How do you develop a content strategy?

So you’ve got a website and social media accounts, now what? Developing a content strategy will help your business advance to the next level, letting you avoid the pratfalls of having to dream up new material from scratch day after day. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you create your marketing strategy online:

1. Determine your goal. Before you begin, think through what you are trying to accomplish with your online platforms. Some businesses are looking to gain clicks back to their website, while others are selling products from their online storefronts. Some businesses are just trying to boost their profile, or directly engage with their audience. Knowing what you ultimately want to achieve will help you create a plan for the next step.

2. Develop your content. Keeping your goal in mind, design what type of material you want to publish on your platforms. Set up a landing page on your website, create a focused blog on your business, take photos and videos, or design attractive graphics. Combining all of these will boost your reach and make you a compelling, three-dimensional platform to follow. If you’re looking for ideas, use holidays (both real and social media-created), riff on the current news of the day or create your own campaign theme to build your content around.

3. Establish a content calendar. If you’re on many platforms with lots of content in the can, you’re going to need a content calendar to help keep it all straight. Sort out your calendar by days of the week and social media platforms, and keep a monthly grid for big holidays or initiatives you want to plan ahead for. There are lots of free content calendars available on the web.

4. Customize your content. Be mindful of posting the same content on different social media accounts. There are some types of content where you can post the same copy, graphics and link on multiple accounts, but what may work on Facebook may not fly on Twitter. When creating your content strategy, develop your posts so they optimize the best use of each platform with slight tweaks to be an effective content marketer.

5. Be consistent. It’s time to face reality: It’s unlikely your first social media post is going to light the world on fire. It’s also unlikely that every single thing you post is going to be a hit. The key to social media and content management is consistency, so your audience will know when to expect new material from you. It doesn’t have to be every day, and it could even be once a week, but don’t let long stretches go on social media silence. That’s a sign you’re either on too many platforms, or you’ve over-extended yourself.

6. Adapt. It’s great to have a plan you want to stick to, but as they say, everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but if you sense your initial strategy is not working, try something new. If you’re bored with your content, odds are your audience is bored too. A big part of social media is getting a feel for the room, so always leave yourself open to adjusting on the fly.So you’ve got a website and social media accounts, now what? Developing a content strategy will help your business advance to the next level, letting you avoid the pratfalls of having to dream up new material from scratch day after day. Here are some tips to keep in mind as you create your marketing strategy online:

7. Become a curator. Part of social media is sharing content you like, and that includes your business platforms too. Find a few top accounts to follow in your industry that have great feeds filled with useful and interesting content, and don’t be afraid to share them. You never know when other companies might spot you and share yours as well.

8. Engage. When you start to see people liking, sharing and commenting on your feeds, be sure to interact with them when the occasion allows. It may be impossible to respond to everybody, but having that personal connection with your business will help your audience feel seen and heard, even if the comment is negative. Regularly engaging with the audience will help earn trust, a valuable community in the social marketing world.