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3 Elements You Need to Build a Winning Content Strategy

By now, you’ve probably heard how effective content marketing can be for your business.

When you regularly share original articles, videos, and posts with your customers, you showcase your authority, build relationships, and develop trust. Here are a few more reasons to love content marketing:

  • It costs 62% less than traditional marketing
  • It generates three times as many leads
  • Companies whose websites focus on content marketing get six times the conversions of companies who don’t

But like so many things, getting started can feel overwhelming. And once you do get started, how do you stick with it and get these kinds of results?

It starts with a great foundation. Through our own content marketing here at StoryBrand and in the thousands of clients we’ve helped, here are the three elements your content strategy needs in order to grow your business.

Relevancy

We have so many messages and options vying for our attention these days. To earn our customers’ attention, we have to create content they care about — content that’s relevant to them.

Relevant content isn’t just about finding the right topic. It becomes relevant through its quality and how well it actually helps your customers.

If you’ve tried content marketing and you haven’t gotten good results, chances are, this is where you’re missing the mark. So how can we make sure we’re not wasting our time creating content our customers don’t want?

• Listen to your customers. Your customers and prospects will tell you what’s interesting to them. You just need to take the time to listen. Create a recurring event on your calendar and devote that time to studying your blog or site analytics. Then, make sure you send a survey at least once a year, and treat the data you get like gold. You’ll start to understand what problems they’re struggling with and how your content can help them solve those problems. It’ll also help you see what’s working and what’s not.

• Focus on quality. Don’t create content for content’s sake. Customers can see right through it, and your content strategy will backfire. Relevant content isn’t just about finding the right topic. It becomes relevant through its quality and how well it actually helps your customers.

Frequency

We get this question all the time: How often should I be creating and sending content? If you lead a small or midsize business, you can look at the big brands cranking out content multiple times a week and get discouraged. How on earth could you find the time to create and manage all that?

As you continually deliver valuable content to your customers and prospects, they’ll come to think of you as an expert and see you as trustworthy.

The good news is that you don’t have to. How frequently you create and send content depends on your business and your goals. At StoryBrand, we’ve found a good rhythm sending content twice a week — once for our podcast, once for our blog posts. A smaller business might aim for one post a week or even every other week. If you’ve ever struggled to keep up with a content plan, spend some time honing this part of your strategy.

• Understand your skillset and bandwidth. Start with an honest assessment of what you’re good at. Do you love creating content? Is it a good use of your time? If so, schedule it in your calendar and don’t miss that meeting with yourself. If not, find someone on your team who does or hire a writer to help you. Then, consider the other parts of the production process and create a plan that helps you create and publish quickly.

• Be consistent. When you’re deciding how frequently to send, remember that consistency is a big part of your success. As you continually deliver valuable content to your customers and prospects, they’ll come to think of you as an expert and see you as trustworthy. If you go dark for several weeks or only communicate sporadically, it’s practically impossible to build that trust.

Authenticity

Finally, your content needs to genuinely reflect the character of your business. Even if you’ve found relevant topics and you’re delivering content regularly, your efforts won’t work if you aren’t authentic. You’ll know it’s a problem if you’re attracting plenty of leads but those leads aren’t turning into customers.

That’s because business is ultimately about connections with people. We want to do business with companies that get us, that share our values, that connect with us in genuine ways.

That’s because business is ultimately about connections with people. We want to do business with companies that get us, that share our values, that connect with us in genuine ways.

• Start with an attitude of service. I keep coming back to the words that screenwriter Allan Heinberg told me: “We can’t go wrong making it about other people.” Strive to create content that will truly serve, help, or inspire your audience. Empathize with their struggles. Put your heart into alleviating those struggles with the content you create.

• Extend your brand principles into your content. I bet you have key principles guiding you as you run your business. Dependability, excellence, professionalism, innovation, etc. They show up in every landscape design you create, every t-shirt you sell, every consultation you have. Whatever those hallmarks are for your brand, consider how they might show up in your content. For example, if innovation is a big part of your brand, you’ll want to bring innovation to your content — perhaps by commissioning new studies and reports or doing something daring in the design and presentation of your content.

Pound for pound, there’s no better way to grow your business than with content marketing. Make sure you’ve got these three key elements in place in your strategy, and I know you’ll see better results faster.

What elements did I miss? Leave a comment and let me know.

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