01 Dec Content Creation: Content Strategy Guide
Content Creation: Content Strategy Guide
Content is huge. It is our source for answers to our questions, information to support our decisions, entertainment, and learning something new. It is essential when it comes to raising awareness about our brand, attracting new audiences, helping them engage and eventually monetize your business, brand, or idea.
In this article we will cover the answers to the following crucial questions;
- What is Content Creation?
- Why is Content Important?
- What is Content Strategy?
- How to Develop a Content Workflow?
- A complete Guide to Content Creation
What is Content Creation?
In a nutshell, Content creation is the process of generating ideas that will attract your potential audience. Then, build a strategy to create and distribute your content around the ideas you have.
Why is Content Important?
You already know by now that for a lot of brands or businesses using both; outbound and inbound marketing is the only way to ensure revenue.
Just imagine how great it would be to be able to rely on your inbound marketing in generating your revenue? Cool, right?
Content creation is the inbound marketing practice, that, if done properly, will be life-changing for the business or personal brand.
By providing free, educational content, that is unbiased and honest, you have the potential to attract new customers, help them become loyal, and retain your existing clients or customers. What matters here, is the long-lasting, quality engagement of your audience, that ends up in a solid ROI.
Just look at the stats!
- Content marketing generates 3 times as many leads as traditional marketing while it costs 62% less.
- 61% of online purchases are the result of reading a blog post.
There are more stats on how Content is the major component of business growth. But to ensure growth your content should be strategic and well planned. Now let’s dive into the Content Strategy.
What is Content Strategy?
Content strategy is the process responsible for translating business requirements through content creation and distribution.
The main focus of the Content strategy is planning, organizing, creating, delivering, and curating the content.
It is obvious that if you have reached the phase of strategizing your content, you already have the basic idea of values around which you will be building the content and the outline of the target you want to achieve.
Your content strategy should include each and every phase from branding and messaging to channels you will distribute it through and metrics that will be important for you.
Now, let’s go over the steps of content plan creation.
Set Goals and be Specific
The goals should be derived from the core values, objectives, and vision you have for your business or personal brand.
To make this task easier, you can start from the end. What are the final results you aspire to achieve this year? Now break it down to quarters and then to months and, eventually to weeks. This should be a more generic way of defining your overall goals with the business, so later, you will be defining your goals for Content and it all will make perfect sense.
This will give you the clarity to define your yearly, quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals. This in return, will ensure you know the day-to-day activities that will lead you to achieve the goals you set. It will also give you peace of mind, knowing you are on the right track, otherwise, there is a big risk to side-track and get derailed from your core objectives.
Implement a Workflow
Having your Content creation and distribution workflow will not only make your efforts more targeted and efficient, but it will also help you have a breakdown of big chunks of work into smaller tasks in an organised, structured way, ensuring that you have control of your efforts and outcomes.
Below, you will find a step-by-step guide with everything you need to create a workflow that will ensure your processes are simple, still comprehensive.
Create a System and Use Tools
Lastly, it is important to have a system when it comes to Content Management. There are tons of tools available in the market, but you don’t need to get out there and start browning for software to manage your content right now.
It is way better to first of all test the ground, check for yourself what works best for you and how you enjoy performing your tasks, and then only, if necessary, purchase software to organize your content.
Here are some free tools for your reference.
- Asana – project management tool to manage your tasks, subtasks and keep all your documents handy
- Google – the drive to keep everything in one place and docs, sheets, slides to have all your content with relevant versions
- Hubspot – the free version covers a lot of features for the initial stages of CRM.
You may also need mass mailing and post-scheduling tools if you are planning to distribute content via these channels, and in that case, depending on your channels and content type you can find the tools that work best and don’t come in enterprise-level price tags only.
How to Develop a Content Workflow? Here’s your guide
To develop a SMART content strategy with an efficient workflow, all you need is to follow this guide and make sure you are on top of your processes, so you can return to any of the steps if necessary and review or revise the plan.
- Define your purpose for Content
- Run a Content audit
- Ideate, research, and ideate again
- Draft your content structure
- Create and Optimize Content
- Post, distribute, and promote Content
- Analyze results
- Evaluate the process, improve, continue.
Now, to make it work for you, let’s go one by one.
