Content Strategy Foundations: Building a Solid Base
content strategy foundations

Content Strategy Foundations: Building a Solid Base

Your business isn’t one-size-fits-all; the way you market shouldn’t be either. We’re constantly inundated with year-long marketing plans and lists of content ideas that “everyone” can use. But really, your business, clients, and offers are incredibly unique… the way you market your business should be too.

This week on the podcast, I’m sharing the five foundations to creating a content strategy that’s going to work for you and your business. It’s unique to everyone and every business. We’ll dive into understanding your specific audience, setting goals that align with your unique business objectives, choosing the right platforms where your audience actually engages, creating content that genuinely resonates, and measuring success in a way that makes sense for you.

Forget cookie-cutter strategies; it’s all about customization and making sure your marketing efforts reflect the uniqueness of your brand. Whether you’re a solopreneur, a small business owner, or part of a growing enterprise, these insights are tailored to help you carve out a niche in your market.

Tune in to learn how to create a content strategy that not only stands out but also delivers real, measurable results. Because in the end, it’s not about being everywhere; it’s about being where it matters most for your business.

Mentioned in This Episode Podcast

Transcript:

Welcome to The Content Experiment Podcast, a podcast for service-driven business owners who are ready for some real talk when it comes to marketing.

There’s so much buzz out there about marketing and content strategy, from people who aren’t actually doing the work themselves. And there’s us…the true small business owner who is simply trying to make an impact in their own small circle of influence.

I’m Abby Herman, fractional marketing officer, content strategist and podcast manager for business owners who want to make their marketing feel easier and more streamlined so they can get back to serving their clients and making those sales. Here we talk about REAL marketing strategies for those who are in the weeds and doing the work, not outsourcing it to big teams. You’ll hear from real business owners just like you who are marketing on a budget, looking for easy-to-implement strategies, and want some guidance from people who are accessible and real.

Thanks so much for being here!

We’ve been on a bit of a hiatus here at the podcast, and I’m so excited to be back here with you. Over the last few months, I’ve done a lot of thinking, talking to other business owners, spending more time inside my clients’ businesses, and dug more into some marketing tools and resources out there.

And, of course, I watched loads of marketing pros selling products and services through Black Friday and the year-end “let’s do better next year” push.

Here’s the thing: I understand that people like to buy from big-name marketing gurus and pros. But the reality is that while yes, they know what they’re talking about, they’re NOT actually doing the work themselves. They have a team for that.

Do you?

They can teach you how to create content or a content calendar. They can teach you about new marketing strategies and trends. They’re probably highly knowledgeable about funnels and AI and podcasting…but the reality is that they’ve built multi-million dollar businesses and are no longer doing the work.

Which is fine. More than fine. But when I hear from people who are buying year-long marketing strategies and content calendars or who want to invest in a tool that might be out of their spending plan…I’m sad.

Because what works for one business doesn’t always work for the next. And as small business owners, we need to be discerning about where we’re investing our time and money. Especially if most of the business and marketing load lands on our shoulders.

So I’m not saying to NOT pay attention to what big names in the industry are doing; I’m saying listen to multiple perspectives before making a decision. And make sure at least one of those perspectives is someone who is actively still doing the work for themselves and for clients.

Hello! That’s me!

And even better (I think!) is that I’m committed to offering resources, tools, and content that’s accessible to business owners who don’t have a massive marketing budget. Here, it’s free. And soon I’ll be launching (or rather re-launching) a small digital shop that allows you to purchase some of the things I’m talking about here on the podcast. For a nominal fee.

So that’s where I’ve been the last few months, and where we’re going together. So let’s get into today’s episode.

I’m sure you’ve heard ALL the pitches and seen all the ads about creating your 12-month content plan or the ready-made content lists. I know I’ve seen loads of them. Maybe it’s a hazard of being in the content and marketing industry, or maybe it’s the time of year.

And while sure, ready-made content plans or lists of 200+ content topics are really tempting, they don’t actually work for most businesses.

The KEY in creating content for YOUR business is creating content that’s for YOUR business. Not content that everyone else is creating. There needs to be a reason behind each piece of content you’re sharing. Otherwise, why are you creating it?

So today, let’s talk about the foundations of creating your content strategy so you can start creating content for YOUR audience and YOUR business.

And if you’re ready to start creating your own content strategy, you’re in luck. I’ve put together exactly how I create content strategies for myself and my clients in a mini course you can find on my new digital shop. It’s a five-part mini podcast with an accompanying workbook to walk you through it. There’s a link to it in the show notes or you can go to thecontentexperiment.com/shop. You’ll find Your 90 Day Content Plan and a few other goodies there, and I have a handful of additional resources that are coming soon!

So what are the foundations to a content and marketing strategy? We’re going to talk mainly about the content side, which of course overlaps with your overall marketing strategy. But I find that content is where people start.

I’ll give you the overall foundation now, and then we’ll walk through each piece step by step.

The foundation for creating your content strategy includes:

  • Knowing your audience
  • Knowing the goals of your content
  • Choosing the right platforms to be present
  • Creating valuable content
  • Measuring your success

Knowing Your Audience

What does this mean? Before you create any content, before you start talking to anyone, it’s important to know who your audience is, what their pain points are, what solutions they’re looking for, and more.

Now I’ve never been a fan of the ideal client avatar because I think that fictionalizes the real people who you want to help and serve and buy from you. So instead, I recommend you spend time hanging out in the places your ideal clients are hanging out.

Do you know where those places are?

