At its simplest, this is what I do for small businesses: I help them create a digital content strategy that brings them closer to their business goals.
But before you’re ready to work with someone to create a digital content strategy for your business, you might have a few questions about what it is and how to begin creating a customized strategy for your business, goals, and ideal customers.
What is the digital content strategy?
Let’s start here: A digital content strategy is a set of strategically chosen tactics to help you reach a specific goal in your business.
Tactics, in this case, include things like:
- Long YouTube videos
- Short videos on social media
- Social media posts
- Live videos on social media
- Challenges, peaks and events
- Email newsletters
- the partnership
and so on and so on.
How to create a digital content strategy for your small business:
For us at our agency, I define small businesses as having about $5 million per year in revenue; After that, companies usually start hiring people to market internally. Specifically, my agency works with companies that generate profits anywhere, say, between $250,000 and 5mm a year because that’s our sweet spot, but the following information should be helpful even to early revenue stage businesses.
1. Know your goals.
Many articles will talk about KPIs and metrics at the same time as you talk about goals, but for small businesses it often isn’t so much about things like click through rates, website conversion rates, and more to: What do you want to achieve?
This is where I start with all my clients.
What do you want to achieve in the next 6-12 months?
Your answer will explain what kind of digital content strategy you want to put together and where you want to focus your efforts.
For example: If a customer comes to me and tells me that they want to write a book proposal and sell a non-fiction book to a major publisher next year, the content strategy we make for them will be very different than someone who has a very high ticket program or service and just needs to fill out, for example, 15 places per year.
So, start with the goal. If this is a revenue goal, work backwards from there and determine how many sales you need (and any products) to achieve that revenue goal.
If it’s a visibility goal, decide how many people you want to add to your audience. In the book proposal example above, it is well known that publishers are looking to see if authors have a platform in place, so an aspiring author might want to capture 10,000 followers on social media to boost their marketability with a publishing house.
At its simplest, digital content strategy is all about building an audience of potential customers.
To know what tactics you want to add to your digital content strategy, you need to have an idea of how many people you want to add to your audience.
Some important numbers to know:
If you sell something online using a sales page and a Buy Now button, you can expect a 1 to 3% conversion rate. This means that between 1-3% of people who land on the page will decide to make a purchase. (This is average; you may have a better or worse conversion rate for any given offer.)
If you sell something over a phone call (or zoom in/out), your average conversion rate is likely to be hanging around 50%. It’s worth keeping track of your personal conversion rate so you know how many people you need to talk to in order to reach your sales goals.
But these numbers mean that the number of people you need in your audience is actually exponentially larger of your sales goals.
For example, email is still the best place to nurture your audience for most businesses, but the average click-through rate for emails is also 1–3%. That means, if you have 5000 people Actually open an email, you can expect about 50 of them to click on a link to a sales page…
…and of those fifty, you can make one sale.
It doesn’t make you feel bad about yourself, your business, or your numbers! (And remember: these are averages. Your conversion rates may be better or worse.)
Instead, this is to help you get a more reasonable idea of how many people you need in your audience to achieve your sales or growth goals and your digital content strategy.
2. Choose the discovery channel for your digital content strategy
At this point, the vast majority of my clients realize that they are not reaching enough people and that they need a digital content strategy that will increase their audience.
And many realize that they don’t have a straightforward way for new people to discover their business.
I call this your discovery channel: a part of your digital content strategy focused on how new people find your business.
There are a lot of different tactics you can add to your digital content strategy here to fill your discovery channel role:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- the partnership
- Publicity (including traditional media, guest blogging, podcast interviews, etc.)
- hashtag strategy
and so on and so on.
You want to define at least one strong discovery channel as part of your digital marketing strategy; And depending on how fast you want or need to grow, you can choose more than one.
The metrics to track for this channel are basically the number of new audience members you add per strategy, per month.
3. Select your sponsorship channels for your digital content strategy and choose your Power Platform
The next part of your digital content strategy that you want to focus on is how to nurture your audience and grow into leads and potential customers.
Your sponsorship channels include wherever you have a conversation with your audience and lead them down the road to becoming a customer.
Channels of care may include:
- Social media
- Email newsletters
- Video clips (long and short)
and so on and so on.
What I usually recommend is that small business owners choose one Power Platform where they will share their thought leadership, and then use other channels to attract their audience to that Power Platform. This is the backbone of your digital content strategy.
How to choose a power platform? Well, think about how you like to communicate – what is easiest for you. Does he write? speak? Recording videos? The broker often dictates the statute.
For example, if you love to write, you can choose blog articles or email newsletters as your power platform. If you prefer to talk, a podcast might be best for you. And if you love being in front of the camera, video is the way to go whether it’s live or pre-recorded.
(Quick note: Some people like to verbalize their thoughts, but don’t want to start a podcast or video series. In that case, I’d recommend finding a great writer who can handle your verbal processing and turn them into articles, the way we deliver to our clients.)
Once you know your Power Platform, you’ll want to focus more on for you Efforts to create content for this platform, and to allow your other channels – such as Instagram captions, Facebook posts, tweets, etc. – to tag your Power Platform posts.
4. Choose your Power Platform content topics strategically
Now, because we want to focus on quality over quantity, you’ll need to choose your content topics strategically.
Basically, we want every piece of content you create for your power platform to help bring your audience a little bit closer to selling.
In practice, there are practically unlimited ways to achieve this, but here are some pointers:
Once you’ve chosen your topics, you’ll want to organize them into some sort of editorial calendar for your digital marketing strategy. Here I present a model of the same system that we use with our clients.
5. Create your own distribution plan.
As I mentioned, your power platform is where you’ll share your deep thought leadership – but you still need to promote it and distribute it to your other sponsorship channels so everyone in your audience can see it!
Usually, for many of my clients, this means having an assistant creating content for other channels.
And for many people, this is where the process can begin to fall apart. They find that outsourcing this type of content creation is challenging and the results are not up to their standards.
There are three main things you need to outsource to successfully create content – whether that means an assistant creating some Instagram and Facebook posts for you, or an entire content production team:
- Content calendar (see step 4 above!)
- Brand Audio Style Guide
- Clear content workflow and standard operating procedures
Like I said, whether you have a part-time assistant or a full team, having these three parts in place will make outsourcing any part of your digital content strategy that much easier.
6. Test, Measure and Repeat
The final piece of the puzzle when you think about how to create your digital content strategy is simply testing things out and seeing what works.
The “knowing what works” part is key – which means you have to keep track of those metrics we mentioned back in step 1.
Of course, the metrics you want to track will vary based on your strategy, but some common metrics include:
- How many new people do you add to your audience across different channels
- Opening email and clicking through rates
- Conversion rates for sales pages or sales conversations
- Share on your sponsorship channels
and so on and so on.
Get comfortable with your numbers and keep track of what works – and what doesn’t.
There is a common advice from writers: “Kill your dear ones.” This means being willing to cut out the things that aren’t working — even if you love them.
The same goes for marketing. You must be willing and able to look at the different parts of your digital content strategy and be able to see if they are actually working to bring you closer to your goal.
If the answer is yes: great! Do more of it.
If the answer is no: you should be willing to let these things go, even if you enjoy them, if they are no longer useful to your time and resources.
For example, a business owner might love their podcast business, but if the metrics show that it’s not contributing meaningfully to their business goals, they need to be willing to either try something different in the way they approach their podcast, or let it go completely.