As consumers shift ever further into primarily connecting with brands online, specifically via mobile, the burden falls to marketing teams to supply fresh content that attracts a following and earns conversions. The key is clear Content Strategy. Without carefully considered and well-defined strategy, a brand can quickly lapse into posting just for the sake of posting, and teams can burn out from scrambling to meet deadlines. What Content Strategy provides is a set of easy reference points and hard answers, so you don’t create inconsistent work or waste time negotiating brand objectives.
Here are nine essential principles for successful Content Strategy and beyond.
1. STATE YOUR MISSION
Developing content strategy is an organic process that requires formulating the brand mission into a content missing statement. This can also be a set of messaging pillars. Often you’ll see brands posts several styles of content, which effectively break their messaging goals into different formats and looks. Whenever you see a brand effectively communicating different types of message with uniform effectiveness and being “on brand,” rest assured they have a clearly defined content mission statement.
2. KNOW YOUR TARGET
To create effective stories, you must have a sharp understanding of who you’re creating stories for. Gather as much relevant information as you can on who your target demographic is, and create at least a general brand persona or personas. Avoid the pitfalls of classifying people as categories like High Net Worth Individuals, and leaving it at that. Seek to discover what attracts people’s interest, earns their respect, and matches their values.
3. DEVELOP A STYLE GUIDE
Brand consistency is the easiest way to establish brand trust, or conversely to undermine it through haphazardness. Brand content should build awareness and form a relationship with customers. A Style Guide maps out all brand elements: Logo and Tagline to Photography, Typography, Brand Colors, and Brand Voice. By establishing approved formats for your content, you create templates for quick development of ideas into finished work. No more reinventing the wheel each week. No more confusing customers with a different visual identify every four months. Just polished effective posts.
4. TIE GOALS TO KPIs
Whether the goal of a campaign or individual post is to bring people to a micro-site, gain earned media, or convert sales, you must identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will allow you to track and assess the effectiveness of the work. This helps clients feel confident in spend and lets you test different approaches, dialing in the winning combination for conversations.
5. INTEGRATE CONTENT
Gone are the days of one channel of content being an effective base for a brand. Customers expect a mix of vivid and engaging Social, Video, and smart Blogs that educate on the world of your brand. While always following your style guide formats, create a blended calendar of content. And dream up native content to optimize the new features of each App.
6. KEEP IT SNACKABLE
People consume media in short bursts. Tailor your content to deliver instantly, and you stand a much better chance of the message being digested.
7. PARTNER UP
Signing a big-name influence a la beauty brand Morphe may not make sense for every brand. But signing numerous micro-influencers (those with fewer than 10k followers) within a target community may be a smart play, as it was for Halo Top. Teaming up with partners isn’t always about increasing the reach of your content. Sometimes it’s about enriching it, delivering more value to your customers. In that case, you might consider signing a Spokesperson with a solid platform who creates meaningful content you can develop together. Aligning with a cause likewise demonstrates the character of your brand.
8. SITUATIONAL AWARENESS
Monitor the news to take advantage of storylines that tee up opportunities to market your brand. This is not an excuse to go off-brand. Rather it’s a reminder to stay nimble enough to put a message out there in the midst of a current event, not the week after. Pop culture gives brands a steady stream of topics to speak to and play off of—if you’re listening.
9. HAVE FUN
Content channels are commonly viewed as more casual formats for brand expression. It’s where a brand gets to let down its hair, so to speak. So embrace the creative freedom and don’t be afraid to create work that—within the framework of the brand—is innovative, beautiful and memorable. When you look at the best content being developed, you can tell that the people involved put passion into their work and had a great time. It shines through in the results.