Does your business have a clearly mapped content strategy? If your answer is no, you are in company: 14% of B2B marketers state that they don’t have one, while 48% of them say that they have a strategy, but it is not documented. Both situations are unfortunate, because they expose a brand to the risk of losing its voice once the person who is in charge with the content strategy moves on to a new position or is otherwise unavailable to supervise content creation and publishing.
So, today we will look at the anatomy of a successful content strategy. We will dissect each critical element and explain why it is important to have it. But first, a few words on the importance of documenting the content strategy.
Every Brand Needs a Blueprint of the Content Strategy
Businesses grow with sustained effort from the founder and the team they recruited. At some point, it makes sense to stop working overtime to create your own content and onboard a content team or hire a professional agency. When this happens, how can you be sure that the new persons in charge with content creation will maintain the same brand voice and express the same values?
If you have a clearly defined content strategy, any professional writer can follow it maintain consistency in the articles, videos, and social media posts they create for your brand.
But what exactly do you include in a brand content strategy? These are the key elements:
What exactly do you want to achieve by creating and publishing branded content? Each company, depending on its market position, has different goals. However, the most common business goals of content marketing are:
- Brand awareness
- Lead generation
- Customer acquisition
- Customer loyalty
- Sales boost.
For example, a newly incorporated business will be more interested in brand awareness and customer acquisition. A business with a solid market position is more focused on having a constant stream of leads and keeping its existing customers loyal.
The content strategy for each brand will reflect these goals in various ways:
- Through the topic pillars
- Through the content formats
- Through the platforms used to publish content.
2. Style Guide
The style guide is the detailed definition of the brand voice and it is critical for any content strategy. A brand style guide will contain elements such as:
- Preferred spelling and punctuation
- Tone of voice
- Naming conventions
- Words and phrases that must not be used throughout the content.
The style guide is not a static document. You should revisit and update it every time you make changes to the brand image and its tone of voice.
3. The Customer Personas
Who are you creating content for? The answer is not “to promote my business”. The correct answer is: to attract the interest of potential clients and win their trust. Thus, one of the key elements of the content strategy is a clear definition of the customer personas.
So, who are your customers? What kind of life do they have? What are the problems that they want to solve using your products? How do to they talk? What do they like to read? When you answer all these questions, you will have your customer personas.
4. Brand Story
Every brand needs a story. It is the story of why you decided to open your business. You should share your journey from the idea to creating the products and services. Make people understand what motivated you to develop your products and why you believe they are useful and necessary.
The brand story is an intrinsic part of your content strategy. It must be a part of every content piece you produce and reinforce the image and the values you want to transmit to your audience.
5. Core Messages
Next, you will need to define the core messages that will be included in articles, social media posts and other types of contents. The core messages are different from content pillars and keywords. They must embody the values of your brand, such as:
- Family friendly
- Professionalism and quality
- Dedicated to busy professionals
- Edgy and up to date with the latest trends.
These core messages will further define content pillars and the format of content pieces: short video, long form article, etc.
6. Publishing Platforms
Where will you share your content? This is very important for your content strategy, because it determines the content mix. For instance, you can share long form articles on your website – but you will need to produce shorter pieces for Google Business Profile. You can share wide-screen long videos on YouTube and Facebook, but you must create short vertical videos for TikTok.
A small word of warning: don’t spread yourself too thin. If you do not have a team of several people for content creating and sharing, you should select the most effective platforms – two or three of them – and focus on them.
7. Content Calendar
Finally, your content strategy needs a clear calendar. This calendar must cover everything:
- When you send emails to subscribers
- When you publish blog posts
- When you post on the social media.
People like consistency and predictability. Thus, you must follow the content calendar, using automation tools during busy periods when you do not have time to manually publish content.
A content strategy is a blueprint for what your brand writes about, for whom, when and where it shares content. This is the only way of ensuring that no matter who is in charge with content marketing, they will have a clear list of rules and guidelines to help them maintain your brand identity.
This is the only way of building a consistent and recognizable brand image – the main element that helps customers identify your products and perceive their benefits compared to your competitors’. Thus, before you start creating content, make sure that you have a clear strategy in place following these helpful tips.