Five tips for creating a content strategy that stands out in a crowd

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One of the biggest challenges for SMEs in thinking about their content strategy is the sheer volume of available content channels. Between personal blogs, traditional media outlets and social media channels, it’s becoming increasingly hard for brands to create a signal that breaks through the marketing noise.

Here are five tips for SMEs in developing a content strategy that stands out from the crowd:

1. Have a compelling roadmap

55% of marketers surveyed by HubSpot didn’t have a content strategy even though they were currently creating content. Would you set out for a new destination without a map? Didn’t think so. A content strategy that aligns with your business metrics and your core goals is imperative. Identify what you will do, how you plan to do it, and what needs to be true to define success: creating content just for the sake of doing so doesn’t help your business or your customers.

2. Develop personas

Businesses often say they know their core customer, but do you really? Your content strategy should consider who your target customer personas are, how and when they consume content, and what they are looking for from your brand.

For example, let’s say you’re a car company and your typical buyers consist of busy working parents and young college graduates purchasing their first vehicle. You not only need different messaging for each audience; you also need different mediums.

For example, you might create a buyer’s guide to safe vehicles for working parents and pitch it to a parenting blog, while visual content placed on Twitter is more likely to resonate with a young buyer.

Having a true and deep understanding of your target will help you create and deliver content they truly value, so invest time in understanding your personas and what content most interests them.

3. Google it

Invest some time searching for potential content ideas online. What types of content come up? What gets shared most on social? There may be 100 blog posts on choosing the right life insurance but not a single Vine video breaking down what you need to know, so get at least a cursory understanding of what’s out there and identify the gaps. Build a content strategy that targets those gaps, and Google will reward you for not just piling on to what others have already created.

4. Be remarkable

Great content doesn’t just exist; it delivers on a promise. Your audience wants to be entertained, educated, or inspired, so don’t put them to sleep. Think about how you make your content digestible, easy to find, and highly shareable, and invest your time accordingly. Before you hit send or publish, consider whether your prospects will legitimately be excited to get your email or eBook. If not, edit away until you get there.

5. Measure it

Content without metrics won’t stick around very long at your business, so identify the metrics that matter and always be testing, learning and applying based on what works and what doesn’t.

Set realistic expectations but also demonstrate a willingness to truly try new things if what you are doing isn’t working. Far too many marketers skip measuring when it comes to content. However, that data not only helps make the case for content, it also ensures that you’re adapting your content based on actual impact, not just what you think is working best for your brand.

The proliferation of content is a great thing for brands which think like publishers, and creating a remarkable content strategy and mapping it to your buyer needs is a fundamental tenet of how we foster inbound marketing globally. However, without a clear roadmap, measurable goals, personas and a commitment to being remarkable, you’ll be left sharing stories with an empty room.

Jeetu Mahtani is the managing director of HubSpot International

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