Pin down your brand
Digging your teeth into content strategy is such a juicy activity… for me, at least. It can be a bit daunting to smaller businesses without their own marketing departments.
My advice is to start off thinking about your brand. Ask yourself some all-important questions about what you do and what you stand for. It might feel like the answers are obvious to you, but have you ever articulated them? Do you have a clear-cut message that you could explain in simple terms within sixty seconds?
If you think you’re ready to start planning your content strategy, pause. You need to have these questions answered first.
Question one: What does your business do?
It’s a straightforward one to start with: What exactly do you do?
Easy to answer, or is it? It’s funny how tricky it can be to answer such a simple question. So many start-ups fall down here because they try to do too much or don’t have a clear vision.
Ideally, you should be able to sum it up in a few words. Think of it as one of the most important components to your elevator pitch. It’s the central cog that you build your brand vision around and you can’t start planning your content until this is clear in your mind.
Question two: What does your business stand for?
This relates to your business ethos, but instead of thinking about how you do things internally, you think about what impact that has externally.
What your business stands for is less about the products or services you sell and more about how that relates to the rest of the world. When you ask this question, you’ll immediately start considering the bigger picture.
For my clients, this is where they shine. Being ethical, sustainable, and driven to making a positive impact on the world, what they stand for is often the cornerstone of their brands.
You should think of this question as a core part of building your brand. After all, it can be a key deciding factor in your sales funnel because it impacts how you’ll build trust with their clients and customers, so it’s critical for creating a strong content strategy.
Question three: Why should your audience care?
The most crucial question you should ask yourself is: who cares?
Your business is your baby. You care about it, but why should other people? Now look back at questions one and two. Re-think them with question three in mind.
Bring all of this together to explain your brand message concisely. What do you do, why do you do it, and why should people care?
Good content makes your audience care about your brand as much as the founder does. For good content, always, always ask “why?” and ask again until you’ve got this nailed down.
Question four: What should your audience do once they care?
Every piece of content needs a purpose. That’s what content strategy is all about. You need to know exactly what you want your audience to do and then you need to tell them. Your call to action tells them how you want them to behave.
If you want people to sign up for your newsletter, you need to make that clear. If you want them to buy an item from your flash sale, tell them. If you want them to follow your brand on social media, ask them to… and don’t forget to give them an incentive.
This final question links to your business goals. While you can have multiple calls to action, it’s best to prioritise the goals that are most critical for your business and focus your content strategy around those.
With these four questions answered, you are all set up to move on to the next stage of creating your content strategy: market research!
If you want to know more about this process or other aspects of content strategy, ask me for a one-to-one.