Getting Started with Content Strategy

March 19, 2013

1:00 pm

Content is king. It is the only silver bullet available for inbound marketing. However, getting started with content strategy can be difficult. Below is a to-do list to give you a head start and keep you going.

Think about Your Customers 

List the traits you want your ideal customers to have. When you write new content with those traits in mind, you’ll resonate with potential clients who possess those traits and attract more of them.

Narrow Down Your Customers 

Identify all kinds of people your product or service can serve. I’m sure the list will be huge. If that is the case, pick no more than seven types of people. Use the traits you defined above and commonalities among all the types of customers you listed, and see which type of customer in your list exhibits most of them. Then narrow it down to just one, your primary customers. The narrower you get, the better your messaging will be.

Identify the Problem Hierarchy

For the primary customer, identify the key problems that your business solves for them. Restrict the number of problems to three, and order them by importance. Once you have identified the three problems, write down one line on how your business solves them. This is your message hierarchy. In most cases, the first problem and solution statement is your primary message.

Fill Your Website 

Content writing for your website is the first, most important step before you embark on anything else. Do not rush, and do it right. If possible, do it yourself first and then ask others for their input. When you do the business content yourself, you pour in your passion, and that stands out.

Start with your homepage. Try to figure out what you can tell the potential customer/visitor in six seconds. You will probably want to use your primary message from the message hierarchy. In an ideal situation, your potential customer will be searching for the exact same problem, and you can generate a lead by simply mentioning how you solve it for them. Use the message hierarchy to figure out all the other pages of your website. Keep it succinct and to-the-point.

Keyword Mapping and Onsite Optimization

Use the Google keyword tool to pick the right words for your messaging. Eight to ten transactional keywords to begin with is a good start. (Transactional means lead-generating.) Optimize your site to be search-friendly. Work on improving your onsite optimization on a daily basis.

Measure and Iterate 

Once your website is up, identify the best way to measure it. First, install Google Analytics. Consider whether heat mapping makes sense for your business. Track your call-to-action buttons. Choose what you want to measure, and then start small.

Blog Strategy 

The best blogging is about giving, not seeking. Identify topics that are business problems for your potential customers. Provide answers and alternatives. Optimize your blog with keywords, but ensure it does not compromise what you want to communicate. Looking good matters. Ensure your blog looks good and is UX optimized.

Content Is Neverending 

Understand that content is a long-term strategy. You have to continue and stay on the path forever once you get started. You’ll produce new content, curate old content as you learn more, and continually evolve to make it better and better.

If you’re only beginning to build your website or product, understand that content is part of UX. Content makes the application usable, and you cannot save it for last.

Get started with the basics listed in this blog post first. As you move along, content strategy will evolve and show you the way.

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Jinesh Parekh is the CEO of a Ruby on Rails consulting boutique, Idyllic. Idyllic focusses on building web and mobile solutions led by user experience design that solves real business problems. You can reach out to Jinesh at jparekh [at] idyllic [dot] co.

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