How to develop a strong content strategy

Updated: Jan 18


In this blog post, we will explore the subject of content. It’s creation, curation and management will be discussed as well as what categories and types of content you should consider for your business. Communities, platforms, and channels and how they impact your choice of content will also make an appearance in this post. Are you interested in learning more and how you can develop a content calendar of your own for your business? Then just keep reading.

Content Categories

When creating content you are trying to communicate with a designated audience, for example, customers, business partners, local government or investors (Cho & Huh, 2010; Lee, Huang & Lee, 2006; Wattal, Racherla & Mandiwalla, 2009 in Dennis, Minas & Lockwood, 2016, p. 162). You create it as a means to “market products and services, develop (your) brand, build stronger relationships with customers, and obtain customer feedback” (Aaserud, 2006; Carr, 2006; Vargo, 2006 in Dennis, Minas & Lockwood, 2016, p. 162). The intention is always for content to be of high quality to deliver the greatest benefit to your audience. However, high-quality content is just one consideration. The quality and the success of your content relies on your ability to determine “what target audiences are important, what content should be provided, how (you) should manage (the content you create) and the influence of those factors on visibility (Vaughan & Wu, 2004 in Dennis, Minas & Lockwood, 2016, p. 162).

Table 1: Content framework (Dennis, Minas & Lockwood, 2016, p.166)

Creation, Curation, and Management

Talking about content means talking about the content you create yourselves, the content you choose to curate and the content you manage. You choose to do all three of these things in-house or choose only one or two. So, how are these three functions differentiated?

Creation:

the material that you contribute to blogs, websites, social media platforms, etc. or that you create for your own website

Curation:

the material that others have contributed to blogs, websites, social media platforms, etc. that you have discovered, gathered and chosen to present to your own audience. Remember proper attribution must be given!

Management:

processes, platforms, and apps that help content creators and curators to manage all this material

Types of content

The material that is created for audiences comes in many different forms. For small to mid-size businesses or individuals these might be one or more of the following: 1) Blog posts for your website or articles that appear on the websites of others 2) Video, audio, or photos 3) Podcasts, presentations, or webinars 4) Infographics, case studies or white papers 5) eBooks or e-Courses 6) Checklists, how-to’s, roundups, new research, or alternative way of doing something 7) Interviews, guest or collaborative content or Q and A’s 8) Social media posts or miscellaneous website content 9) Newsletters, company news or product announcements 10) Promotions or ad campaigns

Visibility

To get your content seen, gain awareness of your business and work towards developing a loyal following here are some key tips: - Think of SEO (search engine optimisation) when creating content - Consider targeted ads – use this sparingly or risk annoying your target audience! - Be active on the platforms you post on – social media is your friend. - Get passionate about blogging

Content Considerations

Building Community

Building a community around your brand, your products and services, and your content can really help you in your profit-raising goals. You might build content communities on the following: - LinkedIn - Instagram - YouTube - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest - Tumblr - Mix

Table 2: Building content communities (du Plessis, 2017, p. 5)

Content communities all have their specific codes of conduct, culture, lingo. Knowing all this information can be the difference between being able to create a community, keeping it and making it grow and never getting traction and stagnating. Know your audiences and know your communities so that you can avoid faux-pas and/or seeming out-of-touch/irrelevant.

Platform Specific Content

Different platforms have different aims and attract different audiences. Each platform also has designated specifications and conditions for the content that is allowed to be uploaded. When creating your content, you may want to consider using the following:

- StoryChief - HubSpot - ScribbleLive - Hemingway Editor - SnapApp - Portent - Ceros - Grammarly

These software’s and applications can assist you in creating dynamic and engaging content for your audience. Scheduling your content based on days or times that your audience is most likely to access them will ensure that your content doesn’t get overlooked. Being aware of the tone and style of content that is suitable or appropriate affects the success of your content no matter where you choose to post those specific pieces of content.

Table 2: Platform-specific content (du Plessis, 2017, p. 5)

Channel Research

Knowing where and how to promote your content may make the difference between achieving or not achieving what you set out to do by creating the content in the first place. Content management systems exist that can assist you in doing just that. Some of these are:

- WordPress - Drupal - Joomla - HubSpot - SilverStripe - Text Pattern - Magento -ExpressionEngine -TypoLight

You may choose to promote your content on social media platforms such as: - Instagram - Pinterest - Facebook - Twitter - LinkedIn - Mix

At Atelier Breugnot we have found the greatest engagement we have is on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. All of these are linked to our website on which we have blogs to ensure the greatest return on our content and the greatest possibility of communication between the business and our clients. Like you, this is a work in progress! There are no shortcuts.

Table 3: Understanding channels (du Plessis, 2017, p. 5)

Editorial Calendar for Blogging

Constraints

Before creating your content, you’ll need to define what exactly you are trying to achieve. You may want to consider all conducting an audit on the content you’ve produced in the past (e.g. evaluate what worked, what didn’t and why). From there you’ll brainstorm ideas and many of them might be great. Just off the bat, you may realise though that some ideas simply won’t work for your business or won’t appeal to your target audience. It’s fantastic to have ideas but we also need to make allowances for time and budgetary constraints. Are there better alternatives that might be just as, if not, more effective? Only you can answer that question.

