If you want to grow your business, you need a content strategy. Before we dig into how to create one, let’s get clear on what it is.
“Content” is what you publish to social media, a blog, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. It also includes lead magnets, ebooks, and any other type of freebie downloadables. “Strategy” is the method that you choose to reach a goal.
Publishing content is a LOT of work which means, as a business, you need the ROI for your time. That’s why a content strategy is important. Without it, you’re doing a TON of work without any thought of what you need to get out of it.
There are three things that go into a successful content strategy.
First, you need to know who your customer is. What interests them, what their pain points are, and what triggers them to buy. Understanding them is the key to earning their attention.
Second, your content is underpinned by what you sell. Every piece of content you create should convince them of the need for your product or services and that you are the best provider for that.
Third, consistency is key. If you’re new to creating content or are having a hard time staying consistent, don’t try to do all the things. Start with mastering one small area, something that’s an easy win. Then add another challenge once you’ve mastered that.
Step 1: Get in touch with your ideal customer’s pain points.
What is your ideal customer thinking before they are aware that they even need your service/product? For example, you’re a fitness coach. Before someone thinks “Maybe I should hire a fitness coach” they may be thinking, “I’m eating all the right things and still not losing weight.” Or, they may be thinking, “I want to go to the gym but I have no idea how to use the equipment and I feel stupid.” How can you help them with these problems? Brainstorm all the things they’re thinking and what problems they want to solve.
Step 2: What objection might they have?
What reasons would they give of why they would choose not to buy? Again, you’re a fitness coach. They are now aware of you (because you’ve done step one). But they think it’s too expensive or too much of a luxury item to justify the cost. How would you convince them? For example, it may be that you help them to understand the health implications of a sedentary life and that has the potential to cost way more than the cost of a fitness coach. Or, what is the domino effect from the confidence they'll build in themselves? Sit down and brainstorm the objections they’ll have.
Step 3: Define your content pillars
Take the topics that you’ve brainstormed. What are the common themes? Categorize them into 3-5 main themes. These are what you will talk about on repeat. This is your branded content. In marketing, we call these content pillars.
Add your content pillars to a google sheet as the first row.
Step 4: Build out your content topics
Now, take all the topics you’ve brainstormed and start adding them under the appropriate content pillar in your Google sheet. What else can you add? Keep brainstorming topics.
Once your brain is all dumped into this spreadsheet, I want you to do some competitive research on social media. Find competitors and study what content gets the most engagement. What do your competitors talk about that you disagree with? Are there some myth-busting topics that you can add to your content? Study the comments. They can be a gold mine of insight into what your target audience is thinking.
Now, do some google searches with search words that your ideal customer would use. Whatever comes up on the first page of results is what you also should be talking about. How can you talk about those topics?
Step 5: Go beyond Instagram
Too often, a content strategy is tied only to what you publish for Instagram. Instagram is an incredible tool but it’s just one and it’s just the very tippy top of your lead funnel. Instagram should be used as a tool to direct your audience to your website and to build your email list. Not just as a tool to get more followers.
Every business needs a blog. Blog posts are infinitely more effective than Instagram. You can build your email list on each post (keep reading...we’ll get into that), you get Google love, and your post has an indefinite life value that keeps on giving.
Every business also needs a lead magnet. This is THE way to build your email list. And an email list is THE way you grow your sales. Promote your lead magnet on Instagram and insert opt-in forms on every blog post. (Read here to learn what to do with your subscribers.)
Remember, the goal of Instagram is to get them to your website and on your email list.
Step 6: Create your plan
Up to this point, you’ve done the hard work to make your content creation not only a breeze but worthwhile. Now, it’s time to actually create the content. We like ClickUp to manage our editorial calendar. Asana and Airtable are great, too. Start with something and don’t overcomplicate how you organize it. It’ll come together as you use it.
Block a day to plan out 2 weeks of content. Don’t try to be everywhere everyday. Start with what’s reasonable and sustainable. And hold yourself accountable to block a time every week to work on content. Find what flow and process works for you. Then stick to that.
Now, time to go do it! This stuff isn’t easy but it’s the ticket to generating more sales than you ever thought possible.