Are you running your own business or working in a business where you communicate with customers and clients on a daily basis? Are you aware of how much non-verbal communication you engage in with them? Have you ever thought about the content of that communication?
You communicate with your clients and customers in non-verbal ways every day. You email, tweet, post on Facebook, send out newsletters, blog and provide information on your website. That’s your ‘content’. Good content equates to good conversation. It flows, engages, illuminates and encourages further discussion. If it’s to be effective, it must be properly managed. So what’s your content strategy? Do you even have one?
Use of a consistent style and voice ensures your customers have a clear idea of who you are and what you do, are confident you can answer their questions and more importantly, makes them want to communicate with you
Why you need a content strategy
In this age of social media, you communicate with your customers and clients on a number of different platforms. You’re having a huge conversation that will only be effective when you use a consistent style and tone in a well-established business ‘voice’. There’s no point communicating with your clients and customers across a range of mediums if you use a different voice on each one – it creates confusion and can be damaging to your carefully established business brand and personality. That’s why you need a content strategy. If you’re communicating on your website, Facebook, Twitter and through blog posts and emails, that’s a lot of words to manage! Do you know what you’re saying on which platform and how you’re saying it? Are you being consistent in your delivery of information and are you repeating yourself unnecessarily? If not, you need a content strategy.
How to plan your content strategy
A good content strategy creates good conversation with your customers and clients, building an engaged and dynamic community with your business at the heart. Use of a consistent style and voice ensures your customers have a clear idea of who you are and what you do, are confident you can answer their questions and more importantly, makes them want to communicate with you.
In devising your content strategy there are 3 key questions you should ask yourself:
1. What do I want to say?
2. Why do I want to say it?
3. How do I want to say it?
Think about what you want to talk about. This will vary depending on what medium you’re using and what stage your business is at but generally, you want to tell people:
• Who you are and what you do;
• Why you do it better than everyone else, and
• How to contact/find you.
As your business grows you’ll want to talk about new products and services and find ways to consistently engage with your customers and clients. That’s step 1.
Then you want to think about why you’re saying these things. Are you a new business wanting to promote your services in a competitive market or are you expanding your existing products and services? Either way, be clear about what you’re saying and why, it will ensure your message doesn’t get lost in other irrelevant material. Avoid meaningless conversations!
Lastly, think about how you want to communicate. Consider your customer/client base and where you’re most likely to find and engage with them. Don’t hit every social media medium, hoping to find an audience there – focus is key. Define your customer base and find and engage with them where they are (Facebook, Twitter etc) and then direct them to where you want them to go (your website, blog or newsletter). Include a clear call to action and make sure people know what you want them to do (visit your website, subscribe to your blog or newsletter, download your free fact sheets etc).
Establish a clear voice for your business, something that suits your business’ personality and use it consistently. Go with something you’re comfortable with and remember that your aim is to have good conversations with each and every client/customer. You should feel like you’re friends meeting for coffee – it’s effortless, entertaining and engages both parties.
Fail to plan = Plan to fail
At the end of the day it’s all about having a well-executed and easily managed plan. You want to know who you want to communicate with, how to communicate with them and be consistent in your delivery. Establish a clear voice for your business and make yourself heard. If you think you’re too quiet, consider using additional or different social media platforms – start a blog or a newsletter and encourage your customers to subscribe via email, post more regularly on your Facebook page or start tweeting. If you think you need some help hire an expert – they can review your existing website and other social media content, assist you to establish a clear and consistent tone and style and if you find yourself speechless, they can help you find the right words for blogs, newsletters, email templates and website content. So go on, make your words meaningful!
Shauna is the owner of ‘Take my word for it’, a Brisbane based freelance web content and copywriting business.