Define your purpose/goals for Content
The goal or purpose of your content will vary depending on the phase of your development as well as which part of your customer journey you want to address. At different stages you may focus on different goals for your Content, for example;
- Attract new audiences
- Gain more followers
- Increase lead conversions
- Raise brand awareness
- Educate customers on products and services
- Strengthen customer loyalty
- Ensure customer retention
And depending on your goal for that specific period, you will be able to concentrate your efforts in that particular direction.
Run a Content audit
Even though you may have been creating and distributing content and achieving your goals without audit, it is an essential step that you will ultimately benefit from.
This process usually sounds intimidating, but it’s a simple inventory of your already generated content and how it performed along with social media platforms.
Eventually, it will help you discover gaps, missing links, best performing content and will navigate you in the right direction with your future Content creation processes.
Here’s an easy way you can perform a content audit right after reading this blog:
- Gather all of the content you created in a spreadsheet
- Create columns with criteria for each goal /phase/stage, then the topic, keywords, and hashtags you have used
- Fill out that spreadsheet with your content, this is easy, you already have it
- Now add more columns for metrics – impressions, likes, shares, saves, etc.
- Sort and group posts (for example, you can create a separate column and give some points to each post there) by performance
- And, finally, create a column with notes for each post or group to add comments about what worked well and what needs improvement.
Content audit results will help you make improvements that will improve your Content performance dramatically in a long run.
Ideate, research, and ideate again
It is incredible how this scheme of ideating, researching, and then ideating again works magic for Content creation. If you just ideate, you don’t have research to support or confront your ideas, If you just research, you may be caught up in already existing content and lose your creativity in trying to match what there is or just outdo it.
The secret is to first brain-dump all ideas you have, then go out there and start researching and only after that, based on the results of your research, refine and come up with more ideas to make it unique and add your narrative.
Here are a few tactics you can employ to make your ideation and research work best:
- Evaluate your competitors and perform a gap analysis, to understand what works
- Find questions people are asking in your sphere, think about answer
- Think about current trends, which are relevant to your audience and your brand?
Draft your content structure
Create a structure for your content. This process will vary depending on business type and Content goals. But there are a few items, that will help you get organized:
- Categorize by purpose – awareness, conversion, loyalty, etc
- Categorize by type – educational, promotional, etc.
- Categorize by format – blog post, newsletter, infographic, audio, video, short video for TikTok or IG reels, etc
- Define how many of each type you will create in one month
- Define formats per type and assign to the ideas you have
- Organize them in a specific sequence
- Assign preliminary deadlines or publishing dates
By doing this, you will have an initial picture of your content calendar for the next month (or quarter, if you will) which will help you initiate the process way more easily.
Create and optimize content
Now you are ready to start the content creation process itself. At this stage, there are, again, a few things to remember:
- Have your branding kit handy, know your messaging, colors, and aesthetics
- Remember, mobile-first. Keep this in mind especially when creating visuals, and generally, be mindful of search engines.
- Do your SEO. Keywords, meta, and alt-texts should be always included.
- To be more effective, create content in packages, let’s say the video for YouTube should come with a thumbnail, title, description with keywords, hashtags, etc.
Post, distribute, and promote Content
Create a schedule and stick to it. It is an amazing practice of having the content prepared for at least 2 weeks in advance. If you need to add or change something you are free to do so, but having content planned and scheduled in advance not only will reduce stress and anxiety but also result in creativity for the next batch of posts.
A few little tips to help you see results when you publish your Content;
- Create more of a “sharable” content to reach more people
- Try a cross-platform approach to attract a bigger audience and traffic (you can redirect them to your main platform)
- Post to social media more than once a day, suing stories is a great practice
- Build an email list and utilize it
- Repurpose your old content
- Syndicate your content if it’s possible
You already have your goals, now set yourself some metrics or KPIs and make it a habit of constantly evaluating your Content performance. By doing this, you will not only eliminate the effort spent on tasks that are not effective but also strengthen what works and improve your overall results.
Some of the metrics can include;
- Traffic statistics
- Leads and conversion rate
- Time on page and bounce rate
- Social media saves and shares
- Impressions and Engagement
The list can grow depending on your Content type and goals, but even starting small will be a great way to ensure you don’t lose time and money on generating Content that is not serving the purpose.
Evaluate the process, improve, continue
Constant analysis and evaluation will help you improve your content strategy and help you come to grow and develop, refining your Content and achieving your goals way easier.
No matter where you start, all you need is a passion for what you want to share with the World. Just find your narrative, implement some best practices and good habits, and you’re ready to fly.