How to build and leverage a robust content strategy

How to build and leverage a robust content strategy

Looking to add more content to your social media channels and website? We often overthink what we could be posting online and spend a lot of time bouncing from topic to topic. The truth is, your business would benefit from a robust content strategy that not only outlines your subject matter but allows you to leverage it across multiple channels.

You see, social media is just one piece of a bigger content strategy. It should align with your website, print materials, and overall brand voice to give your clients a consistent experience. I’m not just talking about the words—the photos, colours and subject matter all play an important role.

As I write this article, I am visualizing the ways I can repurpose this article for various mediums. It starts with this 800-word article and translates into a blog post, then a video, and finally I break it up into small social media-sized bites of content. That content, if written well and supported by powerful graphics, will likely provide enough content for at least eight to 10 social media posts. Doesn’t that sound great?

Streamline a list of key topic areas

It all starts with a solid understanding of your business strategy and ideal clients. Take the time to unpack their needs and wants so that you can find the best voice to speak them. This important branding exercise not only helps your business determine how to speak to your customers, but it allows you an opportunity to create a consistent brand voice. This is what builds loyalty and trust with your client base.

Find five to 10 key topic areas that you can share your expertise on. These themes are “evergreen” and can be used and repurposed as you see fit. Your key topics are likely found on your website and in other marketing materials. Of course, you want to  highlight your products and services, but you also want to look at how you can help your clients and add value.

For example, if you’re a photographer, you don’t need to sell your services within the context of every key topic. You might want to broaden your topic areas and identify ways that clients can prepare for a photoshoot, or why annual family holiday photos are so important. Thought leadership is an important strategy to employ when you’re looking to make a name for yourself online.

You can also look at other topics that your business aligns with to round out your content themes. For example, you may want to showcase your community connections, the latest industry news or behind the scenes photos and videos of your business.

You will want to take the following steps for each key topic:

  • Create an outline per article/blog post.
  • Align the content with a relevant, powerful image.
  • Develop bite-sized information—content that is easily digested and pulled as quotes.
  • Determine who you will tag, link or mention in your social media or blog post.

Develop solid social media content

With your outline now complete, you want to build out your content. I like to use my visual assets to build out my strategy—this works especially well if you use Instagram. I find it much easier to work this way as people are typically drawn to visuals first. Once you have selected your visuals, add your text.

One thing that is crucial to every business’s content strategy—investment in quality photography. Whether you need portraits, lifestyle shots, flat lays or stock-like photography, it’s important to work with a professional. Not only can they capture content unique to your business, but they have the expertise and tools to provide you with content that will have a much longer life span.

Besides creating your own content, you may want to curate a selection of accounts to repost. There are several apps to repost on social channels such as Instagram; just be sure to attribute the photo and content to the originating account. 

And finally, be sure to leverage the searchability that social media offers. Research and use hashtags regularly to expand your audience reach. As mentioned earlier, you will want to tag your location and partners, so you can extend your reach and build your network.

Share what you love

Above all else, it’s important to be authentic and passionate on social media. You want your channel to exude your brand.

Repurposing your content can provide you with a consistent vault of material to work with for months, and most importantly, it can save you valuable time. And, who doesn’t want more time in a day?

Connect with me to learn more about optimizing your business’s communications efforts.

Why You Need a Communications Audit

Why You Need a Communications Audit

Have you taken the time to evaluate the impact of your marketing and communications efforts? Do you know how many hours you are spending per week on these tasks? Do you have an inventory of your owned media channels and products? You should—your business’s reputation depends on it!

A communications audit can help you determine if you’re using the correct channels and key messages to reach your audience. It allows you to pivot your strategy to make sure your business has allocated the right resourcing to your marketing and communications efforts in this quickly changing environment.

An audit can take anywhere from a week to a month to complete, but once this inventory has been completed, you’ll be able to create a communications road map that will lead you to success.

COVID-19 has changed the landscape of business communications.

If you haven’t had an external communications agency or professional look at your marketing and communications strategy and activities—now is the right time. 2020 has been full of surprises and stresses for businesses. We currently exist in a new reality, as we continue to work our way through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Businesses have had to shift their outreach and operations strategies just to stay afloat. Many businesses have had the ability to adapt quickly. But not all. Small businesses have faced significant hurdles.

It’s not always possible to adapt your operations quickly to the changing policies and regulations that have been implemented by local governments. Regulations may vary from province to province, and even region by region, so learning from others is not always feasible.

Whether you’re in the restaurant or funeral industry, you have likely been waiting for the next policy change and wondering how you will manage it. The good news is that in all this change the one thing you can take control of is how your business communications are operating. 

Technology is changing faster than ever. 

Are you using the right communications channels to reach your customers? It’s not necessary to be active on all social media channels to be successful, but it is crucial to know how to reach your audience. You don’t need to have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok; you need to focus on where your customers are and build a strong network there. 

If your business strategy has shifted during the pandemic, and you haven’t adapted your marketing and communications approach, you’re not reaching the right audience with the right messaging. If that’s the case, it’s time to realign your strategy and communications tactics so that you can be a step ahead of the game.  

In this case, a communications audit can help you determine if your efforts are paying off for your business. It will ultimately help you to shape a marketing and communications strategy that is proactive, rather than reactive, leaving more time for you to focus on what you do best—run the business.

Is your message still relevant in today’s COVID-19 environment? 

Are you still communicating the same message from your pre-COVID-19 days? Does it mean anything to your customers? Have your client needs changed? 

It’s time to look at reorganizing your key messages and approach to marketing your products or services so that you can reconnect with your clients and their needs. Your world has changed and so has theirs. How does your marketing and communications strategy align with this new approach? Are you connecting with your audience during this difficult time? 

Identifying the gaps in your approach to advertising, social media and online communications can help you prioritize what steps you need to take to reach your clients. Perhaps you used to send out your weekly e-newsletter on a Tuesday morning to reach your clients on their commute. Is that still the best way to reach them? An audit will help you understand where there’s room for improvement, and what to keep operating as is.

A communications audit is an investment of time and money—but it’s worth it!

You can successfully pivot your business communications during this unprecedented time by investing time and money in a communications audit. 

Examining your business marketing and communications practices will provide a clear look at your outreach channels, the timing and strategies that you’re employing and why. It will allow you to see what’s missing, and what you’re focusing too much on, or not enough. 

Communications is about making connections. Establishing partnerships. Leveraging knowledge and stories to create bonds with clients. Quickly changing courses when the landscape changes. The one thing we have learned from 2020 is that we need to be ready for change. Are you?

Connect with me to learn more.