This year, it’s time to make some moves, creating a content strategy that not only helps you achieve your goals, but also inspires those around you, helping people connect with your brand, your message, and most importantly, your story.
Tell Your Story — Create an Authentic Content Strategy, and They Will Come
“You have to tell a story before you can sell a story.” — Beth Comstock
Each year, there are new trends and “rules” when it comes to the development of an effective content strategy. From the evolution of the funnel to the importance of eduction and empowerment, one thing is certain — captivating storytelling and authenticity never go out of style.
As reported by HubSpot, 86 percent of consumers prefer an honest and authentic brand personality on social networks. Whether this is because they can better relate to these brands or respect their level of transparency, consumers and Internet users are tired of being sold to — which is also why 81 percent of consumers mute video ads.
As you continue to craft your content strategy for 2020, keep this in mind, real stories connect people, allowing them to develop authentic relationships. In this case, a trusting relationship with your brand, and what it is your brand offers.
But this is where it gets a bit tricky, because in order to connect with your readers, you must think like your readers. Although your story will be about you and your brand, it must be presented in a manner that respects and appreciates your readers’ point-of-view.
How can your readers become part of your story? That’s the magic question.
This is where your content strategy comes into play. Establish your story and narrative through a strategic, structured plan — then, create your content, market it, learn from it, and then adapt accordingly.
A People-First Approach Is a Winning Strategy
When you create a people-first content strategy, your core focus will be on developing content that is useful for those reading it. That means, instead of putting your brand first, you need to develop content that focuses on your readers’ needs and interests, making your audience your number one priority.
The importance of a customer-centric strategy can help you achieve both your short- and long-term goals, and the value of customer experience is now more apparent than ever. As stated in a recent article by Forbes, customer-centric companies are 60 percent more profitable than companies who do not focus on their customers.
So, it’s clear that a people-first content strategy is a winning approach — but where do you begin? How can you create a content strategy from the point-of-view of your audience?
Step one: Gather user research
Before you can create a content strategy based on your audience, you must understand who they are. In order to gain valuable information, you’ll need to do your research.
Here are some examples of questions to ask yourself:
- What social media platforms does your audience share content on — and what type of content are they sharing? Focus on the type of content your audience tends to engage with. How can you add value to their lives?
- What types of sites is your audience visiting and what are they interested in on social media? In this case, you’ll want to enable Google Demographics and Interests.
- When your audience visits your website, what’s catching their attention? Look at factors such as average time on page and bounce rate. That way, you can understand what your audience wants to read instead of what interests you. To support your journey, check out this Ultimate Guide to Google Analytics in 2020. Also, become familiar with your website metrics to track success over time.
Step two: Develop a customer persona while better understanding their pain points
As you begin to collect more research, based on your data, you can then create a persona. This will include demographics such as age, gender, salary, location, education, and other relevant pieces of information.
From there, make a list of possible pain points, thinking about how you can help them. For example, what variables cause stress for your audience? Think about both internal and external factors. Perhaps they are stressed about work and the amount of time they’re away from loved ones; or maybe they are raising concerns about the environment.
Pay close attention and ask yourself, if your organizations persona could wake up one morning and magically have one problem solved, what would it be?
Step three: Provide solutions, incorporating your brand’s story whenever possible
Any brand or organization can distinguish a problem and then create a solution. However, when it comes to the best content strategies of 2020, a bland approach is boring and uninviting.
That is why you’ll need to provide solutions in a way that is meaningful, authentic, and entertaining. Better yet, when crafting your story, add empathy to each stage of your reader’s journey — and when there’s a lot to report, harness the power of data visualization.
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