Content 101: How to Develop Your Content Strategy

Rachel Ritchie
March 2, 2018
Why do you need a content strategy to begin with? Because if you are an expert at anything sharing your expertise is the best way to naturally engage consumers

First things first: Why do you need a content strategy to begin with? Because if you are an expert at anything (and if you offer a product or a service, you should absolutely be an expert in that product or service), sharing your expertise is the best way to naturally engage consumers and build the trust that will turn them into followers and customers. And because we are firm believers that high-quality content, delivered to the right people at the right time, is what makes the experience of your brand delightful.  

At Good & Gold, we also believe that developing a content strategy is just the first step in your content journey. Once you have your plan in place, you’ll need to market your content through a strategic mix of platforms to attract and retain your audience, ultimately driving both engagement and action. Then, you should be obsessing over analytics to test user behavior, adapting over time to ensure continuously profitable outcomes.

Every company is different, of course, and has its own story to tell—but the following seven steps comprise our framework for discovering and developing the best content strategy for your brand:

1. Define the Goals

What’s your aim for creating a content development and marketing plan? Sure, you probably want to drive sales and engagement, but how exactly to you want customers to engage? Are there particular products or services you’d like to focus on? And how do you want them to feel about your brand when they engage with it? Start by honing the Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound (SMART) goals that will guide the rest of your process.

2. Find Your Audience

The next step is to clearly define your content's target audience. Are you hoping to reach your existing customers and draw them deeper into your brand? Or is there a new audience you’ve been unable to reach?

3. Audit Existing Content

If you’ve created any content in the course of your business, review that content and determine how those efforts align with organizational goals. Can you leverage your past work to bolster your refreshed content strategy? Don’t force it, but don’t exclude valuable content just because it’s old. The best content is “evergreen,” and will hold up over time.

4. Develop the System

Here’s where the rubber hits the road: What concrete process will guide the creation, publication, and analysis of your content? Indeed, when you’ve created a great piece of content, the job has only just begun. You’ll need a consistent editorial process to organize, review, and approve that content; a clear process for effectively disseminating that content via the channels that you’ve chosen to align with your goals; and finally, a system with clear benchmarks to guide your analysis of success. Otherwise, you are shouting into the void.

Photo by  Jason Leung  on  Unsplash
Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash

5. Brainstorm Content Ideas

Conduct market research. Sit in a room and throw out ideas. Look at brands you admire. Consider your own browsing habits and history. Ask around and poke around. Then whittle those ideas down into a clear menu of actionable content ideas. The more those ideas can be segmented into categories, the better.

6. Determine the Media

Which media will best suit your content? Consider blog posts, e-books, infographics, videos, podcasts, case studies, and slide shows. What will resonate with your target audience, and what will work well with the marketing channels you've selected?

7. Publish & Manage Your Content

You’ve got your ideas, your chosen channels, your system, and your goals. Go forth and publish your content! But your journey doesn’t end here: Unfortunately, the strategy you came up with is not perfect, and it never will be, so you’ll need to test, adapt, test, pivot, test, and evolve some more. Your overarching aim should be to always keep the needle moving closer and closer to your goals. And when you’ve reached your goals? Make new ones.

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