Personas

Knowing your audience means knowing what type of content will appeal to them and where they will be most likely to look for this type of content. If you don’t know what their values and goals are you may never be able to create and promote your content in a way that genuinely speaks to them. Creating personas of your ideal audience member/s will help you to stay focused on whether your content is on the right track or leading you off on a tangent. Remember what works for others may not work for you. By all means, be inspired by others but don’t imagine that copying and pasting a viral piece of content will give you the same results. It won’t! Your content needs to feel like it’s coming from you and speaks to your values otherwise your target audience will be turned off.

To read more about personas check out your article: SPAM Tsunami.

Remember to always keep in mind the following when thinking of your target personas: 1) What are their pain points? 2) How can you help them? 3) What are their interests? (Meggert, 2018, p. 32)

Research

There are many ways to do research to create interesting, relevant, and timely content. You may choose to read newspapers, magazines, watch programs on commercial or pay-per-view TV, go to industry events or conferences, etc. At the Atelier Breugnot, our preferred method is reading peer-reviewed articles. We search for these on the following databases:

- Business Source Complete - ProQuest Central - Emerald eJournals - ScienceDirect Journals - Scopus - Gale Cengage Academic OneFile - DOAJ Directory of Open Access Journals - EBSCOhost Business Source Complete

We choose this method of research because it provides us with data that has been evaluated by a peer group with expert knowledge in the relevant field. In other words, it’s not just an opinion!

Creation

Using a template to create your content can assist in creating consistent content in an organised manner. This might be creating templates for a specific type of content (e.g. blog articles, infographics, etc) or for specific platforms (e.g. image dimensions that suit Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). An example of this might be the following blog template:

Image 1: Blog post template by Atelier Breugnot

Planning and Tracking

The best way to plan your content ahead of time is to create a thirty-day calendar. In addition to this, you may want to consider a spreadsheet where you can detail extra information like headlines you’ve used, links to the content piece, targeted keywords, added keywords and platforms you’ve chosen to use. This will help keep your content organised and help you avoid either being repetitious or inconsistent in your content creation.

Image 2: Editorial Calendar for Blogging and Tracking Spreadsheet by Atelier Breugnot

For onsite tracking of your content creation efforts consider Visitor Analytics (this is what we use). It offers real-time tracking of data such as site visitors, unique visitors, top page visits, top visited pages, top countries, top cities, top referees, and more.

If you’re interested in trying it out you can sign up now and get a discount using our link:

Some suggestions for off-site tracking and insights are: - OneSpot - BuzzSumo - GetSocial

Whichever method you choose try to keep these questions in mind when evaluating your content: 1) Where is your website traffic coming from? 2) What pieces of content are consistently performing best? 3) What types of social media posts have garnered the most attention? 4) What email broadcasts or campaigns have the highest open and click rates? What was different about them? (Meggert, 2018, p. 32)

Need some help with your digital marketing or social media management? Talk to us.

In this blog post, we have explored the subject of content. It’s creation, curation and management have been discussed as well as what categories and types of content you should consider for your business. Communities, platforms, and channels and how they impact your choice of content have made their appearances in the post. So, hopefully, you’ve gained in knowledge and now feel confident in your ability to develop a content calendar of your own for your business.

Want to read more posts like this? Give me more!

References:

Dennis, A. R. Minas, R.K. and Lockwood, N.S. 2016, “Mapping the Corporate Blogosphere: Linking Audience, Content, and Management to Blog Visibility”, Journal of the Association of Information Research, vol. 17, iss. 3 , pp. 162-193, viewed 10 April 2019, http://search.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/login.aspx?direct=true&db=iih&AN=115434111&site=ehost-live&scope=site

du Plessis, C. 2017, “The role of content marketing in social media content communities”, South African Journal of Information Management, vol. iss. , p. 1-7, viewed 10 April 2019, doi: 10.4102/sajim.v19i1.866

Flanagan, S. and Getto, G. 2017, “Helping content: a three-part approach to content strategy with non-profits”, Communication Design Review, vol. 5, iss. 1, pp. 57-70, viewed 10 April 2019, doi: 10.1145/3040152/3090157

Herther, N.K. 2012, "Content Curation", Searcher, vol. 20, no. 7, pp. 30-41, viewed 10 April 2019, https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/docview/1039557819?accountid=14205

Meggert, Z. 2018, “How to Create Content that Connects with Your Ideal Client”, Journal of Financial Planning, vol. 31, iss.12, p. 31-32, viewed 10 April 2019, https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.lib.swin.edu.au/docview/2160706994?accountid=14205

Wall, A. & Spinuzzi, C. 2018, “The art of selling-without-selling: Understanding the genre ecologies of content marketing”, Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 27, iss. 2, pp.137-160, viewed 10 April 2019, doi: 10.1080/10572252.2018.1425483

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