What is a digital content strategy, and why do you need one? With 6 steps to create one that works.Jan 10, 2022
Are you living the self-employed dream? Or have those rose-tinted glasses been resigned to the bin now you realise exactly how much work it takes to run your own business?
I love the freedom of being my own boss and making all the decisions in my business. Still, sometimes it's hard to get on top of the chaos of being self-employed, being everything to everyone and feeling like you're always running to catch up.
But how would you like to get ahead of the game on at least one thing, like your content creation? Yup, that monster!
Well, there is genuinely an answer to how to feel in control of creating your content, and that's creating a digital content strategy.
A content strategy will help you feel lighter and stop struggling with the dreaded question of what to write this week. It will help you get the whole content creation problem under control once and for all, and you'll know what you're going to write weeks in advance. Create a content strategy, and those random posts you throw up in a last-minute panic will be things of the past!
You need simple, strategic systems, so you're prepared in advance, and you know exactly why you're creating your content. Getting strategic is going to reduce your stress levels, help you fall back in love with running your business, and it's also going to help you convert casual readers into clients and raving fans.
Is there anything a digital content strategy can't do? Probably not!
Ready to find out how you can create one for your business?
What is a digital content strategy?
So, before we get stuck into creating a content strategy, it's a good idea to talk about what it actually is. Or it might be more helpful to start with talking about what a content strategy isn't. It's really important to understand that it's NOT a content plan.
Basically, your content strategy sets out the Who and the Why, and your content plan defines the What, the Where and the When.
A good digital content strategy will let you channel your vision for your business into tangible offerings and guide your content creation.
Importantly, it gives you answers to questions like what subjects should I write about? Who's going to care about what I have to say? And What's the point of me saying anything anyway? Otherwise, you'll be wasting your time creating content no one wants or needs.
Your content strategy helps you understand who wants to see your content and the issues and topics they want to hear about from you. It forms the foundation of your content plan as your strategy will tell you how they want to hear from you, and it will keep you focused on your core message and offerings.
So your content strategy will help you get clear about who you're creating content for, what they want to see, and how they want to see it. You'll take all this high-level information and turn it into your content plan...but more on that later.
It's also a great way to keep you on the straight and narrow messaging and services wise, so you can avoid the temptation (and the time suck) of going off-piste and confusing clients with surprise new offerings or unrelated content.
6 reasons you need a digital content strategy.
I'm sure you've heard of the "know, like and trust" factor. Well, one of the best ways to build this with your readers is to show up every week, talking about what they expect you to be talking about, and your content strategy will make sure you do exactly that.
1. You'll show up consistently.
Your content strategy takes most of the thinking time out of the equation. There's no question about what you're going to write about; you know your theme and the subject you're going to cover.
Once you stop spending all that time thinking about what to create, it's just a matter of sitting down and doing it. This means you half your creation time, and you actually get it written, week after week after week. You don't have off weeks, weeks where you just don't have time, or just can't think what to write. You've got your very own content idea generator, and all you need to do is fire it up and get writing!
2. You'll boost your credibility.
If you've taken the time to put together a content strategy that plays to your strengths and covers topics and issues you are well qualified to talk about, you'll gain a lot of credibility in your niche.
Having a content strategy means you'll only talk about subjects you know your audience want to hear about and that you have the knowledge and expertise to talk about. If you keep on turning up with credible content, you'll be the go-to expert in your niche before you know it.
3. You won't confuse your readers.
You won't be tempted to veer off track from your themes or messaging if you have a content strategy, so your clients and potential new customers won't be confused.
If you've got a content strategy that's aligned to the launch of your new hormone detox programme in 2 months, having a content strategy will keep you on track.
You won't waste your time writing about unrelated topics, and your audience won't be surprised when you move into launch mode.
In fact, they'll probably be excited to hear more. If you stick to your strategy, you'll always keep your content on message, created for exactly the right people, and it will get you moving towards the goals you set.
4. People will get to know you.
Your content strategy sets out who you're going to write for.
A really good content strategy is written with one person in mind, your ICA or your ideal customer avatar.
Turning up consistently as a credible player in your niche will take you so far, but getting people to know you will take you even further.
Your content strategy also holds space for you to include personal information. You'll include articles on who you are, what your values are, what you get up to in life.
Your social media will let people into your world so they can get to know the authentic you. I don't mean warts and all, but the details of your life that are relevant to your work.
If you're a relationship coach, you might want to talk every now and again about your partner. Or perhaps you're a divorce coach? What was your experience? How is life today? Let your dream clients into your life, strategically.
5. And they'll like you too!
We all like being liked!
Look at social media and the weight so many of us put on those little thumbs up on Facebook.
I know we shouldn't get obsessed, but there's nothing wrong with liking someone's work. In fact, liking someone's message, their look and feel, and their products and services are major determinants of whether you work with someone and come back for more.
And guess what, all those are a part of your digital content strategy. Of course, they are!
You want to think strategically about what kind of content your readers will like, what messages will resonate with them and how they want you to deliver it. Will they like a serious tone? Or would they prefer to hear from someone a bit more playful?
