Here's how we create a content strategy

Like having a business plan, a content strategy will enable you to engage your audience with relevant and educational content and serve as a lead generation tool for your products and services. 

Deciding on your end goal 

While writing a blog, recording a podcast, and shooting a video is fun, if you don’t know its intention, you’re wasting your time (and more importantly, your audience’s time). 

Without an end goal in mind, your content will end up directionless, irrelevant, repetitive, incoherent, or just too uninteresting.

But, by defining why you’re creating your content in the first place, it will be easier to find a theme and a direction. 

We will help you make clear decisions around three things: 

Your marketing goals: Do you want to increase brand awareness or generate leads in your content or both? 

How your content will engage your audience: Will it be educational, entertaining, thought-leading or polarising?  

What products or services you are selling in content: Do they require visual demonstrations, long-form explanations, or customer testimonials? 

By having these strategised and planned for, you’ll be able to focus on your objectives and create content with more clarity and purpose. And if you don’t know what you want to achieve with the content you publish, you have nothing to mark its success by.  

Learning From Your Competitors 

What content are your competitors creating? If you don’t know, you need to find out.

That’s why we conduct competitor content analysis so that we can understand what blogs, podcasts, and videos they’re creating (and more importantly, if their content is driving leads). 

If we’re researching your market-leading competitor, and their website and social media indicate that video content is their choice of marketing strategy, it’s telling us that is an area of interest your content strategy should focus on. 

If they’re the market leader, chances are they’re not creating videos as guesswork. They probably have the evidence to suggest their ideal customers (and possibly yours too) are likely to be engaged via video content. 

We use online tools to review and research your competitor’s content.  

While it’s great to know the success of your competitor’s content campaigns, it doesn’t mean our content strategy will follow suit. 

During our analysis, we’ll be able to identify new opportunities for content creation within your industry. If it’s backed up by evidence, it’s worth pursuing and could result in you being seen as a thought leader in your industry. 

Like everything, knowledge is power. The more you know about what others are doing and the opportunities available in your space, the better equipped you’ll be.

Knowing Your Customers 

Your published content should be targeted to an audience, specifically your customers and your prospects. You want to upload content that your ideal market will enjoy, find useful, and be willing to share to their networks. 

This is why it’s essential to know and understand your customers before you just start pumping out content. 

By drilling down on this, we’ll be able to create a strategy that your customers will feel is made directly for them. This will keep them interested and engaged, and more importantly, it will make them feel that you, as a business owner, genuinely care for them and their needs.

But, with the amount of content that small businesses now need to create, it’s not uncommon for content to start missing the mark in favour of quantity over quality. 

To ensure this doesn’t happen, we work and create a content strategy that’s centred on your customer avatars. Anyone creating content on your behalf must be acutely aware of who you’re pitching content to. 

This means that when your staff or external content creators start working on content, they have relevant information in place to inform the creation process. Remember, lead-generating content is created for your customer’s benefit, not yours, and that can’t be done without understanding your customers first. 

In the content space, we will focus your customer avatars on the following:

  • Their name, age, gender, and where they live.
  • What they do as a customer (or business).
  • What motivations them.
  • The values they live by. 
  • Explanation of their lifestyle.
  • Their workplace environment.
  • What problems they face that you have the solution for.

By having this information in your content customer avatars, you’ll be able to consider the needs, interests, and concerns of your customer-base when uploading content for them.

It’s also important to remember that most businesses will have more than one ideal customer (or industry) that they are targeting. So, each ideal customer must have its unique customer avatar – you won’t convert a Lawyer if your content has been created for a labourer.

The Ways We Create Content

For content to build your brand and serve as a lead generation tool, it must follow a process. This process is included in your content strategy and governs the rollout of content month-on-month. 

We produce copywriting, podcasts and videos. Below are the ways we create each medium.

Copywriting

Your Hero’s Journey: People love stories when they have an inspiring and motivational takeaway. Your Hero’s Journey is an essential piece in your content strategy, and it’s structured around a series of guiding questions to make your journey easy to follow. 

Customer case study and testimonial content: Case study content is a means to prove that you had a solution for your market’s problems.

Case study content is a great way to show why your brand is not just ‘all talk.’ Your ideal customers want to see actual proof that you can help them, especially when it’s coming from those who have paid for it.

