In our information economy, information is generated, sold, and consumed by thousands – if not millions. Optimizing the way information is generated and used can help businesses maximize returns on their investment. However, information creation is not limited to text anymore. With myriad devices and high-speed connectivity at your fingertips, people access information in multiple media and across multiple channels.
Creating content for each channel from scratch is like writing one story for a book, another for a movie or a video clip, and a third for marketing collateral.
This fragmentation of information not only shows a disconnect between the various channels, but also increases the cost of production. A well-defined content strategy can help you create a consistent image and also reduce the cost of creating and managing that content. Small businesses, because of their limited resources, must formulate a content strategy that gets them maximum returns with minimum investment. We present seven basic reasons why you should sit down and define a content strategy before churning out your posts and social media messages.
1) Offer Unique Value
The main objective of defining a strategy, a marketing or business strategy, is to differentiate your product or service from your competitors. So if you are going to plunge into the content marketing ocean, it is vital that you differentiate your content from the rest. Defining a content strategy can help you create a unique space for yourself and offer value to your readers.
2) Engage your target audience
Who is your audience? Do you create content only for the internal audience. Or do you have a blog and a social media department that creates content for the external audience – your customers, sales partners, franchises, and so on. Defining your audience contributes to your content strategy and helps you define your content scope and style.
3) Present a unified front
Nobody likes to engage an organization where the arm doesn’t know what the leg’s up to. You don’t want different people from your organization talking different things across various channels. Imagine your bloggers making a statement in their blogs and the social media executive or whatever you call them say something else in a tweet or on a Facebook post!
A well defined content strategy will ensure integration across multiple channels. More importantly, it will present everything in the same voice – the brand message you want to convey.
4) Maximize Reuse, Minimize Costs
Re-purpose – Recycle – Reuse! These are the 3 Rs of this century!
In a world where everyone has something to say and can provide a unique angle to look at things, you can generate a staggering amount of information from within the organization and from outside sources. But asking multiple contributors to create content in a vacuum can multiply the input costs. Collaborative content creation and content reuse ensures that you use the content from a central repository and re-purpose that for different channels and media.
5) Achieve specific objectives
Content is used in different channels for different audiences and the objective of each channel or campaign will differ. Clearly defining your objectives can help you create specific guidelines for your content. What type of information do you want to distribute? What type of information is accessed in which channel? For example, nearly 70% Facebook users have said that they mostly follow businesses on Facebook because they expect to get good deals and discounts.
A well laid out content strategy will leverage the strengths of each medium, also providing the customers what they expect from a certain channel. Brevity and time sensitive updates on Twitter, an educational or informative blog, a visual representation on Pinterest are just some examples.
6) Nurture Leads
A well defined content strategy engages potential leads in all channels. Once you have your content tailored for a specific audience and designed to achieve specific objectives, the content strategy should define how you intend to engage your audience across various channels. An important part of this engagement plan is to connect with a lead across different channels after they initiate the first contact.
7) Be Everywhere At Once
Multitasking is the new normal and you will often find users engaging in different channels at the same time. A most common example of capturing the user’s attention or keeping the user focused on your brand is to be present on all available channels and keep the user engaged as they move from one channel to another. For example, twitter hash tags for TV shows encourage the users to discuss the story and air opinions in real time.
Formulating a content strategy is all the more important for small businesses. Although you may not have the problem of plenty – multiple departments creating different content – resources are definitely scarce. Having a content strategy will give you a clear plan and help you or your employees save time by molding your content for different channels and audiences.
Have you already defined a content strategy and do you intend to immerse in the content marketing phenomenon in 2013? We want to know. So feel free to drop a line and chat with us any time.