Biz Tips: How Content Strategy is Changing + Resources To Guide Your Success

Biz Tips: How Content Strategy is Changing + Resources To Guide Your Success

Biz Tip:

How Content Strategy is Changing + Resources To Guide Your Success

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If you’re a writer, artist, or content creator of any kind, take a moment to consider the fact that there has never been more demand for original, high-quality content than there is right now. The rapid growth of platforms like Instagram and YouTube has completely changed the way we consume media, and this has dramatic implications for everything from adherence to copyright law to marketing strategies.

But these distribution platforms would be pointless if there was no content to populate them. Because brands are expected to constantly be engaging with consumers and providing fresh content across all their channels, how they create or source that content has become more and more important. While brands now have greater access to consumers, they also have to contend with a massive increase in the amount of competition for mindshare. This means the creation of content that will capture and hold consumers’ attention is vital.

As platforms proliferate and the amount of online noise becomes deafening, brands and agencies have to figure out how to stand out. Here are a few strategies for developing a content strategy that will do just that.

Recognize how content strategies are changing

According to a 2019 Stackla report, almost two-thirds of marketers “feel pressure to continually produce greater amounts of content at a higher frequency.” Meanwhile, Gartner’s 2018-2019 CMO Spend Survey reports that marketing budgets remained steady from 2017 to 2018 after falling from 2016. This means marketers are expected to do more with the same amount of resources (sometimes even less), and they continually have to demonstrate to CEOs and CFOs why they deserve they budgets they already have.

Marketers have to be experts at finding the most engaging and cost-effective content available. And when it comes to writing, there’s another characteristic they should be especially concerned about: trustworthiness. According to a 2019 report by MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute, “96 percent of the most successful content marketers agree their audience views their organization as a credible and trusted resource.” As consumers increasingly get news and other information from social media, brands have an opportunity to become trusted providers of valuable information, but this won’t happen if they aren’t working with writers who take the time to do their research and produce insightful, actionable work.

This isn’t just the case with written content, either – brands have to know how to source high-quality content across the board. This means establishing long-term relationships with trusted content creators, working with companies like Catch&Release that understand how to find and license user-generated content (UGC), and doing substantial research on potential partners to make sure their work aligns with your brand’s voice and values. These are the ways a brand can develop a content strategy that will extend its reach and satisfy its customers.

Use all the content tools at your disposal

Let’s say you’re developing a monthly newsletter to engage with customers and position your company as a thought leader in your industry. This is one of the best forms of consumer engagement – it reaches directly into readers’ inboxes (providing precise analytics about open rates and time-on-page) and turns your brand into a publishing platform that provides content customers won’t find anywhere else. However, if you aren’t providing clear, incisive, and well-researched writing, your readers won’t last for long. And if your newsletter is full of spelling and grammatical errors, they won’t stick around in the first place.

There are resources that can help with every element of publishing – from editing to presentation to the craft of writing itself. Let’s start with editing: Grammarly is an “AI-powered writing assistant” that plugs straight into your browser and detects spelling, grammar, and usage errors. Meanwhile, the aptly-named Hemingway app will analyze your writing to ensure that your sentences are concise, readable, and most importantly for marketers, SEO-friendly.

One of the best ways to keep readers on the page is to provide them with a rich visual experience, which is exactly what Canva was created to do. With intuitive templates and design tools anyone can use, Canva allows writers, editors, and marketers to create professionally designed promotional material, blog posts, and yes, newsletters.

Finally, there’s the writing and research itself. DIY MFA is just what it sounds like: an online do-it-yourself master of fine arts, which helps writers develop their skills with writing exercises, articles, productivity tools, and support from a community of their peers. Journalist’s Resource, on the other hand, is a project introduced by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center to help journalists find and interpret research to support their work.

With all these resources available – along with some creativity and hard work – your brand can quickly become a publishing platform that your customers value and trust.

Prioritize the development of a content strategy

Whether your brand is creating content in-house, sourcing it from somewhere else, or both, it’s crucial to have a well-defined content strategy.

Relationships between consumers and brands have evolved drastically over the past couple of decades. Consumers have no interest in transactional relationships with the companies they support – they want brands to offer more than products and services in exchange for money. They want to know brands share their values and care about making positive contributions to the world. They want to be treated as individuals. And they expect consistent engagement across an expanding array of channels – from social media to websites, apps, and other digital platforms.

Content is the vehicle for all of this. Whether it’s a newsletter that keeps customers updated about industry trends, a social media post that invites them to collaborate with your brand, or an article that showcases your CEO’s insights, content is the currency of the attention economy.

This is why your company needs to approach content creation and distribution in a systematic and rigorous way. This could mean developing a set of transparent guidelines for working with independent content creators. It could mean deciding which elements of your content platform deserve the most investment. It could mean finding the right balance between your use of in-house, agency, and user-generated content.

No matter what your content strategy looks like, it will be integral to your company’s success in the coming years. After all, consumers are asking for more and more content every day. What’s stopping you from giving them what they want?

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