Content is no more a nice-to-have strategy, but a necessary growth strategy if you want to survive and thrive.

If you are on the fence about investing in creating a content strategy and manifesto, jump off the fence and invest! It is an essential practice for online and digital businesses to exist and prosper, regardless of the industry.

Content encompasses everything from the Copy on your Website, Blog Posts, CTAs or Calls to Action, Facebook Updates, E-mail Subject Lines, Product descriptions and much more. There must be something that unifies the way in which all this communication comes together—it’s called a Content Strategy.

Although there is never one perfect technique for all businesses, there are certain practices that can work for most startups and running businesses.

A succinct and well thought-out content strategy will not only give your business a clear brand voice, but will make it easier for you to streamline all the content you put out and ensure it has the maximum business impact.

Things to Keep in Mind when carving out a Content Strategy:

1. The Pistachio Factor

Throw out your fascinating and differentiation factor on top and make it crystal clear so you stand out from the rest. You don’t want to be the vanilla flavor equivalent in your industry, you want to be pistachio or macadamia nut– a brand offering something unique that is not for everyone. We live in a world of personalized branding and catering to specific avatars.

The way you talk about your brand reveals what you are selling and how your product adds value. In the process, you communicate the core values of your company and can effectively show your business methods, if done right.

What’s your pistachio factor? Do you offer a service only for a specific level or phase of business? Do you offer products exclusively for millennial mothers in Asia? Do you have a service that will benefit someone when they are travelling with toddlers?

2. Clarify the Brand Story Messaging

The founder, employees and anyone associated with your brand should have a clear brand story to tell and discuss with customers. Why did you start this company? What is the philosophy behind the way you do things? Everyone should know not only the what, where and how, but also the WHY and so what? The messaging needs to be clear and simplified. Your story is what will create mental hooks for your audience.

3. Quality vs Quantity for Social Media Marketing

Please stop spending stupid money on random social media marketing. There is a lot that can be achieved with clear, simple messaging on niche platforms that target your communities and engage them in meaningful ways.

You don’t have to be all social media platforms. Twitter is not very useful to lifestyle fashion brands, just as Instagram isn’t of much use to a niche financial services business. Choose one (maximum 2) social media platforms and use them properly, understand your customers and peers through them and listen to what they like and enjoy seeing and discussing. There is no point having thousands of followers on Instagram if they are not engaged, not your target market and most importantly, not buying your product.

Step 1 is to choose the right platform that suits your business, consumer and industry. Step 2 is to build a real following through the platform–one that is engaging with your brand. Know why you want to create this huge following on any platform, before going about spending money on it.

4. Give Before you Ask

Remember, it’s a give and give game with content. Give valuable, helpful information and they will keep coming back for more. After some months of free use of your platform or valuable information through e-mail marketing, put out a distinct Call-To-Action to convert some of your followers to paying customers.