The words ‘content,’ ‘content strategy,’ and ‘content plan’ are often used interchangeably in today’s fast-paced digital world. In order to scale, brands need to solidify a content strategy that’s tailored to meet all of their different audience segments where they are at the right time using the right format. Setting a content strategy ensures you meet all the needs possible to reach and connect with your audience clearly and consistently.
To do that, here are some things to keep in mind while designing a content strategy to help your brand grow.
Consumers have grown more engaged with brands during the pandemic. While that’s a great thing, it also means having a solid content strategy is more important than ever. You can be creative, but always remain rooted in your goal: is it to inspire, delight, or educate? What will resonate with your audience? What will they remember when they think of your brand later? It’s not enough to have a strategy; you need one that’s specific to what you’re doing and who you’re doing it for.
-Danielle Calabrese, COO of De La Calle
A big piece of curating a content strategy is developing your audience personas first. You need to really hone in on who you’re serving so that you deliver content that’s relevant to them in their preferred formats. This will help the process be more grounded in realistic plans. When you better understand what audience personas you’re catering to, you can create an all-encompassing strategy to serve all of them based on their specific needs and preferences. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to content; you want it to be as tailored as possible.
-Jeff Henretig, President of Apothecanna
Scalability is all about automation. One of my biggest content strategy tips is to build out a monthly content calendar and create content for at least the following two months. First, utilize content planning platforms such as Sprout Social and Airtable. This will allow you to be organized and align with your marketing and social media team. Second, have a dedicated content creation team. With specialization comes automation and efficiency. Third and most significantly, be sure to constantly analyze and research your social media and content efforts. Understand what your followers and customers want, investigate impressions and shares, and create forward-looking content that aligns with these findings.
-Amanda E. Johnson CMO of HIDE
Email is your ticket to building a good feedback loop early on, even if you have 10 subscribers. You’ll start seeing who’s coming back to your site. You can start driving people back and building a bit of a machine. You can set up an email newsletter in 20-25 minutes and it gives you so much good data. You have to remind people that you’re there, you care, you’re adding value — as much as you can before you become annoying. People will start to expect to hear from you, and they feel like they know you.
-Joe Coleman, CEO of Contently
Keep in mind that search engines prioritize high-quality content that actually gives relevant answers to what users are searching for. Always ensure your content is top-notch, thoughtful, and relevant to your audience. Even if you’re an emerging brand, you can rank higher on search results if you provide useful content. No one is searching for irrelevant content that wastes their time. Remember that readers have a very small attention span and can quickly become frustrated or distracted, leaving your website and a potential sale behind.
-Travis Killian, Owner and CEO of Everlasting Comfort
Provide real, raw, relevant information. Don’t establish yourself as an authority on a topic you know nothing about. Instead, hone in on your niche and look for ways to genuinely add context to a conversation rather than trying to lead on a more general topic that’s covered in a million other places. You can be a thought leader in your industry by providing something fresh and unique. Don’t repeat the conversation; enhance it.
-Chris Hetherington, Founder and CEO of Peels
Find what works and stick to it. There’s no rule that your brand has to post all types of content across every social channel. You should have a really specific goal for each channel you’re on. Start with a few content types and channels and see where you get the best results. After analyzing a few months’ worth of content, stick with a few core pieces that will help you develop a loyal follower base. You can grow from there in a more organic, less forced fashion. Even if your competitors seem to be performing well everywhere, it won’t serve you to directly copy their tactics.
-Ted Toledano, Founder of Modloft
If you aren’t yet capitalizing on automation, you’re missing a huge opportunity to solidify your content strategy, grow your audience, and simplify your marketing efforts. You need data to inform you of why you’re doing something. Otherwise you’re creating content blindly. Using a tool like HubSpot can help you strategize what types of content make the most sense for your business; it uses machine learning to analyze competitors and ensure you’re pursuing content that’s worth your time. Then you can incorporate human creativity and analysis to streamline and refine your plans.
-Michael Waxman, Co-founder of Sundays for Dogs
Always get right to the point. This is valuable when it comes to your overall content strategy, as well as for each individual piece of content within it. Assume your audience has no time, and reel them in right away without too much fluff. Follow the hook with more in-depth details throughout the post. This will help you rank higher in Google results too. Customers appreciate relevant content that answers their questions without having to reach out to a representative. They want help now, without having to jump through hoops.
-Dan Potter, Managing Director and CEO of CRAFTD
At each stage of the customer’s buying journey, relevant content can bring them to the website, engage them, and help convert them to buyers. Content is not the same as a campaign; it allows you to reach, engage, and convert the majority of people who ignore promotional marketing. It’s up to marketers to build a business case for developing good content.
-Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group
Establish and stick to your brand voice. Create and clarify a tone of voice that will come across clearly and effectively for multiple age groups and demographics. Your brand’s core story itself should reel readers in: what value and ethical standards do you have? Lead your storytelling with the values that will resonate with your target audience. Don’t try too hard to sound ‘cool’ — just be genuine instead.
-Adam Reed, CEO of Crown and Paw
You hear mental health experts saying this and it’s true: do not live your life on social media. The same is true for businesses. Your content can of course be supported by social media marketing, but ultimately it should live on your own channels so that you have full control and access anytime. Social platforms are always changing, and as we saw in October with the Facebook outage, they can’t be fully relied upon. Keep the reins in your hands.
-Lisa Odenweller, Founder and CEO of Kroma Wellness