My experience is rather limited when it comes to crafting a content strategy but I make up for it by talking to people from other departments in the organisation to see what kind of information flows through each of them. This gave me certain ideas as to how a company can integrate all the information flowing through it to arrive at crafting a content strategy.
What exactly is a content strategy? It is the process of using existing content, structuring it,formatting it and tailoring it to address the needs of your customers so that in the end it results in providing some form of value to you, your customers and your organisation. This summation is based on my understanding after my interaction with people from different departments and from my own experience.
I have always believed that content strategists when at work are like spiders spinning their webs. Have you ever observed a spider spinning its web? At the beginning, you wonder what the heck is it doing and as time passes you start to see a specific pattern emerge and once the web is complete it all makes sense.It has a form, pattern and feels like everything has fallen into place.
I am currently working for a startup which provides end to end business management solutions for the wellness industry. If I just stand up from where I sit every day, I can see all the departments right in front of me. This gave me the unique opportunity to meet people from different departments. I work in the Customer Success department whose main function is to resolve client issues. So I deal with content every day. Though it is more technical in nature, there are articles designed to help our clients use the product with ease. Now we can’t use this information in a public blog post as it would give away our competitive edge with our competitors but the important thing to take away from here is that
How do you translate their day-to-day issues into a case study and create a story for your company’s blog?
Sounds tough but the idea is simple enough. Crafting a case study would just mean you are addressing a common issue faced by a majority of your clients. So how do you do it? All you need to figure out is how you give out this information. You can put it forth like this.
- Facing an issue while doing X activity? don’t worry, we have Y to mitigate this issue with ease. So what you are doing here is that you have identified a common issue faced by your clients which would be very much prevalent with other potential customers within the same industry. Your blog post that says this would automatically lead to an inbound sale from the 100’s of potential customers.
This whole process of translating a problem into useful information and putting it out there to the right audience is what building a content strategy is all about.
Now, why is it so important to know what kind of information flows through other departments? I know this from personal experience. During one of my internships, I received a call from a potential client. How did I know that? He told me himself that he was calling us because he went to one of our existing clients while on his business trip and found out about us.
The highlight of the call was that he found a certain feature that we provided very beneficial to his business. Now I know what you are thinking, just because one person calls and says so it does mean that it isn’t that important,WRONG!. Most companies fail to convert this information into something meaningful. What you need to do, is a market analysis on how many businesses like this are still untapped in that region and use this feature in your blog post and craft it like how I had mentioned earlier. This whole process, if you look back defines as to how you arrived at developing a content strategy for your blog post.
One day while I was looking through my window at home it started to rain and as the rain subsided there were hundreds of droplets of water on the window. I immediately recognised a pattern that resembled a tree. When I looked at it from another angle I saw a pattern that resembled a house.
What I did realise then is that this is exactly what content strategy is all about. You have the content, the droplets resemble the words on paper. How you arrange it and format it would give the final information. The way you arrange it to make sense for your audience in your industry is what content strategy is all about.
I believe that every startup should have a documentation team. No matter what the cost of maintaining one is, you need this. If you do not start creating content from the beginning itself it will just keep getting postponed year after year until finally when your company has grown to an extent where clients complain about the lack of articles to help them understand the product or service whenever they are stuck.
Why is this important? The documentation team & content writers should always be at the centre. If you take the example of a Hub and Spoke system, the documentation team & the content writers should be the hub. The end of the spokes would be the marketing team, implementation, customer success, CRM etc. This is a crucial setup as to how the internal structure of the startup is supposed to be.
All the information will be relayed back to this team and both the groups can decide on how to create two separate articles, one for your clients which would be technical in nature and the other would be for the blog post which would be for your potential customers.
One other way to arrive at a content strategy would be through a detailed exploration of your competitors. How well are their blog posts doing, which ones are getting more engagement and why?. You can get a lot of insights as to what type of structured content actually evokes a response from your targeted audience. This is the whole reason why you have market leaders because they have found a way to do this and other budding companies can learn from them and try to do better.
At the end of the day, it is very important to remember what it is that actually works in favour of the client. You can truly measure the effectiveness of your content strategy by seeing how well clients respond to the article. Sharing it on different social media sites is a contributor but how well is the content structured and is it appealing to the clients? is the main question here.
The structure of the content would only come from trial and error as nobody gets it right the first time. In your industry, a certain format might work which may not be clear in the beginning but as you start putting content out there you will realise a pattern that works. This is the beauty of content strategy, no matter how experienced you are in the field when it comes to generating content and crafting a strategy, it will take some time to find the right pattern that works in that specific industry but eventually you will get there if you are persistent enough.