What is a content strategy and do you need one?
As business owners and entrepreneurs, part of our daily work includes raising our visibility, building relationships with potential clients and collaborators and increasing our credibility amongst our audience.
In the online space there are four main ways in which we can do this:
- Written content: blogs, articles, social media posts and engaging with online conversations.
- Video content: Facebook live videos, Instagram video, video stories, YouTube, LinkedIn …
- Audio content: podcasts, radio interviews, online interviews.
- Visual content: Instagram, Pinterest, other social media channels
When it comes to creating content for your business, you probably naturally favour one of those over the other three; it’s the one that comes the most easily to you and the one you enjoy the most. Equally, you’ll also have a preferred type of content that you use for education and personal growth or entertainment.
Personally, I love consuming written content. I love to read well written articles, books and inspiring blogs, but statistics show us that video content is being consumed at a record level (thanks mainly to smartphones). According to HubSpot, 78% of people watch online videos every day and by 2020, online videos will make up more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic (Source: Cisco).
When it comes to podcasts, listeners are apparently loyal, affluent and educated, with 45% of monthly podcast listeners having a household income over $75k. Almost half of podcast listeners tune in at home, with 22% listening while driving. Smartphones have overtaken computers and tablets as the preferred device for listening to podcasts. (Source: podcastinsights.com)
So what do these statistics mean for your business and the type of content you produce?
There are two ways to look at this…
Firstly, you could stick with your main style of content creation and do it REALLY well so that you become known as the expert in your industry and naturally attract ideal clients who really love what you do and how you do it. (And engaged, ideal clients buy…simples!)
Secondly, you could diversify your content creation so that you cover at least two of the four main types of content: video, aural, photographic or written. So if you currently stick to writing, perhaps it’s time to add in some video; or if you’re all over photographic content then perhaps it’s time to add more written content in the form of guest blogging. Of course, there are numerous combinations possible and each has to not only appeal to your audience, but also be exciting and energising for you to produce (because as a business owner you’ll be producing a lot of content and it’s very time consuming!).
Which leads us on to Content Strategy…
A content strategy is, in essence, a plan of the type of content you’re going to produce alongside a schedule or calendar. For example, you might decide to create one blog or video a week, one social media post every day and send an email to your list once a month. Within that schedule you can then define certain topics or themes for specific dates that coincide with the types of content your audience will be searching for: e.g. January is often about weight loss, while the school summer holidays might lead to a spike in searches for how to entertain bored children!
But before you create a content strategy you must be clear on your audience, your message, your services and your brand’s vision and goals for the year ahead as well as having clarity on everything your brand stands for so that all content remains in alignment. If you’re still in the early stages of your business and haven’t got all this sorted yet, then make that your priority. Once everything is clear you’ll find that creativity flows more easily and attracting the right audience will happen organically.
The benefits of creating (and sticking to) a content strategy are:
- The content is more likely to stay true to your brand image, values and goals.
- Regular content will create more engagement from your audience (and higher engagement = higher sales).
- As your visibility and credibility increase, you’ll become known as an expert in your field which may open up new and exciting opportunities.
- Regular content can be tracked and statistics analysed in order to create an even more focused strategy for business growth and increased sales.
- Focusing on one platform for a sustained period can help you to understand whether it’s bringing you the engagement and customers you desire, or whether it’s better to switch platform (or content type).
What are your plans for 2019? Have you got a strategy and content calendar all planned out? Or do you prefer to ebb and flow with your feminine energy? Or perhaps it all feels too overwhelming and you’d rather stay snuggled underneath your duvet with warm, homemade banana loaf and a cup of tea?!
As for me… I’m putting together my vision and goals for 2019 and breaking that down into smaller chunks for content planning. I’ve been back in my happy place for the last three months creating lots of blogs and I really love writing pieces that inspire others to make changes in their life or business. However, after researching stats on video and audio consumption, I know that in order to keep up with the fast-growing world of online content, I have to diversify.
Whether that will be behind a camera or a microphone, you’ll just have to wait and see!