Virtually every business would benefit from a solid content strategy. Having a sustainable content strategy allows you to create positioning within your market by being highly relevant. It will also help your sales process by increasing the trustworthiness of your brand in the eyes of your customers because you’ve already given them so much value.
But many begin creating content without a strategy in place. This is dangerous because a scattered content strategy will lead to a confused audience and ineffective use of time.
Just like anything, looking to industry experts before setting out can help you to create a strategy before putting in too much work. In a podcast interview between personal brand builder Rory Vaden and media strategist Jay Baer, Jay suggests that individuals should replicate the content strategy that media companies use.
The Content Strategy Of A Media Company
Think about a single media channel, take HBO as an example. That channel must be running 24 hours a day in order to provide value to the viewers whenever they tune in.
In order to be live for 24 hours a day, they create three different types of content:
- Binge-Worthy Shows
- One-Time Specials
- Regularly Scheduled Programming
Binge worthy shows are the pieces of content that get most of the attention and budget. They’re the ones that attract the most viewers, the most news coverage, and the most visibility.
Often, these are the shows that define a channel. They earn the trust of the viewers and attract new ones to subscribe.
In the case of HBO, currently their most binge-worthy show would be Game Of Thrones. It has a huge following that tune in every week to watch it live. If the audience could have it their way, they’d want all the episodes released at once so that they could binge it all in one weekend. It’s that good.
[Note: Before Game Of Thrones had its series finale, HBO was already hard at work migrating that audience to new shows to make sure they didn’t unsubscribe. That’s how important having this type of content is to retain your audience.]
For a business, this will be the type of content that you will release regularity that appeals to your core audience. I’d recommend this be a blog, podcast, or vlog that you release weekly (just like how HBO releases a new episode every week).
The purpose of being consistent with this type of content is that it will allow new audience members to binge your content whenever they come across your website (or channel). We want it to be high production value because it will reflect your personal brand.
This type of content should also be highly relevant to your core audience. Give them what they want and they will continue to show up and engage.
It’s important to be consistent with this type of content because it will grow in value over time. People will find it, get value from it, then inevitably take a look at your social media profiles or your more recent work. The more episodes you have, the higher the likelihood of someone stumbling upon your business.
This type of content can also easily be re-packaged. Repurpose and remix it to create other content like “best-of”, commentary, short lists, or even products.
Characteristics Of Binge-Worthy Content
- High production value
- Highly relevant to core audience
- Consistent and predictable
- Will become “What You’re Known For”
As the name suggests, One-Time Specials only occur once, but their release is made to be a big deal. For HBO, this would be a comedy special, a concert, or an awards show.
Consider these specials like your businesses version of the Academy Awards or the Grammy’s. There is a lot of attention given to it before it is published and even more given to it after its release. Media outlets position these events as hugely important for the culture and spend a lot of effort in promoting them.
This is an opportunity to go really deep on a specific topic or part of your business that doesn’t always get that much attention.
Based on the content you’ve been putting out as part of your Binge-Worthy Content, you could create a special that goes into more detail on a topic that your audience reacted well to.
These specials are also an opportunity for you to plant a flag in the sand as the expert in a specific topic. Incorporate guests, collaborators, or even make it a live event to generate even more excitement.
The best part is, you’re allowed to divert from your regular style. This is supposed to be a big deal, so make it a unique experience. Try new things, present a different way, and have fun with it (remember it’s supposed to be fun for you also).
Once the special is over, chop up different parts of it to create a highlight reel to cement the knowledge for those who saw it live. Encourage those who missed it to show up next time.
These specials should happen relatively frequently depending on your capacity. 4 specials a year would be a good start but could happen every month once you’ve got a team to help.
Characteristics Of One-Time Specials
- Occurs quarterly to monthly
- Different presentation style than the Binge-Worthy content
- Can be live, include collaborators, and/or more of an experience than your other content
- Promoted before the publication date and the content is remixed afterwards
- Opportunity to claim expertise in a topic
Regularly Scheduled Programming
Even at 4 in the morning, HBO is still running. That’s because they made the promise to their customers a long time ago that they would do everything in their power to provide them quality content 24 hours a day.
If you’re running a business, you’ve made a similar promise to your customers. You’ve promised them value and expertise in a topic.
This is where the regularly scheduled programming comes in – it’s the stuff that fills the other 23 hours of the day.
For HBO, this would be re-runs of Flight Of The Concords, B-List slasher movies, and movie marathons. They know that most people aren’t going to be tuning in at 4 in the morning, but if they do, they’ll be reassured that HBO is still operating.
For your business, this will be your social media channel(s). It’s not going to get you noticed or famous, but when someone inevitably clicks your profile, they’re going to want to see that you’re active.
My recommendation, have an Instagram and Facebook account for your business where you post an image every so often. But what you really want to focus on is making a Story nearly every day.
Why? Because it requires the least amount of time of all the other content types.
If you’re comfortable talking to the camera, record a 30 second video of you talking about what you’re working on. If you’re at a conference, snap pics of your favourite speakers and tag them. This is also a great opportunity to take questions from your audience and answer them. Engagement will be key because it will prove to them that you’re a real person and care for your customers.
Instagram and Facebook are putting extra emphasis on Stories, so much so that they’re promoting them right to the top of the app. Take advantage of skipping the line and showing your audience that you are still alive and well.
Characteristics Of Regularly Scheduled Programming
- Lower production value
- Quick to consume (30 seconds to 2 minutes)
- Available daily
- Confirms your value
- Answers questions from the audience
Rather than invent something new, why not copy a content strategy used by the biggest media companies in the world. There are three key content types that will allow you to maintain your relevance without going crazy.
Have a high quality weekly program that you consistently do. This will become “what you’re known for”. If all else fails, make sure that you stay consistent with this type of content.
This is a higher production value type of content that allows you to get a little more creative than usual. Bring on guests, collaborate with others, and take the opportunity to show off your expert knowledge.
Regularly Scheduled Programming
If someone happens to land on your Instagram account at 4 in the morning, be sure that there’s something for them to watch. This doesn’t need to be high quality, but should be engaging so that your audience has the opportunity to ask questions and be part of the conversation.