Guest post by Abby Herman

The word “strategy” often leaves readers—the creatives who like to fly by the seats of their pants—with a racing heart and a sense of overwhelm. After all, as a creative, they’re much more likely to create content when they’re inspired than to have a regimented schedule that feels restrictive.

But having a content strategy is good business practice. A practice that can help to grow your audience and leave more space for working with new clients and customers.

Whaaa? How’s that, you ask? I’ll tell you.

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What is a content strategy?

A content strategy isn’t as scary as it sounds. And it’s much more than a simple content calendar, showing you what content to post and where. It’s a strategic way of looking at your business and the goals you want to achieve, then creating content that breadcrumbs information to your audience to take them on a journey so you can reach those goals.

When you use a content strategy, you look at old content to see how it performed so you know what to tweak and do differently next time. You look at the way you’re distributing the content—and on what platforms—to help make educated decisions about changes that will help grow your bottom line.

Woah. That sounds like a lot of work!

Sure it is! But you can customize the strategy to really meet the needs of your business, bringing in as many (or as few) content platforms as you need. And if you’re going it alone, I always recommend starting small and expanding your strategy from there.

Plus, the work is well worth it when you look at your audience growth.

So how does a content strategy grow my audience?

Just one of the things a strategy gives you that your current method of creating content doesn’t is this: Consistency.

See, even if you’re up until midnight the day your blog post is supposed to go live, frantically finishing it up so it posts on the right day, you’re still not being consistent. Because your messaging is a little off, not saying the same thing from platform to platform.

That doesn’t mean you should create the same content for different platforms—that’s the opposite of what you should be doing.

What I mean by consistency is creating complementary content across multiple platforms. Content that is driving people to the same outcome. Content that offers fresh value everywhere it’s posted. Content that keeps your audience on the right journey with your brand. And content that attracts people to you and encourages them to sign up for your list and eventually buy.

But that sounds so…stifling.

Here’s the thing: Yes, having a strategy does require you to plan ahead a bit. Bud that doesn’t mean that you can’t create content on the fly too.

If you have a strategy in place, and you batch create content in advance, you’re able to post consistent content for your audience. And if you leave some space in that schedule and strategy, you have plenty of room for publishing content on the fly—when you feel inspired.

And if you’re not inspired? No worries! You’re already covered.

So if you get busy (as we do) or have something come up at home (as it does), you no longer have to stay up until midnight to get that blog post written and posted.

Because you have a plan in place and your content is already queued and ready to go live—consistently—so your audience grows and learns. Even without you having to burn the midnight oil to get it out there.

To be more strategic with your content, make sure it’s doing the job you want it to do. Use these 10 questions every time you publish a piece of content so you know it’s sending the right message, to the right audience.

Abby M. Herman is a copywriter and content coach and owner of Write Solutions. She lives and works in the Phoenix area, helping service-based business owners get their written message out to the masses—in their own voice and on their own terms. You can follow her on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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