Yo! Welcome to the next episode of The Content Strategy Reeder where 4,615 creators get better at content strategy and creation in less than 5 minutes.
Content strategy is catching some serious momentum right now.
-Marketing execs are realizing vanilla marketing doesn’t work, so they’re investing resources into brand and content creation
-Marketing leaders are doubling down hiring content creator roles
-More and more non-marketers are intentionally becoming content creators
The list goes on and on. I love it.
But here’s the thing: Most people don’t know the difference between content strategy and content marketing. (Here’s a quick breakdown).
So I figured the best way to explain it is to go behind the scenes and show you my personal content strategy for The Reeder.
This is going to a be a three-part series (or maybe four, like Stranger Things?). Today we're covering strategy: you’ll see my content strategy framework, how I determine goals and KPIs, steps for building your content strategy, plus my marketing funnel and how I've started monetizing it.
My hope is that it will provide the clarity and inspiration you need to take your content strategy to the next level (or start building it from scratch today!)
Up for it?
Dope, let’s ride.
My content strategy framework
There are four key stages I use when building a complete content strategy:
- Plan: Create your strategy
- Perform: Unlock your "Niche Knowledge"
- Produce: Create and distribute content
- Observe: Collect audience feedback and iterate
There's a flow and action items within each of those steps, which we'll cover in a future episode.
For today's episode, we're going to focus specifically on what goes into the Planning stage because we're focusing on strategy.
Step 1: Create strategic goals and KPIs
This is your foundation for all decisions that follow.
A true content strategy aligns to strategic company (or personal) goals. Here are mine, plus context to frame them:
Goal #1: Become the undisputed leader in “B2B content strategy”
When people think of B2B content strategy, I want them to think of Devin Reed first.
Why: this will unlock multiple opportunities to advance my career and earning potential, present and future.
How I’m measuring success:
Let’s be honest, there’s no award or committee that decides this every year, so it’s hard to “win” this one — it’s more aspirational.
My primary focus is helping as many creators as possible improve and grow. A good barometer for how helpful I'm being is by monitoring events/podcasts I’m invited to, channel growth, volume of inbound leads, and product sales.
If all of these are growing, so is my leadership position. You can liken it to category creation for B2B teams.
Goal #2: Create the most valuable content strategy resource
This is my mission for The Content Strategy Reeder.
Why: I have a large following on LinkedIn, but it’s important to develop an “owned” channel. This provides the ability to go deeper on topics that help my audience, promote my projects/products, and monetize the channel.
How I’m measuring success: Subscriber growth and engagement.
Quality is my #1 priority here. If people are subscribing, reading, and staying (ie, not unsubscribing), those are clear signals the content is valuable.
Here are my KPIs for 2022:
1. Double subscribers from 2,400 —> 4,800
2. Maintain a 50%+ open rate
3. Land 1st long-term sponsor
Goal #3: Double YoY revenue
Why: After years of publishing free content and building channels (LinkedIn and email), I’m looking for ways to monetize my personal brand and digital resources without sacrificing quality to my audience.
I’ve identified three key avenues:
1. Monetize The Content Strategy Reeder
2. Launch my first paid course
3. Increase my rates for consulting/private coaching
I have a full time job and value family time as a new dad, so my "free time" is incredibly valuable to me and my offering is very niche — so I decided to price it accordingly.
*Note: some folks (understandably) argue that revenue is not a strategic goal. I disagree, especially if you’re a one-person or small business, like yours truly.
- Become the undisputed leader in “B2B content strategy”
- Create the most valuable content strategy resource
- Double YoY revenue
Alright, that’s a wrap for goals. If you’re feeling clear-minded or inspired to tackle your own goals right now — ride that idea train and knock ‘em out. It’s exciting!
And if you want some more guidance on setting goals and milestones, check this out.
Step 2: Identify your audience
It's hard, if not impossible, to create a content strategy if you don't know who your audience is.
My primary audience is B2B sales and marketing professionals because that's who I can provide the most value to.
More specifically, it's B2B professionals people who want to learn how to create content that fuels their growth. (If that's you, welcome! You're in the right place.)
If you need some help identifying your audience and understanding what they care about, here's a quick post to guide you.
Step 3: Decide where to build
Deciding is simple: build where your audience is right now.
If you're a pro at Twitter, but your audience is on LinkedIn, then you need to learn how to attract and engage them via LinkedIn.
Do not believe the "if I build it, they will come" mentality.
I picked LinkedIn because pretty much every sales and marketing pro has a LinkedIn account, uses it frequently, and rely on the feed to share and consume content.
I suggest starting with a social media platform because it's the best place to publish new content and grow your audience simultaneously.
If you already have a social following and you're ready to expand, then consider email, podcast, YouTube, etc.
Step 4: Develop your audience funnel
The next part is deciding how the pieces of your content strategy work together.
“Funnel” can be a bit of a trigger word because people think a funnel has to be complicated.
But in reality, it’s just a way of mapping how folks will interact with you and the purpose each piece of your strategy.
Here’s why this is important:
You will get better, faster results if each part of your content strategy is intentional, serves a dedicated purpose, and fits within the larger system.
Otherwise you’ll have random acts of marketing or content creation for the sake of likes but no meaningful end result. And the whole point of investing in your content strategy is to get a return on your investment.
The goal is to create a flow that is cohesive for your Reader and supports your goals and KPIs.
Here’s my funnel:
Each part serves a specific function (we'll cover this more next week for part 2.)
Keep in mind that this is an ideal flow, but people join your funnel and skip around at various points. That’s totally fine and expected.
Despite the funnel above, people typically come inbound via LinkedIn DM or my website, but will cite my newsletter, LinkedIn content, or course as a means of driving their interest.
And if your current content strategy is much simpler with only one channel — that’s totally fine! I was exclusively on LinkedIn for a couple years before adding my newsletter. You can still have an incredibly successful content strategy with one channel.
At this point you might be thinking, Damn Dev, that’s a lot of What and Why — what about the tactics?? When do you actually create content?
Spending time on the What and Why is what makes your content strategy, strategic.
This is also my differentiator. Most people and marketing teams race into content creation without a clear direction. I’m okay moving a little slower and being intentional upfront because I know all the content that comes from this blueprint is going to be significantly more impactful.
That said, we’re going to dive into my channel strategy next week for part 2. You'll see the purpose of each channel, plus how I map out my LinkedIn content creation each week to reach the goals and KPIs we covered today.
Bring some coffee and a bowl of your favorite cereal (I'm a big cinnamon LIFE fan). It'll be a good time.
Holler at you next Saturday,
Did you enjoy this episode of CSR? If so, you’d make me sing “This Is How We Do It” by Montell Jordan if you shared this link with your friends or on LinkedIn. Here’s an example from Lenora Gan for inspiration.
More digital resources to level-up your content game
- You can catch up on previous newsletters here (scroll down to ‘Here’s what you missed’)
- Follow me on LinkedIn for edu-taining content on writing, sales, and marketing tactics
- Check out my video course Content Strategy for LinkedIn if you want to elevate your LinkedIn personal brand. Be sure to use discount code “CSR” for 22% off