All businesses, regardless of their industry, undoubtedly have goals. That is, they have particular hopes and aspirations for what they want to achieve in doing business, and expectations for how they want to develop. Needless to say, the goals of a burger joint will be much different than those of a jewelry store.
Still, when it comes to the development of strategies which reside outside of the confines of normal business — such as digital content — most business owners don’t necessarily concern themselves with the specifics. So while their website, Facebook and Twitter presences all exist, they aren’t necessarily getting the most bang for their buck.
But developing a content strategy is important not only because it will help you establish expectations for what you want to achieve in your digital efforts, but also because it will become the all-encompassing guide for all of those efforts. And guides, for the most party, are pretty damn useful. Now, here are a few important steps in developing and tuning that strategy for your business.
1. Establish Expectations
In business, you’ve probably established particular expectations. What will a client do when I propose this? How will customers react when I introduce this product? You have these expectations either because you already know what to expect from past experiences, or because you anticipate how those customers will react.
But expectations are also applicable and important when developing content strategies. Start with your website, for example. How many customers do you want to visit your website? How do you want customers to interact with your website? Is your website intended more for informational purposes for your customer, like events or food menus? Do you hope that potential customers will contact you through your website? Do you want them to click on particular parts of your website, like request a quote or other similar conversion tools?
Now, turn to your social media efforts. What do you plan on achieving through those efforts? Do you want to simply stir up conversation among potential fans and customers in order to spread the word about your business, or do you want to feed traffic from your social media pages towards your website?
But regardless of what your expectations will be, it’s important that you establish them well before you dive into your respective web and social media efforts.
2. Develop Your Content Strategy and Execute
Now that you have established your expectations, it’s time to develop the strategy for how you will get customers to respond in the ways in which you hope them to. So think about the sorts of calls to action that you intend on having on your website. If you want customers to make reservations to your restaurant through your website, what sort of calls to action will your main page include in order to get them to do so?
And if you want to stir up conversation among your customers through your social media presences, what sort of content are you planning on sharing about your business? Do you want to give them an inside look into the inner workings of your business, or are you simply planning on updating them on information and events about your business?
And then, consider what sort of content you plan on using in order to engage fans and potential customers in your conversations. Pictures, blog posts, interesting, exclusive tidbits, events and other tidbits of information are all ways in which your business can engage fans and potential customers in the conversations surrounding your business. So determine what your best, most shareable content is and develop the strategy for how you will share that with your fans in an interactive and engaging way.
3. Gauge and React
After you have established your expectations and developed a strategy, you’ll now want to gauge customer and fan reactions and interactions with your content strategies and respond in a meaningful manner. What’s working? What isn’t working? Are customers utilizing my website as I had expected? Are they responding to the content that I post on social media as I had anticipated? And most importantly, is any of this driving business?
Fortunately, you’re not alone in trying to gauge those efforts. Using the Internet’s various analytics and tools, you can make better, more informed judgements on how your content strategies are working, and what you can do to improve them. For websites, there are a plethora of analytics tools including Google Analytics. To track where, exactly, users are focusing their attention on via their mouse, there are such web traffic visualization tools as Crazy Egg and Click Tracks.
On the social media front, Facebook analytics and social media hubs such as Hootsuite are great ways to get started analyzing your social media traffic. By gauging those statistics and reacting based on what has been successful and what hasn’t, you’ll be able to fine tune your strategy in such a way as to ensure greater success in social media in the future.
Developing and executing a successful strategy is something which ultimately takes time more than anything. Unless you are psychic and are able to anticipate exactly how your customers will react, and thus can develop a content strategy which coincides with those expectations exactly, your content strategy will never be instantly successful.
But the more time you spend developing and fine tuning your strategy, the more efficient and successful it will become in the long run. Good things take time, and successful web sites and social media ventures are certainly no exception. So take the time to develop an excellent strategy, and adjust it based on the feedback you receive. In the long run, the success of your content strategy will be based on the amount of time and effort you put into developing it.
Source: MSM DesignZ, Inc. is a Westchester NY Social Media company specializing in advertising, web and graphic design, and SEO.