If you have marketed anything in the past decade, you know that content strategy has been one of the best, if not the best, strategy to grow just about anything. The idea behind your content strategy is a simple one: give people something of value in exchange for their information, continue to provide value and only then ask them to buy, give or engage with your organization.
The benefits of a strong content strategy are many:
- Establishing expertise
- Adding value
- Creating goodwill
- Developing a sense of reciprocity
- Engaging in meaningful ways
But a successful content strategy takes time, and there are some rules need to be followed to get the results you want. In the early days of content marketing the rule was simple, write something of value and you’ll get a good response. But with the proliferation of content, you should consider these new rules.
Find Your Sweet Spot
Before you start creating content for its own sake, you need to find your sweet spot. It lies in the intersection of your expertise as an individual or organization and your audience’s desires.
For example, if your audience is first-time book authors and your expertise is book self-publishing, then the intersection would be creating content that helps first-time authors to publish and market a book.
The more specific and focused your content is, the more it will resonate with your target audience. While you can create content for anyone who wants to self-publish, narrowing down your audience to first-time authors will allow you to help your audience a lot more than if you just wrote the same content to all authors.
Audience Deep Dive
Assumption is the enemy of the communicator. Too often, we assume we understand our audience’s needs and desires without ever asking them.
You don’t need to do expensive market research to do a deep dive into your audience. If you have an email list, surveys are an incredible deep dive tool. If you don’t have an extensive list, use social media. One easy tactic is to find Facebook groups that your audience is most likely to be involved in and post a question to the group and gather information.
I often post questions on nonprofit groups on Facebook to gather more information on what’s important to them. Sometimes the answers validate my assumptions, but I often find out that I had the wrong perception or underestimated some of the challenges people need help with.
Find Your Tilt
According to Joe Pulizzi, your tilt is where no or little content exists in your area of expertise. That’s an important distinction that can be a difference between a great content strategy and a poor one.
If what you have to say is no different than what’s already out there, your chances of developing an audience are slim to none.
So, how do you find your tilt? There are a few ways to do that.
- Ask a question Google cannot answer. If you find that there are not many answers to some of your questions, that’s an excellent place to be.
- Leverage Google trends. Google trends is a free tool that shows search results and keywords patterns worldwide or in specific regions. Using this tool, you can uncover breakout terms for which there are few instructional resources.
Use the Amazon.com Press Release Method. Before a new product is presented for development at Amazon, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s CEO, requires that his team write a press release for the product following this formula. You can apply it to your content as well.
- Heading—Name the content in a way the reader will understand
- Subheading—Describe who the market for the content is and what benefit they get
- Summary—Give a summary of the content and the benefits
- Problem—Describe the problem your content solves
- Solution—Describe how your content elegantly solves the problem
- Quote from You—Include a quote from a spokesperson in your company
- How to Get Started—Describe how easy it to get started
- Customer Quote—Provide a quote from a hypothetical customer
- Closing and Call to Action—Wrap it up and point the reader towards their next destination.
I still believe that content strategy is one of the most powerful marketing tools available to nonprofits, churches and businesses. It works for everyone.
If you want help in creating a content strategy for your organization, reach out to us here.
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