Content creation is an essential part of any business’s marketing plan. But creating content for the sake of creating content is not a viable strategy. A content strategy must align with your business goals to ensure that it is working towards achieving the objectives you set. In this blog post, we will discuss the steps you need to follow to create a content strategy that aligns with your business goals.
Step 1: Identify Your Business Goals
To craft a content strategy that effectively supports your business objectives, the first step is to clearly define those goals. Are you hoping to enhance brand recognition, generate leads, or increase sales? Once you have identified your desired outcomes, you can then determine how content creation can help achieve them.
A prime example of a successful content marketing campaign is Blendtec’s “Will it Blend?” YouTube series from the early 2000s. As a relatively unknown manufacturer of high-end blenders at the time, the company sought to boost sales and create buzz around its brand.
By blending unexpected items like iPhones and golf balls in their blenders in entertaining videos, they quickly went viral and saw an incredible 700% increase in sales within just one year of launching the campaign. Some questions to ask yourself as you go about developing a content strategy include the following:
– What is the primary objective I want to achieve?
– How will content help me reach this goal?
– Who is my target audience and how can content best serve them?
– What type of content should I focus on creating (ex. videos, blog posts, webinars)?
– How much time and resources am I willing to invest in creating quality content?
Additionally, think about the types of linkable assets that you could have to get people to link to your website or social media pages. Here are some industry-specific examples that you might consider creating for your website.
- Create a blog post featuring an interview with a top executive from each business and share it on social media platforms and industry-specific websites.
- Develop an interactive map showing the locations of each business in Fort Smith, along with a short description of their products or services.
- Produce a video series that highlights the day-to-day operations of these businesses and showcases their unique features.
- I am located in Fort Smith, Arkansas, so I might consider writing an e-book about the history of Fort Smith and its major industries, including interviews with local business owners. You can easily adapt this idea to your geographical location for some good local SEO juice.
- Host a virtual event where representatives from each business can discuss their products or services and answer questions from attendees.
By creating valuable and engaging content, businesses can attract more traffic to their website while building strong relationships with their customers and other industry professionals who may link back to their site as a valuable resource for others interested in learning about the area’s economy or specific industries represented by these companies.
Step 2: Identify Your Target Audience
The second crucial step in creating a content strategy that aligns with your business goals is to clearly identify and understand your target audience. Who are you creating content for? What are their pain points, needs, and desires? Gaining a deep understanding of your audience is essential to crafting content that truly resonates with them.
Nike recognized in the late 2000s that its primary audience of young athletes was using social media to connect and share their accomplishments. To engage this demographic, Nike developed the Nike+ platform, which enabled users to track their workouts, connect with friends, and earn badges for their achievements.
The platform was a resounding success, helping Nike strengthen its relationship with its target audience while offering valuable support for athletes seeking to improve their performance. Here are some ways to find out more about your target audience:
- Research different demographics within your target audience and what they are looking for.
- Analyze customer feedback data to gain insights into their wants and needs.
- Use social listening tools to gauge what topics, conversations, or trends are resonating with them most.
- Track user activity on your website or app to understand how people interact with your content and products.
- Conduct surveys or online interviews with customers or potential customers in order to get a better sense of who they are and what motivates them.
- Keep track of the competitor’s offerings that might be appealing to your target audience so you can offer similar features if necessary.
- Look at industry reports, case studies, and other research materials for deeper insights into the mindset of your target market.
Above all, remember that your target audience isn’t static. Their tastes will change over time, so commit to being a lifelong learner when it comes to the people that you serve.
Step 3: Create a Content Plan
After identifying your business goals and target audience, the next essential step is to develop a content plan. A content plan outlines the types of content you will create, the channels you will use to distribute it, and the timeline for publishing.
HubSpot recognized in the mid-2010s that small business owners and marketers were struggling with creating effective content marketing strategies. To assist this audience, they created a comprehensive guide to content marketing that included blog posts, e-books, webinars, and other resources.
