Five killer content strategies that will blow your mind

Miles RedgraveBy Miles Redgrave in Content Strategy

Oh, hey there. Having a browse of our latest blog series about creating high-quality content strategies? Good choice. You have probably thought to yourself, ‘A content strategy? That sounds interesting. I could use one of those,’ and then never acted on it because, well, you know, things get in the way, don’t they? Budgets, other campaigns, perhaps the director has told you to focus all of your attention on writing up a nifty bio for them so they look super awesome. We get it. A content strategy can seem daunting, so it’s easy to put it to the back of your mind and refocus your attention elsewhere – do the stuff you’re comfortable with.

Comfortable tasks aren’t always the best tasks, though. And in the case of content strategy, there can be huge benefits for your agency if you adopt one and move away from your comfort zone. That’s why we’ve come up with five killer strategies that will blow your mind. They will help you to plan your content more efficiently, make sure it’s read by the right audience and, ultimately, improve brand awareness and customer interaction. And we all know what means: more instructions. Those sweet, sweet instructions.

Content inventory

You don’t want to find yourself in a ROT, do you? Once you’re in one, it can be hard to pull yourself out. ‘What’s a ROT’, you ask? Well, ROT stands for redundant, outdated or trivial. Your content might be one of these, or even worse, it could be all three. Content with ROT is detrimental to performance, and you need to know how to spot it – which is done by creating a content inventory.

‘Wait, does that mean I literally have to go through all of my published content?’ If you want to cultivate a body of work that resonates with your users and reaches their touch points, then yes. Yes, you do. Doing a thorough check may not be the most exciting task you undertake, but there is no doubt that it will be one of the most important.

Audiences prefer a user experience that is clean, stripped down and filled with the right information, not all the information. Agents who have asked us to review their content in the past fit into two categories: too much content, or no content at all. If you’re the former, a content audit will help you scale back and provide information that gets right to the core. And if you’re the latter, you should really read up on the basics of content strategies. Right now! Well, after you’ve finished this blog.

Metadata

Have you watched the Batman V Superman movie? If you haven’t, don’t worry, you weren’t missing much. However, there was one key theme throughout the film: Metahumans. A word used to describe people that are more powerful than us mere mortals.

Metadata means the same thing, just replace humans with important data that could be the difference between someone reading your content and not reading it. If you want the right people to see your content in the right place – and you want them to come from different sources, including Google and search engines – Metadata will be key. Having relevant content in the correct fields without metadata is impossible.

We imagine you’re already aware of general metadata in blogs like categories and tagging. These tags provide a sense of weight to your content and make it easier for your audience to find you. You may already have a blog section for market updates and another one for local area insights. By separating them with metadata, you’re widening your audience’s chances of finding the content they want to read – which is a good thing.

Have brand guidelines in place

If your agency doesn’t have one already, it will need a tone of voice so you know who are you and what you stand for: the company’s ethos. Nobody likes listening to that person who rambles on about anything and everything while saying nothing at all. Don’t be that person.

We’re sure by now that you already have a reasonable idea of who your audience are and the tone of voice that appeals to them. If you don’t, research them and think about the tone of the content that you want to deliver so you can map the best route towards it.

To do this, you need brand guidelines in place: a guide detailing the sound, look and feel of your agency. These brand guidelines will not just be beneficial to the marketing team; they will act as a guide to every other department in your agency and to new staff you take on in the future.

The success of your agency’s brand is underpinned by a set of guidelines that are clear and concise, so anyone within the agency who picks them up is able to understand them. It doesn’t have to be a long set of rules, and can start with a basic guide of how to position text. This can be as simple as giving consistency to statements you write regularly.

Understand your customer’s journey

Your customers, audience, clients, however you want to refer to them, are the most important aspect, right? Without clients there are no instructions, and without instructions there is no stock, which equates to no business. Bad times.

By creating a customer journey map, you understand what they want to achieve when they interact with your content. Many aspects need to be taken into consideration including the customer’s pain points, what invigorates them, common use cases and their emotional experience.

Too often, businesses focus on their internal wants and needs, not paying enough attention to the things modern-day audiences interact with. We will be touching on this in more detail in a future blog, so keep your eye out in the coming weeks. Or you could sign up to our newsletter, meaning you won’t miss any content.

Message architecture

A message architecture is a set of words that you should create and familiarise yourself with. They are statements alluding to the experience you want your audience to take away from interacting with your brand.

It’s not just a case of putting a few random words together that sound nice; they should be mapped out in order of priority and how they relate to your agency. Perhaps ‘trust’ is the keyword you want your clients to take away with them after speaking with your agents. If that is they case, build an architecture with related words like ‘respected’ and ‘safe’.

If ‘prestige’ is your selling point, think of a bunch of words that relate: ‘history’, ‘status’ and ‘reputation’ are a few that come to mind. No matter what the directive is that you want to convey to your audience, setting out a message architecture is the best way to get everyone in your agency reading from the same page and conveying the right message.

Content to blow your mind

There is no point throwing enough mud at the wall and hoping something will stick. It may be that something does hang there, but there will be so much mess around it, you’re going to spend more time cleaning the crap. Sorry to be blunt.

A long-term strategy that covers all the bases of your content will help build even more trust with your client base. People will come to see you as the go-to guys (or gals) with all the kick-ass info. That kind of relationship with your audience is invaluable and provides you with the opportunity to maximise your chances of success.

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