When I first wrote about the characteristics of a strong content strategy in Content Criminal Minds: Why your content needs a BAU, I introduced you to Aaron Hotchner, the team’s leader. He’s known for making sure the team meets its goals. He keeps everyone focused and makes sure everything gets done. It’s a big job, but he does it with a devoted, professional air.
How do you handle all this? Are you dropping the ball?
Does your content strategy address all of your business goals?
Content strategy is a lot like a cake. You have to have just the right mix of ingredients to end up with the perfect dessert. Miss something, and it might be edible, but it’ll be a struggle to turn it into something you can use. (Angel food cake in Jell-o. Yum!)
Your business is the same. It has a range of needs that your content will need to meet.
Like Aaron Hotchner, a solid content strategy should corral and direct your organization’s content so that it accomplishes these 11 essential goals:
1. Generate Customers – Sales copy accomplishes this goal, but it’s not the only example. Customer stories or how-to’s that demonstrate the value of your products or services can do this, too. This content is written directly for people who might buy or convert.
Learn more: How to Write Great Copy Using Storytelling Techniques – Men with Pens
See the technique in action: The Business Case for SEO Content Development: Turn Words Into ACTION! – SEO Copywriting
Case Study: Stitches Online Marketing Campaign and Website – Angie’s Copywriting
2. Attract Links – Written for related businesses and those who already sell to your target audience, content that earns links by triggering an emotional response or providing superior value. Either way, it needs to get attention from the right people.
Learn more: Golden Rules of Linkbaiting – Smashing Magazine
See the technique in action: Thomson’s Evolution of Music
3. Make Specific Connections – Certain people have enough pull in your industry or in related industry to give your business a huge push. You know who they are. Content made to get the attention of these people is the right topic, in the right format, the right tone, and written in just the right way to get their attention and compel them to share.
Learn more: Beyond Social Scoring – The Situational Factor of Influence – Danny Brown
See the technique in action: Stop Writing for Google. Really. Stop it. – Jim Connolly
Crime and Punishment: Are Big Bloggers Taking Dirty Money? – Angie’s Copywriting
4. Generate Buzz – Usually created with a high shock value, this stuff gets a LOT of attention, and not necessarily from a specific audience. News items, current hot topics, reports, and some opinion pieces fit in this category.
Learn more: How to Generate Publicity for Your Business – Entrepreneur.com
See the technique in action: Where Are All the Women SEOs? – Search Engine People
How to Generate Scientific Controversy – Live Granades
5. Build Authority – Pillar content and resources that show your knowledge and expertise in an area. These are the things that set you apart from others — what you’re KNOWN for — but they’ll also get readers returning to your site again and again. This is content you’d want to bookmark if you were a customer.
Learn more: How to Write Great Blog Content – The Pillar Article – Yaro Starak
Killer Flagship Content – Free Ebook – fellow Canadian Chris Garrett
How to Develop the Strategic Pillars to Hold Up Your Content Marketing Strategy – CMI and Chris Moritz
7 Tips on How to Write Sticky, Memorable Blog Posts – ProBlogger
See the technique in action: Remarkablogger’s Diamond Business Blogging Framework (Free eBook with newsletter signup)
31 Days to Build a Better Blog?- ProBlogger (eBook for purchase)
Ultimate Guide to AdWords Remarketing – PPC Hero
6. Retain Customers – Designed for existing customers, this content adds value to those who have already converted. It’s an excellent way to keep them engaged, push upsells, and address issues as they arise.
Learn more: Customer Life Cycle & Content Marketing – Where Do You Stand? – Lee Odden
Understanding the Customer Life Cycle – David Loshin
See the technique in action: SEO Copywriting’s Certification Grad Interviews (scroll down a bit to see the interview series) – SEO Copywriting
Trello helps existing customer get even more value from the Trello software (“How to use Trello like a pro”) – Trello Blog
7. Battle Competition – Content that counteracts moves made by your competition. For instance, when your competition releases a new product or takes steps to best you, this content counteracts it and lessens its impact.
Learn more: In Search, Your Competition Isn’t Who You Think – TopRank
Stop Trying to Be Better Than the Competition – Duct Tape Marketing
See the technique in action: While this is a technique that’s done in a bit of a sneaky way, through several bits of content and marketing moves, there is always a more direct route…
Gravity Charge Kills Your Members… – Your Members
(Woothemes Sensei Integration is another good example from the same company)
8. Recapture Lost Sales/Customers – Customers leave for a reason. Usually, it’s because you failed to satisfy a need. This content is designed to address these issues and may even include special offers.
Learn more: Winning Back “Lost” Customers: Who Do You Woo – and How? – Revenue Performance (The formatting is sucky, but the information is solid.)
Designing Effective FAQ Pages – Six Revisions
See the technique in action: The Trello development board addresses this, as well as helps keep current customers excited and tuned in.- Trello Development
9. Expand Your Audience – While serving your target audience is great, it’s not your only option. Content that meets this need often talks about alternative uses for your products or services, but it can also talk about topics on the fringe of your industry.
Learn more: How to Expand Your Blog Audience When Traffic Plateaus – Problogger (section 4)
Why You Shouldn’t Stick to Your Niche – Men with Pens
See the technique in action: Alternative uses for Trello – Trello Blog
10. Trigger Loyalty – This content talks about the traits your customers love most about you – the things that make you special. The idea here is to remind customers of their loyalty to you and share it with others.
Learn more: How to Get Your Customers to Compete With Each Other and Why You Should – Duct Tape Marketing
See the technique in action: HPSauceUK’s Movember Competition videos – HPSauceUK’s YouTube Channel
11. Engage – If you hope to build authority, convert visitors, and maintain your existing customer base, you need to engage with others. This content type (like user-generated content or pieces asking for opinions) encourages others to get to know the “real you” — you show your personality, your strengths, and your core values.
Learn more: How to Find & Engage Your Target Audience Online for Profit – Matthew Woodward
See the technique in action: GiffGaff’s Do This Better Campaign – GiffGaff
A1 Steak Sauce’s “Sing For Your Beef” video competition – A.1. YouTube Channel
It’s important to note that, while content may fulfill more than one objective, and some objectives may overlap, your focus should be on one main goal. You also need to make sure your content strategy has balance.
If you only publish content designed to generate customers, you’ll find yourself lacking in other areas, which can make the actual conversions of customers more difficult. The same principle holds for the other core goals – all must work in concert for your organization’s long-term success. Just like Aaron Hotchner’s BAU team.
What goals would you add as an essential part of a strong content strategy?
About the Author ~ Angie Nikoleychuk
A seven-year veteran in the war against boring, crap content, copywriter Angie Nikoleychuk loves writing, but she loves content strategy even more. She’s always up for a challenge and enjoys showing others how much fun (and effective) content can be. When she’s not running Angie’s Copywriting or on Twitter, she can be found doing other weird and wonderful things like geocaching, crafting, or performing as a professional oboist.
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