Creating engaging content is one of the best ways for your business to stand out online – not only does intelligently produced content help your business from an SEO perspective, but it can also work to convert viewers into customers by speaking to them and solving their problems. It’s estimated that in 2020, up to 70% of businesses are investing in content marketing. Content is a great way to differentiate your business from the competition, telling viewers what’s different about the products and services you offer, and why they should choose you over somebody else. It’s not enough to just create content – to get ahead of the competition and stand out from noise, you need to develop an engaging content strategy.

What is a content strategy and why do you need one?

Think about it from this perspective – would you have started your business without a business plan? Trying to do business without planning (knowing your break even point, researching the market, etc.) will inevitably lead to disaster. The same thing happens to your company’s messaging when you have no content strategy. 

A content strategy is exactly what it sounds like – a well-developed plan that details how you’re going to manage the content produced by your business going forward, whether it be blogs, videos, visuals, or downloads. A content strategy is created with the intent of enhancing the content offered by your business in order to attract more viewers, solve common problems, or even become a thought leader within your industry.

Without a content strategy, there’s a good chance that content being developed for your business is inconsistent in quality and tone, speaking to different audiences, aiming to accomplish different goals, and is extremely confusing to the audience you’re hoping to capture. In essence, it’s a complete and total mess. A content strategy helps your business create content that will resonate with targeted audiences, solve problems, differentiate your products and services from competitors, and add legitimacy to your company.

Who are you speaking to and what is your message?

The first thing you need to address when developing your strategy is who exactly your audience is. Without knowing who you’re speaking to, it’s impossible to develop an effective content strategy that will keep users coming back for more. Your content should be aimed at a specific audience, rather than a hundred different types of potential readers – something more focused will resonate with readers and is more likely to connect with them in a meaningful way. If you’re trying to speak to different types of audiences, it’s recommended that you develop separate strategies for each. Audience types are usually organized into personas, and designing them takes research. You have to look at who your ideal customers are, who your customers have been in the past, and so on. A content strategist will have the background to do this properly. 

Your message is just as important as your audience. Your content strategy should be developed around one primary goal and message. If your goal is to solve problems, your content should involve identifying, educating and coaching readers through these problems. If you’re aiming to become a thought leader, your content should be unique and informative in order to establish trust and legitimacy. Your messaging should establish what’s unique about your business, and why viewers should invest their time and money in what your company is offering.

What kind of content are you producing?

Creating different types of content is easier now than ever before – from high quality photos and videos to well-optimized copy, the possibilities are endless. In order to connect with your target audience, you should be producing content that matches what your business has to offer – if your products or services lend themselves well to visuals, you should be producing videos, photos, and info graphics wherever possible. 

If your offerings can’t be easily shown off through visual content, you should stick to blogs and other written content. If you’re looking to speak to various audiences, different media can be used to reach those customers – remember to apply different strategies to each medium, especially when you’re speaking to different audiences.

Don’t get too comfortable – constantly reevaluate your strategy

Once you’ve developed and implemented your content strategy, it’s important to remember not to get complacent. Something that works now might prove to be ineffective six months from now. Getting too comfortable with the results you’re getting might mean that you’ll be too slow to change in the future when your audience tires of the content you’re producing, demanding something new from your business. And we’ve seen this happen time and again. A company has a clear, consistent brand tone and creative brief which they’ve had for years, which becomes tired as new personas start to emerge in their customer base. Suddenly, you’re no longer talking to your customers in their language, and they go somewhere else. 

Always be on the lookout for new trends, new technology, and new problems faced by your customers and target audience. Being able to identify these things means that you’ll be better suited to pivot and adapt to changes when they inevitably arise. 

In order to successfully connect with your customers and get noticed online, you need to have an effective content strategy that takes into account who your audience is, what medium you’re having to connect with them, what problems you’re looking to solve and the overall messaging you want to convey with it. Remember to constantly be on the lookout for new trends, be open to harnessing emerging technology, and never get too comfortable with your current strategy. With the right strategy, your content will get your brand seen by new audiences and help you create deeper connections with customers.

ion8 is an all-in-one business consultancy with a full team of digital marketing experts with years of experience developing and implementing proven content strategies that will help you connect with customers and improve your online presence. To find out more about everything that ion8 can do for your business, get in touch with us today.