What Makes an Awesome Content Strategy?

marcustaylor
Marcus Taylor Founder, Venture Harbour

Posted on October 11th 2011

Having a great content strategy is one of the most important aspects of any social media campaign, as it’s the content you produce that often acts as the ‘ice breaker’ that connects you with new audiences. The better your content strategy is, the more powerful relationships you can build and the larger your audience will grow through social media.

The question now, then, is what makes a truly awesome content strategy?

The Planning & Researching Phase

Set goals, do your research, and create your strategy

The first step to creating an awesome content strategy is knowing what an awesome content strategy looks like to you, so ask yourself “what is this content strategy for? What are we trying to achieve?” Try to decide what success looks like and write them down as bullet points. For example:

  • In 1 years time every blog post we write will on average be shared 150 times.
  • In 1 years time we will be on first name terms with 50 of the bloggers shortlisted on our list of influencers.
  • In 1 years time our website traffic referred from creating content will be double what it currently is.

Once you know what you’re working towards you can start working effectively.

Decide on the scale and frequency of your content generation – and stick to it

When you’ve decided what you want, you need to work out roughly how much content you need produced each month to make these goals achievable.

Knowing how often you’re going to post content is also very important if you are trying to build up a consistent audience. I found out the consequences of not sticking to this the hard way – I went 6 months without writing any new blog posts on The Musicians Guide earlier this year, and unsurprisingly, the site’s readership and engagement suffered.

If you want readers to keep on coming back and sharing your new content, you have to have to be reliable and meet your reader’s expectations. Do they expect a new post every day, or a new post a week? Whatever frequency you choose, stick to it.

Do your research – decide on the type of content that will work well for your audience

You will all have heard about how infographics tend to do shockingly well in the tech community and on social bookmarking sites like Digg, but that doesn’t mean your law firm business or donut shop should be creating infographics. Before deciding on a content strategy do your research: what type of content are competitors producing? What works well for them and why? What doesn’t work well and why not? What haven’t they tried that could work well?

Every niche has a ‘type’ of content that works amazingly well. In the SEO community I’ve noticed that experiment write-ups like this one tend to be very successful (that post ended up on The Guardian and Huffington Post), whereas opinion based posts don’t seem to be quite as powerful. In the music marketing community, motivational and self-help posts work really well, and in the property niche, I find that celebrity real estate news and survey write-ups like this one by Gartoo tend to work very well.

Find out where your audience finds the information that they share

Setting up a new blog might be unnecessary if you already have access to contribute on blogs that would allow you to reach the majority of your audience. Similarly, YouTube may not be where your audience goes to find video tutorials in your niche. Going down the obvious pathways is not always a shortcut to achieving your goals.

Monitor your target audience and look at where they’re active and sourcing content similar to what you’re going to be producing. What are their forums, blogs, and communities of choice? How can you join and engage in those places?

The Execution Phase

Write great content, be likeable, and start achieving your goals

When you know the how, what, when, where, and who of your strategy it’s time to put it into action.

Maintain a High Standard of Quality and Develop a Unique Style

I recently read a really great post on the importance of having confidence when writing blog posts and it’s so true. When you read blog posts or watch videos by the likes of Gary Vaynerchuk, Chris Brogan or David Meerman Scott you can feel the abundance of confidence they have from the tone of their posts alone.

Producing high quality unique information is perhaps the most important point in this whole list, as without it, all of the other points are massively compromised to a level of almost total ineffectiveness. If what your saying is not in any way new or thought provoking, you’re wasting your time.

Involve and Help Your Community to Reach a Larger Initial Audience

Promoting a blog post, a video series, or even an infographic is made a million times easier when you’ve got a large initial audience to put that piece of content in front of. If your social media presence is not too established yet, simply team up with some people who do have a large audience!

It has become a habit of mine to include a quote from someone relevant in almost every blog post I write, as it’s a win-win situation for everyone. It helps other people gain exposure from your content (deepening your relationship with them), it helps add depth and new perspectives to your content, and it helps you reach a larger initial audience as they will be more inclined to tweet about it or post to their Facebook Page.

Be Personal, Accessible and Likeable

Those of you who follow my tweets will know that I recently co-wrote a book called Get Noticed, in which there is a process (The ACE Process) that can be used to meet anybody in the world and develop a strong relationship with them. Accessibility and Likeability are two major aspects in that process as they allow people to move one step closer towards building a relationship with you (or your brand) via that piece of content.

Always be human, invite people to follow up with you and make it as easy as possible to do so. Also, establish a likeable tone and image, as this will go a long way when it comes to people engaging with your content.

What have been your experiences, challenges, and successes with developing content strategies? I’d love to keep the tips rolling into the comment section if people have anything extra to offer!

marcustaylor

Marcus Taylor

Founder, Venture Harbour

Marcus Taylor is the founder of Venture Harbour, a company that specialises in digital marketing for brands and startups in the music industry.

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