Content. It’s a buzzword that has businesses in every industry scrambling. Content strategies. Content marketing. Content, content, content.
But here’s the thing — content isn’t some 21st-century invention. It’s not the latest trend. It’s just a new word for something the advertising has been doing for centuries: creating messaging that inspires action. The digital space has changed how we focus and measure our media, but the core of good content is the same as always. It all starts with creating a game plan.
Good content can sometimes happen by accident. But great, consistent content doesn’t.
Recently, we teamed up with Accel Performance and Wellness to create a content strategy for their new business. The six tips below show how we approached the challenge — and you’ll find they can work for your business, too.
- Set goals. This one is simple. You can’t be sure your content is driving results if you don’t know what your desired results are. For digital content, these results might be page views, likes and shares, or increased sales. For Accel, we wanted to build awareness of their business within the community. This meant bringing people to their website, establishing and building their social media presence, and driving memberships.
- Know your brand. It’s jarring to interact with a piece of content that speaks to you and then finding an experience that doesn’t match. Your content should feel like your business, so identifying key brand elements is important. Since Accel was a new brand, we needed to help them define their brand. They’re an elite sports performance facility that offers more comprehensive training and technology than local gyms. Their philosophy is based on identifying healthy movement and avoiding injury, so their brand needed to speak to those ideals. We created a full set of brand guidelines for Accel, including audience personas, color palette, design considerations, and messaging guidelines.
- Think like your audience. It seems counter-intuitive, but your content isn’t for you. Your tastes, interests, and preferences shouldn’t be what drive your content. Instead, think about who your core viewers and readers are. What does their average day look like? What are their goals? How does your business help them? The answers to these questions should influence everything you create. For Accel, we defined five key audience groups. We provided a snapshot of their lives, what they’re looking for from a sports performance perspective, and what Accel could provide. This resulted in content that told different stories to different people. But it all shared a similar voice and worked toward the goals we identified earlier.
- Plan ahead. When you’re running a small business, or you don’t have a dedicated media department, it’s easy to fall into a trap of on-the-fly posting. It’s easier to write a quick post or snap a photo and share it as the mood strikes. Ultimately, this is going to lead to an inconsistent experience for your audience. You’ll get too busy to post, or your content quality will suffer. When we work with businesses, such as Accel, we plan ahead with a content calendar. It’s a collaborative effort, and Accel knows well in advance what their posts will look like. This still leaves flexibility for impromptu posting, but sets up a safety net and helps us control the quality of content.
- Give your audience something to do. Your viewers should leave with a sense of what they should do. Find out more about your company on your website. Order your latest product. Share the post with friends. There are rare exceptions to this, where established brands can build goodwill — but for 99% of businesses, you should consider each piece of content an opportunity to engage and convert. Accel wants people to connect with them on social media and sign up for memberships. Everything we create for them has some call-to-action in mind, usually explicitly stated. We want it to be clear that interested readers can take another step to connect and engage with Accel.
- Measure. Adjust. Then measure again. Sometimes audiences connect with a certain type of content that surprises you. Sometimes you think a photo or blog will be a hit, and your response is low. That’s why measurement is key. It helps identify what types of content are engaging the most people and allows you to cater your strategy to your audience. We’re constantly measuring the results for Accel’s content and adjusting our schedule to match. We’re helping them build a library of useful content that speaks to different audiences and helps this new business establish a presence in the Memphis performance and wellness scene.
Do you need help creating and managing your content? Talk to our team to see how we can help you establish a brand, content strategy, and more. (See what we did there? This post is ending strong with Tip #5!)