Businesses are creating more content than ever before, yet not all of that content gets noticed, let alone achieves its goals. The reason? A lack of a solid content creation strategy that ensures the production of relevant, consistent content aligned with the goals of the company.

According to a survey by Content Marketing Institute, 77% of B2C companies and 70% of B2B companies reported creating more content than they did a year ago. However, only 37% of B2C organizations and 32% of B2B organizations had a documented strategy.

To succeed at content creation, companies need a gameplan i.e. a well-defined strategy, which in turn should be based on its vision and goals, the available/ needed resources to achieve those goals and finally an established technique to measure success. Indeed, a well-documented strategy has proven to increase the effectiveness of all content creation efforts.

A good content creation strategy should take into consideration all variables such as the budget, media type, frequency of content, and others, to create content that adds value to the organization. The following building blocks of content creation strategy represent a set of activities that all good content creators should bear in mind:

Identifying Goals

What do you need your content to accomplish? How much will it cost and how much time will it take? These are questions you need to ask before creating content or drafting the strategy per se. For any for-profit company, competition and profitability are key factors that influence all other aspects of operations. These goals could keep evolving according to the organization’s performance, budget, and external and internal circumstances. From increasing sales to gaining more market share, boosting approval rating or launching a new product, content creation strategies could choose to focus on any one goal or all of them at a time. A good place to start for goal setting is the SWOT analysis, which is used to identify an organization’s strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and challenges.

Building Key Messages

To determine the strategy, companies must fully understand what key messages they want to project to the target audience. Start by outlining the main points you want to convey to your consumers and stakeholders – perhaps you want to introduce a new product or shine a spotlight on the CSR efforts of the company or tell the backstory about your brand and how it came into existence or simply create informative messages around your area of expertise – in general, your message should basically consist of information such as who you are, what you are selling and what sets you apart from your competitors. It should be consistent, transparent and should be able to build trust with the audience.

Hiring the Right Talent

One of the most important investments you will ever make is in qualified and experienced people to implement the strategy. You will need people to research your audience’s demographics, interests, buying habits and how they consume content. Creative and innovative talents are required to prepare content that speaks to the unique needs and interests of your audience. If the content is not engaging enough, it will disappear amidst the plethora of information available online. There are a number of ways to increase engagement, including using multimedia platforms, connecting with consumers on social media platforms, reaching out to influencers, leveraging data from marketing tools such as Google Analytics, and by tapping into current issues and the interests of millenials, etc. Therefore, a team that is creative, tech-savvy, has expertise in social media marketing and is socially aware would be ideal.

The Art of Storytelling

Every brand has a story. It should explain why the brand exists and give the required information to the audience for them to empathize with the brand. Indeed, content creation is essentially storytelling and PR professionals are experts in its art. The importance of storytelling in content creation arises from its role in getting the attention of the target audience, influencing changes in their thought and behavior, helping communicate technical concepts, and building brand image, among others. Engaging today’s tech-savvy audiences in your story is key, especially that people spend more time browsing online than reading. Well-drafted, researched, authentic and well-presented stories that incorporate all types of media, including video, infographics and GIFs are more likely to have maximum impact. Establishing a brand voice early on will help to maintain consistency and ensure the audience’s familiarity with the brand.

Measuring Success

How do you define success in content creation? The answer could well depend on the first building block i.e. your goals. Measuring the effectiveness of your content is the very foundation on which your strategy should be based. Without metrics and setting benchmarks it is practically impossible to know whether your content has worked or not, which might result in a wastage of resources, time and talents.  A number of content marketing tools are available online that can help to track the performance of your content. For example, Google Analytics, which is free, analyzes bounce rate, time on site, average pages per visit, percentage of returning visitors, frequency of visits, and audience engagement rates.

While the business goals and plans are distinctive for each organization, these five building blocks of content strategy remain constant and will help to formulate your own unique strategy for creating content that actually works.