In the Key of Sales

A Music Retailer's Guide to Creating a Content Strategy

[fa icon="calendar"] Sep 26, 2018 11:30:00 AM / by Matt Jacoby

 A Music Retailer's Guide to Creating a Content Strategy

Content strategy is the foundation of your music business’ communications. It affects every message you create, from quick emails to widely-shared blog posts. It revolves around two crucial questions: How does your company share its story? and What do your customers need?


By seeking answers to these questions, you can develop an effective content creation plan that naturally draws in audience and revenue. Although this sounds like a daunting task, it’s doable if you follow these 8 steps.

 

1.) Define Your Audience

Identifying your target audience is just as important to your content strategy as it is to your overall marketing vision. Successful content creation depends on having a clear definition of who you’re speaking to, and what motivations drive them.


It’s helpful to create some personas, or fictional personalities, that represent the types of audiences you’d like to reach. A music company typically has 3 to 5 main personas, and it’s best to focus on 1 or 2 of them as you start coming up with content. To read more about persona development, take a look at Octave Media’s tips for music marketing.


Your content should always be written with your target audience in mind. Instead of starting from the position of, “What point do we want to get across?” it should start from, “How can we help our audience?” Educate, don’t sell, and your messages will be more welcome and effective.

 

2.) Choose a Content Goal

Now decide on a clear and attainable goal for your content plan. Content development can’t achieve miracles, so don’t make your goal “Increase sales by 50% this month.” Instead, use content as part of a larger plan to drive leads, which can then be converted into sales as you guide your audience into the marketing funnel toward becoming paying customers.


A good content goal is something like: “Boost leads from Facebook to our blog by 10% within 3 months.” This is measurable and realistic. After accomplishing this goal successfully, you’ll be in the habit of creating content and can then move on to bigger goals.

 

3.) Identify Content Formats

Content comes in many forms. Below is a big list of content types to consider. The first few - articles, blog posts, and newsletters - are familiar to most people, but we urge you to consider using a variety of formats that will catch the attention of online users and search engines.


  • Articles and press releases
  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters
  • Ebooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Testimonials/case studies
  • Videos: behind the scenes, unboxing, reviews, instructional
  • Events, seminars and speaking engagements
  • Webinars
  • Live Q&As
  • Written Q&As and transcripts
  • Infographics
  • Email marketing
  • Podcasts/audio


4.) Select Your Channels

Beyond your own website and blog, there are hundreds of channels where you can share your content. If you’re looking for a mass audience on social media, here are some numbers to consider:


Facebook: 2 billion monthly active users

YouTube: 1 billion monthly active users

Instagram: 800 million monthly active users

Twitter: 317 million monthly active users

Pinterest: 200 million monthly active users

LinkedIn: 106 million monthly active users


Facebook is a great channel to start with, if all you can handle is one. Although its use has dipped a bit in the United States recently, it’s still experiencing big growth around the world. Twitter is a good addition, because of its capability to spread messages far and wide, and the relative ease of posting quickly.


YouTube is noteworthy because it now reaches more 18-49 year-olds than any cable TV network in the U.S. That’s good news for the image-conscious music industry. Instagram and Pinterest are also good places for photo-focused content sharing.

 

5.) Set a Social Schedule

Timing is important in a content strategy. Not only do you need clear timeframes to gauge your success, but you need a reliable calendar that reminds you to share content on a regular basis.


Search engines pay attention to timing, and will rank you more highly if you produce fresh content consistently. This means it’s great to make 3 blog posts in a week, but if you follow that with a month of silence, you’ve totally lost your momentum.


Opinions vary about the right frequency for sharing content, but here are some general scheduling guidelines:

  • Create at least 1 blog post per week for an existing brand, and up to 1 per day while launching something new. Of course, share blog posts across all social media.
  • Provide new long-form content once a month - ebooks, whitepapers, case studies and such.
  • Share photos and videos every day on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
  • Tweet 15 times a day. Yes, 15 times a day - because most retweets happen within 60 minutes of a tweet, then languish.
  • If you use Pinterest, pin about 10 things per day, with a 50/50 split between your own content and other sources’ content.
  • Post on LinkedIn daily at minimum, and multiple times per day while you’re actively hiring or selling business-to-business products.


6.) Make a Promotional Plan

While most of your content shouldn’t be outright salesy, you still need a promotional plan. Many of the social channels listed above allow you to initiate paid promotions that increase your viewership.


For example, consider that there are about 5,700 tweets per second on Twitter. It’s hard to keep up with the speed. So you can pay to promote your tweet, which is estimated to get it about 2 to 10 times as much attention within 60 minutes - although Twitter is secretive about its exact stats.


Or look at Facebook, which reluctantly admits that its organic traffic to business pages is a paltry 2.6%. When you pay to promote a Facebook post, it significantly increases user engagement by encouraging people to “like” your page, thrusting it into their news feed day after day. And you can use the Facebook Ads tool to buy as much attention as you desire at a relatively low cost.


The point here is that you must be prepared to put some promotional dollars behind your content campaigns. This ensures your investment in content creation gets as much traction as possible.

 

7.) Check the Framework

We feel compelled to provide a reminder that the backbone behind all of your content must be strong. What’s working and not working on your website? Are your landing pages, calls to action, cart checkout pages, and customer service messages totally up-to-date and consistent with your content?


In addition, Is everything mobile friendly? Are your in-store messages on point too? Content requires a holistic approach, and it would be terrible to get a big increase in ebook downloads, only to be thwarted by a web server that couldn’t handle the traffic.


Also, make sure you’re capturing new user data and maintaining analytics on your audience. Gather email addresses - with permission, of course - as people request your free content. Examine your traffic sources, and make promotional choices based on what you see. Data can be a powerful behind-the-scenes component to your content decisions.

 

8.) Refine and Expand Your Content Strategy

Finally, learn everything you can from the process of content creation, and use this knowledge to expand your overall marketing efforts. Maybe a certain blog post is unexpectedly your most-read piece of content, and that tells you something new about your audience. From there, you could make marketing changes, develop new products, or expand certain brands.


Sharing content is always an opportunity to learn more about your customers and connect with them more deeply. We hope this guide to creating content has inspired you to take a fresh look at your content strategy. For more tips, stop by the Octave Media blog.


Octave Media specializes in marketing for music brands. Our free 5-Point Website Marketing Inspection guides music businesses toward online success. Connect with Octave Media now to refine your content marketing strategy.

 

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(Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels)

Topics: Strategy, Music Merchant Marketing

Matt Jacoby

Written by Matt Jacoby

Matt is the Chief Percussion Officer and VP of Cadence Strategy at Octave Media. When he's not helping music merchants develop an automated system to increase website sales, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two little men.