The first thing you learn when you commit to Inbound Marketing as a key strategy is the pressure it puts on organizations to create good content. We know that feeling both as a company utilizing IM as a key strategy and as a service provider helping our clients do the same.

Valuable content delivered or offered with predictable frequency is the currency of IM, so companies considering IM have to start thinking like a publisher. Publishers know that their primary product is content, so having a clearly understood content strategy is a non-negotiable requirement.

Here are our top 5 tips (so far) for building a content strategy that works and doesn’t overwhelm:

  1. Know your audience – Knowing who they are by industry, company type, or job title is important, but also important is knowing what their pain points are and why they might be interested in what you can do. Segmentation of the audience matters too, especially about their place in the sales cycle. Someone just starting to learn has different content requirements than someone who’s been following you for months.
  2. Know yourself – Understand your unique promise and the value your brand has to prospects. Also know the brand character you want to convey, and work to imbed this personality in all your content. Be authentic.
  3. Identify forms and platforms – Once you know yourself and your audience you’ll start to identify the more critical forms your content should take. Think about how your audience can best learn about you, and how your competitive advantage versus alternatives is best expressed. You’ll might see quickly that a video is worth 10,000 words, or a free analysis of the scope of the prospects improvement opportunity is the most compelling evidence possible.
  4. Define and commit to an action plan – Schedule content creation, review and distribution on a frequency your team/resources can handle, focusing first on an effective frequency before you worry about reach.
  5. Test, adjust, test, adjust – For geeks like me, the best thing about IM is the content and channel testing ability. Analytic tools allow you to test messaging, format, timing, channel, offers, etc., and make data-based adjustments on the fly. So building testing into the creation stream is of high-value. 

What have you learned about content strategy so far? Since it’s an emerging skill area, I would love to hear what others have picked up.