A digital content strategy is essential in order for your heritage organisation to find, create and share content for your digital platforms. This resource will take you through how to develop a content strategy that works for your organisation and includes some handy templates to get you started.
When digital content is created on an ad-hoc basis, there is a risk of communicating content that’s off-brand or off-target for your long-term objectives. Planned content promotes a consistent workflow, a cohesive heritage story and experience, and strengthens your relationship with your audience. You will gain an actively engaged audience who are already excited by your organisation’s vision.
This digital content strategy plan has been outlined as a step-by-step process, with each step building on the last.
What do you aim to achieve through your digital content? It’s important to link this back to the overall objectives of your organisation (such as to increase visitor numbers). Some examples of objectives for your digital content might include increasing your newsletter sign-ups or your website traffic.
You can list the objectives for your digital content here:
Think about who your target audiences are, what they need and what speaks to them, because it is them you are creating your digital content for!
For example, the Dundee Science Centre encourages school children to learn more about nature conservation and wildlife. By sharing content that showcases the easy, fun and interactive ways they do this, they encourage their target audience – schools – to reach out and get involved in their engaging initiatives.
How do I write, implement and monitor a digital content strategy?
Note below who your audiences are (you may have more than one type of audience), what their key characteristics and behaviours are, what motivates them, which challenges they may face, and where they seek information.
What is it about your heritage organisation that makes people visit? How do you create a better experience than others? Why should people pick you?
Take into consideration relevant organisational plans and objectives, and think carefully about what your USP is and why what you offer is unique.
One way of figuring this out is to look at what your audiences are already saying about you online. This may be something as simple as your museum is the only one in the region that specialises in an area of interest, or your location is a cheap and fun space to take your children for a fun day out.
You can outline your USPs below:
Once you know this, you can confidently fill out the next section, which covers WHAT content you will create to continually communicate that USP to your audience.
The key to creating great digital content is providing value to your audience. To understand which topics you need to speak about, use the above information on your expertise, combined with what your audience wants to see, listen, watch or read.
Using this example, if your expertise is nature walks, you don’t just have to limit your content to talking about nature walks, you can also communicate about related topics around what you do. For example, a key audience for Woodland Trust are people interested in outdoor activities and who view being in nature as an essential part of their overall well-being. By recognising this, Woodland Trust can build these themes and topics into their content too.
To help you brainstorm some topics, you can input terms related to your expertise into Answer The Public. This is a handy tool that provides you with insight into useful phrases and questions people are asking around your keywords.
Now you have your topic areas, identify which tactics you will use to create your content. Take into consideration the expertise available in your organisation, for example, do you have photographers or guides who are comfortable presenting on camera, or a strong writer who can create blogs?.
To start with, choose up to five tactics that would work best to communicate your chosen topics (you can always add more).
These can be a mix of things such as:
- Visitor reviews
- Photos at the location
- Video tips
- Did you knows
- Mini tours (e.g. show a specific room, event space or product
- FAQs (where to find us, opening times, how much it costs)
- Meet the team
- Behind the scenes
- Podcast (interviewing staff or those with influence)
- Top 10 recommendations to (insert topic)
- User generated content (sharing videos, pictures etc. from attendees)
- Quiz questions.
You can find more ideas in James Berg’s book, 104 Social Media Content Ideas to Increase Sales.
Now that you have your topics and tactics, create a posting plan that details when you post each tactic, who is responsible for creating and posting, and how and where you post.
For the where section, you will have to think about which pieces of content work best on which platforms, and where your audience is. For instance, amazing pictures of your location can go on Instagram and videos do better on TikTok. However, if you find most of your audience is engaging with you on Instagram, you can consider posting videos more often on there too.
|WHAT||Video about one of our artefacts||Quiz question e.g. which is true or false about this object?||Visitor Review||Meet the team||User generated content – photo taken at our location|
|WHERE||Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter||Facebook, Twitter||Facebook, Twitter||Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter||Facebook, Twitter|
|WHO||Fiona – creates videos in advance
John posts these to social media
|Kishan takes photos of objects
John creates true or false questions and posts to social media
|Alicia gathers all visitor reviews
John creates these and posts to social media
|Kishan takes photos of each team member
John interviews each team member and posts to social media
|John gathers all user generated content and posts to social media|
|HOW*||Videos to be saved here||Photos to be saved here||Visitor reviews uploaded to here||Photos to be uploaded here
Team member interview text uploaded here
|All user generated content to be saved here|
|John to take the above content and create captions in the content calendar** Excel. Once this is approved by the team, this will be scheduled through a social media scheduling tool.***|
*Where each of these say ‘saved here’, this is up to your team to input into your internal folder system (e.g. Google Drive, Dropbox or a shared server)
** You can find an example social media content calendar template here under Content calendar.
*** To save time and better manage your digital content, it is recommended that you use a social media scheduling tool such as Hootsuite, Buffer or look at Facebook Scheduler (only for Facebook & Instagram). These have free and paid for versions.
Here is a blank version for you to input your posting plan:
The final step in creating a digital content strategy is to have a clear measurement plan in place. Whether monthly, quarterly or yearly, it is important that you analyse and evaluate how your content is performing.
You do not need to measure all of the below, but select those which will help you track whether the overarching objectives you set earlier are being met.
By using this measurement section, you can find out over time which content tactics are most effective or least effective in achieving your current and future objectives.
|How many people saw the content||How many interactions your content received (e.g., click on a link, video views,
comments, shares etc.
|The action that is taken as a result of your content (e.g. purchasing tickets, attendance at your location)|
The conversion section above is particularly important because the purpose of creating a digital content strategy is to help you achieve your organisation’s objectives, not just to increase likes, followers, web traffic, and so on.
Most of the platforms that you use to share content have built in analytics pages, to show you how your content is being viewed and received. Here are some examples of these measurement tools:
By following the steps above and considering all the ways you can continue placing your audience needs and wants at the centre of your content, you will not only increase your online following, but also contribute to the achievement of the overarching objectives of your organisation.
Please attribute as: "How do I develop a digital content strategy? (2022) by James Berg, Picaroons supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, licensed under CC BY 4.0