How to create a content strategy, is a step by step process that involves really understanding the target audience and then crafting content that matches both their needs as well as those of the business communicating with them. It’s all about synergy and optimising time.
By setting out on a plan at the outset you can save yourself a significant amount of time later in the process. Remember it’s all about having a relevant conversation. Whether your content is thought leadership, informative or for entertainment, it’s all about encouraging a response and subsequent engagement through which you can foster a strong and sustained relationship.
1. Managing the copywriting process
There are a number of proven processes and tools that I use to create and manage the content production of communications projects.
Step 1 : Rule of Thirds
I created and have used the well known Rule of Thirds process for balancing content: 1/3 Personal (getting to know the business and the key people within it), 1/3 Point (signposting useful and helpful content from third parties that the target customers will value), 1/3 Promote (overt promotion of marketing messages, services and value >> Learn More
Step 2 : Agreed rolling weekly theme schedule
The best results come from when the client and the provider agree and know exactly what is schedule, why and when and how it will be shared and reported. A rolling weekly theme schedule, paying attention to the balance from the Rule of Thirds, will ensure that all parties know where we are in the project, what’s required of and from them and at what time. Within this schedule will be full length content articles through to more tactical, shorter day to day articles.
Step 3 : Drafts and approvals
Once the content strategy is agreed (see section 2 step 1) the terms of engagement and boundaries for the project are established, and as such the confidence in delivery will be assured. High value articles will pass through a draft/approval process with key stakeholders. Lower value, day to day, articles and social media posts will be published and shared without needing to disturb the business as themes, tone of voice, style and content subjects will have been agreed in advance.
2. Executing the copy and understanding the target audience and industry
Step 1 : Create a content strategy
I authored the book Rule of Thirds, how to create exceptional content and this describes the 12 steps to creating best practice content on an ongoing basis whilst measuring the success so that we can learn what works and do more of it and find out what’s not working and eliminate it. The process is Plan, Optimise, Measure, Improve and within each of these four stages are 3 action areas. I published this on Udemy and it remains one of the highest ranked courses in digital marketing and communications globally >> Learn More
Step 2 : Establish target customer personas
This is a key step in the overall content process. Clear definitions and descriptions of the target customer personas (those who are the most important recipients of the messages and articles) will ensure that optimum results are achieved. I will prioritise the target customer personas and this will ensure that the correct marketing channels are selected and optimised for publishing content in various forms >> Learn More
Step 3 : Set up and monitor Twitter Lists
For monitoring industry intelligence, watch competitors and glean relevant content for new article ideas and themes as well as day to day content, I create private Twitter Lists that will allow us to watch the industry and key players in stealth mode.
3. Integrating marketing content and the sales process
Step 1 – Establish customer journeys
There are 3 phases to the sales process and from a marketing and content perspective we call this the Customer Journey. This journey is the customers’ step by step process of engagement with the business through three phases: Awareness, Conversion, Retention. Accurately targeted content can be used to create and foster relevant awareness of the business and the value it can bring. This builds faith and trust that it’s worth engaging with. Supporting content can help the sales conversion process and this can apply to both printed and digital content. The third phase, that of retaining existing customers, is key to building further sales, cross-selling and up-selling which increases the customers’ lifetime value >> Learn More
Step 2 : Including clear Calls To Action
I include clear calls to action in all content to ensure we facilitate the customers’ journey and make sure that strategic marketing objectives are met. It’s so important to provide the target customer with clear next steps so that they feel confident in the business and how we will hold their hand through the process of engagement and their commitment.
Step 3 : Establish media channels within the customer journeys
Once the priority personas are agreed, customer journeys are populated and clear calls to action established, I can use these decisions to filter in (and out) all of the media channels through which we can publish and promote written word long form, written word short form, audio and video as appropriate.
4. Portfolio examples
Examples of content are important to reflect different styles, desired outcomes and tone of voice. The adaptation of length, style and tone of voice is crucial to ensure the highest relevance and engagement with the target audience.
Cambridge Marketing Review (example of long form articles designed for thought leadership)
Elec-Rep (example of a professional short form article designed for search engine optimisation and to support the strategic marketing theme https://elec-rep.co.uk/2018/10/26/the-importance-of-electronics-sales-representation/
Personal style (example of a more personal style article designed to inspire and make the reader think) https://neilwilkins.online/2018/10/18/h2h-not-b2b-or-b2c/
I hope you have found this content strategy process helpful and that it gets you thinking about all of the steps you really should be taking to build your confidence in the positive outcomes you can experience from well planned content. If you would like to have a chat about your own business and how this process might help, please do get in touch.