Marketing 101: Creating A Strong Content Strategy In Three Easy Steps

Growing businesses need a lot of content. Sell sheets, fact sheets and press releases; pitch decks, website copy and social media messages—not to mention more advanced content like blog posts and email newsletters.

It takes a lot of work, which is why content strategy can often seem so overwhelming to entrepreneurs and small business owners. But it’s important to remember that even the most advanced content strategies begin with a basic “key message document.”

With that in mind, here are three steps to help you develop your own key message document and get your content strategy up and running.

Step One:  Tell Them What You Do
A strong key messaging document starts with a “key business statement.” Think of this as your value proposition in its most basic form. Include information such as:

  • The name of your company or product
  • Who it’s for
  • What it does
  • Why it’s different

This basic statement will be at the core of every piece of content you produce from now on. Remember, you’re not trying to write a novel. Aim for 50 words or less. If you think that will be easy, you’re about to learn one of the fundamental rules of good content creation. It’s much harder to simplify something complicated than it is to do the opposite.

Here’s a great example of a strong key business statement from Cleveland startup Studio Stick, a great young company and a client of JumpStart’s Core City: Cleveland Program.

“Studio Stick is a portable recording studio that allows artists to record quality songs or audio anywhere on the go.”

In 20 words you get the name, the product, who it’s for, what it does and its key differentiator.  You can’t ask for much more.

Step Two: Tell Them Why You’re Different?
Now it’s time to focus on your “differentiators,” the key features of your product or service that make you stand out from everything and everyone else in the market.

Some examples might include:

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Ease of Use
  • Innovative Technology

Once you’ve listed out these key differentiators, build out your key message document with additional 50-100 word chunks of content focused on each one. As you do this, repeat to yourself, “why should people buy what I am selling or invest in my company?”

Again, 50-100 words is just a guide. Don’t confuse length with quality. The right 100 words will do so much more for you than 1,000 of the wrong ones.

Step Three: Show Third-Party Credibility
When time and money are a factor, no piece of content can establish your credibility faster than a glowing endorsement from a customer. A few simple sentences will usually do.

If you are a startup still working to find your first customers, get a testimonial from a mentor or investor instead. The point is to show the world that people who aren’t on your payroll see the value of your business.

As an added advantage, you can use free tools like Canva or Recite to turn these testimonials into shareable graphics for your website and/or social media.

Follow these steps and you’ll have a strong foundation for much of your future content.

When you bring on interns, freelance writers or content specialists, they will come up to speed much more rapidly. You’ll also be better prepared for pitch meetings, sales presentations and media inquiries.

With your key messages in hand, you’ll already have much of the basic copy you need to get your first website up and running. Even blog posts and other thought leadership will be easier with your clearly defined audience and differentiators.

Your key message document won’t solve all your content needs. But it will help you lay a solid groundwork, while supporting many other pieces of your overall marketing strategy.

This article is part of JumpStart’s Marketing 101 Series, a collection of articles offering entrepreneurs and small business owners tips on fundamental marketing concepts such as branding, content development, website design, email marketing and social media.