So, why should you create a strategy before writing anything? It can be very unproductive to just start writing with no direction or parameters. Our goal of creating a content strategy is not only to save you time and brain power but to intelligently create content that will be the most useful to you!
You should definitely focus on search engine optimization to help drive the content you create. You can read about our guide to SEO here. BUT, you don’t want to fall into the trap of only thinking about SEO. You should also be thinking about your audience and how you can best help them. Now, these two strategies often overlap, but it’s an important mindset to have as your writing content because if you are ultimately thinking about your client, and what’s best for them, then you’ll come up with much better solutions.
First things first, what do you like to talk about? What is your specialty? What are your favorite types of clients to have? Ask all the questions you can to help determine your niche. Don’t worry about the types of clients you have now because this is the time to dream big and think about the future. Lay out what you’d enjoy your focus to be on. Specific is good.
Now we want to build our “buyer personas”. This is a marketing term to use when you are thinking about who you are trying to reach. Have 1-3 archetypes of people that you want to focus your attention on. Each archetype can have an age, gender, interests, worries & concerns. This will help focus your voice and actually speak to a specific person as opposed to the entire world.
Now it’s time to strategize. The key is to think from a 30,000 ft perspective and to not get caught up in “this thought” or “this article” but how do you want to structure your next year of content? You don’t need to create everything at once, but when you look back at your work after a year, you want to have covered a wide variety of topics, and everything fit together with a clear purpose. Remember, your time is important! By planning ahead and creating a strategy, you’re better able to use it wisely.
Are you going for a serious, professional tone to let readers know you mean business? Do you prefer a friendlier, warm approach to show people you care about the work you’re doing in the industry? Perhaps you prefer to blend the two approaches and have professional wording with an occasional tone of relatability to let readers know that your business is run by a down-to-earth human. Although it may seem trivial at times, this could be one of the biggest decisions your business makes when creating content! What's important is choosing a tone that fits you and the client you want to attract. Here is an exercise to help determine your tone of voice.
Tone of Voice is more than just the words we choose. It’s the way in which we communicate our personality. Tone of voice is the way we tell our users how we feel about our message, and it will influence how they’ll feel about your message, too.
Tone of voice can be broken down into 4 dimensions, reflect on the 4 dichotomies below and think your position on each:
First, think about how much time you can commit to writing content. If it’s 2,000 words a month (by our estimate, this takes about 3-4 hours), great we can work with that. To begin, sit down and spend some time looking at your SEO keyword research, or brainstorm from your own intuition what your potential clients need to hear. You may want to consider themes that emerged this last week in therapy, phrases that you find yourself repeating from client to client even what you wish you could say to your existing clients that they’re just not ready to hear. From this, lay out the top 12 most important topics.
Once those topics are locked in, decide what keywords you want to make sure to include and your specific audience you plan to speak to. Then take another look at your sheet - thinking over the span of a year allows you to think strategically of what these 12 topics will be, prevent overlap in who you’re trying to speak to, and makes sure you’re covering all the keywords that you want to cover.
Now go ahead and create those 12 documents. Yes, you might work 1 at a time for each month. But say you see a great video on facebook or something a client said to you in a session really stuck out. These documents can now serve as a parking lot for your ideas - a virtual billboard. So that way when you go to write that blog 6 months from now, you already have inspiration and content to work from.
Now the content calendar is a strategic approach to writing copy, but we can get even smarter with our time. Another smart strategy to utilize is the content web strategy. This is where the fear of social media and all the possible platforms you can use start to melt away and the hard part is already over. The idea here is that everything you create can be reused and reformatted in other ways.
For example, take that 2,000 word blog you just wrote. What can we do with that topic and the 2,000 words you just wrote?
The key is to have a strategy and a plan to keep you accountable. Because when you plan it’ll take up a lot less brain space and time than you think.
Many people hear the wrong thing when someone says “blog”. Because you might be thinking, “I never read a blog, why would I ever take the time to write one? The reason is because you actually do read blogs, you just might not know it. As we said, blogs, like any other webpage show up on Google when you search a question. Or if you go to a website it just might not be called “blog” it could be called “resources”. A blog doesn’t have to be your personal thoughts or experiences, but rather another page that adds to your extensive online catalog of resources. Another great way to show your expertise.
These are great for having content for SEO, again, it should be over 1,500 words.
Videos were important before but are now even more important in this enhanced teletherapy world. These serve as a great way to become personable to people seeing you for the first time and give them a sense of what telehealth will be like.
How long should they be? That all depends. The non-answer I give is “it needs to be interesting”. It’s all about context. If you are creating a video podcast, that can easily be an hour, because someone could always listen in the car without the video. But for something on social media with low production value 30-60 seconds can be a great range. For something on your website, if it’s interesting it can be 5, 30, even 60 minutes! Think about how what you’re creating will be used and that will help give you your answer.
Don’t let lack of quality or knowhow stop you from creating. Always think about how you can make your videos look better, but truly, a video on your iphone is better than none. You can get great videos on your smartphone by simply having a bright light source like a window in front of you and a clean, beautiful background behind you.
Social media subtitles - Remember to always think about the context. When someone watches a video on Facebook, a good portion of the time they aren’t listening to the audio. So use a program or make sure to manually insert the subtitles. A program we have used before is Zubtitle, which makes this process really easy.
These are a great way to show off your expertise and tackle a subject at length. Someone might not be willing to pay a high rate for a therapist they know nothing about. But if they can listen to you for free and get to know you, they’ll be much more willing to pay for someone they find themselves getting close to.
These are easily digestible pieces of visual information that are really easy for people to share on social media. They are more visual than a blog and shorter than an ebook but can be powerful resources for people. Think of an infographic of “5 Ways to Reduce Stress” or a custom designed 3 page PDF on how “How EMDR Works”.
These are essentially long blogs that are designed and put into a PDF format. These are great as “gated content” - something you ask for someone to give their email for. A great next step for someone not wanting to schedule a session quite yet.
And don’t forget the power of perception. If someone visits your website and sees that you have an extensive library of ebooks, worksheets, blogs and podcasts. They will perceive you as an expert. Even if they don’t read one word or listen to one episode they already have a higher perception of your brand and attribute you with higher sense of value.
After you’ve created a strategy that you’d like to use in all of your marketing efforts, you’ll need to apply that methodology to everything you create for your business. Whether you’re writing for your website or a blog, you’ll need to make sure that you’re being consistent and keeping the strategy in mind. It can be off putting for visitors to notice professional language on your website, but then see social media pages full of jovial and humorous language. Although social media can typically be less professional, you’ll still want to maintain a sense of responsibility and share the same values that you advertise in your other marketing efforts.
If you’re uncertain of how to create an effective content marketing strategy, or if you would like professional assistance, the team at Theory About That can help! Our team is comprised of seasoned professionals in the counseling and marketing industries and we would love to help craft a strategy for your practice or center. To learn more about our content marketing services, visit our website and contact our team!