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How to develop content strategy?

How to develop content strategy?

Social media content, marketing videos, blog posts and more… Nowadays both B2B, and B2C brands center their marketing strategies around content production in order to reach more users, raise brand awareness and create a loyal customer base. In this process, adopting a correct approach is possible through developing content strategy. As Online PR Service B2Press, we will try to answer the question "How to develop a content strategy?" in this article. 

We are living in a time in which the morning routine starts with checking the latest content on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, and then listening to podcasts on the way to work or watching videos from favorite YouTube channels, browsing news and content sources during the day and preferring platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and BluTV for evening entertainment. Contents which have become indispensable for users today and constitute the basis of internet usage are also among the most powerful marketing and communication tools for brands in recent times. Both B2B and B2C brands take the path of content creation in order to make digital sales channels more efficient, reinforce their connections with potential customers, seize opportunities for new customers, climbing up in search engines and embrace various concepts in relation to their fields through quality content.

In the absence of a coherent strategy regarding content creation, it becomes unavoidable for brands to be part of "content shock" as mentioned by Mark Schaefer in 2014. Schaefer had criticized the content creation trend rising among brands in 2014, claiming that it was not sustainable. Today, brands may possibly lose, rather than gain, readers or users if they start creating content without a coherent and controlled strategy. 

Content strategy determines what, where, when and how you plan to talk with your target audience.

So, what is content strategy? As Online PR Service B2Press, in this article, we will first focus on finding an answer to this question and then dive into the details of the question "What kind of a content strategy should I develop?". 

What is content strategy?

Content strategy is a content plan in which you use audiovisual and/or written tools to achieve your business goals. According to HubSpot, a successful content strategy helps you attract your target audience in every stage of the conversion funnel and keep them interested in your brand even after the purchase. Content strategy, one of the essential components of marketing strategy, determines what, where, when and how you plan to talk with your target audience. Creating a content strategy goes beyond merely defining the topic and formats, and also covers analyzing the characteristics of your target audience, determining what kind of roadmap the content will provide, and how it will be planned. On the other hand, measuring the performance of the content created and testing the extent to which it has achieved the goals are also parts of the concept of content strategy. 

How is content strategy different from content marketing strategy?

Although content marketing strategy and content strategy are considered to be similar, the latter is positioned more like an umbrella concept that encompasses the former. Content strategy serves a roadmap that guides content marketing strategy. Content strategy, which can be defined as a planning activity that covers all steps and decisions you need for connecting with your customers through content, is more comprehensive as a planning action on which you base things like what you want to achieve, to whom you need to reach, what kind of content you need and how this content plan will support your brand. With a powerful content strategy, the steps centered around content marketing strategy create a mutually supportive relationship. 

What kind of content can brands create?

What kind of content can brands create?

The extent of content formats to be produced by brands is determined by the capabilities of platforms. In other words, brands can create content in any format of their choice. The most popular of these content formats are listed below. 

  1. Blogs: In case you haven't noticed yet, you are currently reading a blog post. As a reader, you searched Google for a topic that has been on your mind and you came across the Library section of Online PR Service B2Press. You are now reviewing a blog content created by B2Press editors for finding answers to what you have been wondering about content marketing. Your customers do this as well. They refer to search engines for the questions on their minds with regards to your brand or to its line of business and, with a well-positioned blog post, the customer can choose you as the source from which they will seek answers. Regular blog posts are considered as a powerful content format that encourages both search engines and consumers to follow your brand. Blogs, when divided into smaller parts, can also serve as a source of content to be shared in social media. 
  2. E-books and white papers: E-books and white papers can be used as tools to obtain the contact information of users who visit your website. These specially designed documents in PDF format, which are longer than blog posts and written to attract visitors to a website, are useful for informing potential customers about your products and services and your expertise in your line of business. When your customers willingly share information such as name, surname and e-mail in order to download these documents, you obtain the leads that you can use the next day for e-mail marketing and maybe convert into customers. 
  3. Podcast: In Nielsen's 2022 Annual Marketing Report, it is stated that 56% of the marketing professionals, particularly in the USA, will increase their spending on podcasts during the year, while another report by the same company emphasizes that podcast ads offer a recall rate of 71%. Brands make frequent use of podcast channels either through advertisements and sponsorships or branded podcasts where content producers are the brand owners themselves. Consumer's attention is drawn by podcasts that are actually produced to be useful and that focus on different subjects. In addition, by working with celebrities to present the content, brands can transform their content plans centered around podcasts into integrated campaigns that also include influencer marketing.
  4. E-bulletins:Robinhood, a fast-growing financial technology company that has popularized retail investing in the USA, has acquired Market Snack, an independent e-bulletin centered around financial news, and renamed it as Robinhood Snack. Likewise, HubSpot had acquired The Hustle in February, 2021, which is an independent media venture famous for its e-bulletins. These news are hard evidence proving that, when prepared with care, e-mail bulletins in which quality news compilations in a certain niche are shared and which are served directly into the users' mailboxes can develop an audience of loyal readers. Brands which take e-mail beyond being a mere marketing tool and make it an essential component of content strategy start establishing their own media in a sense and build channels through which they can carry out non-business communication with their readers and share company-related developments. 
  5. Press releases and special news: While mostly perceived as part of corporate communication, the view on public relations has been changing in recent years. Brands which intend to reinforce their position in the sector, possibly through a widespread media network, make frequent use of online and printed publications to show that they are an authority and an opinion leader in their niche. An annual press plan created with the editorial support and consultancy of a professional such as Online PR service B2Press makes it possible to increase the public visibility of your brand.  

