The SWOT analysis exercise may be a little old school but it’s still a great tool for developing a strong business strategy. As we head into our second year of the pandemic, this exercise has an even greater relevance.
P.S. Have you heard of the TOWS analysis? (Click here to jump to that section of the article)
Here’s are some of the questions plaguing the minds of us brave, new world citizens:
- What are the new or existing uncertainties affecting my market?
- If production capabilities remain affected, how will my products and services change?
- Who are my new competitors?
- How should you prioritise content marketing to address these challenges?
The SWOT analysis ain’t simply about making a list of your business’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Instead, use this list to brainstorm on ways you can tap into your strengths and opportunities. They should be able to help you circumvent or reduce risks that arise from weaknesses and threats to your business!
Here are some examples of Hubspot’s SWOT analysis for businesses.
SWOT Analysis Guide for Content Marketers
Conducting a SWOT analysis with a focus on content can give you a strategic view of the key opportunities and threats associated with content marketing in your space.
Your overall goal should be a clear, actionable content strategy plan that your team can focus on for the year.
It all sounds doable in theory, but when your team actually sits down to discuss, expect to derail into long rants and disagreements. So let’s go through the basics of SWOT analysis and how to centre your discussions to reap a strong outcome!
First things first: How to SWOT?
In a SWOT analysis, you and your content marketing team will have to identify your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This is usually completed using a four-square template.
You can use our free SWOT analysis template below as a guide:
Keep in mind that strengths and weaknesses are internal to your content marketing team. These are factors which you have control over and can change over time.
Whereas opportunities and threats are external – factors that you have no control over i.e. market conditions, competitors and prices.
Internal Strengths and Weaknesses
It’s good to think about both the internal strengths and weaknesses of your content marketing team at the same time. Be sure to address both qualitative and quantitative strengths and weaknesses.
Identify what your team does best. Consider your overall content marketing and execution efforts. Then identify the areas where your team is lacking. What in particular, places your team at a disadvantage relative to competitors.
And if you identify something that’s both a strength and weakness, ranking items in order of importance will help your team prioritise better.
For example, you may have a strong photography and video production team but lack strong writers. Perhaps you have a unique brand appeal on social media platforms, but unmapped user journeys to convert leads.
As for opportunities, you’ll need to consider external factors that’s advantageous to your business and content team. These factors can range from nationwide policies to changes in local trends.
You can use the good ol’ PESTLE framework for a more comprehensive weigh-in.
For example, with the rise of TikTok users in Singapore, there’s a new emerging micro-content platform to tap into. And due to COVID-19, content streaming services have also skyrocketed in popularity. With an increased emphasis on staying indoors, demand for home delivery services have also spiked, a trend which content marketers can leverage on. These make for good opportunities in your SWOT analysis.
Now consider the external threats that both you and your competitors face. Potential threats can be as largely scaled as the COVID-19 pandemic, or small but equally annoying — like competitive advantages of your direct competitors.
Recent examples of major external threats are government regulations like social distancing measures, and changes in social media platforms’ advertising policies.
Meanwhile, smaller external threats to your content team may include creating content that’s easily replicated or done better by competitors. For example, your blogging strategy could lose traction simply because your competitors have more resources for boosting ads.
Using the SWOT analysis and some of the above examples for a local case study, here’s how a completed analysis may look like:
Using the TOWS Analysis to formulate a Content Strategy
With the information you’ve gathered with the SWOT analysis, it’s time for the TOWS analysis! This is where the actual strategising happens and the real work begins.
This extra step uses the connections between the four factors of your analysis as a starting point for strategy formulation.
The key here is to leverage on your identified strengths and opportunities to improve weaknesses and eliminate threats.
Here’s a visual representation of the TOWS analysis (download this image and use it!):
And here’s what the paired factors as shown above mean:
- Strengths/ Opportunities (SO) – How do you use internal strengths to take advantage of external opportunities?
- Strengths/ Threats (ST) – How do you use internal strengths to minimise external threats?
- Weaknesses/ Opportunities (WO) – How do you take advantage of external opportunities to improve internal weaknesses?
- Weaknesses/ Threats (WT) – How do you overcome internal weaknesses to minimise external threats?
Using the case study from our SWOT analysis, here’s an example of how the TOWS framework can help formulate actionable plans:
You’ve come up with actionable plans for your content strategy. Now how do you follow through?
There’s many types of content you can produce for your services or products. They range from listicles to how-to guides and infographics. Most of all, they require research on both the topic and keywords, as well as purposeful crafting of content that’s optimised for SEO.
If any of this sounds at all daunting or unfamiliar to you, get in touch with us and we’d be more than willing to work with you. Be it content strategy or content creation, we’ve got you covered!
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