The phrase ‘content is king’ has been around for a while, and people get that they need to create content; however, for your content to achieve ‘king’ status, it must be backed by an effective content strategy. A well-executed content strategy results in thoughtful content that creates brand differentiation; drives awareness, interest, demand, and action; and helps consumers to care your product or service exists.

Here are four key components of an effective content strategy.

1. Define Goals and Objectives
Exceptional content is created for a specific purpose. To determine your purpose, or goal, start by asking some questions. Is the purpose of the content to generate brand awareness, educate, increase leads, boost sales, or something else altogether? When creating goals, set overall content performance goals, as well as more specific goals for individual pieces of content. For example, an overall objective might be to increase traffic to a website from Facebook by 25% in Q1. A corresponding content goal could be to share 10 blogs in Q1 that generate a total of 4,000 click-throughs to that website. Once your goals are clearly defined, you can determine a content strategy to achieve them.

2. Understand and Know your Target
Most marketing plans fail because they try to reach everyone, rather than focusing on the audience that matters most -- the audience who finds the product or service most appealing. The consumers who find your service or product appealing often share common characteristics and interests, and it's essential to pinpoint what those are. Tools like Facebook Audience Insights and Google Analytics can uncover details about the people following you on Facebook and visiting your website. They can pull themes on audience demographics, psychographic data about how the audience behaves, what their common interests and motivations are, and what problems they are trying to solve. This information can help brands craft audience personas and then content that connects with those personas and drives them to action.

3. Determine What Content Your Audience Will Find Valuable
If your goal is to generate brand awareness, develop content your audience will re-share with their networks. Typically, a person shares something on social media when it has a connection to them or represents them, be it political, emotional, cute or funny. People want to share with others how they perceive the world, what their tastes are, and how they define themselves. Figure out how your product or service can leverage that. If your goal is to drive sales, consider where your audience is in the sales funnel and tailor your content accordingly. The content and messages you’d share with someone who is unfamiliar with your brand are going to be different than what you’d share with someone who has already visited your website and shown an interest.

4. Distribute the Right Content to the Right Audience
Determine what types of content you’ll be sharing on which platforms, to which audiences, and how often. Your overall tone and brand voice should stay consistent across channels, even if the actual content you share on each differs. Building a brand voice helps companies distinguish themselves from other brands. Additionally, by keeping the look and feel of content consistent, consumers will have an easier time recognizing and remembering the brand. The frequency in which you post should be tailored to your brand and your audience. To determine optimal frequency, keep an eye on when your post engagement starts to drop. For example, if you notice post engagement tends to decline on your third Instagram post of the day, consider keeping it to two posts per day.

Need help developing a content strategy for your brand? Contact Miranda King to learn how we can help.