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Content is still a huge topic for marketers and one that evolves regularly. Victoria Perera, senior digital consultant at Archetype lays out the way she approaches content strategy from day one.

A content strategy is an integral part of your marketing plan, acting both as a guide to the content you’re going to create, and as a benchmark for how you measure success.

Put simply, a content strategy is how you ensure your content directly meets your business objectives and the needs of your customers. It is an essential component of any marketing campaign.

Here are five critical steps to take when developing your content strategy.

1. Define your goals

Great content needs to have a purpose and that purpose needs to be defined by clear goals. Start by identifying: the mission at hand, your business and/or marketing objectives, and your KPIs.

This is the point when you ask yourself, is content, and therefore a content strategy, the best way to achieve your current business objectives? If the answer is yes, move on to step two.

2. Know your audience

The success of your content strategy will be fueled by two elements, your USP and, just as importantly, your audience. That’s why it’s important to research your existing and desired audiences.

There are many readily available tools to accomplish this such as Google Analytics and Facebook Insights and don’t forget that research papers can also be your friend.

Once you have defined your audience, develop your customer persona(s). This will help you pinpoint what content your audience will engage with.

3. Audit your content

You’ve established who you’re going to be speaking to and the types of content they engage with, so now it’s time to better understand what your current content is saying and where the gaps are.

Next, analyse what your competition is up to. You can learn as much from what your competitors are saying as what they’re not saying. Importantly, this will also enable you to identify what the gap in the market is.

4. Develop content themes

It’s time to turn your audience passions and your brand strengths and priorities into the foundations or ‘themes’ of your content strategy.

Use what you know about your audience and draw from your research and content audit to answer the following questions:

  • What content have you identified that your audience is consuming?
  • What do you as a brand have the right to speak about? Answer this truthfully, as this will help your brand be more authentic?
  • What can you as a brand bring that is new to the conversation?
  • What platforms will allow you to best deliver this content?

5. Map your content to your marketing funnel

First, map out your customer journey across the stages of awareness, consideration, purchase, usage, and advocacy. This will help you identify the varying needs of your customers at different points in the marketing funnel and will help you map out what content will deliver to each of these requirements.

Once that is done, develop your messaging matrix, which will help you identify your key messages and proof points. This matrix serves as the backbone of all future communication.

Last but not least, begin to map out your content under the titles of hero, hub and hygiene.

  • Hero content are major campaign moments that speak to a big, broad audience.
  • Hub content are the regular supporting stories that continue your narrative.
  • And hygiene content is in essence, your ‘help’ content, that answers the key questions your customers are asking on a regular basis.

By following these five steps, you can develop the essentials of a content strategy and should be well on your way to producing great material that resonates with your customers and sets you apart from your competitors.

Victoria Perera is senior digital consultant at Archetype.