Here are three things that I tell my clients:
You’ll better understand your place in the market.
A good content strategy starts with you digging deeper into your competitive market. You’ll learn how your competitors are messaging their offerings, what types of content they’re putting out to the types of customers you want. It helps you look at how frequently they are posting to give you a baseline. When you map those out, you’ll understand what the difference between your offerings and theirs is, what types of content they do well and where you might be able to bridge the gaps for your clients.
List your top 3 competitors in a spreadsheet, vertically. Horizontally, list the topics are they talking about, what types of content (think video, blog social media posts, white papers, etc.). For each topic, and content type, rate the quality of their coverage from 1-10. Those with a 7 point rating or lower offers you a competitive gap to start your producing your content from.
You’ll understand your customer better.
Best practice for a great content strategy is to frame out what your best customers look like for each offering you put out into the world. By doing this, you’ll learn what motivates them personally and professionally as well as what challenges your offering is helping them solve. And if you imagine that each piece of content you produce is a love letter to your customer, that’s the person you’re writing to! Use those personas to help keep them and their challenges in your mind’s eye. Think about the language they’re using and the intricacies of their human experience to create content that resonates with them.
Look at your customers as a whole. Who are your most profitable? Who are the lowest maintenance? Interview 5 of them and ask them a few questions:
Find common threads in their challenges and motivations to create a starting point for your personas.
A content strategy will help you build your personal brand.
People don’t trust companies, they trust people. Coming from a human perspective that isn’t a faceless company, will help you establish trust with people consuming your content. And having that human create regular content that speaks to them in a way that’s relevant and tackles their real-life problems gives you a leg up on your competitor. When you’re pitching or selling, having an established personal brand means that someone might have already heard of you. If that’s a positive thing, then your path to closing the deal is shorter.
Regularly write content that helps solve your customer’s challenges. Create a schedule that rotates through different aspects of your customer’s challenges. Look at seasonality and trends that impact your customer’s work or play. Try publishing on Tuesdays at 9am. In as little as 400 words regularly posted on your blog and posted on your most relevant social media networks, you will build audience and create a reputation for good solutions for your customer base.
The bottom line is start somewhere. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of great. Even if you do one of these a month, you’ll be smarter about your customers and what you can do to help them solve critical challenges that are impacting their desire and drive to look like a superstar to their boss, significant other, or even themselves.
If you’re curious what a content strategy might be made up of, I wrote a blog about the elements of a content strategy. Hopefully it’s helpful!
I'm a veteran digital marketer whose career has grown up with the Internet.