They then distributed this valuable content through social media, email marketing, and their website. This campaign proved highly successful in establishing HubSpot as a trusted thought leader in the content marketing space while providing significant value to its target audience.
It was effective mostly because it had a purpose.
Every content plan should have one, and it should be specific. You’re not posting blogs or social media content just to post it. If you’re living in the Fort Smith area, then you’re probably aware of the recent social media brouhaha with The Black Bison Company purchasing Sweet Bay Coffee Company, closing the nearby Van Buren location, and then terminating employees without notice in Fort Smith.
A content plan for The Black Bison Company at this point should focus on reputation management. If I were advising The Black Bison Company, here’s what I would suggest.
- Write a blog post on your website that explains why you made the decision to shut down the Van Buren location and terminate employees in the two Fort Smith locations. Be transparent about the reasons behind your actions and how they align with your vision for Sweet Bay Coffee Company.
- Create social media posts that highlight the positive changes you’ve implemented since becoming the new owner of Sweet Bay Coffee Company. Share photos and videos showcasing your shop’s unique atmosphere, quality coffee, and friendly staff.
- Respond to negative comments on social media by addressing concerns directly and respectfully. Apologize for any misunderstandings or miscommunications while explaining your perspective as a new owner.
- Offer discounts or promotions through social media channels to encourage customers to visit your shop and experience what makes Sweet Bay Coffee Company special.
- Consider partnering with local influencers or bloggers who can help spread positive reviews about Sweet Bay Coffee Company through their platforms.
By implementing these content strategies, The Black Bison Company can effectively communicate with both former employees and customers about its business decisions while also highlighting what makes the new Sweet Bay Coffee Company unique and worth visiting. This will help repair some of the damage done and endure until the eventual fizzling of the social media furor.
Step 4: Measure and Analyze Your Results
The final critical step in creating a content strategy that aligns with your business goals is to measure and analyze your results. This involves tracking the performance of your content, identifying what is working and what is not, and making adjustments to improve the effectiveness of your strategy.
In the early 2010s, Coca-Cola recognized that its target audience of young adults was more likely to engage with branded content that was fun and shareable. To achieve this goal, they developed the “Share a Coke” campaign, where they printed people’s names on Coca-Cola bottles and encouraged customers to share photos of themselves with their personalized bottles on social media. The campaign proved immensely successful, generating millions of photos shared on social media to date while boosting brand awareness and affinity among its target audience.
Admittedly, this can feel daunting if you’re a local business owner, but creativity will take you a long way. Here are some general suggestions to help you that you can feel free to adapt for your specific business:
- Offer discounts or promotions through social media channels to encourage customers to visit your shop and experience what makes it special.
- Create a referral program where existing customers can get rewards for referring new customers.
- Develop content series that highlight the unique aspects of your business, such as customer stories, behind-the-scenes videos, DIY tutorials, etc.
- Run contests on social media platforms like Instagram or Twitter with prizes related to your services or products
- Leverage influencers in local communities who have an engaged following
- Participate in online giveaways and collaborate with other businesses online
- Hold workshops at local events such as farmers’ markets
- Engage in community service activities and use them to promote your company on social media
- Develop an email newsletter campaign featuring exclusive offers for subscribers
- Create loyalty programs for repeat customers
Align Your Content With Your Business Goals
Developing a content strategy that is aligned with your business goals requires a systematic approach. By following the steps outlined in this post, which include identifying your business goals and target audience, creating a content plan, and measuring your results, you can ensure that your content marketing efforts are effective and contributing to the growth of your business. Remember, creating content for the sake of it is not enough. You must create content that resonates with your target audience and works towards achieving your business goals.
Need Help With Your Content Strategy?
With a background in journalism, marketing, and public relations, I have the skills and experience needed to help businesses and organizations craft their brand narratives and connect with their target audiences. As a freelance writer and social media manager, I have worked with a variety of clients across multiple industries.
These include marketing agencies, news outlets, and businesses. My passion for storytelling and dedication to excellence make me a valuable asset to any team. Check out more of my work at AricMitchell.com, or reach out today to see how I can help your organization achieve its content marketing goals.