People tend to confuse brand strategy with content strategy and think they function independently of each other. Nothing is further from the truth. In actual fact, they are symbiotic. Your brand strategy determines and shapes your content strategy, and your content strategy is the vehicle for executing your brand strategy. Ultimately, they work hand in hand to deliver the same goal, which is to strengthen and build your brand.
To put it more succinctly, brand strategy is the blueprint for building and growing your brand. It includes a clear definition and description of your brand identity, brand personality, brand goals, brand vision, and brand message. It is the soul of your business.
On the other hand, your content strategy involves the tools and methodology for communicating your brand strategy to the brand audience.
Having a well laid out content strategy is the foundation of successful content marketing. Yet, according to a report by the Content Marketing Institute’s 2018 B2B, only 37% of marketers have a definite content strategy.
Developing a smart and practical content strategy can be a lot of hard work, especially if you’re not sure of what to include. But it is an essential groundwork that helps makes brand building a whole lot easier.
Here are some proven guidelines to help you align your content strategy with your brand strategy and help improve your brand value, brand visibility and ultimately your business bottom line.
Outline Your Goals and Strategies
Your content strategy is woven around what you want to achieve. So, the first step is to be absolutely clear about these and make sure everyone on the team understands them as well. Ask yourself some critical questions and provide unambiguous answers, such as:
- What are your goals?
- Why are you creating this content?
- How are you sure the content is consistent with your brand message and audience needs?
- Which message and audience need is a priority at the moment?
- How will you define vital elements, such as a lead?
Target the Market Needs
What matters most to your audience is their needs, which, unfortunately, may not be what matters to your brand or may even be at odds with it. This also underlines the importance of creating brand personas and vetting your content marketing ideas with them. The trick is to find a midpoint between your brand goals and your audience needs with your content strategy. Your brand success rate with your target market is largely pinned to this and being able to subsequently build a rapport with them. Next, smartly move them along your sales funnel and convert them to prospects and eventually customers for your business.
Think About Content Experience
Every piece of content you put out create a user experience. That is, the perceptions and feelings your message triggers in the mind of your reached audience. So you should seriously consider the experience someone will have while consuming your content. Content experience is not just about the message of the content, but also other visual elements associated with your brand, including the look and design of the website, such as how clean, uncluttered and responsive it is.
When developing a content strategy for your brand, think about the ideas and impressions it would create in the mind of the readers. Does it make them feel more informed? Does it give them something valuable to talk about with their friends and other social circles? Is your content easy to read and understand? Can the target audience easily and quickly access it? Does it make them trust your brand more?
Develop a Keyword Strategy
A successful SEO campaign begins with a good keyword strategy. Do your research and find out the most applicable terms and make sure they’re probably embedded in your content strategy. SEO is always evolving, so it’s important that you continue to review current best practices and that your content consistently retains relevance and quality and that keywords are evenly distributed and content published on high-value domains and media channels.
Create an Editorial Calendar
Besides developing a good SEO strategy, you must also be consistent with your message, so your target audience can easily identify the same identity, feel and experience across all platforms.
Creating an editorial calendar helps you to build that consistency. This will not only ensure the quality of output but also outline the volume, theme and timeline of published content. Don’t forget to align your editorial calendar with your audience’s most urgent content needs at every specific time range.
Incorporate photos, videos and GIFs
Today’s content consumers no longer want to read long texts; so you need to devise new tricks to keep their attention to the end or long enough to communicate your key messages. Statistics show that less than 20% of people actually read online content line by line. The rest just scan it, except your content is enriched with compelling visual information or branded content, such as videos, images, infographics, or GIFs. This way you can easily connect to the target audience with your key message.
Promote it on the right platform
Creating a brilliant content strategy for your brand is one thing, but being able to reach the audience it was created for is a different thing. The worst content marketing mistake you could make is not being able to recognize and use the right platform to reach your potential audience. It’s like winking at a girl in the dark or doing business without advertising.
The majority of people are on the major social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, but which of the platforms do your potential market frequent more and therefore you should prioritize when trying to engage them?
Design a Smart Feedback Assessment Module
If you can’t measure your success and re-adjust them for better results, then your content strategy is not really effective. You must identify specific KPIs and develop a module that allows you to review results with metrics or quantifiable results. It should be able to measure the level of awareness, reach and awareness with each piece of content published or broadcast to the market. Other KPIs that could be fused into the measurement model include Audience Engagement, Traffic, Time on Site, Lead Generation Rate, Conversions, Post-Message Purchase Rates, and Product Usage.
Aligning your content strategy to your brand strategy is a vital task that requires special attention. With the right aim, focus, strategy and execution, it will boost audience engagement, site traffic and ultimately market share.