop and put into practice an efficient content strategy!
Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.
1. Defined goal
How can you tell that you’ve achieved something relevant if you don’t really know what you were striving for? If there’s a race, there is a finish line. It would make no sense just to run around and be happy about the traversed distance, would it? It’s that checkered tape at the end of the road that determines one’s success. And you have to search for your finish lines to settle and aim for.
A well-set goal is not just anything you’d wish for. It should meet something called S.M.A.R.T. criteria. Why? It’ll become clear right away once you learn what this acronym stands for:
- S ⎼ specific (you have to determine what exactly you want to achieve and choose one direction at a time),
- M ⎼ measurable (you should be able to keep track of different stages of the progress),
- A ⎼ achievable (it’s good to be ambitious, but you also have to stay grounded and aim for targets that are actually within your reach),
- R ⎼ relevant (reaching a goal should be really beneficial for your business and have a direct impact on it),
- T ⎼ time-bound (what you do should be given a definite time frame, as processes with no limit can just take forever).
To give it an example, “I want to increase the number of people visiting my blog” would be a poorly set goal since it doesn’t really tell you anything. In order to increase its chances to be reached, it should be formed like this “I want to increase the number of people visiting my blog from 80 000 to 100 000 in a month”. Do you see what difference it makes?
2. Buyer persona and target audience
Imagine you have to make a speech, but you’re not informed who you’ll be giving the presentation to. Does the thought increase your stress level? This is a normal reaction because if you don’t know who you’ll be speaking to, you don’t know what tone or arguments you should make in order to introduce your ideas accurately. The very same goes for running a blog or website.
In blogging terms, a target audience is a group of people who are most likely to be interested in your content. Whereas a buyer persona is a person who this group consists of. When using these terms to level up your game, you basically create the ideal user of your blog or website, taking into consideration fundamental aspects like age, sex, country of origin, interests, and hobbies, but also things like their struggles, motivations, or their possible emotional state. Don’t dig too deep into the details, though, not to make your group too narrow to be real.
In essence, you have to know to whom you address your actions. Period. It’s an essential part of developing your content strategy. It directly impacts many factors, from deciding what language and approach you should use or which distribution channels would be most efficient. But also what topics are currently important for your audience, and even what colors, layout, and graphics to use when designing your blog’s aesthetics!
3. Different message on a different stage
The dialogue between you and your audience should vary depending on the phase of the user-content relation. It also means that you should use different actions and tools for given stages. Of course, the phases will differ in the light of your industry, and with regard to the kind of content you create.
In the case of blogs and websites based on content creation, there are two main stages of relations with the internet users: awareness and maintenance. And those are the ones that you should mainly focus on, especially if you are a beginning blogger:
- In the awareness phase, you should be all about gaining your potential audience’s attention. Think where you can find your buyer personas, what platforms and social media they use, and reach for them. See what their problems or interests are (related to your subject) and how you could help them through your content. Or maybe try to gain the attention of someone else’s readers using guest blogging? Be creative with this one! Our article on how to gain new users for your website or blog may come in handy 😉
- During the maintenance stage, you should do your best to keep your audience interested in what you create. For that purpose, you might consider running a newsletter to inform your blog users about newly published content. You can do the same on your social media simultaneously. Remember that we live in busy times, so sometimes it’s better to try more than one path leading you to your audience’s consciousness. Check out our tips on how to increase your user loyalty rate for your blog or website!
4. Content calendar
This one is a game-changer. As easy as it may seem, staying organized tends to be a challenging mission for many. Entering assignments into a calendar ensures better work organization and prevents forgetting one’s duties. Sometimes all you need to get your act together is a tiny record in a planner saying that you have to accomplish one specific task by an established deadline. That’s it! Somehow, it keeps the ball rolling.
Undoubtedly, the most essential “tool” in being organized is self-discipline. To help our memory follow such an admirable trait, we can help ourselves with more tangible tools, which differ depending on what we’re comfortable with. You can even start with pen and paper! When it comes to digital solutions, you can create a simple schedule or use other programs’ extensions. Of course, there are also tools built specifically for the organization of content creation processes. Let’s name some great unpaid options (or offering free versions) perfect for beginners:
5. Measuring effects and drawing conclusions
You can tell that something works only by seeing the effects. In the case of website or blog effectiveness, you should keep track of users’ behavior. To get such data, you can use various tools, like Google Analytics. Instead of drawing hypothetical conclusions about what people might like to read, analyze the performance of your already existing content and how they reacted to it.
Once you have the hard data, ask yourself the following questions: What form of content do they prefer reading ⎼ long, short, or listings? What subjects are they more interested in? What type of content speaks to them the most ⎼ personal stories, product reviews, interviews, reportage? But also track their off-blog actions, like: If you add share buttons on your pages, see what articles your users share more often. Do you post on social media? Then see where your audience is more active and what exactly makes them speak up.
No matter what stage of blog or website development you are in, a well-established strategy will definitely boost your performance. It does take a bit of involvement, but once you start generating a significant amount of content, it proves to be a life savior, protecting you from sinking in the chaos. It’s not easy to take a step back and build a strategy when you’re already deeply submerged in the creation process. Still, finding time to fix what has to be fixed will only ensure a comfortable arrangement of future actions. Without a doubt, though, the best moment to create your content strategy is right at the beginning, when you just start setting sails. So go for it!