Content Strategy: 4 Questions You Need to Ask
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Your content strategy is something that, whether you know it or not, influences both your web traffic and social media presence. Professional content strategists build narratives for companies through search engine optimization, powerful content and ensuring that the brand voice stays consistent across all platforms.
Content strategists ensure that best SEO practices are being followed and suggest new routes for content to take, but you don't need to hire someone to handle your content strategy. In fact, managing your own content strategy can teach you an arsenal of skills that will improve your decision making down the line. Here's how to get started.
Who do you want your reader to be? Like any publication, your content strategy should be structured around your readership. The difference between publishing and content marketing, however, is that you're not looking to attract a wide audience, you're looking for a specific type of reader. If your company builds websites in Drupal, then the best way to pull in organic search traffic is content that teaches customers the best ways to shop for their first Drupal website. By posting coding tutorials, you'd be attracting the wrong audience.
An article explaining the basics of Drupal as a content management system will show up on major search engines and lead potential new customers right to your guide and possibly inspire them to engage with your upstart web design firm. Plan your content around potential ways to discover your brand and transform an interested reader into a new customer.
What is your brand voice? The experience across all content delivery mediums used by your business (direct mail, online, video, etc.) should reflect a basic concept. Google's, for example, is simplicity. Google.com still takes you to the same text box on a white background that the company launched with. Even today, Google's commercials reflect simple truths about their product.
A 2011 ad for the Chrome browser, Dear Sophie, depicts a Google user using Gmail as a makeshift baby book. The music is simple but inspirational and the message is uniquely Google's. Your brand voice should reflect your customer, but also the superego of your company. Google is a brand that, from the beginning, has sought to be ubiquitous with the internet. The Dear Sophie commercial is an ad that cements Google's identity as a platform from which its customers can connect. Your content strategy should be informed not by what your company is, but what your customers want it to be.
Related: How to Set Your Brand Up For Success
Am I keeping up to date with basic SEO know-how? Moz (formerly SEOMoz) and many other SEO-centric web apps can teach you SEO basics and help you understand how to monitor traffic to your site as compared to your competitors. Your basic SEO strategy begins with pairing a highly-trafficked search keyword to a blog post that could potentially generate social media traffic.
Moz rebranded itself, partially at least, as a reaction to Google's 'Panda' update, which made the job of any dedicated SEO specialist more difficult. The service now offers analytics across almost every channel and I'd suggest checking out their free tutorials for a basic understanding of modern SEO practices.
Do I love my industry as much as my competition? The strongest asset for managing your own content strategy is loving your work. As the brains behind your company, you alone entirely understand the vision that your content should reflect. Go deeper and immerse yourself in the competition. Learn which content comes standard issue and where the gaps lie -- filling them will be the most powerful tool to attract the customer who might've gotten away.
Content strategy is, at its most basic level, understanding the conversation that your customer is having with every aspect of your industry and developing new ways to fill these gaps.