Companies should always have a content strategy – a plan for the content they are going to create and communicate to their target audience. That said, it’s amazing how many don’t take the time to do this because… they don’t have the time. Content creation often happens in a much more ad hoc way, or even doesn’t happen at all.
During these COVID-19 lockdown times, many people may be experiencing a downturn in their business, creating more time in their usually overly busy timetable. So we thought we would put together a blog on how to create an effective content strategy, in case you want to invest some of that time in planning out the next few weeks or months of client communication.
One thing that is going to make people remember you during these times is quality communication – and this means quality content. At the end of all this, you want your company to be the one that people remember.
What is a content strategy?
The reason behind creating content is to stay at the forefront of people’s minds. So, like anything else, it needs a strategic approach. You wouldn’t walk into a pitch meeting without a well-formulated plan. Well, think of content as a pitch – its essence is to pitch your business, albeit in an indirect way.
Content can be used to attract new customers (and, of course, retain existing ones) by offering them useful information. And it comes in many forms:
Social media posts
Including a variety of these in a well-laid-out, week-by-week plan will ensure that you connect with the maximum number of people possible.
How to create a content strategy
A content strategy should be focused around your business goals and the needs of your potential and existing customers. Using the ‘who, what, where, when, why’ approach will help you work all this out. So, ask yourself these questions:
Who – think about your target audience and their demographic. Use types of content that will attract them and a tone of voice that will resonate with them.
What – decide on what form of content you want to send out. Obviously, blogs are a brilliant way of keeping your website updated and can easily be used to up your social media presence. But think about what really gets your customers ticking. This is the way you’ll really stand out from your competitors. Do they value long-form content like white papers, or would a little direct mail parcel through their door brighten their day?
Where – it’s really important to know where your customers hang out, and prepare content that fits. You can’t take the same approach for LinkedIn as you do for Instagram or Facebook, unless you want the ‘this isn’t Facebook’ police after you!
When – scheduling is a big part of a content strategy. It not only reduces the risk of you falling prey to the ‘I’ll write that blog next week’ procrastination, but it also allows you to look ahead and see what you’ll need. Ask yourself how often you want to post blogs and social media posts. Do you want to run a quarterly direct mail campaign? Are you attending any events that you will need marketing material for?
Why – with each piece of content you put into a content strategy, you should ask yourself what the purpose of it is. Is it to improve search rankings, increase brand awareness, generate leads, get potential customers over the conversion line or reignite old flames?
Once you’ve answered these questions, the final step is to put it all down in an online calendar, planning out week by week what you are going to post and where, and also setting deadlines for the copy to be produced. Copy rushed on the day is rarely as good as copy that’s been prepared in advance and run past a few people before being posted out to the masses.
Coming up with a content strategy can be a great team project. Maybe you have someone that is great with ideas, someone else who is great with logistics and planning, and someone who excels at implementation. There are lots of elements to creating a solid content strategy, so you need people to play to their strengths.
A word of advice – be flexible and reactive
While having a plan is great, you need to stay flexible. Coronavirus has made it very clear that things can change rapidly, and you need to react, which can mean changing focus with your content.
In the first couple of weeks of lockdown, Virgin ads enticing you to spend a day at a spa kept popping up on Facebook. The effect? We’re all stuck at home being teased with pictures of luxurious spas – thanks Virgin. While this will have been an automation issue, you have to stay aware, and the first thing you should be ready to do is to pull the plug if something happens in the world that means your content will no longer be relevant or well-received.
So, do you fancy taking the time to come up with a content strategy that will ensure your company is the one people remember when they are in need of your products or services? We’d love to hear how you get on!
Of course, if you need any support in creating a solid content strategy, the Crescent Copywriting team is always willing to help. We love putting our logistics hat on! Get in touch and we can chat it through.
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