Business growth is something all us entrepreneurs dream of, yet are kept awake at night at the thought of taking action. Business growth is not for the faint-hearted; unfortunately Googling methods and applying them to your business the next day won’t help. What you need is a content strategy, and for that strategy to work, your strategies need strategies which need strategies….are you following?
As scary as that sounds, it’s not impossible.
Successful businesses have strategies at their very core and use these to inform all business decisions, especially when it comes to business growth.
“Content Strategy” and buzzwords like this have been popping up all over the internet in the last few years, and for every mention of this word, you can guarantee someone will appear in your inbox calling themselves a “Content Strategist”.
But what is content strategy, and why should it be an integral part of your growth strategy?
Well, this blog post will tell you exactly that, and why you should already be considering a content strategy to facilitate your business growth.
Before we get into the finer details of why to use a content strategy, let’s talk about what a content strategy is.
A Content Strategy Is…
- A clear understanding of your business goals
- Aligning content to address/relieve your audience’s questions
- A continuous cycle of research, listening & adaptation
- When used efficiently, an essential tool for increasing visits to your website
- A strategic function that can influence your entire business, both internally and externally
- An investment of your time and passion, not just your money
- Something we can all learn from
A Content Strategy Is Not…
- A one-off element you put on today’s to-do list and shelf tomorrow
- An asset that has a specific end date
- Just your blog’s content strategy
- An overnight solution (we’ll tell you why later)
- A stand-alone element, it should integrate with all aspects of your business and align with your business goals.
Now you are armed with the knowledge of what a content strategy is and is not, you can begin to understand the important role it can play.
How Content Strategy Can Help Your Business Grow
It’s time to look at why you should be using content to help business growth and development, and how by doing so, you can see a significant improvement to your bottom line. (It’s working for us!)
If you have ever looked at a sales funnel, you will realise there are certain points in the process where your potential customer will come into contact with your brand. These are called customer touch-points. (If you haven’t heard of the sales funnel, not to worry, I have sourced this info-graphic for you.)
A touch-point for your business may be your website; you will need to identify the ways in which people find your website. For example, are they looking specifically for your product? Or do they have a question about a product you sell? If the answer to these is yes, then your content strategy can ensure your customers are getting the information they need, and by default, your business is gaining brand visibility.
Visibility is crucial for when you need to grow your business.
The initial stage of visibility is called “Discovery”.
Discovery is more likely to happen when your content is aligned to a potential customer’s need. If your content is also informative, you will become a credible source of information; credible content = trust. Trust is an essential part of the decision process when purchasing a new service or product.
Discovery can happen in many ways, so you will need to research and identify specific touch-points for your business.
By listening to your audience’s needs, a content strategy will enable faster discovery, and will increase your brand awareness; Think of it like a cycle – a never-ending one:
Content Strategy = Strategic Content = Brand Awareness (Discovery) = Increased Potential conversions = Increased Bottom Line = Increased Cash to Invest in More Content = Business Growth
This cycle will be an ongoing process where you can develop new content and adapt older content according to your audience’s needs.
As mentioned above, content strategy is a huge investment in not only your money but your time.
Content strategy shouldn’t be considered an afterthought, instead invest now and see your return increase as your content gets discovered.
Content needs to be constantly monitored, if I have learnt anything from the past year and a half, it would be to always listen to your content. Listening allows you to track how well your content is doing and on what platforms does it perform the best. There are literally hundreds of listening tools in the realms of the net, you just need to choose one which works for you.
Related: Top 8 Social Media Listening Tools
Some of my favourites include:
Content Strategy Will Never Be An Overnight Success
If a “quick fix” is what you are looking for then a content strategy is not for you. If you expect to see results instantly, then a content strategy is not for you. Content strategies will never make you an internet sensation overnight (sorry!).
Entrepreneurs that are serious about business growth will understand that short-cuts will only build a house of cards.
Laying the foundations, and taking the time to really understand your audience’s demographics will give you the best possible starting point to grow your business.
Carried out properly, a content strategy will complement your growth, and evolve with your audience. But the process takes time, here are a few reasons why:
- Google doesn’t index new pages straight away.
- You may not always get it right the first time, a good content strategy will allow for adaptation.
- Audiences needs are changing constantly, you need to stay on the pulse of your industry and be ready to react to anything. This is where your listening tools will come into their own.
This blog post has only scratched the surface of how a content strategy can help with the growth of your business. If this article has sparked your interest then I would suggest spending some time researching how you can make your content work better for you.
Please don’t hesitate to get in contact if you need a nudge in the right direction!
“Growth is never by mere chance; it is a result of forces working together.”James Cash Penney, Founder of JCPenney