Do you have a framework in place for your content strategy?
In other words, do you have your plan mapped out from A to Z?
Have you answered all the most important questions necessary to building your content strategy – and have you documented them?
For these reasons and more, it’s time to learn how to create your content strategy framework.
What Is A Content Strategy?
A content strategy is a plan that tells you exactly how to execute content marketing.
Your strategy is also a guide to success with content for your business.
It’s a research-backed, thought-out plan that tells you what kind of content to create, who you should create it for, what channels to post it to, when to post it, how to promote it, who should carry out each task, and what tools to use.
Brands and marketers that write down their strategies report more success than those that don’t. Specifically, planners are three times more likely to report success than their peers who don’t plan.
If a stranger signed on to your content marketing team, ideally, you could place your content strategy in their hands and they would understand exactly what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how to help make it happen.
7 Questions To Create A Content Strategy Framework
To build your framework, answer these essential questions.
1. Why Are You Creating Content?
Building your content strategy framework must begin with uncovering the “why” behind it all.
Why are you creating content, and what do you hope to get out of it? What are your goals?
And don’t just say “We want more subscribers” or “We want more traffic” – that’s too general. Get specific, here.
How many more subscribers? How much more traffic? By what time?
Instead of setting vague goals, set SMART goals.
The beauty of goal-setting is that you can always tweak your goals along the way. As long as you’re tracking your progress, you’ll learn pretty quickly if you set your sights way too high, or if you’re underestimating what your content can do.
For example, say you set a goal of earning 50% more traffic in two months.
You’ll quickly find out whether that goal is way beyond your reach just by tracking your progress week by week.
So, tweak it: Maybe it won’t take two months, but rather 6-8 months. Flexibility within your goals and your plan is key.
2. Who Is Your Audience?
Who do you hope will read the content you produce? Who will need the content you will produce?
Often, your target audience may surprise you and defy your assumptions about who they are. That means you should never define your audience based on guesses or unrealistic expectations.
Figure out who these people are on a basic level (job title, income, education, habits, preferences) through dedicated research, interactions, surveys, and social listening. Discover the channels they use to consume content.
And, if you find you have more than one type of audience you can target? Define each of your audience segments with separate personas.
These are basically fact sheets full of the traits, preferences, and challenges that most of your audience members have in common.
3. What Will You Create Content About? In What Formats?
Next, decide on the content topics you will focus on and the formats you’ll use to get that information out there.
Choosing one or two overarching content topic areas of focus will give your content cohesion and relevance to two things:
- What your brand sells (your expertise).
- What your audience wants to see.
The intersection of these two areas is your content sweet spot.
For example, if you sell photography services, you might publish content about photography tips and tricks, inspiration for sessions, and guides to getting the best family photos.
When deciding on the formats you’ll create, consider your resources and how your audience prefers to consume content.
Some types of content you might consider:
- Blog articles.
- Social media content (e.g. LinkedIn polls, Instagram carousels, TikTok videos).
- Email newsletters.
Even if you just choose to create a blog, there are limitless options for the content formats you can post there, like guides, checklists, infographics, stories, listicles, and more.
4. Where Will You Publish Content?
Where/when you publish content matters just as much as what you’re publishing.
Don’t choose your channels based on preference or whims. Instead, base this decision on where your audience is hanging out.
Do they eat up video content on YouTube? Do they love to listen to podcasts during their commute or while they make dinner? Or maybe they’re devoted to reading blog posts each morning with their coffee?
Similarly, when figuring out when to publish content and how often, look at your audience’s habits and preferences. When are they online? When are they on social media? When are they most likely to see your posts?
Whatever you do, always ensure your website is your home base. Every content channel can be linked up with your website and send readers and visitors there strategically.
Ultimately, your website is internet real estate you own and have the most control over. Make it the hub of your content to build longevity and authority online.
5. How Will You Promote Your Content?
Content promotion is equal in importance to content publishing.
Often, promoting your content is the only way people will see it until you build up your brand presence.
So, make a promotion plan.
Choose a key promotion channel (again, based on your audience) and keep it simple.
Share a link to your new blog post when it goes live, whether you post on Facebook or send out an email to your subscribers.
6. How Will You Track And Measure Your Results?
In the process of executing content marketing, you need to be able to understand how your content is performing so you can adjust your strategy as necessary.
If what you’re doing is working, you can ramp it up.
If it’s not working, you’ll need to pivot and tweak your approach.
That’s why, to understand your content performance, you need to set specific key performance indicators (KPIs) and decide how you’ll track them.
For example, if you set of goal of earning more traffic by a specific time, you’ll need to track a KPI for that goal like unique website visitors.
You’ll also need a tool with the right data reporting to track the KPIs you choose. For the example above, we’d need the ability to track our website traffic numbers with a tool like Google Analytics.
See how that works? To sum up this process:
- Look at your goals.
- Set a KPI for each goal.
- Determine how you’ll track each KPI (what tool will you need? How often will you need to look at the data?).
7. How Will You Maintain Your Content Marketing Strategy?
Finally, the last piece of your content strategy involves what I call “maintenance mode.”
How will you sustain the strategy in the future? How will you keep it running?
There are three questions to consider when we talk about maintenance:
- What’s your budget for content marketing?
- What does your content team look like, and what are their roles?
- What tools will you use for content marketing?
Answer each of these questions with an outline of your set-up and structure.
- Make a list of your team members and the specific tasks they’re each responsible for.
- Record the tools you plan to invest in, their subscription costs, and what purpose they’ll serve in your plan.
- Then, using all the information you’ve recorded in your strategy, determine the budget you’ll need to put it in motion.
Your Content Strategy Needs A Framework
Every successful content marketing campaign needs a strategy.
And every content strategy needs the right framework supporting it.
The key differentiator between results and crickets? Writing down your content strategy framework.
So don’t just ideate it – document it. Share it with your team. Follow your plan, measure and track results, and pivot as needed.
Map everything out, but keep it flexible. You’ve got this.
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