For both startups and enterprises, the success of a product can hinge on content strategy, especially when it comes to marketing your brand in what has become an increasingly social digital environment. Whether your content is visual, written or a combination thereof, you will need to find the right messaging and right targeting in order to get the best results in terms of conversions.
According to Aberdeen, businesses that employ effective content marketing strategies have 7.8 times higher year-on-year unique site traffic growth than those that simply go with the flow. This underscores the importance of content in reach, engagement, and profitability.
The question now is this: For a startup or big enterprise, how do you establish an effective content strategy?
Here are three simple tips, as well as practical solutions you can use in your business.
Understand your target audience
The first step to an effective content strategy is understanding your target audience. You need to create buyer personas, in order to create personalized content and products based on the unique needs and challenges of each type of customer.
In essence, a buyer persona is a “semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers,” says Sam Kusinitz at HubSpot. You need information like demographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals.
This means you need to know their interests, needs, challenges, objectives, and other parameters like their income levels, and such. Such information does not just come out of nowhere. You need to collect data from platforms and methodologies such as Facebook Audience Insights and Twitter Analytics for determining interests. You can then establish a buy persona through tools like MakeMyPersona, which will compile your research into one working document.
MakeMyPersona lets you create and customize your “buyer persona”
Once you have established your audience and targeting, you will need to have a consistent schedule for pushing content. This requires the ability to plan and write content. For most organizations, this might also entail the added cost of hiring capable editors and writers, as well as content strategists.
You might also want to consider outsourcing some of the work here. This comes with several options. For example, a lot of companies engage freelance writers through online platforms and marketplaces. However, this might be tedious and time-consuming if you have to manage everything yourself. A more modern approach to fulfilling your creative needs is to engage a platform that will more or less automate the process of curating content professionals, such that you can essentially run an ad hoc team but without the headaches of finding talent every time you need some creative material done. One emerging platform is ClearVoice, which provides access to content management tools and creative freelancers, and which can even provide a managed solution for your content needs.
Once you have your team set up, you will need to find consistency in your publishing schedule. There is no hard and fast rule to the frequency of publishing your content, but what’s important is that you have a schedule and that you stick to it, whether for written articles, videos, podcasts, or even social media posts. CoSchedule has some tips on posting, at least on social media channels – one Facebook post, up to two Linkedin posts, and 15 tweets on a daily basis, for example. Your mileage may vary, of course.
Leverage distribution channels
Apart from publishing your content on your established channels such as your company or personal blog, you will also need to consider distribution channels to amplify your reach. According to Kissmetrics, you essentially have two main channel types: one that you own, and one that you can ride on.
Owned distribution channels will include newsletters and own social media accounts. You have direct control over these channels, particularly when it comes to what you publish and when. You will also need to engage with your audience, in order to keep your distribution channel active. Internal or owned distribution channels also have the advantage of providing you with much-needed data, which can be helpful in optimizing your messaging, targeting and timing for best impact.
An example of an external distribution channel, Inbound.org lets you amplify your content’s reach across a relevant audience.
External distribution channels are owned by other platforms or entities, although you can ride on these to get more mileage for your content. Some examples are inbound.org, Hacker News, Growth Hackers, and even question-and-answer site Quora. You can also pitch publishers for guest posting opportunities. A lot of established publications, such as Forbes, also have their own contributor programs, wherein they welcome relevant guest contributions.
These external platforms mostly feature user-generated content, so you will definitely be in competition with other users. And for some platforms, you might not have direct control of your material after it is published – guest posts may be edited for style and consistency, for example.
In a content-driven ecosystem, it will be important for any business or organization to take advantage of the tools, solutions and platforms available to get the widest reach and the most optimal engagement. As discussed, data and automation will play a big part in how you can optimize your content and engagement. It will be a matter of how much you can invest your resources in these, in order to get the best results.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.