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First Steps for Creating a Digital Content Strategy

Digitalstrategy_1.png March 17, 2016 / Annika Rautakoura

How do you create a content strategy for engaging your target audience? Refine, explore and learn. Then repeat.  

 

The fact that everything is digital these days can be, for the 21st century marketer, a blessing and a curse. As an advocate for your material, you must navigate in an overflow of digital content. It’s no easy feat, but producing quality information and spreading it effectively leads customers directly to your services, while polishing your public image. This means that any content strategy you lay out must involve steps towards spreading the electronic bits of your content far and wide.

 

It’s a balance of planning and experimenting

How does social media content reach you as a reader? This may seem arbitrary at times. It’s more than that, though. It’s been funneled into the right channel at the right time. The link is probably published on more than one channel, each with their own ideal publishing times. Evenings and late nights attract most favorited tweets and retweets on average, reveals a study by Buffer on what are the best times to publish a tweet.  This means that while you may have clicked open that Facebook link during its Facebook peak hour before your lunch, your lunch date may be more likely to share it on Twitter much later that day. This, again, depends on what part of the globe you’re located in.

Even with the most seemingly obvious figures at your disposal, there is no guarantee that your marketing content will deliver the effects you’re looking for. But there are certain measures you should think about before hitting cyberspace.

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1. Refine the message you wish to send through

Before any implementation, the first thing you must invest in is the message you are delivering. The more you want to become a thought leader within an industry, the more important this is.

Write down all the interesting ideas you come up with, before you lose them. Don’t be afraid to get ideas from others, but don’t borrow too much. Explore the market already in place for your industry. Creating stuff of your own is the best way to become an actual thought leader.

What is the message you wish to be recognized for? Sometimes it’s best to keep things simple. Too many things at once are a hassle, and a distinct roadmap requires a direction. Make sure it’s something you can proudly advocate and make it clear to all parties spreading it.

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2. Identify the resources at your disposal

Once you know what you want to sell, ensure that you have the necessities to spread it well. Don’t forget the most important resource:  the humans you work with. Data only works when combined with employees working with their best skills. If you are not yet fully aware of the scale of skills your employees have to offer, it’s high time to find out.  Allocate roles according to these skills. Centralize tasks. Your employees may be highly adept with social media. Optimizing human resources cuts back excessive work, while increasing employee productivity and satisfaction. Think outside the box. You don’t always have to invest in the most expensive tools - sometimes free sites can offer you exactly what you need.  

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3. Decide which channels to use and when

Make sure that the content goes out with quality. Remember that a message is made up of many elements, so use good writers and visual artists. Produce material from different and new angles. Make sure nothing gets out without a final proof. Be sure to maintain a steady output of well-performing stuff. Great pieces can do a whole lot, but so can bad ones.

Find out which times work best and also take into account the different algorithms of different channels. While one Facebook post may be enough, several posts are more likely to reach their audience on Twitter. Maintain a steady flow of updates, but remember that spamming will most likely only get you into the electronic bin. All of this is closely tied with setting your communication goals. So identify your target audience and get going.

Experiment with this. Try which channels work best for you and your audience. Don’t always do chunks of text, but also include the use of images, lists, graphics etc. The internet is your oyster.

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4. Set up goals for measuring reach and impact

Measuring results and implementing them into your decision-making is an important process of constantly evolving your strategy. So first you must set up some kind of goals for your communication purposes, against which you reflect your digital mission. This is largely dependent on the mission your business stands upon. Is the company launching a new product or lobbying for a cleaner environment?

Your KPIs, click through rate, cost per clicks, can all be measured through data analytics. But don’t draw conclusions based on the reach of a single channel: many channels and forms of content can simultaneously contribute to sales and interest towards your company.

Keep in mind that impact often goes beyond figures. The effects of a more subtle kind of influencing reaches further than numerics, but its value is real. Raising awareness through a personalized approach or intimate interview with an influencer can sometimes be more effective in steering positive attention towards your business than a well-timed tweet.

 

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Explore the digital world and be active

Network, find out new trends, sources, subjects. Be responsive to messages you receive, and also actively respond to other companies’ ideas. Communicating your values is not just about delivering content for others, but interacting with them.

Don’t get stuck in a rut. If something doesn’t work, make adjustments. A list gathered by Buzzsumo on the most shared B2B content of 2015 reveals that highly varying content went viral last year. Perhaps the scale of the different types of content reveals that the secret lies more in experimenting than metrics. That is not to say that a strategy of sorts (preferably a good one) cannot be laid out to secure optimal reach and impact.

You do not have to always reinvent the wheel, but keeping it from squeaking certainly helps.

 

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