SEO Keyword: According to SEMrush, 67% of marketers say SEO is the most effective marketing tactic. SEO is a tool that helps your content reach the first page of search engines like Google. But SEO is only as good as the content it has to work with. 

We’ll structure your content in a way that answers your ideal customers questions, uses relevant keywords, and adheres to search engines algorithms. If you have what they’re looking for, search engines will bump up your content towards the top.

Opinion pieces: Having an opinion and showcasing it in your content is an excellent way to humanise your brand. 

In creating opinion content, you must have broad knowledge of the subject and have a clear understanding of the message you want to convey to your audience. We will draw in current themes so that your piece is newsworthy at the time of writing, and make your headline attention grabbing. 

Thought Leadership: A thought leader is an individual or business that is recognised as an authority in their industry and whose views and expertise are sought after.

These leaders are seen as empowering visionaries, who think outside the box and share new ideas or different perspectives on issues or topics. 

Thought leadership copywriting generally needs to be lengthy since you are going in-depth in talking about a ‘new’ perspective. It should be factually correct and backed up by reliable sources. And, the author (you) should be positioned as a valued and meaningful contributor within your industry.

To be considered a thought leader, your goal is to have other people say it about you first. We’ll make sure that happens.  

Joint venture: Joint venture content is showcasing your support network. It’s content that features businesses with services that are complementary to your own but don’t overlap.

Through this, the businesses you mention will share your content since it is also good publicity for them. In turn, both businesses benefit from gaining a wider audience and probably even more trust.

It’s a win-win method, and it also lessens your need to consistently think of new ideas for your content, since their business will have ideas to offer too.

Branded story: While most of the content we create for you is customer-focused, it doesn’t mean your brand shouldn’t promote your story and showcase the good that you do.  

In today’s digital marketing landscape, brands have the power to create the narrative around who they are and how they want to be seen in the marketplace, and go a long way towards influencing what your ideal customers think of you and how they engage with your brand. 

For branded story content, Story League’s approach is similar to Your Hero’s Journey mentioned earlier, but the focus of the content is told from the perspective of your brand rather than as an individual (unless your brand is you). 

Branded story content is a great way to take charge of how your marketplace perceives your brand and puts you in a controlling position to direct customer conversations about you.

Podcasts

Branded podcasts: A branded podcast is a great way to increase your authority and draw in an audience keen to hear what you have to say on an idea or theme. 

But let’s be clear, branded podcasts are not advertorials. While you can subtly mention what your business does, the focus needs to be on who you interview or the episode topic. Failure to do this will make your podcast ‘salesy’ and your audience yawn. 

Story League will work with you to break ideas and topics into an episodic branded podcast series that will give your audience something engaging to listen to.   

Storytelling podcasts: Everybody loves a good story. Like no other content medium, podcasts enable stories with impact and meaning to thrive and if you get the narrative right, you’ll have a podcast that people want to follow. 

Storytelling podcasts rely on powerful scripting, strong hosting and voiceovers, precise editing, and music and effects to tell your story and leave your audience desperate for more. 

With our journalism and radio experience, Story League develops the stories alive within your life, business or industry that need to be told.   

Interviews/panel discussions: It’s obvious, but conversations keep people talking and that’s what interview or panel discussion podcasts need to be about. The right question can spark debate, provoke thought, or lead to dialogue on new ideas or better ways forward. In short, these podcasts encourage others to offer their viewpoint and contribute to the discourse of a particular issue or subject within an industry. 

We’ll help you make the correct choice on what theme to discuss, who needs to be involved, and whether it’s a prerecorded podcast or a live broadcast in front of a live audience.

Videos

Branded storytelling videos: A branded storytelling video is marketing content that showcases your brand through positive association.

This means that it doesn’t directly advertise your brand; rather, it does so subtly and doesn’t seek to promote a business, service or individual. Instead, it aims to ‘wow’ your audience with stunning visuals and great storytelling. If done right, it will capture the attention of your viewers and encourage them to follow your brand, and ultimately convert them into customers. 

Customer case studies and testimonials: Much like this style of copywriting, customer case study and testimonials videos are vital content to create. While it’s important that you promote your own brand (because no one knows your brand like you do), there’s huge power in having others promote what you did for them. 

