Creative Series: The 3-Part Roadmap to an Effective Content Strategy
As entrepreneurs and creatives, we often get bogged down, run out and completely overwhelmed when it comes to blogging, posting on social media, and basically doing all the things we have to do to get the word out about our corner of the world.
We get so run down because creating content has become more than just writing a blog or connecting on social media. It has now become a part of our job. It IS our job on most days.
This is because we’ve forgotten that content should be an employee of our business. Not our CEO.
We do not serve our content. We serve humans. We are not in business to create content. We are here to serve, to wash the feet of those who need us just like Christ did when He walked this earth.
We are the visionaries of our business, and it’s our job to see where we’re going, where we’re at, and create a plan to get there. Then, we fashion content that gets us there.
... content works, it toils, on our behalf. Not the other way around.
Creating content that works for us is more than just picking a blogging theme for the month and creating a calendar full of blog topics. That isn’t strategy. That is planning one-dimensionally, and it is short-sighted. It adds to our work because we have to do more to get ahead in business.
While our content could’ve been working for us, helping us toward our goal, when we simply create a calendar and work month-to-month with our head down we end up working MORE to get further in the long run. So what’s the key? The key to effective content is a well-rounded and well-crafted content strategy. It’s all about knowing where you are, where you’re going, and determining exactly how to get there.
| Where You’re At
Whenever you make travel plans, it’s always a good idea to know where you’re starting from, right? The road to Paris is much different from Kentucky than it is from Australia.
Content strategy begins right here in our hearts and communities, by evaluating where we are at right here, right now.
- Begin by creating a mission statement for your content. This is much like the mission statement you created for your business or blog. This is where you write down why you’re even creating content in the first place. Why does it matter?
- Examine your current content creation process. Where can you improve? What aspects of content planning and creation are frustrating you the most? Lean in to those areas and determine processes and systems that might help.
- Determine your target audience and write it down. You have to know exactly who your content is serving so you can speak directly to their hearts every single time. Generalize your audience into a single imaginary person and describe them on paper. What stage of life are they in? What are their interests? What are their long and short-term goals? In what areas of their life can you help them reach those goals?
- Figure out what your current audience is truly connecting with. Go through past blog posts - which ones were shared? Which ones have comments? Why do you think your audience connected with those posts more than others?
| Where You’re Going
The next step in forming your strategy is to find out where you’re going. This is the fun part, because the world is your oyster, friend!
- Imagine your business, blog or ministry a year from now. What does it look like? What is your schedule like? What are you selling and how much? How many clients, customers or readers do you have?
- Then, create goals. What needs to happen this year to get you to that point you dream of? If your dream is for more customers, maybe your goal is to consistently generate 10 new leads a month by the end of the year. If your dream is to have an exponentially growing readership, maybe your goal is to drive 10% growth in traffic month-over-month this year!
| How to Get There
Then, we have to craft a plan of action and begin implementing it! This is the most difficult part of strategy for many entrepreneurs. It’s easy to dream big, create goals and get excited for the future. Creating action steps and projects to get there? Now that’s a different story.
- Take a piece of paper and write one of your goals at the top. Let’s say it’s your goal of growing your email list to 1,000 subscribers this year. On that piece of paper, write down all the things you can think of that you could do to help fulfill that goal. Could you create a downloadable opt-in for your blog? Can you create an email course to advertise on your social platforms? How many emails should you be sending a month and what should the content center on?
- Once you’ve done the above exercise for each of your goals, put them all together in a timeline and begin scheduling them on your calendar. I love using Asana for this, but Trello works just as well if you prefer a more visual setup. And, of course, you can always use a paper calendar!
- Create your editorial calendar by planning out your blogs and social posts, all centered around those projects and goals you’re tackling this year!
Following these steps will help you create content founded on goals that further your business. When you develop a true content strategy, you know each and every piece of content has a job and a purpose - to grow your community through service and intention!
Wasn't that an awesome post? It was truly an honor to have a fellow believer as awesome as Kaylan, over on the blog - there's honestly no better way to wrap up this round! Her passion for what she does is SO contagious, and these tips were so clearly written, I feel as though we can all grab a pen and paper and start changing the way we approach content management.
Anyway, it's time to tie this awesome post to your bottom line, ya know, your sales and profits. So, how does having an effective content strategy benefit our bottom line?
Well, just like Kaylan said, content is how we get the word out about our business, so it's in everything we do! Having a strategy behind it will only guarantee us results. Rather than doing things aimlessly, do them with intention, making sure that every post or blog has a purpose that's directly aligned to those financial goals you've got in your business. I'm a huge believer of not posting "just because", "cause that's seriously gotten me nowhere, BUT, when I've posted with intention, now that's made a difference. When there's a strategy in place, it shows through, and it quickly translates over to your sales!
I'm Kaylan Thompson, owner of Bushel & Bunch, a content strategy and management agency for online entrepreneurs and bloggers. I help faith-focused women build and grow businesses with goal-driven plans for their content as well as done-for-you content management services.
You can find me at https://bushelandbunch.com/