So you’ve decided to commit to creating a content strategy for marketing your business. High fives! But deciding to create great content means putting some other key things in place. Here are 13 important questions to help with developing a content strategy:
In my experience, developing a content strategy is a set of stages that you will need to go through in order to define the content, define the outcomes you want to achieve and the way that you are going to measure success. From thinking about the target audience to repurposing once you have created it, these 13 questions will hopefully help you clarify and create a strong content strategy.
1. Who is the target audience for the content?
Who are you targeting that you want to read your content? Do you have customer/prospect profiles or avatars that you can use to define your target? Is your planned content solving a particular pain point for them?
The more vertical or niche you can make your target audience the better the chances are of your content appealing to that segment and getting read.
2. Have you done your keyword research?
No matter how you plan to distribute your content you still want the search engines to work in your favour if possible to bring you organic traffic. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to see what the keyword phrases are that your prospective audience uses and don’t forget context of searches too.
3. What objective(s) do you have for the content?
These will inform what metrics you use to define the success of the content. These could be raise brand awareness or drive website traffic or capture leads or engage a community.
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4. What channels are you going to use for the distribution?
Your content will likely sit on your website but will it be freely available or viewable only with a link?
If you plan to use email to send it to your subscriber base, then you’ll want to add it to your ezine plan.
You also need to decide which social channels you are going to use and whether or not you will also put some paid budget to make sure your content gets seen.
Then think if there are any other publishing platforms you could use as well as your own website – e.g. LinkedIn, Medium, or Facebook Instant Articles.
And if there are influencers/networks/groups that you can leverage to distribute the content.
5. What length for your content?
Is the content going to be one long article i.e. a mega blog post or is it going to be a series? Search engines reward the longer formats e.g. 100 lists and articles over 2000 words, however series of articles have a benefit in potentially bringing ongoing visits/leads as people want to find out “what happens next” as it were.
6. Will the content be online or printed or both?
Are you intending for the content to go just online or be printed or both? There are differences in going offline, for example, you will need higher resolution images, and formatting and layout may be different for print.
7. What is the working title of the content?
Picking a title for your content piece is just as important as the content itself. This may take a few iterations before publication but spending a little time initially on the title (bearing in mind keywords) will give you a starting title to work with.
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8. What are the sub topics and structure?
Once you have the working title, you should decide what sub topics are going into the article and the structure you plan to use for your article. Sketch this out quickly on paper or on a note. Then think about where you will want visuals to sit in the content.
9. What visuals will be need to be created/sourced?
Depending on format, distribution, structure decisions, what visuals do you need to create or source for the piece? How many, what size, etc. Who will create these for you?
10. How much budget / resources / time are needed?
When you get to the writing and visual creation stages, who is going to write for you and how much time and budget is going to be needed to produce the writing and visuals. If you are going to do the writing then be very clear about how much time you think you’ll need so you can block this off in your calendar.
11. How will you measure that the objectives have been met when the content is released?
What are your key metrics that you want to measure to know that the content has worked? Define these now so you can then get everything in place to do that measurement.
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12. Has everything been set up process-wise that’s needed?
Have you set up all the processes needed for your content production from planning -> writing -> publication -> distribution -> social sharing -> objective CTA -> analytics -> review.
13. How can the content be repurposed after publication?
With each piece of content you produce, you have a valuable opportunity to repurpose it so think about this now rather than later as this will save time and effort. Plan the repurposing as you plan the original content piece. So can I repurpose this into e.g. a Slideshare, Infographic, Checklist, Podcast, Video?
Asking these key questions to help your content planning in my experience will make the outcome of your content more likely to succeed.
If you need help with writing great online content, I work with businesses to help them with their content strategy and processes to drive results. Contact me today to have a chat.