So you have all these ideas for some great content, great! But before you start posting, making a content strategy should be your first step in the process. Having a strategy not only allows for structure, but it can elevate the media you produce from merely random content, to a fully fledged business.
1) Identify Your Audience
This will always be step 1 in every case. Defining who your content is for will dictate not only the type of content you’ll create, but it will make strategizing smoother. It may be helpful to describe the typical viewer you expect or hope to reach. This makes your audience feel more real, more concrete. You can start by describing yourself, what kind of content would you like to see more often? This can be a powerful way to always stay true to your personal ethos.
After you’ve mapped out who you think your audience is, it’s time to do some research — and by some, I mean tons. You’ll need to get granular: What is the average age? Where they are located could influence when you post your content. Lastly, which platforms your audience frequents and shares their content to will also give you an indication on where you should be focusing as well.
2) What Makes You Unique?
In the sea of content released daily, being clear on your defining attributes is crucial to distinguishing you from your peers. Maybe you’ve had the insanely rare opportunity to be the assistant for an industry leader, or you’re an expert in a field that has been notoriously difficult to gain access to. You, my friend, have what is called ‘secret sauce’.
This also leads into you focusing on what niche you or your content fits into. If you are able to find the perfect balance between content or information that is highly sought after, and is also hard to find, you’ll find yourself filling a void in the market.
3) Choose the Type(s) of Content You’ll Publish
Many creatives today are multi-faceted. It’s as much a result of technology evolving to make things more accessible, as it is the need to do more to stand out. It can be tempting to try to do it all because everyone is doing it all, but thanks to you having created your content strategy, you’ll know what content works for your audience.
Is video your strong suit? Maybe your content would be better received as a podcast. It could even be both! For example, if you plan on interviewing fellow creatives in your field as a show for YouTube, the audio from your show can easily be published as a podcast. Either way, the type of content you produce may vary depending on your audience and the research you've done.
4) Where Will Your Content Live?
You have to meet your audience where they are. Luckily, since you’ve already identified where your audience is in step 1, this part should be a breeze. Long-form videos work best on YouTube, while shorter clips exel on TikTok and Instagram. In some cases, a combination of platforms may also be beneficial (more on this in the next step).
Once you understand what type of content you will be producing, and the benefits of each platform, you can start to see how you can mold parts of your content to excel in each vertical.
5) Establish Content Goals
Defining the goals of your content will keep you on track in the midst of creation. This allows you to assess whether your current efforts are effective or if you need to readjust. By establishing goals, you also create a rubric by which you can measure your success.
Is your goal to simply build a dedicated audience on one particular platform? Perhaps you’re a small business owner who would like to drive traffic to your online shop. You may want to focus on engaging clips on TikTok or Instagram that showcase your products to your audience that compels them to buy from your store. Or maybe you are a life coach that makes inspirational short clips that lead to longer videos on your YouTube channel where you promote personalized one on one coaching.
6) How Will You Manage Content Creation and Publication?
Creating the content is only one half of the battle. Including a content management app will help you stay consistent and allow you to schedule the best times to post for each platform. Sites like Hubspot and WordPress have exhaustive tools that allow you to manage the content on your websites. While apps like Zoho allow you to schedule, monitor, and analyze your social media posts, thus giving you more control and a vast overview of how your content is performing.
7) Be Open to Feedback
Last but not least, is arguably the hardest pill to swallow in any walk of life: feedback and criticism. While having a defined plan keeps you focused, listening to your audience or adjusting based on analytics will help you to fine-tune both your content strategy and the content you produce.
Maybe your content is falling flat on TikTok where the audience skews younger. A quick look at your analytics could equip you with the information you need to pivot to YouTube. If your audience is active in the comments section, you may find helpful comments that offer valuable feedback into what you’re doing right or what they’d like to see next. A word to the wise: tread carefully when reading the comments section; we all know it can be the wild wild west.
In conclusion, while it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking at first, having a content strategy will undoubtedly make your life more structured in the long run. A little patience goes a long way when it comes to being a professional content creator.