Good content helps position your company as an authoritative source in your market, engages your audience, and guides conversions to sales.
Whether you are part of a small team or a one-person operation, it’s helpful to learn about content strategy and the ways you can make content work for your goals.
Content is an encompassing term that can include written and graphic assets that translate information to your audience. A great content strategy is built on providing the information your audience is seeking where and when they’re looking for it. A little research can help you evaluate which content is most valuable to your audience right now.
It’s important not to conflate tools like search engine optimization with content strategy, or content strategy with sales or marketing, although these things are interconnected and overlapping to some extent. SEO specialists are skilled in researching what search terms yield results: the information people need. However, SEO is only part of the puzzle; it’s not the focus. The key, to which SEO provides only a clue, is what your audience seeks.
Great content that can be repurposed across multiple channels begins with evaluating whether there’s a need for information in a particular niche, whether you and your team offer information that isn’t available elsewhere, and whether you are placed to fill that need. According to MarketMuse, an AI-powered content planning platform, “A great content strategy enables you to be there when your customer needs you — meaning, you meet their search intent with your content. Whether they are identifying their problem, figuring out how to solve them or choosing a solution, you have content ready in each stage. This is where you build value and trust with your audience.”
Once you’ve identified your audience and developed a solid content foundation for your business, there are several tips you can adopt to make it go further, so you and your team are free to put energy into new projects.
The first rule of good content strategy (or any good writing) is: know your audience. Write for your audience. Think about their needs and wants and do your best to address that in your content. Your content should be clean, easy to take in, and fact-checked. If your readers lose trust in what you’re putting out there, your overall strategy will evaporate. Remember, clean and easy to take in includes incorporating visual elements that boost readability and convey information as well. And be patient. It takes months for content to start working for you.
It’s important to create content your audience needs, rather than writing for search engine rankings. Sure, SEO is important because you want people to be able to find your online presence when searching for information in your field, but you don’t want to build your content around rankings. You can have a page full of nonsense that ranks high in search engine results but is useless to someone who clicks through to your page. Hubspot, a business growth management platform, advises businesses to think about the user’s experience and make sure they are getting information that is worth their time and effort. Good content helps you build trust and long-term relationships.
There is no content strategy jail for businesses that recycle content. The way social media and search engine algorithms work these days, you’ll need to recycle a post or idea several times to reach a wider audience. People don’t have a lot of time and things get buried quickly.
However, there are some dos and don’ts to consider when it comes to repurposing content.
- Pace yourself. Don’t post the same piece of content on every social media channel at the same time while also emailing it and putting it on your site. But you might make a thoughtful repost of a blog page after a few weeks, with a new teaser angle in your introduction. Be creative.
- Come up with creative ways to communicate a topic. A blog post is the backbone of most content strategy, but you can take an idea from a blog post and create several different social media posts, or even make a short video or animation centered on the topic. You could also turn a central idea into a page linked to other articles
- Have fun! Don’t be afraid to let a little personality into your content. Make it quirky. This is how your content will differentiate from everything else out there. People want information, but they also LOVE to laugh. Give them some joy, and they’ll come back for more.
- Don’t just repeat the same ideas. Spread out repurposed content posts, and think of new ways to present it each time. You’ll alienate your audience if you just shove the same tired statements at them repeatedly. Try to engage them conversationally and invite them in
- Don’t assume keywords are everything. Repeat after me: keywords are just a tool to help me get the content to my audience. I will not build my blog around keywords.
- Don’t blindly create content without some research. You will waste so much time and money if you don’t develop a sound content strategy. Your team should develop a process for research, style guides, and editing. They should plan topics and identify ways to expand these into multiple formats.
Content may not be the easiest thing you do for your business – or the cheapest – but it could turn out to be the most impactful. It’s important to do your research, understand how it does and does not work, and have the patience to let your content marketing build traction and connect with your audience. If you produce good quality content that has value for your audience, you will grow relationships with them and drive conversions.