If you’re new to thinking about content channels, you may feel overwhelmed at the sheer volume of ways to deliver content as an organization. Should you run Google Ads? Post on social media? Develop static website content? Run a blog? Some combination?
Though no one-size-fits-all approach exists to content strategy, the necessity of attracting new customers means all businesses should be thinking about the different channels they’re using to deliver content.
For our clients, we introduce this concept by having them think about the following broad channels:
- Web – Your website, meaning content connected to yourbusinessdomain.com
- Search – The way search engines index your website content and the way you promote your content
- Social – Individual social media networks you post content to
- Email – How you connect with potential, and existing, customers via email
- Internal – How you use content within your organization, hopefully as part of an overall content strategy
Below you’ll find some recommendations for thinking about each of these content channels within your overall content strategy.
Channel #1: Web
One of the most important channels to consider is your website. Having a robust, well-designed website that showcases essential features is a must for every business. It is the first collection of content that many potential customers will encounter. It is also the content space that you will be directing all potential customers to, in one way or another, through your other channels,
You should ask yourself: are you putting the right foot forward with your website? What can be improved?
To answer such questions, you should begin your content channels planning with a serious audit of your website to look for opportunities for improvement.
Channel #2: Search
One of the main ways people find your website is through search engines, with 80% of consumers still using search to research brands before making a purchase. The more competition there is within your specific industry, and the higher the price point of your product or service, the more research consumers will do before making a purchase.
Many people think that the only reason to have a website is to be the top search result within your industry, but actually that’s not necessarily the case. Long-tail keywords that users use to find specific products and services are often more valuable to your business than short-tail ones. Also, if your market is limited to a specific location, or even multiple locations, you should invest heavily in researching local keywords that consumers use.
There are also advertising platforms like Google Ads that enable you to outcompete other businesses with better organic search than you. In competitive, or national, marketplaces, this might be the only way you can get your content reliably seen by consumers.
Channel #3: Social
Social media is the new word-of-mouth, but a caveat for that statement is that you first need to be part of the conversation. Besides just passively posting content, typically content that lives on your website, you need to actively engage with audiences in your social media channels.
Most businesses tend to think of social media as free advertising, but they may not realize that they are dumping their content into a void without a consistent strategy for engaging audiences. The best reason to use social media as a business is to develop a cult following of potential and existing customers who are excited about your product or service.
And it goes without saying that all social media efforts should consider both paid and unpaid efforts.
Channel #4: Email
Next, email is an often overlooked channel in your overall content strategy, but the ability to reach consumers on an individual level with targeted content shouldn’t be overlooked.
Your business should have a strategy for acquiring new emails, such as through landing pages that provide free tips or techniques in exchange for contact information. Email is also a great way to serve VIP content to existing customers and other contacts to help ensure their loyalty.
Channel #5: Internal
Finally, many businesses neglect the ways that they use content within their organization, which leads to siloing of content, duplicated efforts, and a lot of wasted time. With all this content floating around, you should ask yourself as an organization: do you have a centralized repository where your content lives that is independent of any one channel? Are you ensuring that content is managed across channels in a consistent manner? Are you auditing each channel on a regular basis to make sure your content is being fully leveraged?
We are fond of telling clients that it’s better to have a consistent strategy across a few channels than to be completely inconsistent across many. Make sure you’re thinking about your overall content strategy when you’re developing your marketing, communication, and business goals!