Like it or not, content is what makes the online world go round. Whether it’s written, audio, or video, content is crucial to your business. It helps you establish yourself as an authority, book clients, and show that you’re trustworthy.
But. (There’s always a but). Your content will only do those dreamy things if you create it strategically. Publishing blog post willy-nilly won’t do your business any good if you don’t have a clear, cohesive plan behind it.
At a minimum, there are five factors you should consider when you prepare to create strategic content. Overlook any one of them, and your content might not turn out as stellar as you’d like. So what are these five pillars? Let’s dive in.
No matter how hard you try to hide it, your personality will inevitably work its way into your writing. Take this blog post, for example. It’s written by a woman who has a no-nonsense personality and hates small talk. I get in. I get out. I give you all the juicy details you need in a no-fluff way.
Sure, my content may lack an emotional pull sometimes, but I make up for it by inserting hilarious pop-culture references to years past. (Fun facts about me: I think I’m hilarious. I live under a rock, and I’m an introvert - hence the hating small talk.)
But how does all of this apply to you? Don’t try to be something you’re not in your content. Your readers can tell. If you don’t want to use an emotional story in all of your blog posts, then don’t. Save it for a special occasion.
To really understand how your writing reflects your personality, take a few minutes and identify some “exquisitely you” phrases or sentences in your writing. What about them is unique or exclusive to you? Answer that, and you’ll have an idea of how your personality manifests itself in your writing.
You are only one-half of your content. Your audience is the other half. Just as you need to include some of your sparkling personality in your content, you need to include some of your audience in your content as well.
If you create content that is 100 percent true to you, but you miss the mark for your audience, you didn’t do yourself or them any good. Before you start creating your content, you need to be sure that it addresses your audience’s pain points, questions, or struggles.
If you’re not sure what your audience wants from you, ask them. Send out an email survey or talk to them on social media. Find out where they need help and then be their answer. (They’ll love you forever.)
While it’s crucial that your content help your audience, it’s also important that you and your business benefit from the content you create. To really create strategic content, consider why you’re creating it.
What’s the goal of your content? Is it to address your audience’s question and encourage them to view you as an expert? Is the goal to help your audience understand what they need to know before they work with you (and prime the client pump in a roundabout way)?
Each piece of content you create needs a very clear, strategic goal. That means that you should never, ever create a piece of content just to have something to share. You need a solid, grounded reason for your content that will help you grow your business.
What, exactly, are you saying in your content? (And yes, that is a trick question). There are two types of messages in your content: obvious and hidden.
The obvious message of this content is: Here are five factors you need to think about before you create your content.
The hidden message of this content is: I know what I’m talking about when it comes to online content creation.
You’ve probably seen this online before. When someone writes a blog post like “7 Things to Do Before You Hire a VA”, the obvious message is “here’s how to prep to work with a VA”. The hidden message is “I’m a VA, and I know what you need to do to make your life easier when you hire one. By the way, you should hire me”.
If you can be aware of both messages, the obvious and the hidden, you can be more strategic in your underscoring of the hidden one. So before you create your content, ask what your messages are, and whether or not they’re hidden.
Your delivery method
There are so many different ways to deliver content online. Video has exploded right now, especially live video. However, for those of us with small kids at home, live video isn’t always realistic. So how do you know which delivery method works best for your content?
Look at your content topic, your audience, and your life. Content that does better in a written mode include case studies, basic how-tos or walkthroughs, and short interviews.
Content that rocks video includes in-depth tutorials, interviews, and online course material. Use your judgement when deciding if your content works better as a blog post or a video. You may find that the answer is obvious, or that in some cases, it really doesn’t matter.
In that instance, use your personality and your audience’s preferences to help you decide. If you’re an extrovert and love doing live video, then go for it. If you’re an introvert and need the ability to think your thoughts through before you share them, then shoot for pre-recorded video or a blog post.
Strategic content creation for the win
While creating content is an important thing to do to maintain your online presence, creating strategic content is even more important. Strategic content is that which takes into account the five factors I just talked about.
If you can bring all five factors into every piece of content you create, you’ll likely see better results from your efforts, and you’ll be more satisfied with the idea of creating content. It’s frustrating when you spend what seems like forever on a blog post, video, or course and not have anyone take an interest.
Consider the five factors of strategic content, and you’ll be in business...literally.
This post was crafted by our friend, Ardelia Lee.
Ardelia Lee is a content strategist and copywriter creates goal-crushing content and content strategies for small business owners. When she's not scheming with her clients, you can find her curled up with an obnoxiously long novel and a warm cup of coffee. Looking for more tips on content and content strategy? Join her free Facebook group here.