Feb 022013
 

Social media chartA content strategy for the Social Web will help you reach your business goals by connecting the what, why, where, and how of creating content to the value your business delivers to clients. There’s no point in creating content without purpose when content is quickly becoming a currency of the digital world.

When your business creates content for your website or blog, social networks, or anywhere else on the Web, it’s important to establish a clear and coherent point of view if you want to build trust and establish your bona fides. Know what you want to say, who you are trying to reach, and where that content needs to show up to reach your audience.

Content Strategy

The best content strategy in the world can’t help you until you put it into practice. Success on the Social Web takes time, effort, and energy. You can create content in-house or outsource different tasks—as long as you end up with high quality results your business will benefit.

Many solopreneurs can’t imagine outsourcing content creation because they know their business best, need to communicate their vision, or just love the work. If that sounds like you, be prepared—there’s no getting around the adjustments you’ll have to make to your daily, weekly, and monthly workflow when you incorporate regular blogging, social networking, or publishing content on social media sites.

Entrepreneurs and small businesses also struggle to fit in time for marketing and still meet the day-to-day challenges of running a business. If establishing a successful web presence is crucial for your marketing plan, you’ll have to make time to share high quality content whether you create it or not. At the same time, your activities on the Social Web shouldn’t always be directly related to selling your products or services. Interacting and sharing other people’s content will help you entertain, educate, or inspire your audience and it’s a good way to manage the workload.

Implementing your content strategy over the long term is much easier when you understand the value of integrating new tasks into your existing business workflow. Use your content strategy preparations to:

  • Take stock of your habits, attitudes, and available resources.
  • Be realistic about what you and your team can actually do on a regular basis.
  • Acknowledge the technical capabilities and the content creation strengths and weaknesses of everyone involved in creating your business content.
  • Know your market and target audiences on the Social Web.
  • Identify what you’re trying to accomplish and articulate how your actions will help you achieve your business goals.
  • Set priorities, ramp up your participation slowly, and try not to bite of more than you can chew.
  • Put expectations, guidelines, and policies in writing for your team if you need to.
  • Coordinate responsibilities and scheduling with your team.
  • Research social media management tools and apps to make your work easier.
  • Create an editorial calendar for social media.
  • Learn how to create search engine friendly content.
  • Re-purpose, re-use, and recycle valuable content whenever you can—on different social networks or websites and in different formats (video, blog posts, presentations, etc.).
  • Decide how you’ll know if your efforts are working (measuring your progress is key).

Workflow Considerations

Making the leap from strategy to implementation is much easier when you take the time to plan out the necessary steps, both large and small. Begin by managing your own resistance to the additional work that your project will require. Keep your business goals front and center as you develop a concrete, realistic plan that you or your people can follow. If you’re not realistic about your current workflow demands and limits it will be very difficult to incorporate and sustain an active presence on the Web.

As you plan, remember that it takes time to gain traction and it’s better to be consistent than to throw yourself into a flurry of activity every now and then. You may have some intermittent results from those flurries, but you’ll quickly lose any benefits once you disappear off your audience’s radar. Attention is a hot commodity in today’s high-speed, information-loaded marketplace. Make sure that your business doesn’t squander hard-earned gains by dropping out of site when you get busy.

If you represent your business brand, you’ll also need to balance the time and energy you spend on the Social Web outside of work with your business goals. Personal participation can support your business goals, or you can maintain strong boundaries between the two–it’s entirely up to you. The line between personal and business is easily blurred on the Web these days, but from a workflow planning perspective it is vital that you think about implementing your business content strategy separately. Web outreach must be a regular and consistent business task even on the days when you’ve already spent all your free time on Facebook catching up with friends.

Developing a successful business web presence may add to your workload, but the benefits of connecting with your audience are well worth the effort.

About the Author
Dr. Golden is co-founder of web presence education and services company Chaos To Clarity LLC where she serves as lead Educator and Digital Strategist, working with professionals and entrepreneurs to communicate their business story authentically on websites, blogs, and social media. A version of this post was originally published at Chaos To Clarity.com.

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