You don't NEED to get people to like you, but being yourself, talking about things your people want to hear about, in a way that is super helpful to them, will get you a long way in establishing an authentic, heart-centred business.
6. Your dream clients will get to trust you.
Getting your people to trust you results from you doing all of the above. Turning up consistently, talking credibly about things you know about, keeping on message, sticking to subjects they want to hear about and writing in ways that all come together in one fabulous synergistic bundle to create trust.
And once you've won a person's trust, you can expect to work together for a long time, provided, of course, you do everything in your power to maintain that trust.
Having a content strategy in place will keep you consistent.
There will be no surprises. You won't go MIA, and you won't start busting moves on Tik Tok (unless you know that's what your dream clients want to see!).
You'll become someone they can rely on to be there when they need you.
And that's how you run a business.
Think about it, whose shop would you go to? Someone who sold the same things you really love, month after month and opened their shop at the same time every day, or the one that sometimes had good things in - but you never really knew what to expect and only opened when the owner felt like it or had something to seel that week?
6 Steps to creating a content strategy that works
Step 1: Define your vision.
First of all, you need to know where you're going. Take a moment to stand back and state the vision for your business. Where do you want your business to be in 3 to 5 years?
Are you starting an empire or building a small but thriving in-person practice in your local area?
Who will you be helping? How will you serve your clients? Will you be teaching? Will you be coaching? How much income do you want to generate?
Starting with your vision helps define how many people you need to reach and where you need to focus your efforts, geographically and in terms of your online presence.
Here's an example:
The vision for my business is to grow a thriving online kundalini yoga business over the next 3 - 5 years. I will offer online Kundalini yoga classes and courses to women all over the world to help them on their journey through menopause.
My business will generate over $150k a year through online classes, courses and in-person retreats.
2. Define your goals.
Now that you know your vision, you need to set some goals for your content.
What do you want your content to do for you? Will you use it to build your email list? Or maybe you want to launch new courses or classes? Have you got a new signature coaching course you want to tell your world about?
Your content strategy will help you create intentionally, focused, purposeful content that will lead your readers along a path you have thought out beforehand, which is in line with your business goals.
So what are YOUR business goals?
Are you launching a new coaching programme? When are you launching it? What is it about? What is your sales target? What content do you need to support it? A weekly blog aligned to your course content? A pre-launch sequence? A 5-day challenge?
Set out your goals and work backwards to define the strategically aligned content you need.
3. Define your audience.
One of the most important steps in setting out your content strategy is defining who you're writing for. Who is your ideal customer?
Have you done your ICA exercise yet? If not, have a read of this blog to help you get to the bottom of who you're writing for once and for all.
Once you've defined who you're creating your content for, you get to be crystal clear on what she wants to hear. You'll be responding to her wants and needs in everything you write, and you'll never be stuck for what to write, and your content will be spot on.
What's her demographic info (age, gender, location, etc.)
Where does she spend time online?
What social media channels does she use to communicate?
Who does she listen to and take advice from?
What are their pain points?
4. Define your core themes.
This is where your content strategy takes shape. You know who you're talking to (your ICA) and why you're talking to them (your business goals). Now it's time to decide what you're going to be talking about from a strategic standpoint. Your content plan will set out exactly what you're going to write, but your content strategy will set out the key themes and messages you'll follow.
So, how do you identify your key themes and messages? It's really quite easy.
First, look at what you teach or what practices your include in your work. What are the fundamental elements of your business? If you're a women's empowerment coach, what are the stages of the journey you take them through in your packages? If you're a massage therapist, what are the issues most people come to you with? What is your approach?
Fundamentally you want to identify five key themes that represent the fundamental elements of your business. These form the backbone of your content strategy and provide the structure you need for your content plan.
5. Decide how you'll deliver your content
So know you know your key content themes, which are fully aligned with your business vision and goals; it's time to decide how you'll present your content.
Go back to your Customer Avatar. How does she get her information? Does she love Instagram? Is she a big fan of Facebook Lives, or does she prefer YouTube? Make sure you identify the channels you post your content on in your content strategy so you'll get in front of your dream clients in the places they are most likely to be.
Also, make sure it's in the format she likes best. Does she prefer video, or would she rather read a blog? Maybe she likes both. Make sure you include how she likes to receive content in your strategy.
Also, look at how frequently you'll deliver your content. Is a weekly blog enough? Or is it too much? Do you have the time to post on multiple social media channels, or will you just stick to 1 or 2?
So there you have it. Once you've pulled all these elements together, you'll have a content strategy!
Pulling it all together
So, first, define your vision and your goals, so you align your content to your business's core purpose. Then get crystal clear on who you're writing for and why she needs to hear from you. Identify five core message pillars based on her core information needs, then work out where she wants to see you, in what format and how often...and da dah! You have a content strategy.
It's really simple, and it helps SO much. So take some time to work through these steps and see what you come up with.
The next step is to turn this strategy into a content plan, and that's what I'll be talking about next week.
Until then, pop any questions you have in the comments, and I'll get back to you.
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