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Canvasing Successful Content Strategies Part 1

 by zack on 17 Jul 2013 |
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You hear the slogans all the time. Content is King! Content strategy is an essential element to ecommerce success! So on and so forth. What you don’t hear is the truth: Content development and the strategy behind it are complex, overwhelming, and constantly in frustrating flux. It takes a great deal of hard work and an even greater amount of collaboration between disparate content strategist specialists across a large variety of different fields. It’s also imminently necessary for any online business looking to be competitive in today’s marketplace.

A comprehensive how-to manual for constructing a coherent content strategy is going to be a Melville novel’s worth of dense reading. However, the scaffolding of any content strategy is going to look surprisingly similar. Much like a comparison between the inner workings of a professional athlete versus a clerk at your local grocers, content strategy skeletal systems can vary wildly, but they all have basically the same structure. So let’s attempt to draw a broad outline of what content strategies are, why they’re necessary, and how to go about creating one.

What is Content Strategy?

First things first, you’ve got figure out what you’re dealing with here. A content strategy consists of all the material you’re putting out to engage with your customers online, as well as the methodology you’re using in your content development’s implementation. To put it another way, it’s the conversations you’ll start, the media you’ll distribute, what you’re offering to your customers, and the hook that will get them interested enough to give you their hard earned cash.

Beyond that, it’s a renewable resource. It is an organic process that lives and grows with your brand. If properly structured at the beginning of your ecommerce venture, your content strategy will be a cyclical process that’s revisited every time you add a new goal to your “to do” list.

A content strategy is a marketing playbook that you consult before every big game. It’s a living constitutional document designed to adjustably govern your ever-expanding ecommerce empire. It’s everything you need to know about what you’re saying, and how it’s going to interact with consumers.
Needless to say, it’s pretty damn important. But let’s break it down into specifics.

Why Do You Need a Content Strategy?

To put it simply, because preparation is everything. You need to go into an online marketing situation with a clearly defined plan. You need to know what you want to say, how it will be received, and what to expect in terms of sales and conversions. Everything about your business depends on advertising, and content is the number one way of meeting your marketing objectives.

More now than ever, online consumers are expecting something for nothing. The trick most content strategists would recommend is to give them something for free, and give them the impression that you don’t require anything in return. Because all you really want is their attention. Once you’ve got that, it’s a matter of time before you figure out the correct combination to the lock on their wallets.

A crafty content strategy is one that perfectly places you to grab your ideal targeted consumer’s attention, and gives them all of the incentive they need to purchase your product or service. You need to develop a content strategy, because if you don’t, you’re flying blind in an extremely complex and competitive world.

So saddle up, it’s a bumpy ride from here on in. It’s time to figure out how to start building a savvy and successful web content strategy.

How to Build a Content Strategy:

Content strategies are like lengthy college research papers, dissertations, or final theses. The key word there is research. You’ve got to take a fine tooth comb to everything regarding your niche, before you even think about putting together a hypothesis. You need to be intimately familiar with your market, your company’s place within the market, your product, your competition’s product, the content you’ve already produced, your competition’s content, your current audience, the people you’re looking to reach out to, their wants, their needs, and their online habits as well.

To meet all of your marketing objectives, you’ve got to haul all of that data in and pour over it like a translator who’s discovered an ancient Sanskrit text. If that doesn’t paint a clear picture in your mind, then let’s just say you need to do quite a bit of reading, rereading, writing, and rewriting. Don’t get me started on proofreading.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a section we can just gloss over. You’ve really got to get a handle on all of these different sets of data. The first place you want to start is the market. You’ve got to figure out who you’re trying to sell to, and what they’re like. That means demographic research. One of the best ways to approach this is through metrics tracking and multivariate testing. You’ve got to see where your site’s visitors are going, what they’re spending the most time on, and where it is that you’re losing their attention. A full suite of ecommerce metric tracking software like the one that Ashop provides can be very helpful in this regard.

You also need to analyze in depth as many customer profiles as you can. That means looking at any social media data that you possess. Look at your followers on Twitter; check out who likes you on Facebook. Learn what their interests are, and where your company fits in with those interests. Take a broad outlook in this regard, and try to find common denominators across the wide variety of your followers.  

That’s all the tips we have time for today. Check back tomorrow for the conclusion of our post series on content strategy, in which we’ll discuss the complexities of scheduling, distribution, content types, and other important aspects of planning successful content development.  


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