Although the four content formats listed above are included among the most exciting and frequently used types of content for brands recently, brands can also turn social media into powerful content channels. For example, the increasing competition among Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat in particular has made vertical videos more popular with the introduction of YouTube Shorts. When identifying these channels, brands must first ask themselves the following questions. 

1. Who will read my content? Whom will I address?
2. Which needs of my target audience will be met by the content I produce?
3. What are my distinguishing features compared to other blogs, e-bulletins and podcasts?
4. On which channels will I focus?
5. How will I manage the content creation and publishing processes? 

Asking these questions is the first step in the process of starting to build a content strategy. Now, let's explain how to create a content strategy step by step. 

Content strategy in 6 steps

Create your content strategy in 6 steps

Creating a content strategy has a roadmap much similar to forming a marketing strategy. These steps which are used for determining the objectives as well as the details of content development and content distribution processes are as follows. 

  • First of all, set your objectives. Content creation is tough work, requiring coherence and continuity as well as genuine effort. At that point, you can set your goals as the first step of creating the strategy in order to decide what you expect from content creation. Here it is important not to expect the performance of a direct sales tool from the content and to know that content creation works better for purposes such as drawing interest, raising brand awareness, gaining an audience and contributing to the reputation.  
  • Study personas. In the second step, you should start studying your audience and identifying your personas to know what type of content your target audience consumes, at which times and how often. This is because it is possible to create content that satisfies their expectations, only when you know the behavior of your target audience. 
  • Perform content audit. The concept of content audit includes evaluating the performance of the content studies your brand had previously carried out and measuring the functionality of the pilot content designs in the new channels where you have been involved, other than the blog content. Content audit which helps you discover what has the biggest impact in your target audience, also helps determining the content format which you will be using as things progress. 
  • Do some planning. This step, where you will determine format, frequency, theme, content concept and publishing frequency is important for the consistency of your content strategy. For instance, you are planning to create a podcast. Making seasonal content designs in view of the possibility that things may not always go as planned will give you room to have a break and try new ideas. When introducing the new podcast series created by your brand, you keep the communication within these limits and raise listener's hopes accordingly. In other words, if you design a podcast series of 8 episodes and regularly inform your listeners that the season will end after the 8th episode, nobody expects you to produce an episode 9. And at the end of 8 episodes, you seize the chance to greet your audience with a new format and perhaps through another channel.
  • Set up your team and determine your content partner. Although many of the brands prefer setting up teams within the company to develop content, you can ask professionals for help if you cannot allocate sufficient budget for in-house development. Online PR Service B2Press comes in at this point to meet all your needs for written content. B2Press contributes to your content strategy as a business partner from which you can get continuous support in subjects such as white papers, e-books, blog content, executive summaries, news collections, promotional documents, social media content, marketing texts, press releases and special news work, and which charges you on a pay-as-you-go model which is the benefit of our service model. 
  • Optimize. Talking about content, we have to remember that this process is an iterative one, which is repetitious, and that repeats itself. When producing content, making little search engine optimizations (SEO) while keeping the human touch and the original and organic nature intact contributes to the visibility of your content on the internet environment. SEO does not only apply to written content; platforms like YouTube also have optimization features that may have an effect on search engine visibility. SEO topic clusters also have a significant effect on your SEO performance and general content strategy since they can make your page more dominant, lead to more organic traffic and improve the rankings.

Towards the end of this article in which we tried to draw a general framework for content production, content development, content formats and optimization, we also wish to emphasize that content production process is an investment. Content production is a marketing journey, the initial effects of which are felt in a few months and where coherence and continuity have a direct influence on the success of the strategy. Expecting to see direct numerical effects in a short time may result in disappointment. On the other hand, brands that produce content on a regular basis are paid back with interest by consumers. They enjoy increased search engine visibility, become a resource that benefits more users and reinforce their reputation in the related line of business. It would be better to view content strategy development through this perspective and remember that content production is indispensable for a strong positioning in the digital world. 

You can contact us using the chat window on this page in order to see what the Online PR Service B2Press can do for the content strategy of your brand and to discover how the developments in your company are turned into newsworthy press releases at the hands of the world's major media organizations and news agencies. That's not all! You can take advantage of the Plus services of B2Press for all your digital content needs such as e-books, white papers, website content, corporate presentations, downloadable documents, brochures, promotional texts, and marketing texts.

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