You’ll never know for certain where they’re spending time, what they’re paying attention to, what kind of content they like to consume, what their favorite social media platforms are, what their pain points are, and so on, until you actually talk to them.

It doesn’t take a lot of time or effort to survey your audience, especially if you email out a survey. Don’t email your entire email list though. Instead, be discerning about who you survey and what you ask them. I walk you through this process, step by step, and give you some templated surveys you can copy and make your own in my free Ask Your Audience challenge. You can access it at thecontentexperiment.com/ask.

Knowing Your Goals

The next step in creating the foundation for your content strategy is to know what your end goal of your content is. Of course, you want people to buy from you. I think that’s a given. But ultimately the goal of your organic content is to nurture your audience. It’s to help grow their awareness of you, hopefully get them to engage with you. Maybe you want to entertain with some of your content. But really, you should want to educate your audience about what it is you do. Not in a resume sort of way, but actually teaching something. Like I do here on this podcast. Yes, I’ve talked about my digital products already, but I’m teaching you how to set up your content strategy foundations. Ultimately, I want you to learn something. And I want you to engage with me by getting on my email list.

So maybe my goal is to grow my email list so that you’re in my email funnels and I can educate you even more. (That’s truly my goal.) With other pieces of content, outside of the organic content you see on my podcast, social media and weekly emails, I do hope to encourage you to grab some of my paid offers.

And you know what…that’s the whole point of being in business!

What Platforms to Use

Step 3 in your content strategy foundations is knowing which platforms you should use.

We can’t be everywhere, unless we have an unlimited budget and endless time and resources. This podcast is not for those people. This podcast is for the people who want to grow an online business and need affordable support to make progress.

So knowing where you need to show up and what kind of content to create is essential.

How do you do that? In step 1, where you survey your audience. One of the most important questions you can ask your audience is: What is your favorite way to consume content?

I did this years ago, and that’s where this podcast came from. My audience doesn’t have time to read blogs. They don’t want to sit still long enough to watch a YouTube video. They want to listen to a podcast.

And then there’s the social media platforms too. There are definite pros and cons of each platform, and you will need to pick and choose what works best for you and your audience. I have no desire to be on TikTok, so if my audience told me that’s where they hang out the most for business support, I’d have to make a tough decision there. Because just because your audience is spending time on a platform doesn’t mean you HAVE to; it’s ultimately your own decision. But it might be something to consider.

Also keep in mind that different platforms are good for different types of content. And if you don’t have the time or energy to be active and actually SOCIAL on certain platforms, then I don’t recommend you spend a lot of effort posting there. Make sure the platforms you choose to show up on match your audience and goals.

Create Valuable Content

Step 4 of your content strategy foundation is creating valuable content. It’s having a TRUE plan for reaching your goals and creating content that matches.

There are so many things to consider here that I’m not going to go too deep in this; it’s an entire podcast series on its own. I’ll talk about this a little more in the next few episodes, and actually developing your content strategy for your organic content is what you’ll learn in the Your 90 Day Content Plan mini course you can get now at thecontentexperiment.com/shop.

But essentially, your content should:

  • Be well thought out and align with your audience’s needs
  • Be published consistently
  • Lead your audience to learn something
  • Encourage your audience to take the next step with you

And this is only the beginning. There’s also the opt-ins you create, the email sequences that go with those opt-ins, what you share on podcasts and inside of private groups. I don’t get into this in the mini course, but you just might find something on those topics in The Marketing Lab shop in the coming months!

If you’re on my email list, you’ll get notified when anything new is available.

Measure Your Success

And next is step 5: measuring the success of your content and iterating.

What does this mean? Well, are people listening to your podcast? Visiting your website? Opening your emails? Opting into your email list? What was the goal you decided on when you were building your foundation? You need to make sure that what you set out to achieve is being achieved.

There are so many things you can track with your content, and it’s not really possible to track them all. Again, be discerning about what you’re tracking.

Metrics like your social media following are really vanity metrics, and I wouldn’t pay much attention to those numbers unless you see really large growth over a short period of time…AND those people are engaging with your content.

Your email list size is also a vanity metric, but if you have a big list and high open rates, that’s important to maintain.

You can track visits to your website, and see what visitors are doing once they’re there. Are they clicking through to your sales pages? Are they abandoning check-out carts? This is important information to know.

There are a lot of ways to track this information and improve your metrics, but that’s too much to share on this already [LENGTH] episode. So, again, know that this is coming in the future. And there’s a lot of information already online about this. Do some googling to find resources!

Once you look at your metrics and how your audience is responding, you can make changes to what you’re doing, how you’re showing up online, and try to improve them. Because marketing is a long game, I think it’s really important to try something for at least 6 months before deciding if it’s something you want to continue. Don’t do something for just a few weeks and scrap it. Marketing takes time to take hold.

Okay, to recap the necessary pieces of your content strategy foundations, they are:

  • Knowing your audience
  • Knowing the goals of your content
  • Choosing the right platforms to be present
  • Creating valuable content
  • Measuring your success

And if you’re ready to start building your 90 Day Content Plan, you can get a private mini podcast with an accompanying workbook, at a tiny offer price, at thecontentexperiment.com/shop. It’s ready for you right now!

If you found value in what you learned here today, I would be so honored if you would leave a rating and review. And don’t be shy about sharing the episode with someone who might need it. The more you share this podcast with others, the more we can get it into the earbuds of more business owners, just like you, who are looking for easy-to-implement strategies, and want some guidance from people who are accessible and real. That’s what you’ll find here. Thanks for being here.

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