How To develop a Content Strategy That Works
When most people hear the word content, what comes to mind is a popular phrase in the Digital World. I don’t know who came up with it, but it’s brilliant, “Content is King!”
Ever since that phrase became popular, every online publisher has been riding on it but a few of those who rode on that phrase have seen actual tangible results from their efforts.
Indeed, I agree, content might be King but if it is not backed by a strategy, it becomes just a pawn in the game. You don’t produce content for the sake of producing content but you produce it so that it generates results.
[bctt tweet=”Content might be King but if it is not backed by a strategy, it becomes just a pawn in the game” username=”tjchinzvende”]
Your content must be backed by a clear and well defined strategy if you want it to make an impact.
Every article you will write, every video you will shoot and every graphic you will design must point towards a common definite endpoint.
Before I teach you on how to develop a content strategy that works, I just want to define some of the key terms in this article.
The best definition I’ve seen to date on strategy is a long term plan of action that is designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.
This is the textual, visual or graphical content that a user experiences when visiting a website.
Web Content Strategy
Note: I decided to use the word web largely because we are talking about how to produce content for the web and not the other channels.
Now, to define Web Content Strategy, I’ll need you to at the definition of Strategy again and take note of the word long-term. A Web Content Strategy must have that long term perspective for it to be effective.
No strategy can become effective within a short space of time, it has to be both tried and tested for it to be as effective as it should be.
Web Content Strategy is the creation, planning and delivery of Digital Textual, Graphical and Video content to generate measurable results that are impactful.
Finally, now that we have the definitions out of the way, now we can double down on how to develop a content strategy that works.
I’m going to use this platform to explain to you a method I’ve been testing and that I believe works well from my own experience. That method can be summarised by the word DRUMD.
Yes, I’m going to share with you what I call the DRUMD method of Content Strategizing. It can be summarised in five simple steps as illustrated by the picture below.
- Define your audience
- Research what they like and talk about.
- Understand where they hang out.
- Make suitable content for those platforms.
- Distribute it strategically
This is the part where you can say that you now know how to develop a content strategy. If this is the case, then you can give me a high five and read my post on the basics of Social Media here.
But if you are like me, never satisfied with little and shorthand knowledge, then read on because there is still plenty more to learn.
1. Define your audience
If you get this right, everything will be pretty smooth. If you read the list above well enough, you’ll see that if you fail to do step one the right way, everything else above won’t matter regardless of how well you may do it.
Before you set out to produce your video or write your blogpost, you should understand the person who you are doing it for. Remember, we are producing content for human beings and not machines.
And thus, if we do not understand the humans we are producing the content for, then, our strategy will crumble.
Defining an audience is not difficult. As a content creator, you should always see your content from the perspective of the person who you’re creating it for. It’s never about you.
[bctt tweet=”As a content creator, you should always see your content from the perspective of the person who you’re creating it for. It’s never about you.” username=”tjchinzvende”]
Like for this blogpost, I would have used a title how to Develop a Content Strategy and trust me, such a title wouldn’t have gotten me any results which is why I had to include the words, “that works.”
Why did I use those words?. Because, I know that a person who is looking for a strategy is doing so because they are looking for something more than just a strategy, they are looking for results, which is why I had to talk about making that strategy work.
Whatever you do, please don’t get this first step wrong, accurately define your audience before you do anything else.
2. Research ways to reach them
Let me tell you a secret, it’s one thing to know who your readers are and another to actually reach them. Making your voice heard especially on the web is difficult.
You may ask why? Because millions of other people are also doing it. That’s why it becomes vital for you to research ways you can reach your defined audience.
If you are a blogger, your best bet is to start making use of free tools like Google AdWords particularly the keyword research tool. I’m recommending this because you have to know what your defined people are interested in particularly with regards to your field.
Like when I did this article, the Audience Definition was people who are interested in producing content and content marketing.
The next step was to find ways to reach you, so I had to go on AdWords and search for terms related to Content Marketing which is how I landed here. Look at the picture below.
If you want to learn more on Google AdWords, read this guide by Neil Patel.
I had to choose this particular topic largely because a few people are searching for it, less than a thousand searches a month. A few people means less competition which results in a huge gap in the market. The content will be seen and read.
What most people don’t know is that you can never reach people if you target a high volume keyword, especially if you are new. Also content which is searched by a few people is the one that makes the most impact.
See it this way, when less than a thousand people worldwide are searching for something each month, it simply means that those people are gold and therefore more likely to pay attention to what you are saying.
3. Understand how they are interacting with your content
Once you have reached people, it’s vital that you begin observing how they are interacting with your content.
This is the third of five pillars of the DRUMD method because it is the central pillar, it’s not coincidence that this point is number 3.
Some of the things to observe in order to understand what people are doing with your content is how they are engaging with it.
The reason why you produce content is for it to either sell or to spread. If your content is not doing any of these two, then it’s time to go back to the drawing table.
It’s vital for you to understand how your audience is interacting with your content.
This stage can be referred to as the pointer for your strategy. It will define how you go ahead. If you are satisfied with the engagement of your audience, then go ahead with steps 4 and 5. But if you are not, you should revise and revisit both points 1 and 2.
4. Make Perfect Content
Let’s assume that you have successfully implemented steps 1 to 3, it’s now time to go to step four.
The reason why this should be part of your strategy is because crappy content can be read or seen but only once. Once you reach your defined audience, you have to produce content that is both compelling and interesting.
There is no substitute here, people must love what you create. They must love it to such an extent that they will come back for more.
Once you start having defined and frequent readers. Everything else becomes pretty simple.
4. Distribute and Produce your Content Strategically
This is the last part. On the web, the most important trait is consistency. Which is why as a Content Producer, you need to have a strategy that gives you the flexibility to be consistent with your content.
The common misconception associated with consistency when we refer to content is that most people tend to think that consistency means publishing every day. Even if you decide to publish once every month, just be consistent about it. Make sure that you publish every other month.
When I say that you have to produce your content strategically, what I mean is. Your blog is a book, only that it is being written and distributed in bits and pieces.
[bctt tweet=”Your blog is a book, only that it is being written and distributed in bits and pieces.” username=”tjchinzvende”]
Once you begin seeing your blog as a book, you’ll start seeing the major reasons why you should start producing organised content.
Before you write the tips and tricks on a particular subject, start by defining that subject to your readers or viewers. Or at least give them a link to an article that does.
If your content is on healthy living, do not write articles on the tips for healthy living without first writing articles on what healthy living is. Be strategic about how you produce your content.
Finally, be strategic with your content distribution efforts. Do not do it for the sake of just doing it. Here is a complete guide on how you can effectively distribute your content.
I’m sure you have now seen how to develop a content strategy that works. Although you can use this article as a guide, it’s vital to know that there is one size fits all approach, eventually by trying and testing, you will figure out what works and what doesn’t.