Guest post by Michael Sortwell, Euclid Technology
Recently Euclid Technology and ReviewMyAMS hosted a joint webinar: “Using Content Strategy to Reimagine your Website”. In case you missed it, we’ve included a recording of the session and related slides below.
Creating a content strategy for your association can be a daunting task. It’s difficult to know where to begin and what steps to follow to get the best results. However, creating a content strategy shouldn’t be intimidating. We’ve broken the process down into 6 easy steps.
Step 1: Establish Goals
The first step is to set actionable goals. Establishing goals at the beginning of the project helps to ground your efforts in concrete objectives. Throughout the development of your content strategy, you should frequently refer back to these established goals to make sure that you are on the right track. Without clear goals, content strategy projects can quickly lose focus and drift away from their original mission.
Step 2: Conduct Research
Conducting research is critical at the beginning of a content strategy project. Your research should focus on understanding your audience’s needs, interests and motivations. Not doing so could cause you to make inaccurate assumptions about your audience and ultimately lead to an ineffective strategy.
Step 3: Create Personas
Now that you’ve researched your audience, you are ready to start creating your “User Personas”. For those that are unfamiliar with the term, “user personas” are fictional archetypes that represent each of the different segments you are looking to serve.
The first step in developing user personas is to decide how you want to segment your users. With that said, there are many ways to segment users. The easiest way is to segment based on some demographic criteria such as age or member type. However, it’s often more useful to segment by a psychographic criteria, such as motivation. You should create a user persona for each segment that you plan to target (no more than 3 or 5!).
Once you’ve decided on a segmentation strategy, some typical information you’ll want to include in the persona is:
- Goals, Aspirations, Challenges
- Values and Fears
- Interests and Needs
As you begin to develop your user personas, you may realize that no one individual user perfectly matches the archetypes that you create. That’s okay! Remember, the purpose of user personas is to help your staff better understand the different segments that you are trying to reach.
Step 4: Define Strategy
Now that you have identified key segments to engage with, you will want to create a concise and clear statement about your strategy. A strategy statement is a simple reminder of the strategy you’ve defined. Strategy statements are valuable tools because you can refer back to them throughout the project to make sure the actions you’re taking are in line with your initial strategy. It should serve as the anchor of your actions moving forward.
There are three key elements that should be contained in your content strategy statement: Your goal, content, and audience. Essentially, you’re combining the elements you’ve previously defined to form the strategy statement. The statement should say what kind of content you’re going to provide, who you’re going to provide it to, and how providing it will help your association achieve its goal.
Step 5: Plan Execution
Once a strategy is in place, you can plan the execution. The best content strategy in the world is useless without proper execution. The execution plan should be written and accessible by all key staff members.
The plan should answer 4 key questions…
- What content is being produced?
- Where will this content be distributed?
- Who will create the content?
- When/how frequently will content be posted?
Without a codified execution plan, creating content can easily fall by the wayside as seemingly more pressing responsibilities come up.
Step 6: Measure Results
Measuring the impact of your content strategy is as important as developing the strategy in the first place. Without checking to see if your strategy is working, you are unlikely to make any major improvements. Your association should establish regular intervals to report on how effectively your strategy is meeting established objectives. This process should typically take place on a monthly basis, but can be adjusted to fit your association’s needs.
Part of this measurement process is understanding that your content strategy is constantly evolving. As you move forward, you should adjust goals, personas, and tactics as necessary.
There’s a lot that goes into crafting a content strategy for your association, but if you take it step-by-step, the process is very manageable. For a more in-depth look at creating a content strategy, watch the recorded webinar included at the beginning of this post.
How Euclid Technology Can Help
Euclid Technology’s association management software, ClearVantage, can help you get the most out of your content strategy. Contact us today to learn how ClearVantage can benefit your association.
- CMI: “Developing a Content Marketing Strategy”
- HubSpot: “How to Create a Content Strategy That Actually Drives Organic Traffic”
- SEO Hacker: “Why is Content Strategy Important?”
- CMI: “B2C Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends-North America”
- Kapost: “Crossing the Chaos: The Content Marketing Transformation”