There is much talk lately about content strategy, and how every solopreneur should have one. Clients are asking me if they really need one, and how it's different from their marketing plan. My short answer is that content strategy is just a way to focus yourself on the bigger picture when you are writing for marketing purposes so that your efforts have a chance of doing what you want them to do.
It's helpful to think of your content strategy addressing the classic 5Ws+ which are who, what, where, when, why and how. Let's go through these:
Who is Your Content For?
Every piece of content your produce should be for your ideal client, the particular person with the specific problem you are specializing in. If you are producing content that doesn't address their needs and interests, it's likely that your content isn't doing enough for you to build your client load.
What Should Your Content Be About?
Anything and everything your ideal clients:
worry or feel guilty about
secretly yearn for
talk about with their friends
wish they could do or experience
are too afraid to discuss with others
need to make their lives easier and happier
want to be in the know
hear on the news that was misleading, incorrect, or incomplete
Newspaper and magazine editors have a thing called the editorial budget, which has nothing to do with money. It is basically a month by month list of what kinds of topics they want to cover in each edition each month. Of course, as things come up, new items are added to the budget, and some will need to be covered sooner or later than originally scheduled.
If you are a super organized person, you could develop your own content budget too. Write the topic of the week or month into your own client calendar and treat it as a VIP to meet with.
Where Should Your Content Be Distributed?
Everywhere your ideal clients hang out or look for informative tips in writing. That includes:
in special downloadable mini ebooks on your own website
your social media business pages and personal timeline
your social media private groups and forums*, if that's allowed
via simple Q&A posts -- every A you give has marketing potential
in your email newsletter
in collateral materials like rack cards distributed at networking events
When Should You Be Producing Content?
Content producing is part of your overall marketing plan. Maybe even the part that you spend the most time on -- that's certainly possible for introverts and others who don't like teaching workshops or going to networking breakfasts as a primary marketing strategy.
If producing content is one of your main marketing methods, you would ideally be writing something daily. But don't worry, not everything needs to be a master's thesis. Things to do daily or weekly could include:
social media posting -- a 3-5 sentence opinion about your niche specialty diagnostic issue.
social media curating -- reposting an article link to something uplifting or useful that your ideal clients would find interesting, and including a 1 sentence encouragement.
social media blog promotion -- post the link one of your own blog posts, with a promotional sentence inviting people to your blog to read it.
working on a new blog post -- "working on" includes researching, drafting, hunting for or creating appropriate photos for the post, proofreading, and publishing. Not all of these tasks have to be done on the same day.
sending your blog out in an email -- or send different content that helps drive traffic to your website.
working on a downloadable mini-ebook -- a collection of old blogs on a single topic, an expansion of handouts you typically give clients or students, a set of forum posts that give advice that a wider audience would benefit from, a revised version of your Power Point slides from the last conference presentation. This is called repurposing.
Why It Benefits You to Produce Content
As a clinician, or professional coach, or alternative healer, or psychic, you have an intangible product to sell, which is your knowledge and expertise as a change agent, healer, or teacher. Knowledge and expertise are more valuable than time, but also more difficult to market because what clients think they want, and what they are willing to pay for, is results.
Producing lots of content in this information age when content is king is a way to help establish your worth in the service-oriented marketplace. Through your content you are -- hopefully -- cultivating a following that starts to know you, like you and trust you. When you publish content on a consistent schedule, that following learns to rely on you. You position yourself as "top of mind" when they need a service like yours.
How Should Your Content Be Written?
"Voice" is an important element of a good content strategy. My voice tends to be casual, sometimes a little sassy, and practical. I strive to write like I speak, and the way my ideal clients express themselves.
Voice is a component in developing rapport with your readers. The warmer, more friendly your voice, the more likable you come across, and the more the reader wants to learn from you.
Clinicians often make the mistake of using an academic voice. Lawyers err by using the legal voice. Their writing tends to comes out stuffy, cold, impersonal, and often too challenging to comprehend. Or too intimidating to follow through on.
What we tend to forget is that the general public has a 5th grade reading level, especially when reading while stressed out, anxious, depressed, grieving, or feeling sick or in pain. Even those who are highly educated, appreciate simple, straight-forward, conversational, jargon-free language.
The KISS principle should apply to your content strategy.
Need a consult on your content strategy or writing style? See how it works here.