In 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay entitled “Content is King.” In it, he went on to predict that, “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” More than 20 years later, it’s obvious to see his prediction was correct. And in the digital world, the quality and value of the content you produce can give a brand a competitive advantage over everyone else.
Obviously, content strategy can’t be taught in a single blog post—there are too many nuances to tackle and so many types of content to consider (e.g., blog posts, infographics, videos, etc.). Rather, my goal is to provide an overview and blue print when developing an overall digital content strategy.
Before we get into the four planning phases, it’s important to take a step back and figure out which social channels you should utilize. For instance, if you’re a B2B brand, your most receptive audience would most likely be on LinkedIn or Facebook. If you’re a B2C brand, you should focus on Facebook and Twitter while also highlighting your more fun, company-culture content on Instagram. Regardless, dividing your strategy into different phases will help you align your content with specific business goals.
Phase 1: Awareness
Introduce yourself, make a splash and position yourself as the go-to source in your industry. It will take a good amount of time and resources to become a thought leader, but the payoff from providing your consumers with valuable information will translate to a more engaged audience as well as positive results for your bottom line.
Phase 2: Interest
Once you’ve created that spark in phase one, it’s time to raise the bar on your content. Switch up the types of content you’re producing and offer your audience something different. If you’re a retailer, offer a monthly email newsletter that highlights your best deals. Or offer a giveaway or sweepstakes to draw more interest. You need to continue to produce high-quality content that will keep consumers coming back for more.
Phase 3: Consideration
Now you’ve established yourself as a serious contender in your space. Forming a bond with consumers that trust you is an invaluable position to be in. People will be far more likely to visit your site first, and if you’re in the retail biz, your brand’s authenticity and trust can convert to sales.
Phase 4: Nurture
Of all of the phases covered, I believe that this is the most important one because it revolves around your long-term content plan.
Drafting an editorial or social media content calendar will allow you to structure a cadence and plan out your year—allowing you to nurture your audience throughout the year. It’s great if you can establish monthly or quarterly themes, too. For instance, if you’re a retailer selling outerwear, plan your content around the seasonal nature of your product (e.g., fall activities, winter outdoor essentials, etc.).
You should always be trying to improve your content and continuously refining what you are producing—it's the best way to pique an audiences’ interest. As mentioned, this can be accomplished by trying new forms of content. Have you already created an infographic? Produce a case study that complements what you’ve previously done. Keeping your content fresh and engaging is always the best course of action.