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How to create a content strategy

illustration of a man pushing a chess piece

What you’ll learn

  1. A content strategy helps organize and streamline content creation and posting
  2. Defining a personal mission statement helps you scope what content you want to create and who you’re creating it for
  3. Use a content strategy to unify and plan across different content channels
  4. A content strategy prevents you from getting lost or distracted
  5. Look at past successes and failures to shape the direction of your content strategy

What is a content strategy?

A content strategy outlines how you plan, create, and deliver your content. There’s no one size fits all, one creator's content strategy will look completely different from the next. Even the one you build for yourself will change and morph over time as you grow.

Building a content strategy might sound like work about work, but the benefits highly outweigh the costs. A content strategy will help you:

  • Organize your content creation process.
  • Schedule when and where you post content.
  • Scope potential topics and unify your voice.Measure content success.
  • Measure content success.

Start building your content strategy

While no two content strategies are the same, there are unifying principles every creator can follow to start building theirs. Keep in mind that this strategy is for you! So, try to build it with tools you like and plan with your strengths and weaknesses in mind.

Define your personal mission statement

Your content strategy is designed to help you as a creator. The first step to creating one is to identify who you are, your brand, and then turning that into a personal mission statement. A personal mission statement might look something like this:

“I am Kimberly, an environmental activist who creates content about the local wildlife to encourage residents in my area to act sustainably.”

Try writing your own by filling in the blanks of our mission statement template:

“I am ___, who creates content about ____, for my audience _____.”

Organize content type and platform

Now that you know who you are, the topics you’ll cover, and the audience you want to reach, it’s time to think about the types of content you can create and what platforms to publish it to. While big key moments and events should be planned weeks or months in advance, a regular cadence may require more flexibility.

Let’s use Kimberly, our environmental activist, as an example. We can begin to brainstorm ideas she’ll make content about. Let’s start with three topics:

  • A local frog species was recently classified as endangered
  • Attending a sustainability conference
  • Weekly volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary

Then, we’ll list the content delivery platforms Kimberly uses and how often she likes to post to them:

  • Blog
    • 1 post per month
  • Instagram
    • 1 live broadcast per week
    • 3 to 5 posts per week
  • TikTok
    • 3 to 5 posts per week
Quick tip

Take a moment to identify the primary purpose of each platform you post to. This will help you figure out how much effort and how often you can and should be posting.

Next, we’ll think about the types of content we can create from each topic and what platform we can post it to:

  • A local frog species was recently classified as endangered
    • Blog post: details about the frog, what it means to be classified as endangered, how residents can help
    • Instagram: photos of the frog with a caption explaining it’s endangered
    • TikTok: videos of frog in the wild
  • Attending a sustainability conference
    • Blog post: breakdown of learnings after attending
    • Instagram: Live updates while attending conference
    • TikTok: Videos of sustainability tips and tricks learned from the conference
  • Weekly volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary
    • Blog post: How to get started volunteering with wildlife
    • Instagram: Live broadcast feeding cute baby animals
    • TikTok: Videos of animals at sanctuary with fun facts

While this list is by no means exhaustive, it starts to paint a picture of how we can use the same topic across different platforms and the types of assets we’ll need for each kind of content.

Map your content creation and publishing cadence

Now that you’ve identified the types of content and where you’ll post it, you need to create it! When it comes to posting content and keeping your audience engaged, consistency is key. This step of your content strategy is about aligning follower expectations with your content creation process and abilities.

This is the stage where you turn content ideas into actionable steps.

Planning your content on a monthly basis gives you a good amount of foresight into what’s coming, but still gives you the flexibility to adapt as things change or unexpected things pop up. But, how far in advance you plan and schedule your content creation process and publishing cadence will vary depending on your platforms and goals.

A beginner’s approach to mapping your content to a calendar might look something like this:

  1. Start with content or events that are already happening on a regular cadence.
    1. Kimberly has her weekly volunteer shift that includes a live broadcast. She immediately adds that to her calendar.
    2. Kimberly knows how often she creates content for each platform. She adds in tentative publishing dates.
  2. Highlight topics or content that might be time sensitive.
    1. A local frog species recently classified as endangered is news, and Kimberly could potentially be the first to inform her followers of this update. She schedules time for research and writing her blog to ensure she posts it on time.
  3. Plan for cross promotional opportunities.
    1. Kimberly’s blog is her creator hub and she wants to drive traffic to it, so she’ll use some of her social media posts to promote her post when it’s published.
    2. Kimberly also knows when she’s going live each week. She’ll include posting reminders for her followers in her calendar.
  4. Identify needed assets and plan when you’ll create them. This includes writing, shooting or finding photos and videos, and anything else you’ll need to create your content.
    1. Kimberly likes to let users know what animals she’ll be featuring on her weekly broadcasts by posting a photo or video of them. She makes sure to schedule time to take and edit new ones, since she tries to avoid using assets she’s already posted.
  5. Fill in the blanks with supplementary ideas and topics.
    1. Kimberly gave priority to her established schedule and ideal posting cadence. Identifying the gaps in her schedule should now be easy and obvious.
Action items
  • Try this approach to map your content for the next month

Publish, measure and adjust

Now that you’ve got a content strategy outlined, all you need to do is follow it! Well, sort of. At this stage, you have a plan, but there’s a lot of moving parts. By tracking and measuring the success of your content you can better tailor the topics and types of posts.

For example, if Kimberly checks her blog analytics and sees a huge spike in traffic to her blog after going live on instagram, she may adjust her content strategy to make room for more live content. She could take it a step further and track if going live on TikTok provides more page hits than Instagram and then schedule around that.