The truth is, social proof encourages others to want to work with you. 

We’ll help you choose who is best to feature in your videos and produce a video that follows a formula that works – introduce the problem, show the solution, and prove the results. 

Social media videos and scripting: According to Hubspot, social videos generate 1,200% more shares than text and image content combined. That’s why you need to upload regular video content on your social media feed. 

We can either create individual social media videos or partner them with blogs and write video scripts that promote longer form content on your social media platforms. This benefits you in two ways:

It drives traffic back to your website which is great for SEO and adheres to social media platform algorithms which favour video content. 

Question and answer interviews (or Q&As): Q&A videos are where at least two people engage in an interview about a particular idea or topic. Typically, this will be a business owner or entrepreneur asking questions of somebody well known or respected within their industry. 

The purpose of these videos is to build trust with your audience and warm them up to who you are and what you do, by utilising the opinions and thoughts of others in your video content.

Developing Your Stories and Ideas Into Content

Building a content strategy is vital to your success but building it too far ahead is counter-productive. That’s why we created a content strategy to roll out across six months. 

Certain events and situations can drastically change the course of content marketing and might result in a complete overhaul of content due to circumstances beyond your control. That’s wasted work. 

To ensure content remains relevant and can be uploaded, we build content strategies around a six-month cycle. 

Being journalists and using the content framework above, we’ll start asking you questions to inform and compile the business, industry, and customer research needed to pull together stories and ideas that will make for epic content. 

This will involve:

  • A review of your SEO keywords. 
  • Surveying your trusted customers to learn what they want in their content.
  • Interview key figures within your business to hear their stories. 
  • Identifying the pain points and problems your products or services solve. 

From here, we will break your six-month content strategy into a proven formula to increase your authority, build your brand and generate leads. 

Each month will focus on:

A content theme: A content theme will often support a product or service you offer and will inform how the blogs, podcasts, or videos are created. This means, in each month, all content will focus on that theme and leave no doubt in your audience’s mind that the theme is something you can help them with. 

I.e. for a Family Lawyer, a content theme might be ‘divorce.’

Stories/ideas: A content theme needs to be supported by stories and ideas to amplify the interest in what you have to say. Each month, new blogs, podcasts, or videos are required, so stories or ideas need to be decided on that supplement the overarching theme. 

I.e. if the content theme is ‘divorce,’ stories or ideas that support the theme might be ‘the emotional impact of divorce on a mother’ or ‘how to start again after a dysfunctional breakup.’ 

A content style: Now that a monthly theme is in place, and you know the story or idea that needs to be shared, we need to identify the style of content that needs to be created. The seven content styles we know work are: 

  • Your Hero’s Journey.
  • Case studies.
  • SEO keywords.
  • Opinion pieces.
  • Thought Leadership.
  • Joint-venture. 
  • Branded Story.

I.e. A story about ‘the emotional impact of divorce on a mother’ could be thought leadership, or a customer case study content, while ‘how to start again after a dysfunctional break up’ might be either a Hero’s Journey or SEO keyword. 

Building a Content Strategy Calendar

It’s great to do all the work above, but if it’s not segmented into an actionable plan, your content will never see the light of day. 

That’s why we create content management boards and an editorial deadline and publication date calendar. This will mean your content is more likely to be implemented and that you post content consistently. 

We do this by:

  • Itemising all the content that needed to be created into a project management board.
  • Including pertinent details per theme, topic, and style (links, checklists for tasks to accomplish, etc.). 
  • Including how-to guides on content creation and recommendations, so your content meets Google and social media platform’s content guidelines.  
  • Scheduling posts from concept to delivery (when content will be created to uploaded). 
  • Arranging content by status (yet to being, in progress, client review, approval, and completion).  

Having a content strategy calendar in place helps keep your content organised and efficient. When the pressure hits and you need to review, update, or find your content, having it in an easy-to-follow project management platform is a God-send.  

Ultimately, a content strategy is how to develop and execute your marketing mission. And you should never go into battle without a plan of attack. 

WE WANT YOU TO DOMINATE Content Marketing

Story League is a content strategy agency that wants your content to be seen by your ideal customers as educational, engaging, and strong enough for them to seek out your business. And that starts with a content strategy. 

Story League offers content strategy sessions to grow your brand, increase your influence, and generate leads.