22 Dec 2021

Developing a Content Strategy: First Steps

Regardless of what products or services you offer, it’s important to make sure that when you’re speaking to your audience of potential prospects, you’re coming to them with content that is applicable, engaging and timely. 

Now that things are starting to slow down a bit fo the holiday season, it might be a good time to revisit your content marketing strategy – or think about building one, if you haven’t already.

We understand that that might seem like a lot to take on, which is why we’ve outlined some first steps that can get you started and serve as a framework for a long-term strategy. 

Let’s start with the basics. 

What does content strategy really mean? 

Essentially, a content strategy is just an outlined plan that details how you plan to use all  the content at your disposal (whether that’s audio, written or visual) to further your ultimate business goals. For instance, if getting more search traffic to your company’s blog is your goal, you might want to implement a content strategy that focuses on SEO, keyword implementation and a carefully-curated list of topics that you’re certain will resonate with your desired audience. 

Unfortunately, content often gets pushed to the back burner when it comes to priorities for a new business or a startup. There were so many things to focus on that a content strategy was never developed, and now there’s no real rhyme or reason to the messaging that is being put out. It’s not particularly on-brand, on-message, and it feels like more work than its worth to spend the time to develop something more formal. 

Here’s our warning: don’t fall into this trap. 

Content is important for a ton of reasons, but mostly because it’s one of the first things that attracts potential new customers to your brand. Generally, one of the first questions I ask myself as a consumer considering engaging with a brand I’m not familiar with is, “What problem can you solve for me?” 

Your content pieces that reach people at these early parts of the sales cycle work to identify and define that problem, and explain your solution in a cohesive manner to your audience. Not only does this help to build your credibility, but the customer’s confidence. 

Content can also work to help differentiate yourself. After all, it’s incredibly likely that regardless of whether you’re dealing with competition in the CPG space, you specialize in SaaS or even if you’re entirely service-driven, there is some similar offering on the market. What makes you’re different? More importantly, what makes yours better

If you can express those things in clear language to your target market, you’re already ahead of the game. The brand voice that you choose to take in your content puts a face to your company and gives it a personality. More and more, this corporate “relatability” is an important factor for customers faced with buying decisions. 

The next question you need to answer when building out a content strategy might seem simple, but it can’t be overlooked.

Where are the people you’re trying to reach? 

While we hope this blog post helps you grapple with the basics of content strategy, we won’t lie – creating meaningful content marketing pieces takes time. For that reason, it’s important not to waste any of that time trying to reach people in places and on platforms where they simply don’t spend time. 

Be strategic when it comes to your channels – for instance, if you’re a SaaS company whose function might not be as easy to understand other products on the market, a longer form YouTube video that can serve as an educational piece might be more impactful than a minute-long TikTok video that exists to entertain only. 

You’ll need to do some market research to find out the answers to these questions, but we promise – it’s worth it. 

Be ready for the new year and all that comes with it. Start taking your content strategy seriously today.

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I’m Sophie Mann, and I work at encite branding + marketing + creative as Vice President of Strategy. My job entails a continuous study of business, marketing, data and culture, all in the name of driving strategy forward. I’m passionate about helping brands resonate more strongly with their consumers and communicate with their ideal clients. I’m also a proud graduate of the University of Kansas - Rock Chalk!