You want to share certain information on a regular basis. Think of blogs, videos, images and perhaps podcasts. Just starting somewhere without a clear goal will prevent you from doing this for long. That is why it is important to determine a goal and formulate a content strategy based on that. That does not have to be a bulky book, but you do want to determine the framework.
Step 1 before you start with your content strategy: formulate the goal
Almost all companies have the same goal: to increase sales. Let’s not get around it. But higher turnover is not a clear goal. So you will have to develop this goal further. At the end of the year, you have probably formulated or received a turnover target from your manager. From there you will see what it takes to achieve that goal.
What was last year’s turnover? Where have you lost turnover? And above all: through which channels did that turnover come in last year? Important questions to determine for formulating your total marketing strategy. Don’t expect a blog article to immediately start generating sales. But with a continuous stream of content sharing you can increase your authority, increase the number of visitors to your website and strengthen your expert status. So you are going to cut your big marketing goal to pieces.
Cutting tasks – and goals – into pieces makes it much more manageable. Losing 50 kilos in one year, for example, is a huge goal. But losing just one kilo every week sounds a lot better to do. This also applies to your overarching marketing goal. One of those goals, for example, is to get more authority and traffic to your website. From there you can work out those goals even more specifically, such as:
- All online channels have the same look and feel, with professional presentation video.
- Attract at least 20% more organic traffic by writing SEO friendly blogs and guest blogging for other leading platforms where my target audience is reading.
- Post at least one giveaway on my website that download a minimum of 100 website visitors.
- 10% of my clients make my organization ambassadors by providing word of mouth advertising for me and re-hiring me / my organization.
- Being mentioned in the media at least twice with my expertise.
These are a number of sub goals that are very concrete. It is important not to lose sight of your main goal.
Step 2: Discover your added value
You can’t get away with a thirteen-out-a-dozen product or a weak story. In the supermarket, top brands are making way for private labels, because consumers find out that you mainly pay for the marketing communications instead of the quality of the product. So you need a good product or service in combination with a strong (but true) story. The reason why your phone is ringing off the hook all day or your mailbox explodes.
Perhaps this is because you are certified within your industry, because you work with a specific project management method that results in effective results, or because you work with the absolute top people in the field. What makes your organization unique compared to the competition – and with which you help your potential customer get rid of all problems in one fell swoop – we call the value proposition of your organization.
Step 3: Formulate the triggers of your target group
The value proposition of your organization is your right to exist. Your target audience is irritated by past experiences. For example, recruiters who slide CVs and go for the quick money. Web builders where the deadline is extended by one month as standard. Marketers who promise you gold mines, but in reality don’t do much.
You have to make sure that you know exactly what those pain points, or triggers of your target group, are. As a recruiter, for example, you really take the time for your people and you have a 100% success guarantee. If you are a web builder, you may be known for your fast deliveries. Or at your marketing agency, you can provide a 20% increase in turnover as standard. Make sure the triggers are clear, provide evidence of how you approach them and include this in your content strategy.
Step 4: Determine your content pillars and themes
But first it is important to divide your message into pillars and themes. It may be that you appeal to multiple target groups, or that your target group is interested in multiple themes.
Examples of our content pillars are content strategy, content creation, content distribution and content organization, because these are the four steps that we use in our standard working method. Check for yourself which themes you can hang your content on.
View the triggers of your target group and categorize the various components into a number of content pillars, roughly three to five pillars. Also read this article with an exercise where you can find out those content pillars yourself.
Step 5: Determine your message and tone of voice
Your goal, message and triggers are important. But the tone of voice is just as important. Example: after a terrible day at work where your mistake caused the company to lose 10,000 euros, you are in pocket and ashes. When your partner asks you how you are doing during dinner, you answer curtly: “Good”. You say it is going well, but the tone in which you say it and your non-verbal communication say something completely different.
That is also the case with the propagation of the message. Just putting words in the right order is not enough. You want to add ‘jeu’ to it so that it fits in with the whole and your target group is sucked into it, as it were. Make sure your message includes these three parts:
Make sure to include these three points in your message:
- Your organization, brand or product
- The problem that your (potential) customer is experiencing
- The way in which the organization, brand or product solves the problem
Don’t make it a sales story, but sketch a situation in which your potential customer identifies. Match your tone-of-voice and language use to the reader. The fact that you are a consultant does not necessarily mean that you write everything in your form because your competitor does too. Be distinctive, dare to stand out and take that podium. Once that brand story is in place, you can almost start packaging it in powerful content.
Step 6: Determine the shape in which you pour the content
Your content pillars are in place and the first content topics have been created. Tie it over and you’re done! Or not? It is not only about the substantive message, but also the way in which you package it. We all know that one friend who shakes your hand on a birthday with a twenty note. Or that one friend who arrives every year with a fantastic gift that makes just unwrapping a party. You will of course remember that last gift much longer.
That also applies to your message. You can devote a short news item to your new product or service, but there are many more types of content. For example, consider one of the following:
- Your customers who have their say in a video;
- Interview with your customer;
- Facts and did you know;
- A visual representation of the benefits in an infographic.
In short: many more ways to package a message more nicely. And to reuse the same content in multiple ways. Lock yourself up with a number of colleagues for an afternoon and think about how a message is more successful. Don’t think in frames, but go from big ideas to a workable way for you. Let the reader enjoy your expression.
Step 7: Choose your channels
You then determine through which channels you will share your content. As a professional you probably know quite well where your target audience is. Sometimes it may also be that one target group is on one channel, while the other target group is on another channel. Choose no more than three channels to see what works and think about what phase your customer is in: from orienting to ready for action.
The only way to find out what works is to test. Take a look at your colleagues or at other companies that seem successful. Use it as inspiration, not to copy. Don’t expect your first publication to be a direct hit, but try and screw up. Remember that big brands like Tony’s Chocolonely did not have worldwide fame and millions of followers and customers in one fell swoop.
Step 8: Set up a simple content calendar
For the first few weeks, see what works and try to apply consistency. This does not have to be a hard structure, but rather a guideline in which flexibility is possible. You plan the bin of topics that you have come up with in your content calendar. A handy tool for this is Trello. That way you keep an overview and you know exactly what is being shared and when. This gives you a big incentive so that things don’t stay quiet after that first publication. Prior to each month, plan a brainstorm in which you determine and schedule the most important topics.
Also leave room for spontaneity. For example, an actuality that you can respond to or a spontaneous event that slips in between.
Do you want to get started with the content strategy for your company? Start right and download the Kickstart Guide: more customers through valuable content. Here you make 7 important decisions on the way to more online visibility and an engaged email list.