13 Tips For Developing Your Brand’s Initial Content Strategy
Successful PR, media strategy, creative and advertising executives from Forbes Agency Council share trends and tips.
Every brand needs a solid content marketing strategy to reach consumers, including a plan for multiple content types across multiple platforms.
If you’ve never been on the planning end of a content strategy, it can be overwhelming. How can you find the right balance of blogging, social media posts, videos, email campaigns, infographics and contributed content — and how can you keep coming up with fresh ideas? If you’re developing your first content strategy, follow this advice from 13 experienced professionals of the Forbes Agency Council.
1. Get Used To Non-Linear StorytellingThe luxury of telling a story with a beginning, middle and end is declining. If you think about ways to communicate across screens, attention spans and levels of interest, your content will resonate with more people. While the story may be disconnected (a gif here, a video there, an infographic elsewhere), as long as they communicate the same main idea, they will be effective. – Kieley Taylor, GroupM
2. Map The Customer Journey
Before creating a content strategy, it’s vital to know when, where and how to best reach your target audience. Answer these questions by mapping their customer journey. Include emotions, thoughts and expectations at each touchpoint of the journey. This will help guide both content and channel, and result in highly relevant material for customers and prospects. – Howard Breindel, DeSantis Breindel
3. Don’t Make Content For Content’s Sake
Good marketing’s purpose never changes — what need are you trying to solve for? Creating content for content’s sake just adds noise. Your first question is: What are your consumers’ needs, and how will your content solve for them in a way that your existing marketing efforts don’t? Are you telling a more emotional story, providing a clearer value proposition, or reaching new consumers? – Craig Greiwe, Rogers & Cowan
4. Know Your Content’s Destination
With so many different media platforms out there, your content should be created with the knowledge of where it will live. Will it air on television? Will it be placed on Facebook, YouTube or your website? Tailoring your content to the medium will not only make it more appropriate for the space, it will make it more effective. – Bill McCabe, Eicoff
5. Make Sure All Content Communicates Your Brand’s Core Values
A content strategy is not just a box to check, it’s essential. If you are a consumer-facing business, your content is what your customers are consuming well before they pull the trigger to make a purchase. Pick a content strategy that communicates your brand’s core values in a voice that resonates with your audience. Most importantly, don’t be generic. – Eric Dahan, Open Influence
6. Develop An Evergreen Content Plan Around Broad Themes And Common Questions
Many organizations start a content program at extremes, with too many ideas or too few. Begin with common customer questions, misinformation or complaints to build your library. Think in terms of broad themes, all of which are supported by individual posts that are narrow and deep. Evergreen content can help you scale your program faster than topical posts, and can be repurposed for years to come. – Michelle Pittman, JConnelly
7. Create Content That Speaks To Your Expertise, Knowledge And Insights
Ensure that the content itself is based on your expertise, knowledge and insights. For example, if you’re a consumer products company, your content should not center around travel tips. Also, remember that audiences are bombarded with content and have limited attention spans. Keep it brief and give it some flavor. – Anne Marie Malecha, Dezenhall Resources, Ltd.
8. Develop Your Audience Personas
The first and most important thing while developing a content strategy is to develop your audience personas and understand where to reach them so you develop a multi-channel strategy approach. This is the fuel for all of your digital marketing activities. Make sure your audience is engaged, as the quality of your content is key to driving success. – Martha Madero Gonzalez, GROU Crecimiento Digital
9. Provide Solutions With Your Content
Content marketing works best when your content provides answers or solutions to your target audience’s questions or problems. By answering their questions and solving their problems, you are positioning yourself as a subject matter expert and building trust and respect. This is what makes content marketing so powerful. – Adam Stone, Octane Marketing
10. Identify What’s Not Being Talked About
With every content marketing strategy, the best way to scale is to start small and target an underserved niche. If you want to make a statement, reach a target audience and provide value, create a unique piece of content that discusses something in the industry that’s forward-thinking and not touched upon. Back up pieces with research and solid arguments. Start the conversation, don’t join it. – Kristopher Jones, LSEO.com
11. Be Ready To Adapt And Evolve Based On Data
A content strategy needs to be fluid and should evolve based on performance, so don’t obsess over the minutiae. Start with developing content that not only aligns with your overall business objectives but also gives your targets what they are looking for. You will become more efficient over time and data will tell you what is working and what isn’t. Stop planning and start doing. – Jacquelyn LaMar, VI Marketing and Branding
12. Focus On Your Ideal Client
In the service space, it’s easy to talk shop — to focus on things that matter to the service provider. This is a classic first-timer mistake. Instead, create a profile of your ideal client and develop topics that speak to their goals, opportunities and challenges. Define your best advice for these three areas, then build your editorial calendar and stick to it. This works very well. – Randy Shattuck, The Shattuck Group
13. Use What Google Gives You
Google provides several tools to assist with the creation of a content strategy. Use these tools to determine which content should lead the strategy. The best tool is Google Analytics. Past performance is typically a good indicator of future success. Identify what has worked, and then figure out how to do more of it. Then, rely on tools from Google to fill in the rest of the content strategy. – Brett Farmiloe, Markitors Website Development